Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report – November 2013

As the leaves fall, trout begin to hang out under the lake’s leaf canopy.  Since trout are afraid of birds, this surface coating of leaves offers the trout a respite from constant worry about being eaten by their winged adversary. 

Fall is the time when most brown trout spawn.  There will be many browns staged below #3 outlet, up 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.

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.  During this time, 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 1/8 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, however, 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.

 

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.

 

Trout go for nymphs 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, 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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Table Rock & Bull Shoals Fishing Report - November, 2013

Bass are close to shore now.  November is a great time to throw a jig!  Bass bulking up for winter, will eat gobs of crawfish this month.  Get out there!  The scenery is breath taking!  The fish are hungry!

 

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 from 4-35ft. deep, either in the backs of coves, or off or next to, main lake and secondary points.  Try a 1/4 to 5/8oz. round head jig, brown or green pumpkin in color, and add a trailer, green pumpkin, watermelon candy, or cinnamon purple.  Add scent to your jigs.

 

Spinner baits are working now.  Try a 1/2oz. double willow blade spinner bait, especially on any windy or rainy day.  Natural shad colors are working well.

 

Shaky head fishing is hot right now!  Take a 1/4oz or heavier shaky head jig head (it is built to make the soft bait you attach to it stand up), and add a crawfish, worm, or baitfish soft trailer, and work it slowly along the bottom, frequently stopping the bait completely.  The bass just cannot leave this bait alone!  Try a skirted twin tail grub, in brown purple or smoke purple.

 

Try a drop shot rig.  Find a line of trees or stumps off a bank with a varied depth.  The crawfish, shad, or pan fish the bass are after, will be moving among these trees, and suspended bass will be ready to ambush.  Look for underwater timber at all depths.  Mark the depths where the most bait fish and bass are found, and find timber at that depth.  Fish straight up and down to these suspended fish.  Ask a fishing associate how to rig for this drop shot bite, and ask what the current best bait is.  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.      

 

There is still a top water bite on most of each lake.  Top water lures, such a s a Zara Spook, Chug Bug, etc., will work during this time, as will most of the wake baits.  Beginning at dawn, look for fish rising on big flats, or cove backs, and fish in these areas.  Many times, the bite will end when the sun becomes visible, though, the bite can go on all day! 

 

From late morning to early evening, tubes often work well, since black bass key on crawdads during this time.  Try a ¼ to 1/2 oz. jig, with a tube, on main lake and secondary cove points, and any transition banks or flat.  It is important to add scent to all soft plastic, to maximize the time fish hold the bait in their mouth.  Try fishing around  docks, pole cedar lined banks, chunk rock points and cove banks, with a jig, tube, drop shot rig, Carolina rigged lizard, finesse worm, French fry, or creature bait, also Carolina rigged.  Don’t pass up any different feature, like an underwater hump, depression, ledge, chunk rock section, etc.  Shallow to medium depth flats, near deep, main lake water, often produce nice fish. 

 

Do not pass up any main lake point that looks good to you, during this time of the year, since smallmouth congregate there, and are now at about 10-35 ft. depth.

 

Slow fishing, employing a finesse Caroline rig, jig and trailer, tube, square billed crank bait, or other bait which will work in the shallow to medium depth of a cove flat or secondary flat, will pay off. 

                         They are out there waiting for you!!!

 

                               Good Luck and Good Fishing!

 

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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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Weightless Baits Catch Big Bass

 

In this day and age there are numerous of ways that an angler can rig a soft plastic bait. To name a few you have the, Carolina Rig, Texas Rig, Shakey Head, Drop Shot Rig, Mojo Rig, and more. These are all great options in the right situations throughout the year. But one way to fish soft plastics that gets less attention than the rest is fishing them weightless. In this case the only weight you have is the hook and the bait, and trust me this is a great way to catch big bass.

Silver GhostSome of my best tournament finishes I've ever had came from fishing with light tackle and weightless baits that have a slow, almost irresistible fall. One of my go to baits that works great in the spring and also in the fall is a weightless Bass Pro Shops Shadee Shad or a Zoom Super Fluke. When rigging my Shadee Shad I use a 3/0 Gamakatsu EWG Hook and I do what is called a texpose method for making the bait completely weedless. What I do is rig my bait just like a normal texas rig worm, where I come all the way straight through the plastic and then slightly burry the point of the hook into the worm. This results in a hook that is ready to release and stick the fish, as well as a perfectly straight Shadee Shad once rigged. Figuring out how to rig your fluke bait as straight as possible is very important, if the bait is off center on the hook just the slightest bit then the bait will spin and not swim like it's supposed to. One great thing about the weightless Shadee Shad is that it is a very versatile presentation. I like to very my retrieve when fishing it. Specifically, I will at times work the bait extremely fast making it twitch like a fleeing shad on the surface of the water and then when I come over a piece of cover or have a fish roll on the bait I can stop it and just let it slowly sink, which will trigger a lot of strikes. So weather they are extremely aggressive and chasing or if they want a slow falling presentation this bait is going to cover it all. It works near lay downs, docks, rocks, and seawalls, as well as in open water situations! It's definitely something that all anglers need to have in their arsenal.

Purple Brown

Another excellent bait that was truly designed to fish weightless is the Bass Pro Shops Stiko. This bait looks like nothing but catches fish like crazy! Rigging it weightless is by far my favorite method and I rig the bait exactly the same as I rig my Shadee Shad, using the texpose method. The key to the Stiko is generally the less you do with the bait the more fish you catch. I like to let the bait do the work 90% of the time, just casting it out and letting it sink slowly. The way it falls and wobbles on the way down parallel to the bottom is just to easy of an opportunity for a bass to slowly swim up and inhale the bait. When fishing the Stiko or any weightless bait you always need to watch your line looking for a little twitch when the bass takes the bait, as well as watching for your line to swim off if the bite was too light to be detected. Now occasionally I will twitch and pause the Stiko just like I fish a Shadee Shad, I do this specifically when I'm fishing around shallow scattered or matted grass, when doing this don't be surprised if a fish blows up on the bait just like they would on a topwater Spro Frog! Another bait that I rig and fish the same is a Zoom trick worm as well as a lizard. These techniques work exceptionally well when fishing during or close to the spawning period for bass, when the water is in the 60 to 72 degree range!

So whether you spend your time fishing big lakes and reservoirs, or small private ponds you will be blown away at the success you can have fishing weightless baits. I generally like to fish them using a 6'10" or a 7'3" TFO Tactical Series Spinning Rod, accompanied by a Pflueger President 30 Spinning Reel, spooled up with 8 to 12 lb Trilene 100% Flouro Carbon line. The spinning tackle makes for easier casting with light weight baits as well as the opportunity to skip these baits like a stone way up under cover such as docks or overhanging trees. If you are fishing extremely heavy cover and are very talented then a bait caster can be used, but your simply not going to be able to get as far up under the cover as with the spinning reel. So head over to Bass Pro Shops where you can get everything you need, because the weightless soft plastic bite is on now! I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fall River Fishing

 

 

Photo: Spro little john

The leaves changing colors, days getting shorter, and water temperatures getting colder, are a sure sign that the fishing is about to change in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, across the country. While you don't have to worry about dehydrating yourself with intense heat, this more comfortable time of year can actually be a very frustrating time to really figure out and pattern the fish. During the fall of the year the fish are very scattered and roaming around looking for food. In one single day you could catch fish in 1 foot and then switch gears and go catch a fish in 30 feet. While junk fishing or throwing the kitchen sink at them can be a successful approach, there is an option that in my opinion is at times easier to figure out. Abandoning the wide open lower end of lakes and reservoirs and heading up to the river is a great option when trying to figure out what to do in the fall of the year.

The way I look at it river fish quite simply have less places they can hide. Rivers are pretty simple you have a winding channel with flats, drop-offs, rock piles, lay down logs, shoreline vegetation, and shallow creeks and backwaters. The thing I really like about a river, is that all of these types of structure are generally in close proximity to one another. Where on the lower main lake end of a body of water there are multiple levels of depth changes, channels and structure, which the fish will move back and forth on throughout the year. Sometimes these main lake fish will move half a mile or more to go from a spawning pocket to a creek channel and then on out to a main river ledge or point. In a river often 100 yards is all a fish has to move throughout the year making river fish easier to pattern during scattered out time of year like the fall.

Just like figuring out any part of the lake in the fall finding the bait fish is a very important step. To do this I use my Lowrance HDS 8 Fishfinder, as well as physically looking for schooling fish or balls of bait on the surface. Baits such as spinner baits and crank baits are extremely effective for covering stretches of river bank, in order to search for aggressive fish. If the reaction baits aren't working then baits such as Jig and Pigs, and Texas Rigged soft plastics are also great choices for pitching to shoreline cover. A key thing to always remember in a river system is that current is everything. Current positions the bait fish and the bass use the current to there advantage in order to ambush the bait. Bass will often sit just on the edge of current areas in current breaks caused by lay down trees, stumps, rock piles, and points. An accurate cast or better yet, pitch is crucial for catching river fish with the current running. An underhand pitch is my method of choice because of the accuracy and gentle presentation it can achieve.

When fishing soft plastics or jigs around lay downs and stumps I try to look for little eddies where there is a backup in the current and then present my bait as close to the cover as possible in the slack water. When using this technique bites come quick, often as soon as the bait begins to sink, so being able to either pitch left handed or use a left handed real is critical for hitting the fish quick and getting them out of the cover before they get you in trouble. When fishing points or rock piles I generally throw above, or upstream from my targeted current break and with a semi tight line I feel the bait as it washes down over the structure. With either technique your cast angle and accuracy is critical, but once you master it these river fishing techniques are extremely rewarding, and not to mention a boat load of fun! It is very important to use a strong rod such as a, TFO Tactical Series 7'3" Heavy Action, and a good high gear ratio 7.9:1 Pflueger Patriarch Reel in order to horse the fish out of the often cover littered banks and fast moving water. When fishing your moving baits such as Spro Little Johns and Stanley Spinner baits you should target the same current break areas. I often use a short roll cast to accurately place my bait where I can run it through the slack water past the cover. Another key to river fishing is boat positioning and understanding how to work your boat in the current in order to give yourself the best casting opportunities. If you have a 36 volt trolling motor and the water isn't overly swift then you can slowly move your boat against the current up stream, casting ahead at a 45, or more, degree angle. If you don't have a strong trolling motor to make headway or the current is just too strong then back drifting, holding your boat and then letting it slightly drift down for each cast can work very well.

So if you're having trouble catching fish this fall, check the current generation schedule, and abandon the open water lower end of your local lake or reservoir, and head up to the river portion of your lake for some awesome fishing action. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Junk Fishing 101

Junk Fishing 101

For each specific time of year there are generally one or two patterns that really shine. In those situations if you are not fishing one of those specific patterns or techniques than your fishing results and definitely tournament results will show it. The key seasons for dialed in patterns are the middle of spring, summer, and winter. At these times the weather although different from one another is generally stable for a period of time. But there is however the often dreaded transition time period where fish seem to be neither hear nor there. This can be extremely frustrating and can sometimes baffle even an experienced angler. While tough at times, it does offer a unique opportunity to do what many know as junk fishing. If you've ever heard the phrase," I through the kitchen sink at them", this is just that. The key times of year when junk fishing really comes into play is during the spawn to post spawn transition from spring to summer, as well as the summer to winter transition. During either transition period you better keep an open mind and don't leave any technique or lure un tested.

During these transition periods I will often have as many as 12 or more rods on the front deck of my boat all rigged with different baits. Fast moving, deep diving, shallow running, finesse fishing is a good way to look at what a junk fishing pattern is. Now it is extremely important to keep an open mind during this time period and to remember one consistent fact. While the fish are very spread out one pattern holds true, this pattern is, if you find the bait you will find the fish. During both of the major transition periods feeding is the one common thing that is on the fish's mind.

Having a wide variety of baits to choose from is important and one of the main ones that I like to start my day with is a topwater lure, that I can cover allot of water with before the sun gets up. Baits such as the Spro Dawg 100 and the Zera Spook, are great early morning and late evening choices that can put a couple big roaming fish in your boat. This bite can slow as the sun gets up but occasionally under the right conditions you can actually throw the topwater bait all day long covering as much water as possible. But that is not the case all the time so generally once the sun is up I will switch over to some sort of crankbait. My crankbait I choose depends on the size and type of baitfish I am seeing. So if you are fishing shallow cover in the spawn to post spawn season and you are seeing things such as an abundance of bluegill then I would definitely go with a bigger square bill style crankbait such as the Strike King 2.5 or a Spro Fat John. Now if you're fishing during the fall transition period then generally a smaller shad imitation lure will get you more bites such as the Spro Little John MD in a shad color. Now these techniques and many others will work great for targeting shallow roaming fish during either transition periods, but remember there are also fish that will be out in deep water at this same time and trying to catch them can be very rewarding as well.

So if I have tried the shallow water bite with limited success then I will often completely switch gears and begin to use my Lowrance electronics. I like to begin my search for deep transition fish by graphing around areas that are neither here nor there. Places such as secondary points leading in or out of spawning pockets or creeks as well as looking at deep river ledges that are close by to main river flats. Transitioning fish in the summer and the fall will use these in between places as stopping points to feed. They are generally relatively close to shallow and deep water. Fishing medium to deep diving crankbaits is sometimes a great way to trigger these fish into biting and if you find the right school of fish it is not uncommon to catch fish after fish on one specific piece of deep structure. Once you have a group of fish located that are feeding deep on baitfish you need to be ready to slow down if the fish seem to suddenly shut off, and work them thoroughly with carolina rigs or shaky head worms. Having this versatility will maximize the amount of deep transition fish you can catch on one spot. One thing to remember about the deeper transition fish is that they will often suspend, specifically in lakes that have and abundance of shad, or blue back herring in them. If you are seeing surface schooling activity or, large amounts of bait fish on your depth finder then there are a few baits that you need to have ready to catch these suspended fish. The first is an umbrella rig such as the Bass Pro Shops Flashy Times rigged with some sort of soft plastic swimbait. Other baits such as jerkbaits and spoons can also work very well on the suspended fish.

So keeping an open mind is really what junk fishing is all about. Many tournaments I have fished during transition periods I have caught fish on topwater early, shallow crankbaits mid morning, flipping cover mid afternoon, and targeting deep suspended fish later in the day. This fast pace multiple pattern type of fishing is not easy to master but if you have a wide variety of techniques in your angling arsenal then making the adjustments and switching things up throughout the day will become more and more natural to you. So get every rod you own and don't be afraid to throw the kitchen sink at them during the tricky but fun transition periods. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fall King Salmon Run

Fall King Salmon Run

The cool nights and falling water temps have once again brought the King Salmon into the harbors on the shore of Lake Michigan, in the greatest city in the world, Chicago!  Today let’s talk about the Tackle we need to catch these fish on Spoons and Crankbaits.  Next month we will discuss tips, tricks and tactics for fishing spawn for the Kings. Salmon rods are very unique.  They’re nothing like rods we use for bass, walleye, pike, and Muskie.  They’re very long in length, 8 – 9 feet long for most spoon/crank rods in MH action and 9 – 11 feet in L - UL for spawn rods.  There are a couple reasons for the long rods, the first is casting distance.  At times we need to bomb a bait as far as we can in order to cover more water giving us more of an opportunity to have our baits come in contact with a King.  The other reason is due to the mouth structure of a King.  They have very hard bone and cartilage in their mouths and many times we will not get our hooks to penetrate completely through that.  The long rods have a soft tip to keep the fish hooked and not rip a hook out but enough backbone to turn a fish when we have to.  I am a big fan of the Browning 6 Rivers Salmon rods.  Many options to choose from and good durability to these rods! As always there is a HUGE debate on what type of line to run.  The greatest debates between Braid and Mono runs wild here!  Here are some pros and cons to running Braid;

No stretch – better feel, however runs a lighter drag so we don’t pull hooks out of the fish’s mouth.  There’s no forgiveness to Braid like there is in mono.

Thin diameter – Farther casting cause it so thin.  However it’s a solid line so at times in clear water can be visible.  Most of the time we are fishing Kings is at night so the visibility of the line doesn’t really factor in here.  However something to keep in mind for all you sunrise and sunset fishermen who are chasing Kings in the day time.

To me, if you chose a Braided line, there are two that really stand out as far as castability and thin diameter.  Sufix 832 and the new Seaguar Kanzen Braid in either the 20 or 30 pound test.  If you guys are looking for a great mono, definitely check out P-Line CX in either the 10 or 12 pound test.  Smooth casting, low memory, good tensile strength and good abrasion resistance.

Salmon rods are available in Spinning and Baitcasting models, so whichever set up you prefer is fine.  Most baitcasters have good line capacities to them but I am particularly fond of our Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Signature Series Baitcast Reels for this job.  6.3:1 Gear ratio.  High performance bearings, smooth drag and a duel brake system making throwing baits all night a breeze.  For spinning reels it’s hard to top our Johnny Morris Signature Wide Spool Models in either the size 40 or 50.

Now comes the fun part, choosing the right bait to catch these Kings.  Keep in mind the Kings that are shallow are only here to Spawn and then die.  They only live 4 years and they are very focused on spawning to keep the species going.  They will not actually eat at this time…but they will strike to kill out of anger or frustration.  So we have to use baits that will trigger a reaction strike.

Since Kings live most of their short lives in deep water they are most active at night or low light periods in the shallow water.  (however they still can be caught during the day while shallow)  This is where our glow spoons play a huge role in our arsenal.  K.O. Wobblers, Moonshine, Little Cleo and Flashy Times spoons all come in glow in the dark pain jobs.  We run the 3/4oz size so we get the maximum casting distance and also help keep the spoon lower in the water column during the retrieve.  Slow retrieves are best.  Cast the spoon out and start to count to 5, then retrieve, if nothing, cast and count to 8 then retrieve and then 10 and so on and so on, so you can cover all levels of the water column.  Remember what count you used on a spoon as it falls if you get a bump or catch a fish and continue on that level since you now know where about in the water level the Kings are.Noisy crankbaits are good too!  3/4 oz Rattle Traps, Storm Mag Warts, Deep ThunderSticks, Deep Reef Runners, Bomber Fat Free Shads, all work great.  Bright colors work best and some models even have glow patterns to them.  If the Kings won’t react to the spoon you can usually get them to react to a crankbait.Get out there and get some Kings!  If you get a female save the Eggs and we’ll talk next month how to fish that spawn.  Take some pics and send them in or stop by the shop with them.

 

Tight Lines Everybody!

Tony Krizek

Team Lead Fishing Bolingbrook

 

 

 

 

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Match The Forage Catch The Bass

If you watch the trends of fishing lure production you will see certain hot colors trending from season to season. Understanding when to choose those colors is the key. The ability to select proper colors throughout the season depends on what type of forage you are trying to imitate. It's simple, if you can match what the fish want then you will catch more fish. When talking about bass, while sometimes they will eat anything that comes near them, there are a few standby forage options that they will target throughout the year. These forage options are shad and bluegill, and this is what I will try and imitate the majority of the time.

Shad are a perfect food for a bass, they have no spikes, they are soft and tender, and they group up in big schools known as shad balls. So they are easy to eat, easy to digest, and the fact that they group up in schools makes them easy to target. Shad are generally silver or transparent color with a hint of blue or green on their back. Most bass across the country will eat shad all year long to some extent, but there are key time periods when shad become number one on the menu. Throughout the late spring and early summer the shad will periodically spawn, at this time they move extremely shallow in large numbers and the bass absolutely gorge themselves on this easy to find meal. Throughout the summer and winter months the majority of the shad will suspend and while bass still eat them they are harder to target in this open water scenario. When fall hits the shad again move shallow into pockets and flats in the backs of creeks and this again is a time when shad colored baits will work best. When the shad are in there suspended mode there is no better way to catch them then on an Umbrella Rig such as the Bass Pro Shops Deadly 5 Flashy Times. The swim baits I choose are always in a shad color, the Bass Pro Shops Sassy Sally and the Boss Shads are 2 of my favorite options, again in shad colors. Now during the shad spawn I like to use fast moving shad imitations such as Stanley swim jigs, Stanley spinner baits, chatter baits, BPS swim baits. In the fall of the year shallow running crank baits such as the Spro Little John in either a Nasty Shad or a Spooky Nasty Shad are always on the front deck of my boat. Always keep track of what the shad are doing based on the time of year and select one of the baits I talked about in a shad imitation color and you will have some great days on the water fooling the bass.

Another major food source throughout the year is bluegill. On any given lake there is a population of bass that will live shallow basically all year long never moving out into the deep water. The reason these residential shallow fish are able to do this is because bluegill spend the majority of the year in shallow water. There is one really key time when almost everything I target is bluegill related, that is from early to mid summer, when the bluegill are spawning. I don't know what it is about them but for some reason the big fish in that time period seem to want to eat bluegill. For a shallow water angler this is the forage that they are generally trying to imitate not just in the summer but throughout the year, and it can be done in a variety of different ways with some certain colors that really shine. One of the very best presentations to imitate a bluegill is by flipping soft plastics to shallow water cover such as docks, grass, and fallen trees. When I'm flipping shallow cover with soft plastics I always use Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series baits. One of my favorites is the Bass Pro Shops River Bug. They are offered in a variety of different colors that imitate a bluegill such as watermelon bluegill, okeechobee craw, or their new color and one of my personal favorites, sprayed grass. Another bluegill imitator is the Bass Pro Shops Magnum Flipping Tube. My color choice for the tube bait is generally a smoke purple blue flake, or a melon seed/blue flake. With either the tube or the river bug I rig them on a 4/0 Gamakatsu Flipping Hook with a pegged 1/4-1/2 ounce BPS Tungsten Flipping weight. One other little tip is dipping the tail of your bait in Chartreuse to imitate the little chartreuse on the tip of the bluegills tail, I believe at certain times this will get you a few extra bites. If soft plastics aren't your thing then a jig with a soft plastic trailer will also work very well. Other moving baits such as square bill crank baits, swim baits, and swim jigs in bluegill colors, can be very effective when reaction baits are shining.

Always remember bass will eat almost anything that looks like an opportunity to get a meal and if bass got as big as sharks we would all be in trouble. By selecting colors that imitate shad and bluegill you can rest assured that you are always offering something that the bass are used to seeing as food on a daily bases in their natural environment, and this will help you put more fish in your boat. For more articles you can like my JoeyFishing page on Facebook or check out my website at www.joeyfishing.com. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania

 

 

 

 

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Local Fishing Report 9/22 to 9/28/2013

The River was at 3.9ft at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.5ft with 8,500CF of flow and 68 degrees. 

Trip #1 was a full day trip on Tuesday and we caught 40+ bass, 1 channel cat, and 1 walleye.  The largest bass was 20.25" and we caught them on top water, spinnerbaits, and soft plastics on jigs.  We had 3.4ft-7,100CF-rising-clear and 66 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.90 and falling.

Trip #2 was on Tuesday and we fished from 5:15PM to 7:15PM and we caught 3 smallmouth, 1 largemouth, and 40+ sunfish.  We caught them all on jig/worm combo.

Trip #3 was a full day trip on Wednesday and we caught 35 bass and the largest was 20.25".  We caught them on top water and soft plastics on jigs.  We had 3.5ft-steady-8,600CF-clear and 67 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.00 and steady.

Trip #4 was on Thursday and we fished from 5:30PM to 7:00PM and we caught 10 bass and 1 fallfish.  The largest bass was 16" and the fallfish was 20".  We had 3.5ft-steady-8,000CF-clear and 69 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.00 and steady.

Trip #5 was on Friday and was a 6 hour combo trip and we caught 35+ sunfish, 1 walleye, 4 channel cats, and 2 flatheads.  The largest channel cat was 22", the walleye was 16.5", and the flathead was 26.4lbs.  We caught them on Sudden Impact, jig/worm combo and live bait.  We had 3.5ft-8,500CF-steady-clear and 70 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.10 and rising.

Trip #6 was a half day trip on Saturday morning and we caught 14 bass.  We caught them on top water, crankbaits, soft jerkbaits, and swimbaits.  We had 3.5ft-8,500CF-steady-clear and 68 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.25 and steady.

Trip #7 was a full day trip for flatheads and we caught 12 and the largest was 28.2lbs.  We caught them all on live bait.  We had 3.5ft-8,500CF-steady-clear and 68 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.25 and steady.

 

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Changing Water Conditions - Fall Fishing

Finding bass becomes much more difficult when lake levels start falling in October. These water levels seem to congregate the bass on specific spots. In the next few paragraphs, I am going to help you catch more bass this fall.

I believe it’s a good thing to see the water levels begin to fall, because the fish are getting tighter to cover, and they get harder to find. Once you find them; you can have a real good day, but you might not find them as quickly as a professional angler will. Many people are fishing right on top of them and just cannot get them to bite.  Falling water levels make the bass move, but not too far. Like us humans, an example would be moving from the kitchen into the living room. These fish are not going to move more than 50 yards in a day. Some anglers believe a fish will move a long way away, but they don’t move that far really quickly. Don’t get me wrong, they will move up to a mile away, but it will take days for this to happen.

On my area lake, Lake Sidney Lanier, I have seen bass move 2 to 3 feet deeper as the day goes on with the lake level falling. I caught fish in the 3 to 5 feet depth in the morning, and then by midday; they might have backed out another foot or so. By late afternoon, those same fish can sometimes be found in 5 to 8 feet deeper water. I still fish shallow water, but I am constantly looking at my Lowrance unit for fish and bait fish. If you can stay in constant contact with the moving bass, you can catch them. If you see them and they are biting, adjust your pattern. If they quit biting, move a few feet and look for a change in the bottom and see if you can relocate those same fish again.

 
 
 

Don’t try to over adjust your fishing to the falling water levels. Move your boat out and fish 2 or 3 feet deeper to locate those moving fish. For years, I have seen too many people give up on their fish and move out to deep water. Don’t give up to quick, those fish are there, and you can locate them. Remember Mr. Bass has a small brain; you can out think him! These fish are not going to run ½ mile to find another flat to live on. They are going to swim a short distance to relocate and find some more food.

 

If you cannot find the fish 3-5 feet deeper, your next step is to locate some kind of drop off close by where the fish are eating. This could be a depth change of no more than 1 foot off a tapering bank. Many anglers think a ledge drop off is a 5 to 10-foot drop off. My best luck has come from a slow drop off of 1-3 deep. This is a good ambush point for bass to hide out at just out of the site of the bait. If there is bait fish near the drop-off, Mr. Bass is not far away.

Many times when I move out to the drop off, I cannot use the same crankbait I caught them in the morning on. Now I might need to swap to a crankbait that runs deeper or even swapping to a different tactic by throwing a soft plastic like the Strike King Ocho, which is a stick style bait.  After moving to a new spot thoroughly work this area over at varied angles. Remember what I said earlier, if you see bait, the bass are there; you just have to figure out what they want to eat right then.

 


If you are using crankbaits concentrate on changing depth of the bait. If you find a color or pattern they are eating, do not change colors - change the depth of the bait. On Lake Sidney Lanier, one of my favorite colors is “Blue Gizzard Shad." I know this color works 98% of the time. I just have to get the bait to the right depth where the fish are eating. If the 2-3-foot crankbait is not working, swap to the 5-7-foot depth running crankbait. If that middle depth crankbait does not work change to a lure that is bouncing off the bottom either a deep diver or a plastic worm. One of my favorite places on Lake Sidney Lanier is a big (boulder) rocky type point that’s close to a red clay bank when the water starts falling. This place is perfect because 12 feet off the bank, there is another 2-3-foot drop off, then if you go another 50 yards the bottom falls off into deeper water.

Catching bass in the fall should not be a big giant guessing game with the right electronics and the correct baits. Bass will move from the banks out to the deeper water at a slow pace when the lake levels begin falling in the fall (I made a funny!).


Go fishing with these tips, they will help you can catch more bass!


THANKS FOR READING..... BRANCH
 
About the author: Tom is a freelance outdoor writer and full time Firefighter, Paramedic/Lieutenant in Georgia for the past 28 years.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 18 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.
 

 

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Keys To Locating Productive Brush Piles

Across the country fish use many different types of structure or cover to live and feed in. Weather it's rocks, docks, lay down logs, or brush piles, as the year goes on and the seasons change you will notice certain ones being more productive then others. And trust no matter how random it can sometimes seem, there is a rhyme and a reason to why they are using cover in a specific area or more importantly depth range. It is based on factors such as time of year, weather conditions, water color, water temperature, and last but not least the amount of baitfish in the area. Most species of fish are predators and if there is no food there then obviously the fish will go elsewhere if they have the option. In this article I really want to focus on brush piles. Whether they are man made or natural from trees and debris falling in the water the simple fact is that most times of the year there are fish holding on some sort of brush.

Brush piles are a perfect place for baitfish such as bluegill, and shad to live around and hide in. With the presence of the bait fish the predators such as bass are going to be close by. Now throughout the year like I said some brush piles will be more productive then others. As the water temperature changes the fish move, and this is related to the thermocline level. This is the level where the water temperature is the most comfortable to the fish and where the water is the most oxygen rich. The hotter the water temperature the deeper the thermocline will be. In lakes that have clear water the thermocline will also be deeper so don't be surprised to find fish in extremely deep water in the summer on a clear lake or reservoir. To find the this productive healthy water depth having good quality electronics such as the Lowrance HDS Gen2 Fishfinder is important. Just idle around your local lake or reservoir and pay attention to what depth you see the majority of the baitfish. Next check suspecting areas where brush piles might be placed that are close to that same depth range and there is a good chance that baitfish and bass will be near by.

So now that you have the proper depth figured out the next step is actually physically locating the brush. People will sink man made brush piles in a variety of different places such as points, creek channels, river channels, or probably the most common, docks. In my opinion the easiest to find brush piles are near docks. They are easy to find because of a few keys that are normally a dead giveaway that a fisherman lives there and has possibly sunk brush around his dock. Two things I really like to look for are lights, and rod holders. These are definitely things that should be paid attention too when looking for brush. The next step to this simple method of finding brush is physically stopping and casting a weighted soft plastic and feeling around the bottom with the bait. This is a no electronics fool proof way to find brush. Now if you have side imaging technology then this process is much easier. All you have to do is idle by the front of a row of docks and your graph will show you which docks have brush around them within 200 ft of either side of your boat. In order to find brush on the points and dropoffs having electronics is critical and will really make your search easier and more effective.

Once I have brush located no matter where it is there are a couple really important things I like to do. The first is marking the piles physically before I start to fish them which is very important for brush that is way out on points or sometimes in the middle of the river on a ledge. To do this I use a Bass Pro Shops Marker Buoy. There are a couple ways to do it, you can drop the buoy right next to the brush or one of my favorite methods dropping it where you want the boat to be positioned, and then using a reference point on the shore to line up and cast at. Normally when I'm fishing brush for bass I will use slow moving baits such as Jigs, Carolina Rigs, Texas Rigs, and Shakey Heads. Fishing these slow on the bottom I will crawl and work my bait through the cover letting it lift and then fall in the limbs. I always try and do this on a semi tight line, if you have to much slack in your line the fish will often pull you deep into the brush which makes them almost impossible to get out. So be ready to set the hook quick and get the fish moving up and out towards the boat. I like to use pretty heavy tackle when fishing my jigs, texas rigs, and carolina rigs for that reason exactly. I like to use Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line from 17lb to 25lb test, on a heavy action rod and a high speed reel. The only exception is when I'm using a shakey head set up and in that case I will use either 8lb flouro, or a 20lb braid mainline with a fluorocarbon leader. At certain times of the year baits such as Spro Little John DD crankbaits and heavy 1oz spinnerbaits can be very effective when bumped into the brush. I would suggest going to Bass Pro Shops and picking up a weighted lure retriever or retrieving pole for getting your baits free from deep brush.

So go out on your local body of water and look for the key ingredients. First find the depth the baitfish are using whether it is 2 feet or 30 feet, next locate and mark the brush, and finally present your lure properly to the waiting fish. Always be patient and if you are getting frustrated and having limited success just keep searching because you never know when you might run into the right brush pile that is holding the mother load of big fish. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania

 

 

 

 

 

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Local Fisihing Report 9/8 to 9/14/2013

The River was at 3.9ft at the beginnig of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.9ft with 13,600CF of flow and 72 degrees

Trip #1 was a half day trip and we caught 21 bass.   The largest was 18" and we caught them on Salty Spider Jigs and Zell Pops.  We had 3.8Ft-12,200CF-falling-clear and 80 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure and steady.

Trip #2 was on Wednesday andn we had a 12 boat outing and we fished from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM and we caught 18 bass per boat and we also had 2 channel cats.  The largest bass was 19.5" and the largest channel cat was 26".  We caught them on jigs, top water, crank baits, rattle baits, Spinnerbaits and soft jerkbaits.  We had 3.5ft-steady-8,800CF-clear and 81 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and falling.

Trip #3 was on Saturday evening and we had 2 boats out for a full day trip.  We caught 11 channel cats and 24 flatheads.  The largest channel cat was 20" and we caught them all on Sudden Impact.  The largest flathead that was29-10lbs., this was an Angler Award fish and we caught them all on live bait.  We also had another Angler Award Fish and it was 29-3lbs.  We had 3.5ft-rising-8,400CF-clear and 72 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.20 and falling.

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Saltwater Drop Shot Rig Fishing

The drop shot rig has roots in the eastern U.S., dating back to the mid-70's and was first seen in "Fishing Facts" magazine.  In the 1990's, Japanese anglers resurrected the method for use on their highly pressured waters.  The Japanese refined the technique and it soon returned to the States.  In 1997, the drop shot rig was relatively unknown except to a few Southern California fishermen who had ties to Japanese manufacturers and pros.  The system worked extremely well, and those that knew about it did their best to keep it a secret.  Then, in winter 1999, two major tournaments were won using the drop shot rig - the B.A.S.S. Invitational at Lake Oroville, and the WON Bass Classic on Lake Cachuma.  The proverbial cat was out of the bag - way out!

While largely viewed as a fresh water tactic for finessing finicky bass or fishing in highly pressured waters, the drop shot rig is readily adaptable for presenting soft baits such as Berkeley Gulp or DOA's in our bays for redfish and speckled trout.  The presentation is different from using a jig or a popping cork in that the bait can be rigged to be held just above the weeds.  This will put the bait in full view of the fish we want to catch.  In addition, the weight being below the bait allows for anglers to feel the soft bites more easily.  But this is more of a rig to use when we have a good idea of where the fish are, rather than when we are searching water using a lure.

The basic rig resembles a standard dropper used in the ocean and for freshwater catfish, with one difference - there is no line (dropper) between the hook and the main line.  Tie a standard Polomar knot - start by going through the "hook-point" side of the eye, and leaving at least two extra feet of line on the tag end.  The extra line will be used to attach the sinker.  Once the Polomar is tied, take the tag end and thread it back through the "hook-point" side of the eye, again.  This last step forces the hook shaft to lie against the line, which aids hook setting.  Another option is the VMC Spinshot wide gap hook, which has a swivel through the eye of the hook, allowing the bait to move without twisting the line. 

Once the hook is in place, attach the weight.  Drop shot leads have an eyelet on the top that pinches the line, allowing the lead to pull off if snagged.  Choose one that is heavy enough to stay in contact with the bottom, but not too heavy.  In most situations, use a 1/8 to 5/16 ounce, but a 3/8 to 1/2 ounce can be used in extremely deep water or during windy situations.  I use 1/4 ounce normally or 3/8 ounce when the wind is up a little.  Experiment with the weight, as this rig will cast well, and increasing the weight slightly will let you cast further.  The "drop" (distance from hook to weight) can range from six inches to four feet, or more, depending upon how high the grass is relative to the bottom.  Remember, we want our bait just over the top of the grass we are fishing.  Another thing to consider is bottom composition.  Use a cylinder weight over grass, and save the round sinker for a rocky bottom as the round is more likely to snag.

I am just starting to experiment with this rig.  My first trip using the drop shot rig resulted in five specks in about half an hour.  After casting, take the slack out of the line and hold the rod at a 10 o'clock position.  After raising the rod tip slowly 2 or 3 times, reel up the slack to get a tight line again.  Fish this rig slowly.  This rig has a lot of versatility and I cannot wait to try variations of the drop shot rig.  I can see a lot of different ways to use this and to target different species.

Jim Martino

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Table Rock & Bull Shoals September Fishing Report

Shaky head fishing is hot right now!  Take a 1/4oz or heavier shaky head jig head (it is built to make the soft bait you attach to it stand up), and add a crawfish, worm, or baitfish soft trailer, and work it slowly along the bottom, frequently stopping the bait completely.  The bass just cannot leave this bait alone!  Right now, with the surface temperature of both lakes pushing 85 degrees, putting your boat in 35ft. of water, and casting to 15ft., then slowly working the shaky head out into the deeper water, is working.  Try a skirted twin tail grub, in brown purple or smoke purple.

 

Try a drop shot rig.  Find a line of trees or stumps off a bank with a varied depth.  The crawfish, shad, or pan fish the bass are after, will be moving among these trees, and suspended bass will be ready to ambush.  Look for underwater timber at all depths.  Mark the depths where the most bait fish and bass are found, and find timber at that depth.  Fish straight up and down to these suspended fish.  Ask a fishing associate how to rig for this drop shot bite, and ask what the current best bait is.  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.      

 

There is an early morning top water bite on most of each lake.  Top water lures, such a s a Zara Spook, Chug Bug, etc., will work during this time, as will most of the wake baits.  Beginning at dawn, look for fish rising on big flats, and fish in these areas.  Many times, the bite will end when the sun becomes visible, but, on occasion, this bite will go on for a few hours.  Right after the top water bite stops, a grub bite often follows, on these same flats.  Currently, bass are taking a smoke, or smoke with some color flecks (like red, or gold-red-black) grub. 

 

From late morning to early evening, jigs and tubes often work well, since black bass key on crawdads during this time.  Try a ¼ to 1/2 oz. jig, with a craw trailer, on main lake and secondary cove points, and any transition banks or flat.  It is important to add scent to all soft plastic, to maximize the time these fish hold the bait in their mouth.  Try fishing around  docks, pole cedar lined banks, chunk rock points and cove banks, with a jig, drop shot rig, Carolina rigged lizard, finesse worm, French fry, or a creature bait, also Carolina rigged.  Don’t pass up any different feature, like an underwater hump, depression, ledge, chunk rock section, etc.  Shallow to medium depth flats, near deep, main lake water, often produce nice fish. 

 

Do not pass up any main lake point that looks good to you, during this time of the year, since water is often being pulled (generated) from each lake, and the resulting lake currents, cause shad to congregate off these points, and nearby main lake shore line.  Ten to fifteen inch worms will work well off these main lake points.  Get ready, and set the hook hard!

 

Summer evenings are a great time to get out onto the lake, since, after the sun leaves the water, bass move into the coves, and water temperatures and available oxygen are at comfortable levels for feeding fish.   

 

Slow fishing, employing a finesse Caroline rig, jig and trailer, tube, square billed crank bait, or other bait which will work in the shallow to medium depth of a cove flat or secondary flat, will pay off , for a while, until the water gets warm enough for the available oxygen to begin depleting.  As the water temperature goes up, dissolved oxygen level shrinks.  So, fish move to deeper water, to find better oxygen levels.  A big rain will add oxygen and bring fish back into the shallows!

 

Wind and rain offer an opportunity to change tactics.  Wind will allow spinner baits and shallow running crank baits to work well, and rain can cause water clarity to get murky or muddy, allowing a jig or tube to work even better.  They are out there waiting for you!!!

 

                               Good Luck and Good Fishing!

 

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Lake Taneycomo Fishing Report September 2013

        

Changing water conditions offer new opportunities.  Lake levels are back down.  The new pattern of generation is trending to little or no generation in the morning, then up to two generators in the afternoon.  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, and has been, good!

Trout become a little less finicky when current brings them a quick meal.  These fish have less time to examine passing food.  During this time, 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, can find success at times.  When the bobber rig does not work, try a 1/8 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, however, 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.

 

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, but are hard to keep alive as the temperature increases.

 

Fly fishers - Don’t forget to increase the size of your flies, as the metabolism of the trout increases with warmer weather.  Trout go for big nymphs as summer rolls along.  Try sizes #6-#12, especially as the point fly, if you use a two fly rig.

 

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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Local Fishing Report 9/1 to 9/7/2013

The river was at 3.3ft at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.3ft with 20,200CF of flow and 75 degrees.

Trip #1 was on Tuesday and we fished from 4PM to 7PM and caught 5 bass.  The largest was 19" and we caught them all on spinnerbaits.  We had 3.5ft-8,500CF-rising-clear and 82 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.60 and rising.  We had extreme wind.

Trip #2 was on Wednesday and we fished from 1:30PM to 5:30PM and we caught 20+ smallmouth and 1 walleye.  The largest bass was 19" and the walleye was 21".  We caught them on spinnerbaits and stickbaits.  We had 3.6ft-rising-9,400CF-clear and 81 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.80 and rising.

Trip #3 was on Thursday and we fished from 2PM to 5:30PM and we caught 10 bass.  The largest bass was 17" and we caught them on spinnerbaits and soft plastics.  We had 4.0-rising-15,100CF-stained and 79 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.20 and falling.

Trip #4 was on Friday and we fished from 11AM to 3PM and we caught 10 bass.  The largest was 18" and we caught them on spinnerbaits and soft plastics.  We had 4.2ft-rising-20,200CF-clear and 76 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.20 and steady.There was alot of grass and slime floating.

Trip #5 was a half day PM on Friday and we caught 9 channel cats and 3 flatheads.  The largest channel cat was 26.25" and weighed 5.3lbs, and the largest flathead was 15.3lbs.  We caught all but one channel cat on Sudden Impact and we caught the flatheads on live bait.  We had 4.2ft-rising-20,200CF-clear and 76 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.20 and steady.  No matter where I moved to i could not get out of the floating debris so we constantly had grass and slime pulling on our lines.

We will not be fishing on Saturday as I had my fill of fighting grass and slime on Friday night. 

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Local Fishing Report 8/18 to 8/24 2013

The river was at 3.7ft. at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.5ft. with 8,200CF of flow and 81 degrees.

Trip #1 was on Tuesday and we fished from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM and we caught 20+ bass.  The largest was 18".  We caught them on spinnerbaits, soft plastics, and top water.  We had 3.7ft-steady-10,800CF-clear and 78 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and steady.

Trip #2 was a half day PM trip on Tuesday and we caught 11 channel cats and 11 flatheads.  The largest channel cat was 24.5" and the largest flathead was over 30lbs.  Those of you who fish with us know how we mark our catfish and it appears we caught this fish in May.  It was 42" long.  We had 3.7ft-steady-10,800CF-clear and 78 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and steady.

Trip #3 was on Tuesday from 9AM to Noon and we caught 11 Bass.  The largest was 19" and we caught them on top water.  We had 3.7ft-steady-10,800CF-clear and 78 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and steady.

Trip #4 was on Wednesday and we fished from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM and we caught 20+ bass.  The largest was 20" and we caught them on top water, soft plastics, and spinnerbaits.  We had 3.6ft-steady-10,100CF-clear and 76 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.90 and falling.

Trip #5 was a half day AM channel cat trip on Saturday and nwe caught 25 channel cats.  The largest was 20" and we caught them all on Team Catfish Sudden Impact.  We had 3.5ft-steady-8,200CF-Clear and 76-81 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.20 and steady.

Trip #6 was a half day PM catfish trip and we caught 2 channel cats and 2 flatheads.  The largest channel cat was 24" and the largest flathead was 6#.  We caught them all on live bait.  We had 3.5ft.-steady-8,200CF-clear-81 degrees.  We had a Barometric pressure of 30.20 and steady.

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From Tippet to Stream

Experiencing the Blue River in OklahomaBlue River Photo 1

If you’ve never been there and you put on a blindfold and had someone drop you off at the Blue River, you would never guess you were in southern Oklahoma when you took it off. The Blue River looks like it belongs in Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas or even eastern Oklahoma but not south-central Oklahoma.

The Blue River has swift, clear, braided stream that arises in Johnston County from the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer, a giant underground water source. The headquarters of the spring-fed Blue River are southwest of Ada. The stream continues until it flows into the Red River in southeast Bryan County.

The most scenic part of the river is along the 6¼-mile stretch through the Blue River Public Hunting and Fishing Area. Here, the granite rocks of the Arbuckle outcrop come to surface and the river comes alive. Along these six miles, the river transforms from a lazy, meandering stream to cascading water that forks through granite and limestone formations. Over and around these rocks is the creation of horseshoe waterfalls and deep, slow-moving pools and fast-moving riffles.Blue River Paradise

The river channel often becomes braided, forming smaller streams with interspersed islands covered with unique seaside alders and native hardwoods. The seaside alders, which grow in clumps along the banks, waterfalls and islands, are typically found only along the Eastern Seaboard.

The Blue River is one of Oklahoma’s most beautiful places. It receives between 75,000 and 100,000 visitors each year. Most of them, an estimated 70 percent, travel to the Blue during the winter trout season which runs from November through March.Most are bait fishermen, but the Blue draws its share of spincasters and fly fishermen as well.

On the north end of Blue River Public Hunting and Fishing Area is a portion of the stream for the purists — a catch and release only area that requires the use of barbless hooks. Fly anglers gravitate to this stretch of the river where it’s usually easy to find some secluded water. The Blue River has more falls than any other river in Oklahoma.

Blue River Photo 4Beginning near Connerville in Johnston County, the Blue River flows southeast to the Red River.  This spring-fed river has a designated trout area in the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area. Other fishing opportunities exist for black bass, crappie, as well as channel and blue catfish. Camping facilities are available only at the Blue River Campground. Float trip opportunities by kayak are available on this Class II-III river, offering several falls and ledges, dependent on seasonal waterfall. No commercial outfitters along the river are allowed and public access points are limited. Supplies and information can be found at Scotty's Blue River One Stop, located at the entrance to the public hunting and fishing area. A Blue River Conservation Passport is required of all persons who enter or use the Blue River area, unless exempt.  Check with the Oklahoma Wildlife Department for availability and criteria.

 

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies - Blue River OklahomaWWS Fly Line

Fly Line:
We recommend a 5 weight, floating fly line for most all of the fly-fishing. We recommend a 6
weight, floating fly line for nymph fishing and streamers. There are some larger size trout that
are stocked in this stream.

Fly Rod
Fly Rod:
The five weight fly rod should be between eight and nine feet in length. A medium to moderate
action would be our choice. The 6 weight fly rod would be best in a nine foot length and a medium
fast action. A slightly stiffer tip would help with the nymphs and streamers.Fly Reel

Fly Reel:
The fly reel for either of these two rods should have a good drag.  Disc drags would be preferred.


TippetLeaders:
You should be using at least a 9 foot leader on the Blue River. A twelve foot length or even
longer length may be the right choice in some situations where the water is smooth. You
should have them in sizes ranging from 1X for streamers, up to 6X for small dry flies. I wouldn't
go any lighter on this stream.Tippet



Tippet:
Carry extra tippet material in sizes ranging from 1X to 6X.

LisaWaders:
We suggest you wear waders or hip boots anytime you fish the Blue River. We prefer the
breathable type but the neoprene ones can help keep you warm if you fish during the cold
season.

Wading Boots:
Felt sole wading boots  would be our first choice but are quickly being replaced by the new rubber soles that may also work well.
 

wooly bugger
Flies:
Many fly fishers will agree that the Wooly Bugger is one of the best patterns on Blue River.  Best colors are olive, brown, and black.  Other patterns that work well include the red midge larva, zebra midge, hare's ear nymph,  pheasant tail nymphs, hare's ear soft hackle, brassies, and copper johns.  When the midges are on fly fishers will want to concentrate on size 20 and 22 midge patterns.

 

 

Fortunately the fishing is only going to get better as the Oklahoma weather cools off.  November on the Blue means big and aggressive trout just ready to slurp down a Wooly Booger

Last year we had the pleasure of fishing with a few very skilled anglers and we were able to target some of the larger fish at a stream just on the other side of the low water crossing.  We landed several fish in the four to six pound range and had some great action mid-afternoon.  If you would like to experience the Blue River, log onto blueriverok.com.

 

Getting Started

If you are interested in getting involved with fly fishing, you should check out the Bass Pro Shops website and the Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World in Oklahoma City. Ok.

We look forward to seeing you in our store and as always, thank you for shopping Bass Pro Shops. Good luck on the water.

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Z-Man Lures Combining Durability with Fish-Catching Attraction

 By Ty Butler


Z-Man Lures

Z-Man Lures is a company that has been around for awhile, making excellent value-priced baits for bass fishing.  Their ElaZtech plastics are known for being the most durable on the market, and their Chatterbait created a whole new revolutionary style of fishing.  Now Z-Man is taking the world of saltwater lures by storm, making a series of inshore soft plastics that are shaking up a saltwater industry that had been dominated by just a handful of companies.

As one would expect, all of Z-Man's inshore saltwater baits are also made of the incredible ElaZtech material that can stretch out over 3 times it's normal length, and still spring back to perfect shape every time.  This translates to outstanding durability.  I have had many fishing trips where I have caught fish all day on one of these baits without even changing out my bait once!  The fact that you get this much durability is even more incredible when you find out that each bag is priced at only 3.99 USD!  A single bag of these baits can last for weeks of fishing trips!  ElaZtech is also neutrally buoyant, which means that when rigged with a light hook, it floats!

Z-Man's inshore saltwater series are infused and coated with the potent Pro-Cure Super Gel inshore scent, which we also offer in seperate bottles here at the Savannah Bass Pro Shops.  This scent is gel- and protein-based, not oil based like most attactant.  Oil based scents tend to wash off of your lure after a few casts.  However, Pro-Cure Super Gel stays on your lures for a long time.  From experience, I can say that this scent will result in more strikes and fish will hold onto the bait longer.  The addition of this scent in Z-Man's lures just increases their great value even more!

Z-Man Scented PaddlerZ

Z-Man Scented PaddlerZ

Their are several different bait styles offered by Z-Man in their saltwater series.  My favorite are the Scented PaddlerZ- a shad style bait with a boot tail.  It also features articulated slots on the sides that increase the wiggling action of this bait.  It has already proven to be an outstanding bait for redfish, seatrout, and flounder.  I like to rig these baits in two different ways: a 1/4 ounce jighead when fishing dropoffs, structure, or current, and a swimbait hook for weedless presentation when fishing marsh grass or oyster shells.  You can either retrieve it with a fast, darting action or a slow, steady wiggle.  I like the Bad Shad color for clear water or the Electric Chicken color for dirty water.

Z-Man Scented Jerk ShadZ

Z-Man Scented Jerk ShadZ

Another great bait is the Scented Jerk Shad, a fluke-style bait with a split tail.  I find this is an excellent bait to target redfish in the marsh grass or over oyster shells. I like to use either a swimbait hook or completely weightless with a Gamakatsu superline hook.  Either method will allow a weedless, snagless presentation.  See more about using this great bait in our Wade Routes article.  I prefer the same color selection as the PaddlerZ.

Z-Man Scented ShrimpZ

Z-Man Scented ShrimpZ

The Scented ShrimpZ are another great offering that have proven to be especially great for speckled trout.  These are the most durable shrimp baits on the market - no more bitten off legs!  These baits seem to work best when fished under a popping cork or bounced on the bottom with a carolina rig.  A 20 pound fluorocarbon leader works best, and under a cork I will attach a couple of split shot weights to keep the bait down.  I have had the most success with the natural and redbone colors.

Z-Man Diezel MinnowZ

Z-Man Diezel MinnowZ - Coming Soon!

A quick preview of one more bait from Z-Man coming to Bass Pro Shops this fall.  The Z-Man Diezel MinnowZ are 4 inch mud-minnow style paddletail baits.  They feature a recessed hook slot in the top of the bait to help keep it weedless.  Also, the soft ElaZtech material gives it an impressive thump on even a slow retrieve, and they come in a variety of baitfish-imitating colors.

Z-Man has definitely shaken things up in the saltwater inshore bait market.  These baits pack a lot of value with fish-catching attraction.  Stop by Bass Pro Shops in Savannah and check out the entire selection.  Our team can even give you tips to rig up and use these exciting baits.

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Wade Routes

By Ty Butler

 

Wade fishing on the Georgia Coast and the South Carolina Low Country is one of the best ways to access the marsh flats which redfish invade on a bimonthly basis.  Most tidal swings in the area average 6 to 7 feet, which is a large swing anywhere else on the Southeast coast.  However, for a few days around the new and full moons each month the tidal change can approach 10 feet or more.  Fishing for species such as seatrout, sheepshead, or flounder can be very problematic during big tidal changes.  These periods, called “spring” tides, flood the higher areas of the tidal flats where bottom predators can’t normally reach.  Redfish (locally known as spottail bass), invade these virgin areas in order to gorge themselves on fiddler crabs and shrimp.  This gives anglers a unique opportunity to sight fish for the premier inshore saltwater gamefish of the South.


Redfish on the flood tide

A beautiful Georgia redfish caught sight fishing.

 

There are some issues with accessing these areas.  Georgia and South Carolina marshes are mostly bottomed with soft, deep “pluff” mud, which is not only annoying to wade in, but can also be life threatening and has taken lives.  There are areas that are much safer, though, and luckily redfish flock to them.  Hard, sandy bottom can be found at the back of most saltwater creek systems, and this is exactly where reds go when the tide floods high.  I recommend that you scout for such areas at low tide before you start targeting fish when the grass floods.  There are several indicators you should look for in a redfish flat, but you need to know what to look for.

 

Coastal Georgia holds a winding maze of inland wetlands within its 100 straight miles that holds one third of all salt marsh on the entire Atlantic East Coast.  The Low Country of South Carolina and the First Coast of North Florida have similar ecosystems.  Most of this salt marsh is composed of smooth spartina cordgrass, which is very tall, thick, and re-grows each year.  It grows in the soft “pluff” mud which should be avoided if one wants to wade fish.  The best areas to look for are those with a compacted sand bottom with a species of short, scattered spartina grass known as “salt marsh hay”.  You can tell from afar that these areas look like “potholes” in the taller grass.  These are the types of areas that fiddler and ghost crabs burrow in large colonies and redfish love to target them.  Old timers will tell you that another plant to look for in a good redfish spot is a short, bright green edible plant known as “saltwort.”

 


A kayak is a perfect choice to attack the marsh flats.

 

Once you find a good spot with firm, safe wading bottom, you need to choose your approach.  There are a select few areas that are accessible by foot from dry land.  However, most areas will require a flats boat or kayak to access.  A flats boat can get you to far, remote areas- but a kayak can get you right up on the fish with a stealthy approach.    Some ambitious anglers combine both by using their boat as a mothership and launching their kayak within striking distance.  Either way, I like to get out of my vehicle and foot it into the enemy territory.  I find this is the most “ninja-like” approach and least likely to spook the fish.  For protection I do prefer to wear a full coverage, draining shoe, such as Sperry SON-R.  You never know when you might encounter a stingray or razor-sharp oyster shells.  For gear, I prefer a fairly long rod, 7 to 8 feet, with a 3000 or 4000 size spinning reel.  This will give you the longer cast you will want.  Braided line is a must as it will allow you to use 17 to 50 pound test line though it is a much smaller diameter.  This will give you much-needed line capacity and abrasion resistance in grass and shells.  I like to end it with a 15 to 25 pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader.  Fluorocarbon is even more abrasion resistant and is almost invisible underwater.  


So much marsh, so little time...

 

When you arrive on the marsh flat, you will only have a short window to go after the red battlers.  Most flats are only flooded an hour or two before and after high tide.  When the current starts to pull off the flat, redfish know they need to leave quickly.  I like to arrive about 3 hours before high tide and move back through the grass as it floods.  Even though time is short, you need to slow down and be observant.  Use polarized sunglasses, such as Costa del Mar and search for tails breaking the surface and slowly waving.  If the wind is blowing, this can be tricky- but look for anything that doesn’t move with the wind.  These are usually redfish grubbing around on the bottom in search of fiddler crabs and other crustaceans.

 

 

Z-Man Jerk Shad

 

When you spot a redfish, or a school, it is time to make a presentation.  With all the possibilities out there, I have a few select go-to lures.  When fly fishing I prefer Clouser Minnows or shrimp/crab patterns, like the redfish toad.  With conventional gear I almost exclusively use the scented Z-Man Jerk Shad or a weedless-rigged DOA Shrimp.  I buy DOA  baits in the money-saving body kits offered by BPS and hook them using a ⅛ ounce weighted-shank Gamakatsu swimbait hook.  I heavily scent all my baits using shrimp Pro-Cure Super Gel, which we offer at Bass Pro Shops in Savannah.  This scent is a gel-based concentrate that lasts all day and has proven results.

 

The most critical juncture when chasing redfish on the flat is when you make your cast.  If you are off my just couple of inches, you may spook the fish.  Take note of the direction the fish is moving, take account for the wind, and aim just beyond and ahead of the redfish.  When your bait lands, make just a couple of cranks to reel in the slack and pull the bait into the path of the fish.  Then just let the bait sit and hold your rod tip high.  If the fish attacks, you will see a swirl and feel weight through your rod tip.  Set the hook hard, because redfish have rubberlike lips and hard jaws.  If you are successful in your hookset, you will know quickly.

Attwood Folding Net

 

With a fish on, keep your rodtip high, but let your drag do the work.  Redfish, especially large ones, will take a very hard first run.  It will strip yards off the drag, but just let it run and use your rodtip to maintain its direction.  If the fish starts to near a thicker, taller patch of grass (which they all seem smart enough to do), then you should try directing it away or  slightly  tightening the drag.  If you are successful in stopping that first run, you are in good shape.  Reel the fish in, slowing down if the fish shakes its head or takes a secondary run.  I like to use a folding net to land the fish once it gets close.  Attwood makes an excellent net which folds up into a very compact package.

 

 

SpyPoint X-Cel Camera

 

Redfish can only be kept in this area within a slot limit.  In Georgia, they can only be kept in a slot between 14 to 23 inches with a 5 fish per day limit.  Similarly, in South Carolina they can only be kept 15 to 23 inches with a 3 fish per day limit.  A lot of fish caught on the flats, though, are above the slot limit.  Breeding-age fish 24 to 36 inches are often caught on the marsh flats before they move off the beaches.  I would hope that all these fish are released to secure the future of this amazing fishery.  Take a picture with your smart phone or use a video camera like the Spypoint X-Cel Sport or the GoPro Hero to capture the moment for the future.

 

The Southeast coast from the Low Country through the Coastal Empire, the Golden Isles, and into North Florida offers some unique opportunities to target redfish in an environment where they are particularly vulnerable.  Take some time to look ahead to the next new or full moon tide, and plan on visiting Bass Pro Shops to gear up for the next “red dawn” when the spottails invade the territory of the walking angler.

 

Some info provided by our friend Captain “Wild Bill” Jarrell- http://captainwildbill.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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