Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fishing and Weather

Much of the country is going through a number of these weird weather patterns and this may be causing the angler a little grief. With weather condition swings, from lots of rain to drought conditions, from cold temps to severely hot weather this will and does affect the angler consistently. But does this affect the fish that we seek as well? Chances are that it does and an angler will need to adjust their game plan when hitting the water in these changing conditions. By change we are looking at fishing all of the water column depths until those fish are found, shallow shoreline water to outside weed lines to the depths of deep water that is available. With some searching the angler will definitely start seeing the pattern that fish are using under certain conditions. Bait wise as well you will want to keep changing until the baits start coming productive and the fish again will let you know what they are looking for. By playing around with the water depths, bait choices and times of the day, fishing can still be productive in these ever changing conditions.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vacationing and Fishing

Many families, mine included, are out there traveling across the United States and enjoying the countryside while on their vacation. Many of us fish regularly in our home areas but don't think of doing that when they are on vacation. What a better opportunity to introduce your family to different types of fishing that you may never be able to experience in your home area. Recently we were down in Virginia camping on the Chesapeake Bay area and the saltwater fishing opportunities were right outside our door. We didn't experience any rod/reel fishing but spent a lot of our time crabbing from the piers. Crabbing is something that we had never experienced and even my 6 year old and also daughter really enjoyed trying their hands at this. If we wouldn't have tried the crabbing while we were there, none of us would have been able to experience a different way to fish. This is a prime example as to getting out there and enjoying what the local outdoor area has to offer you and this will also broaden your angling experiences.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vacationing July 19-26 2008

Summer time brings along with it family vacationing and we were fortunate to embark on our trip heading south. With camper hooked up and pointed in the southerly direction, Virginia was the destination and opportunities were waiting ahead of us. We were fortunate to be able to camp on the Chesapeake Bay and look out at the water from our camper. There was a totally different type of fishing going on there and one that I had found fascinating to sit and watch and learn the how’s and what’s to do to get some of these saltwater creatures.

The campground had some piers that allow the angler opportunities at fishing and crabbing without having a boat. From my observation I didn’t see anyone catching any saltwater fish from these piers and not really sure if they do much or not. The big draw for the angler here is the clamming and crabbing. We didn’t partake in any clamming but made several trips out to do the crabbing. Crabbing is something that all ages are able to do as my 6 year old son became quite the crabber fairly quickly.

There are a few ways that one can catch these blue crabs, a weighted string with a chicken neck tied on, throw out a crab pot and also a string basket laid on the bottom and lifted every so often to see if there are any crabs in the netting. Many crabs were caught but the legal size had to be 5 inches and these were hard to come by for us. Between 6 of us and a few trips out we were only able to catch 3 legal crabs and they are still swimming in the bay. Unfortunately we were unable to catch enough to try these tasty little morsels but that is part of fishing that we all go through.

All in all it was a good vacation, to hot for me, but the kids were able to swim in the ocean which was warmer than they are use to in New England. The drive there was long but we were able to see parts of the country that none of us had seen before. Camping with the family is a great way to stay in touch with your kids and we always look forward to our next trip.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Fishing July 17 2008

The fishing during my lunches, this weeks fishing trips have not been much to talk about as I am having problems finding a bass no matter where I have been trying. The lake that I frequent during lunch, I have not had the same success as last year and not quite sure what is going on there. The weeds are growing and not having a problem finding those and fishing them. The only major difference that I am seeing so far is that the water levels are 2-3 feet higher than they were last season and this is the only thing that I can think of contributing to the tough bites but maybe the forage isn’t there as well, don’t know.

I needed to get some bites so I put the bass gear down and went over to my ice fishing pond in search of panfish. Made my long walk around a good portion of the lake and armed with my ultralite with an orange/yellow T.H.E. Jig, wasn’t long and a few small sunfish were being caught. The size definitely wasn’t there and kept casting around trying to find better sizes until I hooked some wood and ended up breaking the line. Tied on a blue/yellow T.H.E. Jig and the bites started picking up better than the previous color. Was getting long into my time to be there and started walking back and stopped at one other spot that I never catch fish at. Casted over towards the overhanging branches and bang, the first nice sunfish came in. Casted back again, bite after bite and then it started dying down. After a number of sunfish and better sized ones at that, I figured I better get going as the action was going away. Just before leaving the water’s edge I was going to make a cast at one more spot until I seen a big black snake lying right next to the water and then that concluded my fishing for the day. All in all once changing the colors, the bites came in and actually a spot turned on that usually hasn’t produced.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Deep Water Bassin, Carolina Style

Any bass angler out there knows that if they want to catch bass that they can go and pound the shoreline and put a decent limit together. By hitting wood, rocks and docks along the shoreline this will and does put fish in the boat and at certain times nice ones at that. But what if you would like to upgrade those sizes of fish to larger sized that may be a little more consistent than the bank runners.

Instead of facing the shoreline take a step back and turn around and tell me what you see. There is a vast amount of water out there and it is very intimidating to a number of anglers that their comments will be “where do I start”. Fishing deep water for bass isn’t really that much different if you sit down with a good map and plan out your attack and you will quickly find that it is very similar to what you were doing along the shoreline.

When fishing shoreline you are fishing targets along that shoreline and when you turn to deep water, it is very similar. We don’t just go out there into deep water and start casting at will but will concentrate on features and objects that we will locate with the maps and electronics that we have. Things that are concentrated on in deep water are humps, grass beds, ridges, or anything that is a little different that breaks up the bottom content either structurally or depth wise.

The depth of deep water means different things to every angler and body of water that you fish and this is what we consider deep water. Normally I fish depths from 8 to 12 feet of water and will fish sunken islands down to the 25 foot depths as well. There is a lake that I fish in central New Hampshire that is fished down to 40 feet of water in grassbeds in our search of smallmouth bass but this is a very clear lake as well.

Now that we have the deep water somewhat defined, the approach that we use the most often for fishing this deep water is using the Carolina rig. The Carolina rig allows me to cover vast amounts of water and by doing this it is also exposing my bait to more fish. The Carolina rig is a plastic bait technique that requires a few components to build this up. The components consist of a weight, followed by 2 glass beads, followed by a swivel tied to the line. Next we tie another piece of fishing line with a 3/0 to 4/0 hook tied to this tag end.

Main fishing line is usually 10-12 pound test with the tag leader of 8 pound test. The 8 pound test allows the bait to move more freely through the water and more natural looking. The length of the tag leader varies from 12-36 inches long and the bottom content dictates this length variety. Shorter leaders are better for working the bait through thicker weeds while longer leaders are great for sparse weeds or no weeds at all. Weight wise down to 20-25 feet of water use a ¼ oz sinker unless it is extremely windy then maybe a 5/16 oz. For 35 feet and more typically a ½ oz weight is sufficient and this in only needed to be able to get to those depths much more quickly and to keep you more in contact with your bait.

Now that the depths are covered as well as the technique, let’s take a look at the approach that works well for us. Typically anglers are afraid to throw the Carolina rig into weeds and that is the first thing that you will need to get away from. After you have fished in the weeds for a while you will understand how to work the rig through the weeds and also learn the differences in the feel between weeds and a fish biting. There may be times that you get hung up and lose some tackle but the fish that you are going to catch will definitely make up for that.

Once we have looked at our maps and found some promising looking areas, sunken islands, ridges, irregular bottom contours as well as different bottom content, weeds are what we are looking for in these areas. Not so much the thickest weeds that are there, but at times that is what we are looking for, but more of the edge and what is going on at the weed edge.

More of an explanation here: weeds only grow so deep and depending on how far the sunlight goes down determines how deep the weeds and edges are. The areas that I am looking for are where the thick weed edges end and from there out into the deeper waters. The tops of the structure areas will have thick weeds that if fished slowly with the Carolina rig you will be able to get through them. But where the heavy edges end, this is our high percentage area.

What we are talking about is that there is always a weed edge or front line and fish use these heavier weeds as ambush areas. But from this front edge out into deeper water the weeds themselves get thinner as the water gets deeper and bigger fish use this zone in their search for food. This is what is called a transition area and baitfish use transition areas all the time in their movements and feeding. The bigger dominant fish in the area know this as well and are positioned or are cruising this transition area ritually searching for prey. These transition areas will have smaller and sparser weeds here and you will definitely feel this with your bait as you are working it through.

So how do I get setup to fish this type of structure area from the boat? Typically find where the edge of a specific piece of structure is and where that drops off into the deeper surrounding water. Position the boat back more on top of the structure so that the sparse edges are out in front of you and not under you. Anchoring will help immensely if there is wind or also if you find an area that is holding numbers of fish.

With the boat positioned on top of a so called hump, cast your Carolina rig out into the deeper water. Let it fall to the bottom before doing anything else and then your concentration level will need to strengthen. Move the rig only about 6 inches at a time back towards the boat, as the slowness of fishing this is the key to your success. You probably won’t feel anything transmitted through your fishing rod at this point, but as you work the bait back towards the boat you will feel that first contact with those outer sparse weeds.

At this point you really need to start focusing on what your line and fishing rod are telling you and this will give you an idea as to how much sparse weeds are there and where the thicker weed edge is starting. Also be ready at all times as in this transition area the fish are cruising and will be picking your bait up at any time. What is happening here is that fish position themselves in these locations as they know that the prey are coming out of the deeper water to find food and cover.

After you have worked through that transition area you will still need to get the bait through the thicker weed edge and top as well. Slowly work your bait through these thicker weeds as well all the way back to the boat because until you get an idea as to how the fish are using these areas, a bite can come at any time. You will definitely start feeling and understanding the differences between weeds and a fish biting and won’t be long and the fish are going to be caught as well.

Many anglers are not going to be fishing these depths of waters and if you can get your confidence levels to work to your advantage in these situations, you have opened up a whole new area of fishing possibilities. This is a technique that I have been employing for a number of years and the size of the fish are much more to my liking. One thing though, is your numbers of fish will probably go down and if you like numbers this may not be for you. But if you don’t mind not getting the numbers but rather quality is more to your liking, then you definitely want to give this a try.

Once you have the feel for this approach, you will be able to take this into different areas of a particular body of water and search out similar type of structures there as well. Some of these remote deeper areas are very under fished as well as some of these fish may have never seen a bait in their life. The best structures and areas are going to harbor the biggest fish and after using this for a while, you will understand these areas and will be able to be more consistent in your size of fish caught going forward.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Plastics, Are They All The Same

When people think of bass fishing baits, there is always one that comes to mind in every angler's arsenal, the plastic bait. When walking into a tackle store and you stroll over to the section that has the wide array of plastic baits hanging there, an angler can be overwhelmed by all of the selections. This angler used to do that and never could decide which brand to go to and they would never have the bait that I would be looking for.

Since those days I have gone away from the tackle store selections and to another bait manufacturer that I feel produces the best plastics for the money. This company is BearPaws Hand Poured Baits and I have been associated with them for the last few years and their plastic baits are the only ones that are fished in my boat. Do these baits produce more fish than other baits, they all have their time and place but what these baits offer is something different from the run of the mill plastic bait.

Most plastic baits are mass produced and the plastic material can be a little harder than I like. BearPaws Baits are all hand poured with the best plastic materials and when these are hand poured they are much softer to the touch. When a fish picks these baits up that softness alerts the fish that this feels lifelike and they will hold on longer for that hookset. Being these are hand poured there is a natural floatation in each bait that when rigged on a hook or jig, the tail will float up making the bait look as if they were feeding along the bottom similar to a baitfish.

Another feature that you won't find anywhere else is that these are also poured with the MegaStrike Formula, fortified in each bait made and if you are familiar with fish attractants, MegaStrike is an advanced formula that was developed with the Amino Acids that fish look for in their prey. So with the hand poured and the MegaStrike in these baits, the fish that pick these up will hold onto these baits a little longer than normal plastic baits.

BearPaws Baits are offering a number of bait variations numbering around 30 variations to allow the angler to meet whatever situation or bait they are looking for. One other feature that is being offered these days as well is the bait's fall rate through the water column. There are three varieties that you can choose from: floating, slow fall and a faster fall rate. This is another advantage that you are not going to find on the over the counter baits. Color selection is second to none with over a 100 available and if the color that you are looking for is not there, let BearPaw know and they will developed that color you seek.

Aside from BearPaws Baits plastic selection they also offer a hook selection to match with their product list. Another new item that has come out is their Jighead Lineup that has the screw lock feature molded into the head to help secure your bait to the jig itself. These jigs are offered in a wide variety of colors as well and are a nice addition to the BearPaws Baits.

I have been using these for at least 3 seasons now and only fish with the BearPaws Baits. The softness, the wide array of styles, color selection second to none and an attractant embedded into each bait, BearPaws Baits have a bait for any and all anglers out there fishing in my opinion. You can check these baits out at and see for yourself.

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SaltWater or FreshWater

Living here on the East Coast there is always a dilemma in what types of waters to fish when we are able to get out. I have freshwater lakes within 25 minutes of where I live as well as saltwater fishing within the same time frame from my home. I try the saltwater from time to time but just haven't given it a real opportunity to prove itself as a viable way to catch fish. Being from the Midwest freshwater fishing flows through my veins and more times than not that is what I will do when heading to the water. Need to really start forcing myself to spending more time fishing the saltwater varieties of fish since they are so close and handy for doing that. The areas that I can get to are prime spots north of Boston and there shouldn't be any reason for not giving it a whirl. But I just can't seem to get myself to do that as I know that if I were to fish freshwater there will be some fish caught as opposed to saltwater that the fish have not come to my bait as of late. It looks like I just need to get out there and do it and put the freshwater on hold for a little while especially now that we are into the hot summer time of the year. It definitely is much cooler fishing the ocean front as opposed to sitting on the lake which is good in the hot days. My dilemma will continue on and keep watching here as maybe the saltwater fishes will start showing their faces a little more often.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Fishing July 13 2008

I woke to a very strong wind that was on the face of the slowly approaching front and time to head for the lake in search of fish. There are three lakes fairly close to my house that I fish regularly with these rising gas prices keeping me near home. One had a tournament going on and was not going to go there, the other gets very busy early in the morning with water skiers and also I have a tough time there in the summer as opposed to spring and fall. So I went to the third lake which is a small body of water that usually only a couple of boats out there at a time. The water color here is very dark and a majority of the weed growth only goes out about 5 feet of water. The shoreline is what most anglers’ fish when fishing this lake and I started doing the same. After a short time I decided that I was going to do something different that I wanted to do there but never did. There is a ridge that runs down the center of the lake and I decided that I am going to spend my time fishing that and see if I can dig some bigger fish up. The top gets to about 6 feet of water and drops off of each side fairly quickly with a little vegetation as well as gravel and rock on the upper portion. I had to fight the wind the whole time that I was on the lake and it was coming from different directions consistently. Was tough staying on this ridge but did manage to do it enough to find a fish. I was casting a Carolina rig with a BearPaws French Fry bait with a 2 foot leader. I would make the casts over the top of the ridge and off of the other side and this would allow me to bring the bait up the side of the ridge and then over the top and a little down the other side before it was back to the boat. Definitely could tell that there were rocks down there and at one point that feeling felt a little different and set the hook. The fish took off for deep water and I had to hang on and let this fish wear it-self out. This was a nice 2.5 pound largemouth and of course now I had it in my mind that this was the ticket and finally something worked out the way that I had planned it. Unfortunately there weren’t anymore caught from this area as well as a few other similar areas I had tried as well. This was another experience that I will be keeping in the back of my mind for similar situations on different bodies of waters that I can employ in this summer time of year.
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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Listen OutDoors

While laying in bed this early morning with the windows open I was listening to the activity outside of my window. The birds were very active this particular morning and they were singing their songs like there was no tomorrow. In the outdoors when the creatures of the wild are very active as they were this morning, this to me means only one thing, the fish are probably as active as the other creatures outside. What I mean by this is that if the birds and animals are active around you, there is a good possibility that the fish we seek are going to be active as well. If you were to go outside and hear or see no activity around you, the fish probably are going to be inactive as well. I tend to try and use this information when I have a fishing outing planned but today is not one of those days as there are other things that need to be done before I am able to hit the water. Hopefully when I wake tomorrow I will be hearing as much activity then as I do now and this will get me very excited as I head to the lake. I am always wondering if other anglers see this same situation and would be interested in hearing those stories as well.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Where are the fish

As anyone that knows that follows this blog, we do a lot of fishing during the week during lunch break. I am fortunate to have a couple bodies of waters nearby to do this but the one lake in particular has been tough on me this year so far. The spring fishing never really got started but we did catch a nice one here and there but not the numbers from past years there. Now I am starting to see the same thing as summer has set in and the deep area that did so well last year has not produced a fish yet. Granted that the water levels are still a couple of feet higher than last and not sure if this is affecting them or what. I will continue searching for these fish and if they are not going to cooperate, then I option out and go to another pond and try there for panfish. Haven't been to either the last couple of weeks so I am out of touch as to what these fish are doing but hopefully soon I will start connecting with them once again. The weekend is here and time to get the boat out once again and try other waters and hopefully the results will be better. Good fishing to all you anglers out there and hope you catch that big one you are searching for.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Careful in Boat

As more and more families are taking to the waters these summer days, families are enjoying fishing together as well. Many times there are numbers of people in the boat and when it comes time to go fishing it can and will be a little crowded. Fishing with kids is a thrill but when fishing in a boat with others, they need to be reminded to watch their fishing rod and baits when casting. By having them turn their head and watch their bait behind them at all times as well as the rod itself, this will save the situation of somebody getting hooked or possibly hurt. By teaching them this early in their angling career, this will build a conscience angler that will follow them through their adult life as well.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fishing July 4 2008 Vacation Week

Summer season is finally here and vacation time comes along with that and camping and fishing go hand in hand. This year’s vacation was a little different than usual as my parents had come to visit for the week and spent it camping with us. Was very nice for them to actually have good week weather wise for a change on their visits and everyone had enjoyed their time. From the reports that I was hearing the fish were definitely in the biting mood for a change on this lake. This particular lake has been a tough fishery the last 2-3 years since the heavy rains that had water logged New Hampshire around three years ago. The vegetation definitely looks to be back to normal which is a good sign as the recent years those particular weeds were non-existent except for the long stringy grass. Didn’t take us long to locate fish in our normal spots finally once again and as we were all catching bass, the trend was starting to form and the size was all the same. Of all the bass that we had caught they were all 2 pound cookie cutters and we were unable to locate anything larger than that. We had a number of broken lines on the hook-set and that always keeps you wondering as well as to what that fish was. I did catch a couple on a crankbait again this year but that was not the dominate bite as it was last season. The patterns that formed were working the weed edge and into the weed bank itself with Texas rigged plastics as well as Carolina Rigs worked through the weeds. There was no particular plastic bait that out shown any other and we were constantly changing baits as we went along. The beginning of the week was much better than the middle and then the end it started to pick up better once again. The stormy days were much more productive than any other and the days that were calm and sunny were very tough to fish. All in all it was a great week and now that vacation is over and we are back to work once again.

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