Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report!

Ok, so there is a little extra pollen to deal with, but hey, it’s worth it! When the pollen is thick, the fishing is generally very good and now is no exception!

The Stripers are scattered out and while the open water bite will yield some fish, there are also fish on the points and flats as well. Pulling a big live bait spread using multiple planer boards will give you a wide footprint and allow you to better saturate an area.  Don’t be hesitant to pull the baits right up onto the points or near the banks.  Herring have been the bait of choice in recent days, but keeping a Gizzard Shad in the spread would be a very good option. Experiment with the amount of line out behind the planers, some days that can be a big factor, as is adding a split shot or two to the line. Boat Speed can also be a huge factor so keep tabs on how fast you are going may help tweak the bite. Keep a bucktail or a Mini Mack tied on; you never know when you will encounter surfacing fish. While this activity has been slow in recent days, expect to see more schooling activity as water tamps increase.

The night bite remains strong and may be the best overall option. Casting baits like the Spro McStik and the traditional 16 Bomber A’s are both producing good catches.  This technique will work on main lake points or in the backs of the creeks, and any dock /submerged lights you see are also good choices.

 Bass fishing is very good!!   Casting a Worm on a Jighead, I prefer the Weedless Wonder; will be hard to beat for numbers and consistency. Cast this rig around docks, shallow blowdowns, secondary points, or almost any type of shallow structure.  Jerkbaits and weightless Flukes are also good choices and allow you to move faster effectively covering more water. Don’t forget about the plastic lizards, they can be very productive at this time of year. They are effective on either the Texas rig or the Carolina rig

Crappie fishing has been good and the numbers have improved to compliment the big fish that have been showing up. The patterns are varied, but shallow docks, blowdowns, and flooded buck brush are all good structures. Small jigs, the Crappie Country Wow Grubs and the Sugarbugs Jigs have been producing well, along with live minnows. If you are fishing around the flooded cover in the backs of the creeks, place any of the above-mentioned bats under a small weighed float. This technique allows you to fish slowly without letting the bait get snagged on the bottom. Also, reeling the bait right up to a piece of structure and then stopping your retrieve to allow the bait to drop down to the fish can be very effective. Fishing is good in the upper parts of either river or in the backs of the lower end creeks. Stained water is a big asset!  

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

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In Honor Of the Humble Bluegill

Tosohatchee BluegillEven though there are so many different fish and so many ways to catch them, few species hold a special place in more people’s hearts like the humble Bluegill.  And there are a lot of reasons they rank towards the top of the list when you ask random fishermen what they enjoy chasing most, and why.

I’d be willing to bet that if you ask 100 anglers of varying ages “What was the first fish you can remember going after when you started out?” you’ll get a very diverse list but the bluegill will rise to the top by a pretty solid margin.  They’re everywhere, they eat a variety of baits (natural, artificial, and fly), they fight like the dickins, and they taste pretty darn good when scaled and fried up just like mom did it.   Innumerable folks start out chasing bluegill as kids with a simple outfit complete with a Zebco rod and reel, a red and white bobber, single hook, and a coffee can of red wigglers.  I count myself as one of the lucky ones to have spent a good portion of my young life sitting along the bank of Howard Eaton Reservoir, or anchored in the lily pads in Presque Isle State Park.  Family fishing trips taught us patience and how to get along with our siblings in a small boat, as well has how to appreciate the beauty and peace of fishing.  Bluegill played a big part in our young lives for sure.

Nowadays, I don’t target them as much unless I happen upon a spawning congregation, but even then it’s just to do some experimentation and see how a new fly works, or to end a long dry spell between fish.  They’re always around and almost always willing to play along for a few minutes provided I can figure out what fly to throw at them.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and that’s why I keep trying.

There is a bit of a challenge to catching gills if they really aren’t in the mood, and a lot of people don’t figure it out for a while.  Bluegill aren’t chaser’s in the same sense that bass are, meaning they don’t pursue their prey very far and most people work artificial baits and flies too fast in the first place, missing a lot of catchable fish as a result.  Topwater flies should shake and shimmy to imitate a distressed insect, while subsurface offerings can either slowly sink through the water column or be stripped along slowly and steadily.  Before making that first cast, try to imagine how far and fast a grass shrimp or damsel fly larva moves through the water.

Presque Isle FishingRed wigglers, crickets, wax worms, grubs, small minnows, bread balls, and many other natural baits (even hot dog chunks) will entice a strike when in the zone, so kiddies and their parents or grandparents aren’t left out in the cold.  Tossing bait and waiting for something to happen is how a lot of fishermen got started in the past and it still works today, especially when indoctrinating youngsters into the sport.  Just be sure to have something else for your budding angler to do between bites since it may take some time for things to heat up.

Bluegill unfairly get lumped in with all the other “Bream” down here in the south and maybe there should be a movement to correctly identify them out of respect.  They’re hungry, strong, available, tasty, and willing to eat a wide variety of offerings, so load up the tackle, the kids, and a can of red wigglers for a ton of fun while chasing the humble Bluegill.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando.

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Hunter's Tips and Tricks

Curiosity     Structure     Observation    Patience

Match The Hatch:
"If Shrimp are present, use shrimp!"

Shrimp are running and moving forward slowly, imitate this with your  fake shrimp.(TKO Shrimp,Savage Shrimp,etc.) Cast it far up current and retrieve slow. "On top for show, bottom for dough (dough=money fish)" This means small fish are usually on top , larger fish towards bottom. Very important to reel your lure in slow, unless you are going for a faster species; such as, Jacks, Peacock Bass, Wahoo, Mackerel, etc.

The slow motion of your lure, tied with a loop knot will create a realistic movement in the water. Observation and curiousness of your surroundings will help you evaluate all situations possible.

"curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back"

Good lures of imitation shrimp are, DOA, TKO, Savage, and Gulp. Good minnow type lures/Stick Baits are Rapala: X-raps, Hushey Jerks, Rattle Traps, Shad Raps. When using Rattle or Brim type baits, Xps Broken Back Minnows and Slim Dogs by Bass Pro Shops (XPS) are deadly in calm, still, back waters.

Chris Hunter lives to fish! No matter what the catch of the day is, he is always about having fun. Fishing is a part of you, its practice, techniques, and passion.

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles -Doug Larson

Some of the products mentioned: (Click Pictures for Links)

 

Created by: Belinda Milan

For products visit:  http://www.basspro.com/

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Who Stole Spring?

See our online selection of fishing products at basspro.com.

Ok, just one question. Who stole Spring?  It seems I remember snow, sleet and cold blowing  rain just a moment ago.  I'm not Rip Van Winkle. I didn't sleep through it.  It's late March and it's 84 degrees outside.  Spring is supposed to have brisk mornings followed by brilliant rays of sunshine that melt away the gloom of Winter, not cranking the air conditioner to full blast to fend off the heat.

  What does this have to do with fishing? Well, pretty much everything at this time of year.  The four most popular fish, largemouth bass, crappie, sandbass/hybrids,and catfish use the cool of Spring to do their spawning.  If the water temperatures soar above the optimal for our favorite species, they will most likely have an abbreviated spawn. What does that mean?

First, and most importantly, it means if you want to catch fish during their spawn you better get cracking.  The largemouths were just beginning to get into their pre-spawn patterns when that frozen blast knocked the bottom out of water temps. It also caused the the water  to rise into places it hasn't been in three to four years. Combine these conditions and just when poor mama bass was just about ready to drop her eggs and go into defensive mode  Mother nature threw her a curve.  It also muddied up the water in the areas they prefer to lay their eggs. These thee factors changed not only where you might want to look for them, but what you might use to catch them.

  Lots of folks traditionally creep lizards or crawfish soft plastics through likely places. With the water deeply stained by sediment  you pretty much have to hit that big spawning female right in the nose to get her to react.  So far this season we're getting  good reports from fishers who've added lures that both represent nest poachers and either vibrate or click to their usual collection of "normal" Spring offerings. If you let the fish know that potential danger is near the nest with bass jigs with rattlechambers, like the Bass Pro Shops Rattling Enticer  Jig  you will surely let that trophy bass have something to zero in on.  You can also try slow rolling a colorado-bladed spinnerbait around fairly shallow, stained water, that  is close to cover and deeper water. A couple of good choices in spinnerbaits are the Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye Tandem Spinnerbait or  add a selection from Booyah Spinnerbaits. The best selling bass lure right now has been the all new Bass Pro Shops Chatterbait. This new bait comes in a number of colors, but there is one called bully bream that I can't wait to try out!

  Crappie fishers have been hitting good numbers and the photos I've seen recently show a lot of big fat "slabs".  The water temperatures haven't been as critical on the crappie population as far as their spawn...yet. Crappie usually hang in deeper water around cover like brush piles until the water temps reach between 52 and 65 degrees. Hopefully the shallows where they love to lay their eggs will clear up in the next week. When it does, all you waders, float tubers and paddle-powered fishers need to be ready to pounce !  The air temperatures will warm the water quickly if this quick warming trend continues so be ready.  For now the best results have been on crappie jigs. All kinds of color combinations have been flying out the door. If you want to know my personal favorites...well...you'll just can't go wrong with the Bass Pro Bumble Bee in Monkey Milk color for deeper water.  Switch to  black and chartreuse when they do move up shallow.


  For our minnow dunking friends the reports have been good too. Don't wait til the last minute to get your minnow bucket, aerators, dip nets, hooks and bobbers . The spawn may be abbreviated this year. Don't miss any of it waiting to gear up.

 Attention sandbassers and hybrid hunters!  The recent rains that have raised our lakes with water, pretty much emptied our area lakes of huge numbers of sandbass and hybrids.  Yes, as the water from the feeder creeks pouring into the lakes, the sandbass head upstream looking for moving water in which to lay their eggs and fertilize them. Sandbass don't make nests, they are actually programmed to do all their reproductive rituals in moving water so get out your mud boots and find a good feeder creek. Running water is good, but creeks that are fast moving and swolen by rain are dangerous and the fish tend to scatter. Remember that hybrid stripers are a mix of sandbass and saltwater stripers. They can't reproduce, but they did not get that memo and travel along with the sandbass into creeks and rivers.

  I found a really good creek stomping sandbass chasing, dependable, strong, smooth reel. It's actually a Crappie Maxx spinning reel. It's drag is smooth and strong enough to handle the strong sudden smash of a hybrid when adjusted properly.  One great lure selections for sandies in the creeks are the Blue Fox inline spinner, either silver or blue with the number 2 blade. Another is any one of a group of soft plastic three inch minnow imitations mounted on a 1/16 or 1/32 jig head. Bounce these offerings off the bottom and as close to the channel as you can. Hang on!


You'll have to hurry on the sandbass/hybrid action to. As soon as the water temp in the lakes and the stream temps are equal the sandies won't bother making the trek upstream. They will simply spawn in the lake off windy sandbar points.


 Catfish have not been as affected by the rising warming water too much yet. They're still going to be found fairly shallow. Their spawn is right around the corner, as a matter of fact, it may be accelerated by warming waters.  Here are a couple rules of thumb for you. Generally speaking...I say generally... blue cats tend to hit fresh dead shad. Get a cast net and a bucket and probe boat launches to get your fresh bait.


Channel cats seem to prefer stink baits, also called "prepared baits."  The big flatheads lean toward prefer to munch on bream (sunfish) .  Get some worms, crappie nibbles, small hooks and go "perch jerking," to garner goodies for these monsters.  Don't forget you'll need size appropriate hooks too. Catfish in the "eater" class usually take baits that can be mounted on 3/0 hooks and smaller, while "trophy cats" require a larger, stronger hook to handle their lockjaw grip, weight, and fighting ability. Come in soon to get outfitted with the Catt Maxx rods and reels for all the cats you want to catch, it's an extremely dependable outfit that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg.


  So it doesn't really matter where Spring went. What matters is that you get busy, get equipped, get informed and get on the water.


 Bend a rod for us!
 Bill Sankey
Fishing Lead
Bass Pro Shops, Garland Tx.

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Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

Striper fishing is good, the numbers may be a little less than what would be the norm for late March, but many of the fish in the teens and into the mid 20 lb. range! The best pattern is still pulling the live baits over open water areas, basically over bends in the river channel. This pattern may work anywhere, watch the birds to help narrow your search, but I think it is best in the middle upper parts of the lake. Freelines and planer boards are the ticket here; Herring have been the bait of choice.  This technique is all about covering lots of water so put out a big bait spread and be persistent.  The Herring seem to do well on the hook for 15 to 20 minutes, be diligent about checking/replacing you bait as needed.

 Fishing the backs of the creeks is also a viable pattern, especially at dusk, dawn and through the night. If you fishing after dark, Spro McStiks, small bucktail jigs, and the Bombers will yield some nice fish if you are willing to miss a little sleep. Fish the aforementioned baits slow, and cast right up to the bank.

The Bass have responded nicely to the warming surface temps and anglers are reporting some nice catches in recent days.  There are several patterns that are working, and here are some options to get you started. There are plenty of Spotted Bass on the docks, the depth varies, but if I had to pick a number I would look at docks that have 20 to 25 feet of water in the front of the dock. This may change as the water continues to warm and look for the Bass to suspend right up under the docks and/or move to the back corners. Fishing a Roboworm (Green Shiner and Prizm Kraw are good color patterns right now) on the Weedless Wonder will be hard to beat; jigs may give you a better chance for the big fish.  Fish the front of the dock first, then cast down each side, and finish by flipping or shooting bait as far under the dock as possible. There are also fish holding over drains and ditches anywhere from 5 to 20 feet. Jerkbaits, Fish Head Spins, or Shadee Shad are good choices for this pattern and may yield a bonus Striper bite to keep you honest. If the fish will not respond to suspending or moving baits, switch to the worm or jig to tweak the bite.

Crappie fishing has improved and anglers are catching some nice strings of fish out of shallow cover in the creeks and pockets. Blowdowns, Docks, flooded grass and buck brush are all likely structures to search for the specs. Small jigs, the Crappie country Chenille jig in the # 10, 7, and 3 color patterns are good choices as are small swimming grubs and live minnows. Fish all of the above under a float; just keep moving until you locate fish, they are bunched up nicely so once you find ‘em, you should stay busy for a while!

The Walleyes are starting to wrap up their spawning run and are heading back out of the rivers into the lake. They will remain in the upper parts of the lake for a while so the opportunity to catch a few is still good. Small crankbaits on rocky areas, shallow humps or brush are good choices to cast for the walleyes.  Fishing at night or in low-light conditions may increase your chances of success dramatically.

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ thefarrside@mindspring.com or Visit Capt. Mack online @ www.captmacks.com

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Table Rock & Bull Shoals Fishing Report - February, 2015

Ah…, February.  A time for the Ned rig!  What is the Ned rig?  Take a small shaky head jig, with a hook that seems a little tiny for black bass, and add a half of a 5” sinking worm, such as a Gary Yamamoto Senko, or similar, and there you have it!  This rig is a crawfish imitation, and so it should be scooted and mini hopped, very slowly, across the bottom.  Remember, a crawfish, one that is not in danger, moves rather slowly across the bottom, so…, if the imitation moves very slowly, the bite is likely to improve.  Add some craw scent, and get ready!  Try chunk rock bottom lake points.  Ask a fishing associate what color is working now, cast one out, and let the fun begin! 

 

The Alabama rig is working now!  This is an exciting bait to fish, and many anglers have caught more than one fish on a single cast!!!  Ask a fishing associate about this rig, how to fish it, and how to rig it.  Take a rig home, and try it out on the lake. 

 

The suspended jerk bait bite is on!  Present this shad imitation bait above suspended bass, and employ a jerk and wait retrieve.  The longer the wait, between jerk retrieves, the better.

 

Spinner baits are working – early, late, in the morning fog, and in the wind or rain.  Try a 1/2oz. double willow blade spinner bait.  Natural shad colors are working well. 

 

There is a jig bite now.  Crawfish spend most of their time on the bottom.  A crawfish imitation needs to move slowly, from behind one rock, to the next rock.  Just like with the Ned rig, it is hard to fish this bait too slowly.  Right now, bass are at all levels, looking for the most comfortable mix of oxygen and water temperature they can find.  Look for them, especially off or next to, main lake and secondary points.  Try a 1/4 to 5/8oz. round or football head jig, brown, peanut butter and jelly, or green pumpkin in color, and add a trailer, green pumpkin, watermelon candy, or cinnamon purple.  Add scent to your jigs.

 

 

Try fishing a drop shot rig, vertically.  Ask a fishing associate how to rig for this drop shot bite, and ask what the current best bait is.  This technique works well, on suspended fish!  Also try fishing a Rapala  jigging lure, or a Shiver Minnow.  These weighted lures sink medium fast, and can be vertically fished like a drop shot rig, and dart sideways, when twitched on or near the bottom.

 

Try a Jika or Zeka type rig.   You can pick up a rig, or make your own.  Ask a fishing associate how to put one of these rigs together, using parts available in the fishing department.  This rig allows a creature bait, worm, grub, or other soft bait to move, freely, right on the bottom.  Try this rig on a main or secondary lake point, and hold the rod tight!      

 

Cold weather increases the need for home heating, which increases power consumption.  Dam generation creates power.  Generation from the dams causes current off main lake points, attracting the shad.  Therefore, do not pass up any main lake point that looks good to you, during this time of the year, since fish congregate on and around these points, looking for shad and crawfish. 

 

Black bass can be harder to find during the winter months.  Keep looking, though, and you can find a group of hungry fish, waiting for you!!! 

                        

                                      They are out there!!!

 

                               Good Luck and Good Fishing!

 

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Offshore Fishing Report World Wide Sportsman, Islamorda Florida

Hey everyone, and welcome back to this week’s report!  What is going on with this weather?  The weather has been crazy this winter and is way too cold for the coconuts on our palm trees if you catch my drift.  The good news is that the fishing has been pretty good, and we are hopeful that this front is going to be just the push we have been waiting on to get these pelagic creatures to move into area.  The Sailfishing this past week has been pretty slow, but there have been a few fish caught around the Island.  There have been some really nice King Mackerel, and a few decent Wahoo caught this week as well.  The Kites have been the weapon of choice with either Goggle Eyes or Cigar Minnows being the bait of choice.  The other tasty morsels such as Pilchards, Blue runners, Speedos, and Ballyhoo have been working too, but there has been good numbers of bait balls in the deep that I believe are Cigar Minnows, so I am attributing this to why the bite has been good with these guys.  A little further out the deep dropping has been on fire!  Great catches of Vermillion Snappers, Tilefish, and deep water groupers have been showcased on the racks at the dock, and this should continue to get better as the spring approaches.  Not too much to talk about way offshore, but there were a couple Swordfish caught this week, and a handful of Dolphin and Tunas.  The Amberjacks are slowly making their way onto the offshore humps, and the sharks are there waiting for them, so it shouldn’t be too long before their spawn is in full effect. 

 

On the reef, the patches have been fantastic and action packed with Hogfish, Groupers, Snappers, and Porgies.  SOB (shrimp on bottom) has been deadly with these cooler water temperatures, and with the fronts the shrimp have been pouring out of the bay making easy picking for these guys living on the patch reefs.  The Cobia have been moving through pretty nicely as well, as long as you get the right weather these guys have been here in decent numbers.  On the edge of the reef, the Yellowtail Snappers have been fairly decent, but we have been lacking a little current which has made this a bit more challenging, but nonetheless productive.  The wrecks have been productive this week as well with nice catches of King Mackerel and Almaco Jacks, and Jack Crevalle.  Even a few nice Mutton Snappers and Groupers this past week, as these guys have been fairly consistent all winter long.  This arctic blast we are getting as I write this is going to really slow down the edge of the reef, but should keep the patches biting.  It isn’t supposed to last too long, so hopefully the warm weather we have coming will make its appearance.   Looks like it isn’t going to be much of a small boaters weekend, but the forecast seems to be diminishing a little each day, so keep your fingers crossed!

Well, that is it for this week! Remember, if you need a charter please feel free to stop by World Wide Sportsman’s Bayside Marina and check us out, as I will be glad to help you out with whatever you need. Fishing report provided by Captain James Chappell 305-803-1321 www.catchalottafish.com out of World Wide Sportsman Bayside Marina, Islamorada, Florida. I hope everyone has a great weekend, and remember to boat responsibly!

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Offshore Fishing Report, World Wide Sportsman, Islamorada, Florida

Wooooo Weeeee!  What a week here in Islamorada!  The fishing has been incredible this week, and with the front coming it looks like it is only going to get better!  It has been a long time since I have seen as many Wahoo here as we have now.  Wahoo, Kings, Blackfin Tunas, and a few Sails.  If we are lacking anything it is Sails in good numbers, but the rest of the fishing is so good it doesn’t even matter.  Bait has been so abundant that you can actually take your pick on whatever you want to catch.  Large schools of pilchards to the north, Cigar Minnows and Ballyhoo on the patches, and Speedos on the edge of the reef.  It is all here, and with this much bait there no wonder why there are so many fish around.  The Wrecks are producing a lot of these fish in the live bait/ slow troll arena, or on the kites, while the bottom rod is still staying bent on Mutton Snappers and Groupers.  Still some Jacks and Sharks around as well, so plenty to keep busy with for sure.  The reef has been incredibly cooperative from the patches to the edge with nice catches of Yellowtail, Mutton, and Mangrove Snapper.  Of course the Groupers are biting as well as could be, but they are closed so no need to get excited. 

 

A little further offshore on the humps, and deeper wrecks, the Amberjacks are beginning to stack up and get ready for their annual spawn.  This also means that the really big sharks are going to be right there with them.  Big time, Big Fun for you people out there who love to get beat up by a fish on some heavier tackle.  The deep dropping in the rips has opened back up for the Tilefish and deep water  Groupers.  This opens up a whole new avenue for table fare during this time of year.  Tilefish are some of the best eating fish in the open, and you can catch them on electrics or hand crank them up from 400 feet.  Either way it is up to you, but these are some really tasty fish, so give it a try!

Well, that is it for this week! Remember, if you need a charter please feel free to stop by World Wide Sportsman’s Bayside Marina and check us out, as I will be glad to help you out with whatever you need. Fishing report provided by Captain James Chappell 305-803-1321 www.catchalottafish.com out of World Wide Sportsman Bayside Marina, Islamorada, Florida. I hope everyone has a great weekend, and remember to boat responsibly!

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Ice Fishing - Great Fun and Conversation

Thinking about ice fishing?  Some people cannot imagine toting a sled with supplies all bundled up to sit over a hole in the ice as the wind blows through them.  Many fisherman find this time to relaxing, not to mention having a bbq over alot of hot coffee and conversation to stay warm.  Strategy and patience is what you need for ice fishing.  Here are a few ideas to help you find a place to fish, what to wear, what to bring, and how to stay safe while you enjoy your time outside.

New York State has a variety of fish that people enjoy fishing for during this cold weather.  Perch, sunfish, pickerel, walley, and trout to name some.

How do you get started?  The best way to get started is go with a friend or stop at a local tackle shop to find a popular ice fishing area.  At tackle shops they can tell you where the fish are being caught.  Watch for announcements on ice fishing tournaments.  Stop in and talk with Bass Pro associates to see what they recommend.  Ice fisherman tend to share tips, techniques, and stories.  They are very social.

Cutting the Ice:

The simplest way to cut through the ice,  is the "Spud Bar". Inexpensive and it works well on the  ice up to a foot thick.

Hand Powered Augers are slightly more expensive than spuds and are very easy to operate.  This is the best compromise for moderate ice conditions.  Pan fish people favor 4,5, or 6" because they are light weight and faster.  For a larger fish go to a 8".  People who go ice fishing on a regular basis or for a extreme ice condition use a more expensive option or a gas powered ice auger. 

What pole do you use?

Jigging Rod:  This is a short light fishing rod used with tip-ups.  Bass Pro Shop has many different types of tip ups and jigging poles.  Any associate in our Fishing Department can direct you to the one that is best for you.  Jigging involves use of a jigging rod or hand line and a small jigging spoon or lure with bait.  It is designed to move in different directions when jerked up and down.

Tip Up:  A tip-up is a spool on a stick holding a baited line that goes through the ice.  When the fish grabs the bait,  the pull on the line releases a signal that you have a fish (example: red flag).

Clothing:  Pay attention to the weather and dress in layers.

Ice Safety:  Minimum 3 to 4 inches of solid ice is the rule.  The ice thickness differs on the water.  Always use good judgement.  Avoid moving water, including where streams.  The ice thickness table below is based on clear, blue, hard ice on non-running waters.  Slush ice is 50% weaker.

Stay away from docks with bubblers.  They can produce thin unsafe ice a distance away.  Always fish using the buddy system.

The American Pulpwood Association has a Ice Thickness Table they suggest you follow when out on the ice. This is based on clear, blue, hard ice on non-moving (running) waters.

Ice Thickness                                                      Permissible Load

2"                                                                       One Person on Foot

3"                                                                       Group Single File

7.5"                                                                     1 Car (2 tons)

8"                                                                        Light Truck (2.5 tons)

10"                                                                      Truck (3.5 tons)

12"                                                                      Heavy Truck (7-8 tons)

15"                                                                      10 Tons

20"                                                                      25 Tons

Regulations for Ice Fishing:

You have a limit of 2 jigging lines (or hand lines) and five tip ups in most waters.  Each tip up is marked with the operator's name and address.  The operator must be present when lines are in the water and you must have your fishing license on you.  Always review regulations before you go by visiting www.dec.ny.gov.

Beginner Equiptment List:

Thermal Long Johns

Thermal Socks

Jeans

Snow Pants

Sweatshirt or Warm Flannel Shirt

Warm Hunting Coat

Gloves/Mittens

Waterproof insulated boots

Knit Hat/Mask

License

Commercial ice fishing rod, tip-up, or dowel rod

20-50 yards of 6 pound monofiliment fishing line

Hooks, Flat Hooks, Treble Hooks

Split Shot assortment, Mousies, Maggots, Mayfly Larva

Bait, Swedish Pimple (lure), Minnows, Wax Worms

Auger, Ice Spud, ladle, bucket, 25' nylon rope

Don't forget some food and coffee

Here are a few products we sell here at Bass Pro Shop that will make your ice fishing experience enjoyable.

The Clam Vista Thermal Ice Shelter can accommodate 2 to 3 people.

 

 

 

http://www.basspro.com/Clam-Vista-Thermal-Ice-Shelter/product/1406091508/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about the Soroc Sports Sled?  Perfect to pull all your supplies, it is made of thermoform construction.

http://www.basspro.com/Soroc-Sports-Sleds/product/1205010502001/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bass Pro Shop Hand Ice Auger, comes in a 6" or 8" with soft rubber handle.  Lightweight and portable.

http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-Hand-Ice-Auger/product/10219516/

 

 

 

 

 

Need something with power?  Check out the Strike Master Chipper Lite Ice Auger.  This unit has a pointed chipper blade tip to keep the unit from bouncing around.  Lightweight and powerful

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http://www.basspro.com/StrikeMaster-Chipper-Lite-Ice-Auger/product/1404251652/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have many tip-ups to pick from, but check out the Bass Pro Shop Ice Artic Angler Tip Up.  Highly Visable with indicator and flag, measuring board and weather resistant molded base and spool.

http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-Ice-Arctic-Angler-TipUp/product/10203469/

 

 

 

 

 

The Clam True Blue Ice Fishing Spining Combo comes with a oversized spool, cork grips and is solid graphite.

http://www.basspro.com/Clam-True-Blue-Ice-Fishing-Spinning-Combo/product/10210965/

 

 

 

 

 

Finally stay warm with the Clam Corp Ice Armor Edge Cold Weather Parka and the Clam Corp Ice Armor Ultra Insulated Bibs.  Waterproof, breathable, reflective safety piping and windproof.

 

 

http://www.basspro.com/Clam-IceArmor-Edge-ColdWeather-Parka-for-Men/product/140423030139225/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.basspro.com/Clam-IceArmor-Edge-ColdWeather-Bibs-for-Men/product/140423030139226/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consider taking up a little Ice Fishing this year.  Stop on by and talk with any of our Fishing associates who will be happy to help you get started.

Robin Piedmonte

Events Coordinator

 

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Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report – December, 2014

Winter fishing can be fantastic on Lake Taneycomo!    

Some brown trout are still spawning.  There are a few browns staged below #3 outlet, up below the dam, and a few left in the area between outlets #1 and #2.     

When there is no current or wind, the clarity of the water becomes a big issue.  Try a smaller lure or fly, and the lightest line you can get.  If possible, attempt to get your bait offering deep enough to become invisible to you.  If you can’t see the trout, they can’t see you, and your catch rate will increase.

Changing water conditions offer new opportunities.  Lake levels are back down.   When no generators are running, wading up by the dam is possible.  Even with one generator going, some wading may be possible. 

If two generators are running, bank fishing is a better choice, if a boat is not available.  Where you find deeper areas near the bank, fish close in to the bank first, although bank fishers should stay back from the edge of the bank.  Trout are sensitive to vibrations, such as those made when walking along the bank shore line.  Stay back at least three feet.

Currents resulting from generation, or rain runoff, cause trout to look for areas with an eddy, and many of those are near bank structure.  Trout feed all day long while residing in these sheltered eddies, and are often accessible to the bank or dock fishing angler.  Power bait, earth worms, spoons, spinners, and flies all work on these fish, so fishing on Taneycomo is good!

Trout become a little less finicky when current brings them a quick meal.  These fish have less time to examine passing food.  A presentation of two flies, under an indicator, works well.  The first fly could be an egg imitation, a worm, nymph, scud, or midge, followed by another fly about 3 ft. behind.  This same rig will work for the spin fisherperson.  The fish concentrate on the first offering, and if that is refused, the second bait is on them quickly, and little time is left to evaluate it.  Fish having to make this quick choice, often choose to bite. 

 

Anglers who offer bait presented below a bobber, drifted from upstream to downstream, find success at times.  When the bobber rig does not work, try a 1/16 to1/4oz sinker rig, and allow it to rest on the bottom, with a bait above. 

 

Anglers choosing to throw a jig, need to adjust for the amount of current at the time.  During a time of no current, a 1/16oz jig is fine, but as generation increases, jig weight can vary all the way to ¼ oz.  Excluding a mini jig, most jigs attract more fish when they are fished on or very near the bottom.  Keep increasing your jig weight, until you are in contact with the bottom, and more fish will see the bait, and your bites per day will increase.  Remember, trout have eyes that see best ahead, up, and to the side.  Trout normally do not see food items that are presented to them at a lower vertical point in the stream than their holding water.  So, if you present something to them on the bottom, when they are holding on the bottom, they see it, and may feed on it.  If the trout holding lie is in the surface film, a mini jig or other bait presented 6” or less, under an indicator or bobber, will be seen, and may be taken.

 

Fly fishers can streamer fish with great success, during mild generation.  Olive wooly buggers, slow stripped in the current, will take trout, as will many other streamer patterns.  Flies such as soft hackles and crackle backs can be fished as small streamers, and will often take trout any time of the day.  Remember, small and slow.  Go smaller with your baits, and move them slowly.  Give the trout time to decide to take them.

 

Spoons and spinners will take fish when there is generation.  Vary the weight of the lure, to match the amount of force of the current.  Greater generation requires more lure weight.  Anglers wanting the best all-around lure weight will find 1/6 oz. spoons and spinners a good bet.  Thomas Bouyant and Little Cleo spoons are working well, and best power bait colors have been white, pink, red, orange and Gulp eggs.  Fish two colors of eggs on the same hook for more bites.  Don’t forget real earth worms, and add air to them, if possible, to make them float.  A real earthworm, when combined with a Gulp egg, will take a surprising number of trout.  Minnows will work well, also.

                          Winter is here, and big trout are around! 

 

                                  Good luck, and good fishing!  

      

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Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report – November 2014

Early in November, when leaves clog the lake surface, when wind blows almost daily, trout begin to hang out under the lake’s leaf canopy.   It is possible to get a jig through the leaves, either below a float, or fished off the bottom.  Hungry trout will often hit, as the wind blows and causes a lifelike twitch to the jig.  Taneycomo trout fishing is great, in November!

Fall is the time when most brown trout spawn.  There will be many browns staged below #3 outlet, below the dam, and more in the area between outlets #1 and #2.   Remember to revive any brown caught during the next couple of months, since these fish are often weakened by the spawn, and any help you give them, helps them recover, after being caught.  

When there is no current or wind, the clarity of the water becomes a big issue.  Try a smaller lure or fly, and the lightest line you can get.  If possible, attempt to get your bait offering deep enough to become invisible to you.  If you can’t see the trout, they can’t see you, and your catch rate will increase.

Currents resulting from generation, or rain runoff, cause trout to look for areas with an eddy, and many of those are near bank structure.  Trout feed all day long, while residing in these sheltered eddies, and are often accessible to the bank or dock fishing angler.  Power bait, earth worms, spoons, spinners, lures and flies all work on these fish.  Trout become a little less finicky when current brings them a quick meal.  These fish have less time to examine passing food. 

Anglers who offer bait presented below a bobber, drifted from upstream to downstream, can employ a 1/16 to3/8oz bait and sinker rig, and allow it to rest on the bottom, with the bait above, or below. 

 

Anglers choosing to throw a jig, need to adjust for the amount of current at the time.  During a time of no current, a 1/16oz jig is fine, but as generation increases, jig weight can vary all the way to ¼ oz.  Excluding a mini jig, most jigs attract more fish when they are fished on or very near the bottom.  Keep increasing your jig weight, until you are in contact with the bottom, and more fish will see the bait, and your bites per day will increase. 

 

Fly fishers can streamer fish with great success, during mild generation.  Olive wooly buggers, craw or sculpin patterns, slow stripped in the current, will take trout, as will many other streamer patterns.  Flies such as soft hackles and crackle backs, can be fished as small streamers, and will often take trout any time of the day.

 

Spoons and spinners will take fish when there is generation.  Vary the weight of the lure, to match the amount of force of the current.  Greater generation requires more lure weight.  Anglers wanting the best all-around lure weight will find 1/6 oz. spoons and spinners a good bet.

 

Thomas Bouyant and Little Cleo spoons are working well, and best power bait colors have been white, pink, red, orange and green Gulp eggs.  Fish two colors of eggs on the same hook for more bites.  Don’t forget real earth worms, and add air to them, if possible, to make them float.  A real earthworm, when combined with a Gulp egg, will take a surprising number of trout.  Minnows will work well, also.

 

Trout go for nymphs and wet flies, as fall temperatures drop.  The angle of the sun, and the length of the days, help get the water temperatures down.  Try sizes #12-#16 for the point fly, if you use a two fly rig, and add a small midge, size #18 or #20 below that big point fly.

 

Remember, the current can change at a moment’s notice.  Take care to watch water levels. Fall is here, and it is the perfect time to catch big trout!  It is also just nice to be outside, during this time of the year!

 

                        Good luck, and good fishing!  

      

 

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Tricks of the Trade

                              Most anglers spend a great deal of money on artificial lures and use them right out of the box never spending any time adjusting or improving on the original manufacturer’s design.  While many of the lures used ‘as is’ work well, making a small change can make a big difference in the way the lure performs and may lead to catching more fish.

 

Bass Pro Shops® XPS® Replacement Treble Hook Kits                                                                       The first thing I recommend doing, shortly after purchasing a new lure, is changing the treble hooks provided by the manufacturer.  I usually switch mine out with the Owner brand.  They are strong and maintain their sharpness and are available in virtually any size.  Speaking of size… It’s a good idea to match the original treble hook, but in some cases a slightly larger or smaller size may turn out to be beneficial and improve the action of the lure.  I recently started putting a one-size-larger hook on the rear of my Heddon Zara Spooks.  The change causes the rear of this topwater lure to hang a little lower in the water when paused during retrieval.  This greatly improves my hook ups with redfish.  Reds mouths are designed to probe the bottom for food so they have a difficult time turning up for a surface lure.  The slightly extra weight at the end of the lure solved this problem and there’s nothing quite like the strike of a big redfish on a surface plug.

 

Johnson Lures Original Silver Minnow Spoons                                                                                     Just about everyone that fishes in southwest Florida has at one time or another used a spoon.  My favorite is the old classic Johnson Silver Minnow.  I like and use the silver color but gold seems to work best in our local backcountry waters.  There’s no question that they’ll catch fish right out of the box, but a small inexpensive addition can dramatically increase strikes.  Pick up a package of curly tail plastic grubs. Mister Twister Original Twister Tail Grub in white is my go-to but don’t hesitate to try other colors and brands.  You never know what might work.  Remove half of the grub body and thread it onto the hook of the spoon until the grub is right up against the base of the spoon.  This add-on allows you to retrieve the lure a little slower and still get the same wiggle action.  It also helps bulk up the appearance of the lure and make it look bigger.  I tend to trust the old saying, “Big bait, big fish.”

 

WhiteLast but certainly not least we come to buck tail jigs.  That’s right, the good old basic jig head and deer hair combinations like the ones made by Offshore Angler or Hank Brown.  The first makeover is fairly simple.  Purchase a black permanent marker and start experimenting with vertical stripes on your white buck tail jigs.  The idea here is to make them look more like a small pinfish.  The second makeover is going to require a few accessories, but it’s well worth it.  First you’ll need a fly-tying vise to hold the plain jig head and then some buck tail deer hair, crystal flash, hackle feathers and fly tying thread.  All of the above can be found in the fly-fishing section at your local Bass Pro Shops.  Put the jig in the vise and start adding fur and feathers and invent a truly unique lure of your own.  Think out of the box and be creative.  Remember, that’s how most of the lures we use today were invented in the first place! 

 

- Capt. Rob Modys

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Trash Fish or Day Savers?

BluefishFlorida residents are quite lucky when it comes to fish to chase and the destinations to visit in this pursuit.  We’ve got so many different species of fish that sometimes we forget that even the lowliest of them can be worthy of our efforts.  In fact, they can prove to be the best game in town when nothing else wants to come out and play.   Tarpon, snook, bonefish, permit, redfish, and seatrout may be what people think of when they contemplate fly fishing around the coast but it’s players like ladyfish, bluefish, mackerel, jacks, and catfish that account for more bent rods than we all want to admit.

The fall bait run is a giant fish magnet that draws anglers and fish with equal power and with the exception of some tarpon and snook, people are chasing after some of the others on the list.  Their numbers are mystifying and they have appetites and attitudes well beyond their diminished status among anglers.  They may not be a premier species but they’re plentiful and widespread at this time of year.

The best thing about chasing these lesser desired fish is that you don’t have to be fancy with your equipment to have a great deal of success.  A moderately sized rod and a pocket full of Clouser Minnows will be the ticket for a day full of fun and excitement when you hit the tide and location perfectly.  Hundred fish days are quite possible when things come together.  Oh yeah, don’t forget to carry plenty of spare leaders and tippet material since many of these guy have teeth that’ll wear through lightweight mono pronto.Ladyfish

Trash fish, by-catch, whatever you want to call them, they’re well worth taking time to catch while you can, and stock up the memories before the winter hits and things slow down.  These species are tailor made for kids and the uninitiated who just want to catch a lot of fish in a short period of time.  Just be sure to keep everyone’s fingers safe and sound when handling these wonderful but toothy and slimy critters.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report – October 2014

Trout fishing on Lake Taneycomo has been great!  As the angle of the sun and the length of the days change, trout begin to eat more, as they add weight to make it through the winter.  October is a great time to catch a very large trout, maybe even THE trout, …you know…the one you absolutely must have a picture of…the one that you will remember, and never forget…!  Night fishing for the big fish of the fall is great in October!  Brave anglers, who venture forth into the dark, can use heavy leader, and cast to huge, hungry, fish!  Large rainbows often lie downstream from brown trout spawning beds, waiting for drifting eggs to come to them. Every cast could result in a monster trout!   

Even a moderate wind, especially when combined with a canopy of fallen leaves, can free trout to feed on or very near water surface, without worry about predator attack (usually birds).  Autumn usually offers an abundance of both wind and fallen leaves.  Thus, October can be a great month to catch trout at the top of the water column!  

Currents resulting from generation, or rain runoff, cause trout to look for areas with an eddy, and many of those are near bank structure.  Trout feed all day long while residing in these sheltered eddies, and are often accessible to the bank or dock fishing angler.  Power bait, earth worms, spoons, spinners, and flies all work on these fish.

Anglers who offer bait presented below a bobber, often can fish in harmony with the leaf coating in the fall.  When the leaves interfere with the bobber’s float, the resulting movement of the bait below can trigger a strike! 

It is possible that rise forms are not surface feeding trout.  Instead, these rise forms may be caused by tail movement, from fish feeding just under the surface, in the film (up to a foot under the surface).  If the trout holding lie is in the surface film, a mini jig or other bait, presented 6” or less, under an indicator or bobber, can be seen, and may be taken.

Fall fly fishers can streamer fish with great success, during mild generation.  Olive wooly buggers, slow stripped in the current, will take trout, as will many other streamer patterns.  Flies such as soft hackles and crackle backs can be fished as small streamers, and will often take trout any time of the day.

Spoons and spinners will take fish when there is generation.  Vary the weight of the lure, to match the amount of force of the current.  Greater generation requires more lure weight.  Anglers wanting the best all-around lure weight will find 1/6 oz. spoons and spinners a good bet.  Thomas Bouyant and Little Cleo spoons are working well, and best power bait colors have been white, pink, red, orange and yellow Gulp eggs.  Fish two colors of eggs on the same hook for more bites.  Don’t forget real earth worms, and add air to them, if possible, to make them float.  A real earthworm, when combined with a Gulp egg, will take a surprising number of trout.  Minnows will work well, also.

Trout go for big nymphs as fall temperatures drop.  The angle of the sun, and the length of the days, help get the water temperatures down.  Try sizes #6-#12, especially the point fly, if you use a two fly rig, and add a small midge, size #18 or #20 below that big point fly.  Remember, the current can change at a moment’s notice.  Take care to watch water levels. Fall is here, and it is the perfect time to catch big trout!  It is also just nice to be outside, during this time of the year!

                                    Good luck, and good fishing!  

      

 

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Fall Walleye Fishing

Fishing for small fish like crappie and sunfish might be fun for the kids but sometimes having a little adult fishing is just what is needed. This is where fishing for walleye comes into play. These fish grow large in the temperate waterways and lakes here locally, and are great fish to fight on a line. But the best thing about walleye is definitely their meat. This firm, white and mild tasting meat is perfect for everything from a fillet to a grilled medallion. Here are some tips and tricks for catching the walleye of the year.

The first thing many people who fish for walleye will notice is their mouth full of teeth, this is due to their place as one of the apex predators in the waters. On the other hand there is another feature of the walleye that fishermen need to look at in order to get a sense of how they hunt. This is the eyes, walleye have big and often times oversized looking eyes. Given this fact walleye are very susceptible to changes in light, particularly increases in light. So when fishing for walleye it is good to time the day around what fish you are looking for. If you are spending the entire day on the water fishing, try out walleye fishing in the early morning, in the evenings, on cloudy days, or days when wind puts chop in the water. During other times of day, or when the conditions are not right it is probably safe to try catching other fish in the area. When the light is right or the conditions are right for walleye fishing it is often a good idea to use a Strike King® Pro-Model® Walleye Crankbait, throwing this bait across an area with a lot of bait fish and cranking it steadily will give the action that the walleye can’t resist giving a rapid strike.

Strike King

Another solution to getting the walleye to bite is to simply go trolling with a specific rig set up for walleye. This is usually a crankbait or a bottom bouncer with a live night crawler or minnow strung through the hooks. A good crankbait for this is the Bass Pro Shops® XPS® Nitro Shad Dancer Crankbait, this lure has the shine of a shad while also having the action of an injured shad. This along with a wiggling minnow or night crawler in the hooks will be irresistible to the walleye in the direct area.

Nitro Shad

If trolling is not the best thing for a fisherman then using the wind to propel the boat through the water is another idea for the new walleye fisherman. While the wind is pushing the boat drop a jig along the bottom for the walleye to get a shot at. One of the jigs of choice would be the ERC Jig-A-Beast Swim Jig, accept remove the minnow attachment on the bottom and replace it by running the hook through a Bass Pro Shops Double-Dipped Tube. This combination is great for getting the action the walleye are looking for in the choppy water during the day.

ERCBPS

Being out on the lake during the fall is always a great experience no matter what the occasion is. Making this experience more fun by adding a fun fishing trip with big fish and a catch that might just bite you back is always a plus. Not to mention that once the walleye are caught they make one of the best meals where fish are concerned. We hope these tips and tricks have been helpful in catching these great fish! MMake sure to check out anothe blog post, "How Weather Patterns Affect Fishing here:http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-springfield-mo/how-weather-patterns-affect-fishing As always happy hunting and good luck! 

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Offshore Fishing Report, Islamorada, Florida

Hey everyone, and welcome back to this week’s report!  It appears that the fishing is picking back up, as the Swordfish have been biting and the Mahi are starting to increase in numbers.   With the majority of the fleet fishing for Mahi today, it appeared that everyone did well and caught some really nice fish.  These fish are getting bigger as they migrate southward, and sure put on a show for our anglers, not to mention the great table fare that they bring.  Look for the Mahi fishing to continue to be good through the weekend.  The Swordfishing has picked up, but of course this is with help from the moon.  I would say that it should be decent through the weekend, but you can bet it will taper off as the moon weakens.  The deep dropping continues to be good as well as the humps.  The Tunas (larger ones) have been a bit frustrating in the inability to show themselves with consistency, but rest assured they are in the area.  There are some nicer ones on the Marathon Hump, but the sharks are so bad you can hardly get one past.  Hoping that these guys will show up on the 409 and Islamorada Humps soon, so we can get a good bite going no so far from Islamorada.  These 2 humps are holding fish, but they are smaller tunas.  There are still some Jacks and plenty of sharks around these humps as well. 

On the wrecks, the Muttons are still biting, and should continue for a while.  The night time bite has been best from the reports I have been getting, especially to the south.  Some nice Kings, Jacks, and a handful of Groupers have been keeping these areas honest too.  There have also been a few nice African Pompanos lurking these wrecks as well.  They have been pretty aggressive on the Cigar Minnows and Pilchards, so don’t be surprised if one takes your bait!

The reef has been plentiful as of late, with some decent Yellowtail Snappers and of course a ton of Mangrove Snappers.  The Mangroves are in full spawn right now, and are very hungry and willing to take your bait.  Current is the ingredient, and to get your chum behind the boat is what you are looking for.  Get a good slick going and it won’t be long before you see these guys behind the boat!  If you would like to get out on the water stop by World Wide Sportsman Bayside Marina and book your trip. Fishing report provided by Captain James Chappell 305-803-1321 www.catchalottafish.com out of World Wide Sportsman Bayside Marina, Islamorada, Florida. I hope everyone has a great weekend, and remember to boat responsibly.

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Fishy Facts: Catfish

That’s right! Fishy Facts is back. Don’t act like you haven’t missed your monthly posting of more-than-you-ever-needed-to-know-about-a-specific-fish-for-any-reason-besides-being-on-Jeopardy blog! And we’re bringing it back from the dark murkiness of forgotten blogs with a fellow bottom dweller to be this month’s star! The Catfish!

Ah yes, Mr. Whiskers. That hard hitting, semi-unattractive, tastes great fried or blackened, bottom dwelling fish. You ever seen an episode of River Monsters? More than likely it was about some kind of catfish, and for good reason! There are a multitude of different species of catfish found all over the world. Including the largest species (the Mekong giant catfish found in Asia) and the second largest (the Wels catfish found in Eurasia).

These fish literally grow big enough to swallow a human! And there are plenty of stories here in the good ol’ U.S. about swimmers going missing and divers refusing to go into certain lakes after getting a look at the catfish down there!

But for the most part the catfish is like most other fish. It swims and it eats and it makes baby catfish. They get their name for the characteristic whiskers on their face. Urban legend tells you that those whiskers can actually ZAP you, if you touch them! The thing you really need to watch out for are the sharp and hard spines found behind their fins. (Last year at our Fall Fishing Classic a few people learned that the hard way… or should I say the pokey way!)

These fish are notorious for being bottom feeders and are sometimes called the vacuums of the lake. Contrary to this concept of them being slow moving fish just eating away, catfish are well adapted predators. Catfish will strike at prey much more ferociously than one would expect. In fact a new style of fishing for them is to use spoons! I wouldn’t have believed it either until a buddy of mine caught one on a stock pond and then read an article about it three months later.

There are several catfish species found in North America. That includes channel, flathead and blue catfish. Most Bass Pro Shops have examples of them in the large aquariums. Our big ol’ girl is known affectionately as Big Blue!

Typically fishermen go after these kinds of fish during low light times as they seem to be more active. Almost anything can be used as bait for them (worms, cheese, minnows, bread, chicken livers, etc) and most people seem to go with “the smellier, the better” theory.  These fish can be found in almost any kind of water and are not just limited to lakes. Another way people go after these fish is called noodling. This is where one gets into the water and probes around likely hiding spots for catfish using their hands or feet. Once one has located a fish, use whatever means necessary to get the fish to bite onto ones hand and then lift the fish out of the water. Crazy as it sounds there are national contests for the sport (and TV shows).

Now the whole thing with catfish growing huge in certain is that fish are not bound by gravity as we are. Being in water, fish can grow to enormous sizes because the stress of gravity is not pulling them down or as controlling. So if a catfish were to get stuck in the turbine area of a dam, it could possibly grow as big as possible just by floating and eating whatever it comes its way.

And once last thing about the catfish… and definitely not least… is their taste. These fish are delicious! There are many ways to prepare catfish and most of them are always good. These fish are also able to be raised in farms, making them a sustainable source of seafood. That’s another reason why one may be seeing catfish popping up more and more on the table at home and a menu at a restaurant.

Until next time! Alluring Armadillos! Giddy-Up!!

Former Fishy Facts

Northern Pike

Rainbow Trout

Largemouth Bass

Peacock Bass

Walleye

Billfish

Dolphinfish

Crappie

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Bottom Bouncing for Walleye

 Bottom Bouncing is one of the many ways to fish for Walleye. Bottom bouncers come in different colors and shapes. They can be used anytime during the spring thru fall months.  Using a bottom bouncer is a hands on fishing method, if you set the pole down you may miss the bite it is very sensitive, not only do you have the bottom bouncers weight you will also have a Walleye rig

To use a bottom bouncer you will attach a clip or clip and swivel on the end of your fishing line. In the middle of the bottom bouncer there's an area to attach your clip, you will  attach the Walleye rig to the end that does not have the weight on it.  There are a lot of choices of rigs some float and some don't, it is your choice or preference most like floating so the rig is not dragging off the bottom but floating so the Walleye will come up and HIT it!!  Some of the rigs have two hooks and some have three it will depend on what bait you are going to use as to how many hooks you use,  you can use worms, minnow or leech your choice.

Once you have it all attached and baited drop it over the side of the boat until you feel it hit the bottom.  You will fill it bouncing across the bottom them a tug when a Walleye hits it!!  Good luck and enjoy!!     

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How to Catch a Fish

 The first question we always ask ourselves should be, "What kind of fish do I want to catch?" Probably the easiest and most plentiful fish in our area are bream (Pronounced brim), or perch as we call them here in Texas. They like worms, grubs, crickets and small grub-like baits. Whereas, bass, larger catfish and hybrid stripers won't bother with small panfish offerings, they prefer minnows and larger meals like big worms, or stuff that looks like it might get away if they don't gobble it down on the spot. So the first question is answered with what kind of fish do I want to target. "Target" is the functional word because if we don't aim at something we don't stand a very good chance of hitting anything.

 You can search the internet for the kind of fish you choose or even use the web to determine which kind of fish you want to target. There are clubs for almost every kind of fish in the area. Granted there are a lot of bass clubs which concentrate on Largemouth Bass, but there are also clubs for crappie, perch, catfish and even carp fans. 

 Spend a few minutes searching on google and you'll see what I mean... clubs galore. These clubs are always a source of an almost infinite info for either the novice fisher or the seasoned veteran.

  Perhaps you have a friend or family member who already has a favorite fish they like to chase around our Texas waters. By all means go with them, pick their brains and spy (but don't borrow without permission) from their tackle boxes. Watch them closely as they fish, mimic their movements. If they've been catching fish you should start catching some of your own in very short order.

 Here's a  Guide to What Most Fish Eat:

 Bream, sunfish, perch, bluegill, longears, and shellcrackers are all part of the bream group. Most of these panfish are caught on smaller hooks, about size 6 through 10 wire hooks will work well. Offer these fish, redworms, mealworms, bits of nightcrawlers and crickets to start that bobber dancing on the surface of your local pond or lake. Use a small light bobber, a split shot for weight and you might just take home a mess of fish and a fond memory.

  Crappie, also known as  "Papermouths”, "Sac-a Lait", Caloco Bass or Slabs are a finesse kind of fish and that require both a light attitude and touch. Crappie diets consist mostly of minnows that are found in the home waters of the crappie you are after. Lakes generally provide threadfin shad as the main forage food for crappie. In small impoundments where threadfin shad are not found, use a small jig that mimics the colors found in small bream because that is their main source of food for them in tanks or ponds. One-sixteenth of an ounce jig heads with or without spinner blades will usually garner a stringer of these delicious fish.

    For crappie in lakes, choose just about any color you want... as long as it imitates shad in some fashion. Presentation is more the key to success than color in catching lake-bound crappie. Sensitivity and a little bit of backbone are prime in picking the right rod for the job.  Crappie generally do not crash into your bait like a pro football player, they almost whisper a soft "thunk" up the rod to let you know they are there. They also seem to prefer slow moving minnow offerings, so don't buzz your bait past likely spots. Remember finesse, sensitivity and s-l-o-w is perhaps the most important factors with Crappie. 

  Sandbass are very popular all across Texas. Many years ago I was fishing in all the wrong places with all the wrong baits and using all the wrong presentations. I thought if I found some slow moving water and chunked the biggest stinkiest hunk of meat I could find, that I was going to catch catfish. My failure here was just plain respect. Catfish actually prefer clean, water that moves a little except during their spawn season.  Get some stout equipment, line, flat weights and circle hooks.  For bait I prefer fresh dead shad for blue cats and”stink bait" or worm offering for the channel cats. Either will give you a tussle and are great table fare.

  By far the most popular species in our area is the Largemouth Bass. Bass, Bucketmouth, Footballs, Ditch Pickles or whatever you want to call them, these hardy fish prove to be great sport to chase and outsmart.  Bass are ambush feeders. That is they will lay in shadows, behind logs, stumps, or hang out in places where they know food will eventually present itself. Bass generally do not like to spend a lot of time chasing minnows, frogs or lizards around the water. All this effort would expend more energy than the meal they are after would provide. They can't afford to spend 20 calories to take in 10. No they don't have a diet plan like some people, but they do know what is profitable to eat and how to go about getting it.

 Again, you'll need some fairly sturdy equipment to tackle this fish. They may not weigh much, but they put up a heck of a fight. You can choose to go after numbers of bass bites or go after that trophy or any combination of sizes in between. Bass rods generally run from "light" actions all the way up to extra heavy action. Hooks, oh my goodness! Hook selections are critical. Come in and let us fix you up with the right hooks for your plastic worms, craws, lizards or creature baits. Spinner baits are almost always a good bet. Crankbaits also account for a large portion of all the bass caught here in Texas, so be sure to load up on ranks, like the Rat-L-Trap, KVD Squarebills, Rapalas, and a host of other crankbaits that either dive , float, dip, suspend or run erratically.

 As you've seen from this all -too-brief overview there are a lot of factors to consider. Our staff here at Bass Pro Shops of Garland are all anglers. We can help you "target" whichever fish you decide to go after. Come in and let us walk you through our selection. We will ask a lot of questions and put you in touch with the right equipment at the right price to give you the right results on your fishing trip when you really just want to catch something!

 

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Gear Review: Crappie Maxx Crank

I bought these crappie crank-baits primarily as a "catch everything" (largemouths, crappie, white bass) bait for early to mid-spring. In the past, we used the small, straight-backed L&S minnow but that product seems to be no longer manufactured. The good story is the bass and white bass hit the crappie cranks! I was pleased that I could get 6-7' depth when trolling them on ~60' of 8Crappie Maxx Crank# line; that is deeper than the old small L&S minnow. They are good small-fish catchers. This summer, I'll test them for river bass.
Name: Roy Washam
ProductDescription: Bass Pro Shops Crappie Maxx Crank

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