What Makes a Fly?

This is a question as old as fly rods and folks sitting around the campfire with adult beverages, but you'd think that after all these years there would be some kind of consensus about what makes a fly, a fly.  Well sorry…nothing could be further from the truth.

I had a gentleman recently explain to me that he was going to throw small, pre-manufactured soft baits on his fly rod for snook in a few weeks, to which the anglers in attendance exclaimed “That’s not fly fishing!”  We all agreed that he had crossed some kind of line that bordered on sacrilegious, or at the very least, in very bad taste when it comes to angling in the spirit of the sport.  Lee Wulff would be spitting mad were he alive today.  Fly fishing isn’t always about catching the most fish possible, but rather about “How” you’re catching fish.  So what makes a fly, a fly?  Here’s the best I can come up with.

A fly might be defined as:

  • A lightweight fishing lure originally designed to be thrown in the traditional manner with a single or double handed fly rod.
  • Constructed by hand by attaching natural or synthetic materials to a single or multiple hooks using thread.
  • Designed to appeal to a fish’s senses of sight, hearing, or touch.
  • Instigates a purposeful strike out of hunger, aggression, or fear.
  • Hooks the fish in the mouth.

I realize that this won’t settle the longtime argument among flyfishermen as to whether or not a wet fly or nymph is actually “a fly,” but it fits the definition as best I can figure.  And many of our European customers look at what we throw for saltwater and can’t help but exclaim, “That’s not a proper fly!” but by definition, it is.  Our flies are designed to meet the above criteria and are specially suited to our fishing needs whether it’s the overall size, colors, weighting, or what it’s meant to imitate.

Now throwing a mass produced soft bait on your fly rod and calling it fly fishing….That aint Cricket!

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando

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Table Rock & Bull Shoals Fishing Report - June, 2014

Finally, Summer begins!!!   Fish are on the bank, this month, and are easy to find and catch!  Table Rock and Bull Shoals are such big lakes!  As water warms up, bass move into the coves, often hugging the bank, as they journey to their spawning beds. 

Lake surface temperatures can be an indicator of when the bass spawn will peak.  Some bass have not spawned yet, and others are already in post spawn.  Early in the post spawn period, bass often move into deeper water close to their spawning beds, and stay for a few weeks.  If there are no fish on the beds, move back off the shore, since it is easy to spook bass, during this time, and a boat in position to cast to the bank, is often right over the post spawn holding lie.

Almost any bait imaginable is working now!  Some baits are so hot this month, that every cast will result in trailing fish!  The hottest bait changes week to week.  Ask a fishing associate what bait is the hottest right now!

Warm rain will drive the fish into the very back of the coves, as they seek bait fish and craw fish that are moving in the same direction.  Square billed, shallow running, crank baits, are working, as the fish move into the shallows.  On any windy, rainy day, try a spinner bait

Top water hard and soft baits will work this month, as will wake and swim baits.  Ask an associate to help you find the right baits for the day you are going out. All finesse baits, such as shaky head jigs, finesse Carolina rigs, Texas rigged short worms and lizards, are now working.

A word about top water baits!

Try fishing either from dawn to 30 minutes after sunrise, or the last hour of sunlight in the evening.  At these times, bass move onto flats, and top water action picks up.   “Walking the dog,” is a way of retrieving a top water bait, to attract more bites.  Ask an associate about this method, and ask about add on feathered trebles, and other ways to enhance your top water offering.

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.  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 temperature they can find, from 2-35ft.  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.  The jig bite really comes on, as the water warms up.  As bass patrol the lake points, looking for a meal, there is an interest in crawfish!  Remember, fish this bait slowly!  Also try light weight shaky head jigs, especially when a front is moving into the area.

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 fish suspended on the sides of main lake points.  You can also fish this drop shot rig like a finesse Carolina rig, by casting it out and retrieving it the same way you would a Carolina rig.      

                                      

                                     They are out there!!!

                               Good Luck and Good Fishing!

 

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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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Table Rock & Bull Shoals Fishing Report - May, 2014

Spring time is a great time for the angler!  Fish begin coming o the bank, and are easier to find and catch!  The annual spring migration starts with bass staging on points on the main lake, at the mouth of coves.  As water warms up, bass move into the coves, often hugging the bank, as they journey deep into the coves.  Any warm spring rain, will drive the fish into the very back of the coves, as they seek warmer water and the bait fish and craw fish that move in the same direction. 

 

Square billed, shallow running, crank baits, will begin working as the fish move into the shallows.  On any windy, rainy day, try a spinner bait.  Top water hard and soft baits will begin working this month, as will wake and swim baits.  Ask an associate to help you find the right baits for the day you are going out.   All finesse baits, such as shaky head jigs, finesse Carolina rigs, Texas rigged short worms and lizards, will work this month.


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.  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 temperature they can find, from 2-35ft.  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.  The jig bite really comes on, as the water warms up.  As bass patrol the lake points, looking for a meal, there is an interest in crawfish!  Remember, fish this bait slowly! 

 

Don’t forget the Wiggle Wart bite!  It comes on fast, lasts two weeks, or so, and the action is fantastic!  Be on the lake at this time, if you can, and have a Wiggle Wart tied on. 

 

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 fish suspended on the sides of main lake points.  You can also fish this drop shot rig like a finesse Carolina rig, by casting it out and retrieving it the same way you would a Carolina rig.      

 

Remember, during this time of the year, as the sun warms the water, or if there is a warm rain, fish will begin to move into the coves, first just inside, the main lake pints, then straight into the backs of the coves.  Warm rains will accelerate this migration.  When you have fish concentrated in one area, it can make for an unbelievable day of fishing. 

 

This is THE month of the year, for fantastic fishing!!!                        

                                      

                                     They are out there!!!

 

                               Good Luck and Good Fishing!

 

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3 Easy Techniques For Spawning Spotted Bass

In the great state of Alabama we are blessed to have the opportunity to fish for all three of the major species of bass. In north Alabama on the Tennessee River System all three species can actually be caught on the same day. Lakes such as Pickwick, Wheeler, and Wilson while having strong populations of largemouth are also home to some giant smallmouth bass that would rival any lake in the country! Further south the Coosa River System is loaded with both largemouth and some world class spotted bass. The spotted bass found throughout the Coosa River System actually is considered by many as its own sub species. Unlike spotted bass found in other bodies of water across the country the Coosa River spot is a longer, stronger, and meaner species that will put even the best equipment to the test! They are an absolute blast to catch and the months of April and May are possibly the easiest months of the year to catch large numbers of spotted bass.

Generally in the month of April the spotted bass are in a full spawning mode. Unlike largemouth which generally spawn in protected pockets or on key pieces of shallow structure the spotted bass more like a smallmouth is comfortable spewing in more open areas closer to deep water such as long flat points and road beds near the main creek channel. On the Coosa River the water clarity 99% of the time will not allow you to see these spawning spotted bass but with a few simple techniques you can learn how to load the boat without even looking at them.

When searching for key points, gravel flats, or road beds holding spawning spotted bass I generally start my search with the Carolina Rig. I rig my set up my Carolina Rig with a 3/4 oz brass Bass Pro Shops Carolina Rig Weight followed by a bead and a small Spro Power Swivel. To the other end of the swivel I connect a leader approximately 18 to 24 inches long with a 3/0 Gamakatsu EWG Hook on the end of it. I like to use 17lb test Bass Pro Shops XPS KVD Signature Series 100% Fluorocarbon Fishing Line for my main line as well as my leader. The new KVD Signature Series Flouro is one of the strongest lowest memory fluorocarbon fishing lines on the market, and the low stretch quality will allow you to feel subtle bites as well as allowing you to drive the hook home on a long cast. As far as the bait goes just about any soft plastic that you have confidence in will work! Baits such as lizards, brush hogs and stick baits will all put plenty of fish in the boat! I like to use a TFO Gary Loomis tactical Series 7'3" Heavy Casting Rod accompanied by a Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier high speed reel. The 7'3" heavy rod will allow you to drive the hook home no matter how the bass bites the bait. Always be aware that spawning bass will often pick up your bait and quickly move off with it directly towards you. Always be ready to quickly reel up your slack and set the hook because if you wait too long there is a high probability that the fish will move off quickly and then spit your bait out before you even know it.

Another great technique for catching spawning bass you have already located is with a shaky head. The way a shaky head makes your bait sit directly nose down really provokes a protective aggressive spotted bass into striking. This time of year I like to use a shorter worm than normal in order to eliminate the problem of the spawning bass just picking up the tail and not eating the entire bait. I generally use a 1/8oz to a 1/4oz Gamakatsu Skip Gap Shaky Head Hook on 8 to 12lb KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon with a TFO spinning rod. The reason I don't use the Shaky head when searching for the spawning fish is because of the weight of the bait. The nature of the Carolina Rig is what makes it a perfect option for making long casts and dragging the bottom to get a good feel of what is going on!

The final technique and one that is often overlooked is using a topwater bait to locate aggressive fish whether they are spawning or post spawn. My very favorite bait to use while searching with a topwater is a walk the dog style bait such as a Spro Dawg 100, or a Zera Super Spook. I like to focus my search on shallow gravel points and don't be afraid to utilize the topwater all day long. Some of your biggest spotted bass of the year can fall victim to a well worked topwater bait. Not only is it effective it is extremely exciting. Unlike when I'm using the subsurface slower moving baits with fluorocarbon, on my topwaters I always use monofilament, for the reason that it floats and will allow you to efficiently walk your bait back and forth to the boat.

Not only is the fishing good in April and May in Alabama but the weather is beautiful as well. So get the family rounded up and head on out for an action packed day of fishing that will make memories that will last a lifetime! For information a guided trip visit my website at www.joeyfishing.com! I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania

 

 

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"Bonus" Bluegill Can Be Awesome !!!!

Sometimes  the simplest days of fishing can bring the biggest of smiles to even the seasoned fisherman.  Catching keeper bluegills by the dozen while tossing jigs rigged under a slip bobber can provide loads of fun.

Bluegill

              

While reeling in fish after fish, keep an eye out for things “lurking in the dark”.  This BONUS FISH was spotted slashing through the bluegills while Nick Ranes of our fishing dept quickly took hold of his BPS baitcasting rod and reel, quickly tossed a soft-plastic swim bait at the “shadow” and took advantage of the preying largemouth’s verocious appetite!  A great day of bluegill fishing turned even better – you never know when the moment will STRIKE!!! 

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Organizing Your Tackle Box

When it comes to organizing a tackle box, one of the biggest mistakes that I see fisherman make is throwing away the packaging of their lures and tackle. The packaging of most lures and tackle have so much information that can be applied toward the fishing you plan on doing.

Rapala for example, has the weight of the lure and how deep it can swim, Yozuri's do the same. Almost all hard lures will have the bait fish it is suppose to resemble on the packaging. Most of these lures will also tell you if they can float or suspend in place if you pause the action. Some soft plastics like Gulp will even give you suggestions as to how they can be used and rigged. Without this information you could be picking lures out of your tackle box without ever really knowing how their used or how they swim.

Hooks also have useful information on the packaging like the size of the hook and what it is made of. Sometimes the packaging can even serve as protection. If you want the best performance from your lures and tackle remember what they do and what they are used for by keeping the package. Your fishing will improve and your success will only be a hook set away.

Henry Morales

http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-XPS-Stalker-Backpack-Tackle-Bag-or-System/product/1304050935/

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"Feeling Froggy?" Top Water Fishing

  You have no doubt heard the phrase, "If you feel froggy, jump." It's that time of year fellow frog fishing fans! The croakers are beginning to sing their spring "Love" songs and move around our lakes and ponds! If you like top water action, there is no single family of baits out there that generate a more exciting bite.

 Spring is finally sewing together enough warm days and nights to instigate insect propagation. As soon as there are bugs to eat, frogs instinctively end their hibernation and start their long awaited feast. Frogs will eat just about any kind of insect they can flick their tongue around. To the top water bass fishing aficionado the beginning of the insect, frog food chain marks the end of winter and time to get out and wet a frog hook.

 Many times while the frogs are paying attention to their bug meal, the bass are paying closer attention to the frogs. The spring time food chain is a wonderful thing for those of us who fish plastic frogs! Fish frogs in all the places a frog might be found and you'll find bass peering up at the surface looking for a big, relatively easy meal. Bass are not only looking for frogs to munch on, but they are listening as well. Bass can feel the commotion a frog kicks up as he legs his way across the surface (or just under it). Unfortunately for the frog the noise is a dead giveaway, pun intended.

 Kermy FrogBass Pro Shops of Garland has a full section of frogs! One of the most popular frog-bait models is the Bass Pro Shops "Kermy" line.  The Kermy frog line features devilishly sharp, weed resistant hooks that ride with the gap of the hooks curving upward so they don't act like a grapnel hook in hydrilla and other weedy areas. Kermy's body comes in  great colors and can take the pounding of fish after fish, but one of the best part of this lure is it's firmness. When most bass take a frog they bite down on the body exposing the twin hooks. some frog lures are to soft and smart fish might let go. A frog that is too hard will not allow the bass to crush the offering sufficiently to expose the hooks. The Kermy body is just right, not too squishy, and not too hard for the perfect hook-set.

  How do we fish frogs? We'll start with a brief description of the perfect rod. Rods should be long enough to allow you to make a broad sweeping hook-set motion and be strong in the butt end. I prefer a little softer flex in the tip end. I feel it allows me a fraction of a second to wind whatever slack I have in my line, to prepare for my hook-set. The fairly flexible tip also does not telegraph my presence to the fish. 

 You'll usually be fishing frogs around some pretty weedy, or stumpy areas this time of year so you'll want to pick a fairly sturdy line. I like a 30lb test braid, tipped with a fluorocarbon leader on the business end. This arrangement gives me plenty of horsepower to turn Mr. Big from returning to his tangled up lair. As lily pads begin to pop up I'll absolutely target the areas, but I usually skip the fluorocarbon leader because if my frog gets under the pads I have a better chance of not having to break my lure off. 

 Some folks prefer a relatively heavy spinning reel because they are more accurate with spinning gear. Most, however, feel the additional power of a baitcasting reel to be more advantageous.

 There are so probably as many ways to fish a frog as there are people who love fishing them. Here are just a few presentations: Cast your lure to an area of heavy cover then just let it sit still as you slowly retrieve ant slack you have laying on the  surface of the water. Slow is the key. Let all the ripples from your cast subside, then just barely twitch the frog to "show " the bass that it is a live, fresh meal.

You can also just use the plop, crank, pop, sit, pop retrieve...actually this is one is pretty self explanatory.  If the sit-n-wait doesn't work, and the erratic movement of the plop, crank, sit, pop retrieve doesn't deliver, try reeling just a bit faster, sometimes bass are fooled into thinking the frog is fleeing for it's life and clobber it before it "escapes." Remember what retrieve you were using when you got that first strike and repeat the pattern as you fish. By all means, experiment with all kinds of retrieves ,but don't forget that first one that got you bitten.

 There are also frogs that are subsurface baits. I get chills just thinking about all the times I have seen that big wake of a fat old bass hustling toward my bait just below the surface! I have to make myself wait until the bait has been engulfed before I set the hook...I could best describe it as "buck fever" !

 Either way you cut it, it's time to break out the frogs! So if you're feeling froggy it's time to jump on some great frog fishing!

 

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What's a Good Bait for Peacock Bass?

As an employee at Bass Pro Shops one of the most frequently asked questions I get from customers is "what's a good bait for peacock bass". I try to give them a guide line to follow without actually picking out a lure for them. I believe one of the greatest joys of fishing is being able to pick out a lure for yourself as long as you have the right idea as to what works. The guide line I set in place for the customer is to follow 4 basic steps when choosing a lure for peacocks.

1. Brightness or anything that looks like a baby peacock bass.  If you can add a little flash in there to it wouldn't hurt.

2. Keep it small. Preferably under 3 inches if you can. Anything over that and peacock bass have a tendency to run away from it.

3. Make sure it's a hard bait. Peacocks are not know to hit soft plastics.

4. Noisy!! Peacock bass are easily annoyed and anything loud provokes them further.

 

Try to keep these general tips in mind when selecting your next peacock bass lures and success is just a hook set away.

 

Henry Morales

 

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Key Bait's For Imitating Crawfish

Bass are absolutely one of the most ferocious predators that swim. They will eat basically anything that they can fit their mouths around, and they have been known to attempt to eat things that they can't fit their mouths around. They have amazing appetites and I say it all the time. "If bass got as big as great white sharks, then anyone that swims in our local lakes and rivers would be in big trouble." Animals such as snakes, lizards, frogs, rodents, and even birds and baby ducks are frequently found in the gullet of a bass by anglers. With all of these strange food sources as well as the more common shad, bluegill, and crawfish, selecting baits throughout the season can be a very difficult task. Understanding which food sources are key for the certain time period you are fishing in is very important. The one I want to touch on now is one of my absolute favorite food sources to imitate which is the crawfish. These crustations are like filet mignon to a hungry bass, and trust me they will take every opportunity they have to eat the hardy meal a crawfish offers. Crawfish can range in size from 1/2 inch long all the way up to 5 or 6 inches long, and can be found in a wide range of colors. Generally the base colors are an olive green or brown, but in fall and early spring the crawfish will often have orange or red in their legs and claws, and can even turn blue in certain situations. Generally in the spring or fall I want my crawfish imitation to be brown with a hint orange mixed in. A good way to tell exactly what color the crawfish are is by setting a trap such as a Frabill Deluxe Crawfish Trap. Simply set it near a rocky area and let it sit over night, the next morning you will have an up to date sample of what colors you need to be using in your crawfish imitation lures. So if you're heading out on the water right now in the month of March there are a few key baits that you really should have in your arsenal. You can either base your color selection on the sampling you've done, or you can just stick by the rule of thumb that fall and spring crawfish generally have orange or red in their claws or legs.

One of my favorite baits to turn to in the fall and early spring is a jig with a soft plastic trailer. A few of my favorite jigs are the Stanley Finesse Jigs, War Eagle Finesse Jigs, as well as the Strike King Bitsy Bug Jig. The trailer I use the most in the fall and spring is a Zoom Super Chunk, or Super Chunk Junior. I like this trailer because of the subtlety of it. When bass are cold they often prefer baits with less action and the super chunk is perfect for that application. I often determine my jig and trailer color by figuring out exactly what color the current crawfish population is but in most cases when fishing water below 65 degrees I use a jig that is brown and orange with a green pumpkin trailer that I often dip in orange Spike It. When fishing these jigs I like to target banks that have significant rock structure on them as well as working them through brush piles from 4 to 12 feet deep. The colder the water gets the slower I like to work my jig. Be ready because the jig is a proven big fish bait and there is not a better time to throw one then in the cold water months of the year!

Another great crawfish imitator is a crank bait. Numerous companies produce baits in either an orange or red color and they catch a ton of fish when worked around banks that have an abundance of rock on them. In the fall I like to look for steeper rock banks close to deep water, while in spring I often catch my larger pre spawn fish on clay or gravel banks, as well as on points that have chunk rock mixed in. Whether its spring or fall here are the baits that I like to through. The first is a Spro Little John MD in the spring craw color. This bait is small in profile and has a great action that really triggers fish when the water is in the mid 50s to low 60s whether you are fishing it in the spring or fall doesn't matter. Another crank bait for that same water temperature is the Storm Wiggle Wart. The wiggle wart has been catching fish for far more years then I have been alive and is still producing today. They have a wide variety of crawfish colors to choose from, my two favorites are the orange brown craw, and the natural brown crawfish. The Spro and the Storm both have a relatively aggressive wobble that the fish really love in the early fall and late spring. Both baits actually have what is called a hunting action which means when retrieved they wobble while at the same time subtly changing course from left to right. However when the water is cold, from 42 to 52 degrees the number one bait is the Rapala Shad Rap in the SR7 or SR5 size. When targeting cold water bass with the shad rap I generally use the SR7 size in the crawdad color or the dark brown crawdad. There are two keys to why the shad rap is such successful cold water bait. First is the fact that it is silent while most crank baits have rattles, secondly the bait has a very subtle tight wobble. These two factors are a deadly seductive presentation for a fish that is in a slow feeding mode.

The Jigs and the Crank baits are by far the top two baits when imitating crawfish, but there are some other more innovative baits on the market that are sure to catch crawfish eating bass. A new bait was recently produced by savage industries the bait is called the 3D Craw. It is an incredibly realistic bait that actually has air in the head of the bait and in the pinchers, which makes the bait stand up in an aggressive posture. You can rig the bait on a stand up jig head or for a great weed less application you can take the skirt of a 3/8 or 1/2 ounce jig and simply slide the craw up on to the hook. The Huddleston Huddlebug is another great option when trying to perfectly imitate a crawfish.

Between the jigs, crank baits, and the realistic craw imitations you have plenty of baits to choose from. Remember to always pay attention to water temperature and try and match the color of the crawfish as accurately as possible. The next step is learning where, and how to fish the baits, and finally go out and load the boat with big cold water bass. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania 

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Crappie Fishing made easy with Bass Pro's Crappie Maxx & more!

Crappie Fishing made easy with Bass Pro's Crappie Maxx & more!

By Frank Hollie

                I took advantage of a break in the weather and made a quick trip to local lake in Oakland, Tennessee, for a few hours of crappie fishing. I walked around the lake and decided to try out one of our Trout  Magnet soft plastic lures. I used a black and green striped Trout Magnet on a 1/64 oz. jig head. I fished it under one of the small Trout Magnet bobbers. It was a little windy so I just let the bait bounce along with the wind. BAM! I caught several crappies and one big bream in about 3 hour’s time.

 My rod was a 7 foot Crappie Max light action rod with a Bass Pro Shop tournament series reel with 6 pound Crappie Max fishing line. All in all it was a great lightweight rig with excellent action.  I found the Trout Magnet to be very durable and I used the same one the whole time that I fished.

I would highly recommend the Trout Magnet. It is a durable and versatile bait which can be used in cold weather to attract several different species of fish. It comes in a variety of colors and the jig heads come in various weights and designs.

While you are getting ready to go fishing, don't forget that the Bass Pro Shops Fishing Classic is going on now through March 16th. We have some awesome deals for all you fishermen. We hope to see you soon! Happy Fishing!

Product Information:

Bass Pro Shops Crappie Maxx Fishing Poles- These poles range in price starting at $39.99 and up.

The Bass Pro Shops Crappie Mass Fishing Line: Starts at $7.99 and up.

The Trout Magnet Lures: Start at $2.49 and up

 

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Spring Fishing Classic 2014

We are less than 1 week away from Bass Pro Shops Rocky View, Spring Fishing Classic!  You can expect some great in store specials!! Our famous Reel trade in, and the Rod trade in will be back as well! On top of that, we will be having our Bass Master University and fish tank demonstrations given by fishing pro's such as "The Facts of Fishing" presented by Dave Mercer and "Fishing Alberta Lakes" Presented by Wes David professional Walleye Angler. Brad Fenson will also be doing a fish fillet demo!  We are going to kick off the Classic by having a Preferred Rewards Event on March 7th from 6pm-9pm. There will be some prizes and awesome give always for Preferred Rewards members!!

 

Bass Pro Shops Rocky View's Spring Fishing Classic runs through March-7th-23rd.  Come into the store to see whats new and exciting for the the upcoming fishing season!! This is a major opportunity to learn about the newest products for the upcoming fishing season!! We will be be having lots of in store specials as well as giveaways for attending the seminars! (While Supplies last).

 

Reel Trade runs from March 7th-12th. You can bring in unwanted reels which are in good working order to trade in for a discount on your reel purchase that day. Discounts may vary by price of the new reel, but you could get up to $100 off the purchase of the right in stock reel that day!

 

Rod Trade in which runs from, March 14th-18th. If you have any good older rods that are unwanted, bring them in and trade them for a discount on up to $100 on on a new rod!!!

 

Our Bonus Points promotion runs from March 13th-17th! receive  up to 4000 Bonus points!

 

Our Fried Fish sampling will be March 8,9,15 and 16th!

 

 

 

The Schedule for the Seminars will be as follows:

March 7th

7:00pm Wes David Tank demo  "Fishing Alberta Lakes

March 8th

11:00am Brad Fenson, Fish fillet Demo

12:00pm Dave Mercer "Facts of Fishing"

1:30pm Wes David "Spring Time Walleye"

2:30pm Rapala "Local Fishing"

3:00pm Brad Fenson "Selecting the right rod"

March 9th

12:00pm Wes David "Fishing for the Ultimate Predator"

1:00 pm Rapala "Local Fishing Tips"

2:00pm Wes David " Spring Time Walleye"

3:00om Rapala " Local Tips"

March 14th

7:00pm "Selecting the right Crank Bait"

March 15th and 16th

11:00 am "Walleye Techniques for Southern Waters"

1:00pm "Best Practices for Ice Fishing"

2:00pm "Best Pike Techniques"

3:00pm "Choosing the right soft Plastics for Walleye"

4:00pm "Mono,Flouro,Braid?"

5:00pm "Choosing the right rod for pike or Walleye"

March 22

3:00pm Womens Fishing Workshop

 

And for the family, we will end the event with the

Bass Pro Shops Next Generation Weekend on March 22 and 23rd.

Casting pond 12:00pm-5:00pm

Picture U 12:00pm-5:00pm

Crafts 1:30-4:30

Thinking Like a Fish Workshop 2:30 and 4:30

 

Thinking like a fish workshop is designed to learn how to catch a fish by thinking like they do!

 

Be Ready for the Worlds greatest Fishing Show and Sale!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Which Fishing Line is Best for You?

If you are new to Fishing - or even if you are an "Ole Pro" - sometimes just walking through our Fishing Department can prove to be overwhelming.  Every Year, something bigger and better comes out and on starts the trial and error checklist.

I emailed our Local Pro Staffer, Joel Ross - and asked him to break down the different LINE SELECTIONS that you may see in our store.  His awesome response is as follows:

Fishing Line

Man, what a broad subject with all the lines out there today.  I am going to break it down pretty simple for everyone since I don’t do complex very well.  Bass Pro has excellent line and here are the three I will be discussing:

XPS Signature Series Monofilament—it has ideal sensitivity with easy handling and high abrasion resistance.

XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon—it has unparalleled abrasion resistance while maintaining softness and is virtually invisible underwater.

XPS 8 Advanced Braid—it is woven from 8 Dyneema fibers for unparalleled strength and consistent roundness for smooth casting.

I just got my reels cleaned up and ready for the 2014 season, so I will be re-spooling with fresh line.  I tournament fish, so I have a rod and reel for every purpose I will be targeting based on the lake I will be fishing, thus a need for the correct line for each purpose.  In the following, I will use Ross Barnett as my lake to pick the line for each purpose targeted:

Jig Fishing—two different approaches will be covered with the jig.  If flipping heavy grass or standing grass—60 lb. green XPS Advanced Braid.  If casting a jig—20 lb. XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon.

Worm Fishing—15 lb. XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon

Hollow Body Frog Fishing—60 lb. green XPS Advanced Braid

Spinner bait Fishing—15 to 20 lb XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon, pick depending on color of water, clearer water go with 15.

Buzz bait Fishing—40 lb green XPS Advanced Braid

Soft/Hard Jerk Baits—15 lb. XPS Signature Series Monofilament

Top Water (Spook)—15 lb. XPS Signature Series Monofilament

Ribbet Frog/Weighted Skinny Dipper—15 lb. XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon

Crankbait Fishing—12 lb XPS KVD Signature Series Fluorocarbon

As a rule, braid is very strong and visible, so use in thick cover.  Fluorocarbon is strong and virtually invisible, so use in clear water conditions.  Mono floats, is strong and has memory so it is used on the jerk baits and top waters, thus making it easier to walk the dog and keeping the jerk baits closer to the surface.  It is extremely frustrating to try and walk the dog with a spook with a line that sinks.  Also, a good rule of thumb is to retie often while fishing to make sure you don’t loose the big one when she decides to eat.

When re-spooling, never take all the line off the spool.  Leave some on as backing and tie an in-line knot to the line coming on.  This will allow you to use less line re-spooling.  Fill the spool all the way up.  If you leave it low on the spool, it will be harder to cast the reel.  A full spool is always easier to cast that one that has less line.  When money is on the line, change your line often and retie often.

God Bless and always catch and release so we can catch again.

JRoss

** Please feel free to post any questions to our Local Pro on this thread below.  Thank you!  Happy Fishing!!

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The Annual Spring Fishing Classic is Back!

 Don’t miss the Spring Fishing Classic going on at Bass Pro Shops in Hampton, VA February 28 – March 16, 2014. This sensational event features Bass Pro Shops Fishing University, National & Local Pro Anglers & Seminars, Sweepstakes, Tracker Boat Show & Sale, Rod & Reel Trade in Programs, Next Generation Kids Weekend & Activities and lots more.

The event kicks off with our FREE Bassmaster University where our National Pro Anglers share their top tips and techniques. The class schedule is set as follows:

February 28th

7:00 pm Spring Striper Fishing on the Chesapeake led by Max King (PENN & Berkley Pro Staff member)

March 1st

Noon Spring Striper Fishing on the Chesapeake led by Max King (PENN & Berkley Pro Staff member)

1:00 pm Finesse Fishing led by Chris Daves (2007 PAA Bass Champion / Bassmaster Open Angler)

2:00 pm Pre Spawn Fishing led by Kendall Newson (Former Professional Football Player and Current Professional Angler Fishing the Bassmaster Opens/ Founder of “Teach a Child to Fish”)

3:00 pm All About Jigs led by Timmy Horton (Former Bassmaster Angler of the Year/ 4 Time Bassmaster Elite Series Winner / Host of Timmy Horton Outdoors TV Show)

*Pro Appearances and Classes, Subject to Change.

The event continues with Local Pro Fishing Tips and Seminars Friday March 7- Sunday March 9, 2014:

March 7th

7:00 pm Flipping and Pitching for Bass

March 8th and 9th

11am Locating Bass in New Waters

1pm Topwater Techniques for Bass

2pm Spinning Reel Tactics for Bass

3pm Does the Color of Your Bass Lure Matter?

4pm Become a Smallmouth Specialist

5pm Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for River Fishing

The first 25 people (18 years old or older) to attend a seminar on Saturday and Sunday only will receive a FREE tumbler cup. Styles may vary.

Plus on March 8th from 2:00 pm-4:00 pm, we will be serving up some samples of fish, fried using our indoor fryers!

The last weekend of the Classic is Next Generation Weekend and this year we have also added a Women’s Workshop.

The Women’s Beginning Fishing Workshop will be held on March 15, 2014 at 3:00pm. The first 50 women (18 years old or older) to attend this seminar will receive a FREE tumbler cup. Styles may vary.

During our Next Generation Weekend Saturday March 15 and Sunday March 16, 2014, kids can learn about fishing and participate in our hands-on activities. The Catch and Release pond is back! From Noon to 5:00 pm, kids have a chance to catch a live fish (rods, reels, and bait provided), enjoy a photo opportunity, and coloring pages. Then from 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm kids can participate in our wood fish craft (*while supplies last). At 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm each day we will have the kids fishing workshop, “Thinking Like a Fish”. A parent or guardian must register the kid for these events in order for them to participate. The first 150 kids to complete the activity punch card will receive a FREE Tackle Box!

Be sure to enter our Spring Fishing Classic Sweepstakes any time during the event for your chance to win a 2014 Nitro Z7 boat and go fishing with Elite Angler Edwin Evers (over $32,000 value). See store for official rules and details.

But that’s not all!

February 28th - March 5th is our Reel Trade In! Bring in your old reel and get a coupon toward a discount on a new reel.

March 7-11 is our Rod Trade In! Bring in your old rod and get a coupon toward a discount on a new rod.

 

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A Simple Guide to Cold Water Fishing Tactics

     No doubt midwinter is the most challenging time to consistently catch fish . Often the coldest water temperatures are accompanied by dingy water and even cloudy days which further impinge on the fishes’ desire and ability to feed.  Ask any ‘old school’ fisherman and the answer will be “low and slow is the way to go.”

     Bottom bumping with Carolina rigged soft plastic ‘wavy tail’ worms (like Culprit, Zoom and Bass Pro) in freshwater or soft plastic ‘minnow tail’ bodies (by Fin-S, Zoom, Saltwater Assassin, and Offshore Angler) on a ¼ ounce jig head in salt and brackish water rivers and creeks is the normal pattern for cold water fishing in this area.  While that ‘low & slow’ adage is true much of the time in winter, there are days or even periods when the fish respond to prevailing environmental stimuli of sun and sustained  warm temperatures which affect their schooling and feeding behavior. After all, fish being ‘cold-blooded’ simply means they tend to take on the activity level of their surroundings. So when the water is cold (or ‘cooling off’) they tend to be less active than in times when the sun or air may warm the water even by a few degrees. The days are getting a little longer now and at our low latitude, the sun angle is high enough in the sky to occasionally ‘energize’ shallow waters, especially those that are clear and dark or containing vegetation.  

     These times may simply be an hour or two at the end of a sunny afternoon when the wind has died off and allowed the shallow end of a pond or lake or backwater oxbow (in fresh water) to get a few degrees warmer than the surrounding (deeper and dingier) waters. Or (in saltwater) similar warming occurs in small, shallow, protected bays especially if the water is clear and the bottom dark. The whole foodchain sparks to life during these episodes as the sun promotes activity at each level leading up to the fish, which are stimulated by the relative warming of the water and the availability of food. Gamefish may briefly move into shallower waters or rise up in the water column to follow their foodsource, providing a brief feeding frenzy or even a prolonged pre-spring ‘fling’ which savvy anglers have learned to capitalize upon.

     Mild winter evenings spent fishing the edges of shallow weed-lined freshwater lakes and ponds may provide an hour or two of ‘heart stopping’ bass action using a variety of topwater lures or dark colored frog imitations rigged weedless. Bass Pro has an extensive selection of plastic frog and toad lures well suited for this as well as the weedless double frog hooks.

     Similarly, in saltwater bays or brackish river bends at the end of a ‘warm’ winter day speckled trout often go on a feeding binge just before dark. This is a great time for majestic sunsets and sizzling topwater action using lures like Rapala Skitterwalk, Mirrolure Top Dog,  or Heddon Spook especially in the vicinity of mullet schools. The hours preceding an evening topwater bite can often be productively spent throwing or slow trolling suspending or sinking hard baits like Rapala X-Rap, Mirrolure Mirrodine, Glad Shad, Catch and TT series or the NEW Offshore Angler Red Eye Mullet .     

     Taking advantage of these winter ‘windows of opportunity’ is not only a great way to overcome a case ‘of cabin fever’, but will keep your tackle and fishing skills polished and just maybe get you a fresh fish dinner ;-)

 

David Thornton

January 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Spring Fishing Classic 2014 Seminar Schedule!

Please join us for the Spring Fishing Classic 2014!


******     February 28 - March 16  -  It's 3 weeks of fun/education and yes, even sales!     ******

 

On Friday, Feb 28, we'll have 3 (count them THREE) National Pros with seminars!
Pros will be in the store 5pm -close (9pm) on the 28th.

 

Captain Dale Stroschein

 

Just a handful of the covers in which Capt Dale Strochein has been featured.

 

Prior to chartering full time and maintaining his resort, Dale fished competitively on the Professional Walleye Trail for 12 years-each year qualifying for the national championship. He was the only angler to hold Big Fish records simultaneously for both the PWT and NAWA circuits.

 

These represent just a handful of the covers that have featured Captain Dale Strochein!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casey Scanlon

Casey Scanlon Champion Trophy

 

Competing since  he was a teen - at age 15 he won his first club tournament! Casey Scanlon went on to plave 1st place in the 2012 Bass Pro Shops Central Open #2

Follow this link to Casey's articles on fishing lowland grass resevoirs.

 

Casey Scanlon B.A.S.S. numbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chase Parsons

Chase Parsons with FLW trophy

 

Chase boasts a number of Pro Walleye Tour (PWT) top-tens, Rookie of the Year honors in 2005 and a tournament win at Lake Oahe, S.D. in 2011.

 

Chase Parsons at winning check presentation.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Professional walleye fisherman Chase Parsons is presented with the $50,000 cash prize for winning the FLW National Guard walleye tournament on Lake Oahe in South Dakota.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

March  1st & 2nd Seminars

 

Jim Crowley

Jim Crowley conducting fish tank demonstration at East Peoria Bass Pro Shops.

 We've got Jim Crowely of Hook & Hunt TV.com for the entire weekend! You don't want to be late for his 3:00 seminar - he's starting out with a short video of out-takes from his show.

 Jim Crowley, Hook & Hunt TV.com

 

 

 

 

The following Seminar and Tank Demonstrations will be held on both Saturday and Sunday:

11:00 Tank Demo: How to use lures to haul in the big ones.

1:00 Bass Class 101 - The Spring Connection

3:00 Tank Demo: How to use lures to haul in the big ones.

 

Local Pros Weekend      March 7 - 9

 
 
Seminars: Friday 7pm
Saturday and Sunday: Seminars will begin at 11am each day
 

1st 25 seminar attendees to attend a Saturday or Sunday (3/8 & 3/9) Seminar will receive a SFC tumbler!

Friday     

March 7  

 
  7pm Flipping and Pitching for Bass
Saturday   March 8 & 9   
& Sunday     11am Locating Bass in New Waters
  1pm Topwater Techniques for Bass
  2pm Spinning Reel Tactics for Bass
  3pm Does the Color of Your Bass Lure Matter?
  4pm Become a Smallmouth Specialist
  5pm Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for Bass

  

"Thinking Like a Fish"      Workshops for Kids!  March 15 & 16 at 2:30 & 4:30    

 

 

bluegill

We'll be teaching kids what causes a fish to think like a fish, and that alone, will give them insight to become the best fisher people they can be!

We'll cover topics such as where do they live, what do they eat and where you might best them hanging out.

 

We'll also cover fishing equipment and safety!

                                                                                                                               

Women's Beginning Fishing  Workshop!      March 15 at 3pm  Jim Crowely conducting seminar at Bass Pro Shops, East Peoria

 

Join JIM CROWLEY for our new seminar that designed just for the ladies!
 

We’ll teach you about spin casters and bait casters, fishing line, knots,  lures and worms. The workshop will be followed by a question and answer time. Your instructor will make sure to hang out in the fishing department so he’ll be available in case you want more help before or after the seminar!


Giveaways: 1st 50 seminar attendees to attend will receive a SFC tumbler.
Drawing: Ladyfish spinning rod/reel combo

 

Jim will also be delivering tank demonstrations on both days!



Join us on Facebook to stay up to date on this and other events.
Bass Pro Shops, East Peoria, IL

 

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Basics To Build On In The Sport Of Bass Fishing

 

Anyone who has explored very deep into the fishing world knows that fishing at times can be very overwhelming, and frustrating. Especially if you have little or no previous experience, and you are trying to figure out how to get started. The best advice I can give, is keep it simple. There are literally thousands of different types of baits, rigs, and presentations to choose from, and if you don't have a basic place to start then chances are you will get discouraged with the sport and loose interest before you ever give it a chance. I promise once you begin to learn the baits, presentations, and fish behaviors, and start to consistently catch fish throughout the year, a passion will be instilled in you that will last a lifetime. It happened to me as a child at the age of two years old down on my dock with my dad catching hundreds of bluegill and sunfish, and it has now grown into a career in professional bass fishing and guiding. This passion I have has over the years grown far beyond fishing, and has turned into a full love and appreciation for nature and the outdoors. So here are a few very simple baits and techniques that will help you get started in your own journey, utilizing and enjoying what God has given us!

The Bass is a very interesting species of fish consisting of three main types, all of which can be found in the state of Alabama! First we have the most prevalent and probably most popular type of bass the Largemouth. The Largemouth Bass is known best for getting big, with the world record being almost double the size that it's cousins are known to grow too. They are beautiful fish, and just like their name describes they have big mouths often with the same or bigger diameter than their body. They can eat very large baits and will typically be found holding tight to cover or vegetation in most lakes, rivers, and reservoirs across the country. The next major species of bass is the Smallmouth, and like their name they have a mouth that is much smaller than their bodies. Don't be fooled though, smallmouth are incredible feeders and fighters and will often jump upwards of five feet out of the water in an attempt to through your bait. They are found primarily in the northern states, but can also be found in Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas. Now the third cousin and one of the most prolific in the state of Alabama is the Spotted Bass. A spot looks almost like a cross between a largemouth and a smallmouth, while they rarely get over 7 or 8 pounds they are possibly the most aggressive feeders and hardest fighters of all. The Three baits that I am going to tell you about are baits that no matter where you go across the country, and what species you are targeting will work very well with just a little practice. 

The first, and probably my main go to technique in tough conditions is the shaky head. A shaky head is very simple, all it consists of is a jig head, with a straight tail worm rigged weedless on the hook. My very favorite shaky head jig to use is called a Gamakatsu Skip Gap Shaky Head Hook. It has a patented notch just under the head that is perfect for holding the head of the worm up on the hook with little damage to the soft plastics integrity. The weight of the head should be chosen based on the depth of water you are targeting. To keep it simple in water 15 feet or less use a 1/8oz jig head, if you go deeper than that then I’d jump it up to a 3/16 or 1/4oz head. On the jig head I basically texas rig a straight tail finesse worm such as a Robo Worm or a Bass Pro Shops Finnike Worm. On color selection any soft plastic you use that is a natural green or brown color will consistently produce bass. When rigged properly the shakey head is weedless and works very well around just about any cover you want to fish. An important tip to remember when fishing the bait is less is more. It seems that the less you try to hop and move the bait the more fish you catch. All it takes is little twitches of the rod tip to make the bait move and shimmy across the bottom. I almost always fish my shakey head with a TFO Tactical Series spinning rod, and unless I'm fishing heavy cover like brush piles, I use from 6 to 10lb test Trilene 100% Flourocarbon Line. Fluorocarbon has very little stretch and also sinks which helps significantly with sensitivity. This will allow you to feel every object your bait comes in contact with, as well as increasing your ability to detect light bites. This is a fish catching machine, and is perfect if you are interested in getting a young child into fishing, or if you are a beginning angler that wants to get into the sport.

Another deadly and simple bait that is amazing for bass is a stick bait. Specific brands all have their version of this bait from the Bass Pro Shops Stiko, to the Yum Dinger, and also the originator of the bait the, Yamamoto Senko. They all look very similar and will catch you a ton of bass. There are two primary ways to rig a stick bait, both of which work best weightless. The first is called the wacky rig, the wacky rig is simply piercing a small hook such as a Gamakatsu Weedless Wacky hook through the center of the worm. This allows the worm to flex and quiver as it slowly falls parallel to the bottom which is very difficult for a bass to resist. If you are fishing in extremely heavy cover than weightless texas rigging the bait is very effective, using either 3/0 or 4/0 Gamakatsu Extra Wide Gap Hook. This bait works great for fishing shallow cover no matter where you live across the country, and if you have a pond or small lake near by then this bait is almost irresistible to bass that have rarely or never seen it before. A stiko can be fished on a spinning or bait casting setup, based on personal preference. The only time that a spinning rod is critical to success in my mind is when the fish are tucked deep up under docks or overhanging trees. In this situation the spinning rod is the best choice when attempting to skip this weightless bait.

 The first two baits I described are designed to be fished slowly and are great simple options that can help you get started in bass fishing, and more importantly, they flat out catch fish! Now there is a different type of fishing that is the exact opposite of the slow moving techniques it's called reaction fishing. When fishing slow moving bait you are attempting to intrigue a fish into biting in a certain area. When fishing a reaction bait you are attempting to cover as much water as possible and trigger an aggressive reaction from either active or possibly surprised inactive fish. Now, there are a large number of reaction type baits out there and certain ones work better in specific times of the year, but for starters I will give you one bait that you can throw that will catch you fish throughout the majority of the year. The type of bait is called a crankbait, which is designed to be moved fast, and to be worked around cover, letting the diving bill dig the bait into the bottom. The specific make and model that I use most often is called a SPRO Little John MD. The MD stands for medium diving which means it can effectively be worked in depths from 1 foot all the way to 9 feet. They come in a wide variety of colors and by rule I would stick with crawfish imitations in the spring, bluegill imitations in the summer, and shad imitations in the fall. So three different colors and one specific bait model will be all you need to get started in catching fish. All you have to do is simply cover allot of water and make as many casts as possible. Reaction fishing is very effective in low light conditions such as on cloudy days or early in the morning, and will work even better if you can find an area with the wind blowing into it.

So stop by your local Bass Pro Shops, with a list of the baits I just suggested, and ask one of the associates in the fishing department where you can find the specific baits. I promise you that if you give them time they will catch you allot of fish. So be patient, and learn to love and respect the outdoors just like I do. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fishing: Catching Crappie in the Fall and Winter

Fishing for crappie in the fall and winter can be one of the most interesting experiences in the outdoors when done right. There are many places that crappie like to hide out in these months where the weather is steadily changing to be colder. Being able to pinpoint where these tasty fish will be located during the different times of the year will make fishing a lot easier.

When summer temperatures begin to drop and the water temperature starts falling, this is when shad begin their annual migration into the creeks and major tributaries. During this time of year the crappie tend to follow the shad into these bodies of water just off the main lake. Often times the crappie will be found in fairly shallow water. Looking for crappie around shallow stumps, trees, and laydowns is a prudent idea being that they are following the schools of shad into these areas. Because of these structures, and how close the crappie tend to get to them, a suggested jig for fishing these areas is the Bass Pro Shops® Curltail Stump Jumper® Jig Bait. This jig gives the fisherman the ability to maneuver over these structures without losing a jig every cast. If a fisherman can locate a school of shad it is a very good bet there are a lot of crappie around the nearest structure to the school. During this time of year the location of the crappie seems to be the biggest factor in being able to catch crappie, the color of your lure doesn’t seem to affect the prospect of catching fish in the fall and winter. But making a good presentation to the fish and having the right lure is key to catching a limit of fish during the fall. The best bait that has the proper action for crappie is the Bass Pro Shops® Crappie Maxx® Paddle Tail Minnow, this bait attracts the attention of the crappie during a slow retrieve and can get some powerful strikes.

crappiecrappiecrappie

Once the temperatures begin to decline as, fall turns to winter, shad will move back out of the creeks and tributaries back into the main portion of the lake. As in fall the crappie will follow the shad back into the lake. Once in the lake the crappie will usually go deeper in the lake to remain close to the shad. This time of year the crappie can be found in and around deep water brush piles. When a brush pile is located in the lake a fisherman should lock the coordinates into a GPS or on a map so they can return during the winter. During this time of year another good place to look for crappie is around docks. The best docks are sticking out from a point and are located over deep water or at a drop off in the lake. This is where crappie tend to congregate during the winter in order to stay near the shad. Unlike during the fall where color does not matter much to the crappie, during the winter natural colors tend to work a lot better than others. A slow vertical presentation with a 1/16th -1/8th oz jig with a soft plastic body is one of the best approaches to use during the winter. Good bait during this time of year that comes with a wide assortment of colors is the Bass Pro Shops® Curltail Stump Jumper® Jig Bait. Bass Pro Shops has the largest and best selection of all the crappie fishing baits you need! Check them out here:http://www.basspro.com/Fishing/_/T-12100000000. Now that you know where the fish are and how to lure them in we will wish you happy fishing!

Check out our other crappie fishing blog: Fishing: Crappie in the Spring and Summer!

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Colorado Hardwater Panfish

Living in Colorado we don't have a lot of opportunity to chase panfish through the ice as most folks in the eastern states have and while I love to catch trout and most other species through the ice there's something to be said about having a huge crappie or a giant bluegill on the end of of an ultra lite ice rod and fighting it all the way up to the hole.

There are a lot of places to catch crappie and bluegill in Colorado and there are several ponds loaded with them that some have an opportunity to fish but for the most part it is tough to find a good spot where the ice is safe enough to provide some good action through the ice. I would say we have a very short window around the metro area for chasing slabs through the ice. One month the ice is good and a few days of warm weather and it all goes back to mush and becomes very bad in a hurry.

I will never say there is safe ice here in Colorado and I always carry a throw cushion with a fifty foot rope attached to it just in case. I have had some close calls in the past and this year I have heard about way too many anglers going through due to poor conditions. Always go with a few friends and use caution when venturing out on metro lakes. Don't risk it if you are unsure. If others are out on the ice there's a good chance it will hold you too. Wear your ice cleats. One bad slip and your day could be ruined this is from experience.

When you have the opportunity to get out and chase panfish through the ice you can do it very easily. A hand auger, A few ultra light rods with a spring bobber with two to four pound fluorocarbon spooled up on an ultra lite spinning reel. Pick up a few tungsten tear drop jigs in various colors and a few wax worms and your set. A Vexilar is nice to have but not necessary.

Look for structure like rock piles off points that have a deep channel close to a flat and cover like trees and weeds and you will be well on your way to finding the crappies and bluegills that live in the area. The best way to know where all this is at is to find it in the summer and mark it on a map or GPS and come back to it during the winter.

I like to drop my jig down to the bottom and work my way up from there if I hit weeds I keep it just above them. I like to use a very short jigging action and never move my bait too fast. The spring bobber is a must when the bite is light which is most of the time with panfish. Tip the jig with a wax worm and pinch off the head to allow the juices to flow into the water for more attractant. There will be pressure on the spring bobber when one sucks it in. Set the hook lightly because they have very soft mouths. Usually when you find one there are more with him. If the bite slows down move to similar spots and look for the school. They move around a lot so you need to be mobile.

Take advantage of this recent cold weather snap and chase some panfish around if you know a spot where they are try catching them thru the ice it is a lot of fun and the action can be constant. Be safe and I will see you on the ice.

                                                                                                                                   Best of Luck,

                                                                                                                                                         Sam Heckman / Pro StaffForrest with BluegillsChris and Sam with CrappiesSam and Bubba dogBubba dog

 

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January Fishing Report by Capt. Jon Fetter

Fishing Report Week of January 20th

The cold weather this past week made early morning fishing quite interesting, but some of the fish didn’t seem to mind. The sheepshead are spawning and willing to take #1 circle hooks tipped with shrimp. Anglers should add a split shot to keep the bait on or near the bottom. Remember they have a really soft bite so keep the line taught and be ready for the bite. Fish around structure like dock pilings, blow down near mangrove islands, or even oyster bars for this is their hang out. There has also been a decent seatrout bite in the 2-5 feet water depth. Shrimp under a popping cork or paddle tail grubs worked slowly is the ticket. Work the grass flats near the passes or with good moving water to increase your chances. As the water heats up toward late mourning hit the mangroves and shallow oyster bars for redfish. Try cut ladyfish or shrimp tipped jig heads. Be patient as it might take a while for the fish to pick up the scent.

- Jon Fetter

 

 

Snook caught by one of Jon Fetters customers

Capt. Jon Fetter is an associate at our Ft. Myers store and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things fishing. Please stop on by and see if he may help you with your fishing needs. Also, support Capt. Jon by visiting his website Catchfishnow.com and learn more about what he does and keep up on his fishing reports.

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