Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Get the Ice Gear Ready

As fall fades away to winter, the open water season is coming towards an end but not quite yet. For those that are still venturing onto the open waters, there are still fish to be caught. Sure it is getting a little harder to get out there and the weather is getting cooler, but a little preparation will go a long ways in these cooler fall days. Panfish are a great choice of fish to chase as they can be found fairly easily and give a great fight. Many fishers target panfish in the winter months and why not enjoy today catching them as well. This time of year will also allow you to use your ice fishing gear and that is another point at getting ready for the ice season ahead. Take advantage of these fall days of fishing as many other fishers out there are missing out as they are waiting for the ice.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fishing November 9 2009

When the heat comes to New England especially when we are into November, with the air temps at 70 degrees, how can you not want to hit the water and search for a few fish? Got the kayak ready and loaded a couple of things into the truck and headed for a close pond for a couple of hours of fishing.

This time of year it is time to start getting into the mode for ice fishing and breaking out the ice fishing rod/reel combo and the Vexilar flasher to do some vertical jigging. The air temps were around 70, with this comes a fairly stiff breeze to deal with and the waters vacated of any sign of human life and this gives me the solitude of having the lake to myself.

With a couple of hours, panfish were the targets for this outing and searching for sunfish and crappies is always exciting at this lake. These fish are not the biggest compared to other waters, but being close to home, the numbers are definitely there. There is one deep hole in this lake that I fish mainly when fishing here and usually never fails in catching some fish.

Luckily the area that I wanted to fish was protected to a point from the shoreline trees and the wind wasn’t too tough to fish today. Once getting to the area I turn on the flasher and start paddling around and looking for fish on the screen. Doesn’t take long before they are located and lowering the anchor so that I can work this area without getting blown away.

Today’s bait choice was to be a pink/purple colored T.H.E. Jig with a couple of small split shot above it to get down deeper a little more quickly. Water depths were in the 18 foot range and the most active fish were suspended at around 15 feet. The suspending fish were much more active then the lookers that would come off of the bottom.

Didn’t take long and the first crappie came to the surface and so did many more after that. A few sunfish were caught as well but they were on the small side. The last couple of seasons have noticed that the crappies on this lake have been a small side with average sizes of 9 inches are the most common.

By watching the flasher this allows me to see how the fish are relating to my bait presentation and also lets me know when the fish were ready to bite. By fishing vertically just like we do in the winter months, this practice gets us ready for the ice season ahead. This was the first trip in the kayak this fall with many more to come and today there was 17 crappies, 2 sunfish and a perch caught.

This abnormal warm weather makes it very hard not to take advantage of wetting a line and hopefully there will be many more days like this as well. I am very ready for the ice season ahead and can’t wait to walk and fish on hard water once again.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fishing October 27

This week weather wise here in New England is going to be a roller coaster ride to say the least. Monday was a beautiful day with near 60 for air temps, Tuesday and Wednesday a storm system moving through and cooler and windy temps. Thursday and Friday back to beautiful fall weather to finish the week off.

I had one day to fish this week and Tuesday was the day with cool temps, lurking storm center lurking overhead and light winds to start and picked up in the late morning. Air temps to start were 36 degrees and steam rising off of the water is always something that I enjoy seeing while out fishing.

The big boat has been put away for the winter and this trip marks the excursions out in the kayak to some of the smaller lakes and ponds. This time of year I generally start switching over to panfish and fishing with my ice gear in the kayak, but wanted to give a smallmouth lake a try today as well as some of the big crappies that swim in the lake.

This lake has been drawn down 6-8 feet already and kind of makes the lake quite a bit smaller when they do that. My objective today was to fish deep water and look for suspending fish there. Concentrated in water depths from 25 to 30 feet of water and as long as the winds hold off should be able to hover in these depths.

I usually fish with my Vexilar and hang the transducer over the side and then using my ice fishing gear, vertical jig for the fish that I seek. This lake has a good mixture of fish with crappies, perch, large and smallmouth bass swimming in some decent sizes as well. When vertical fishing for these species I generally use the Salmo Chubby Darter and bring along a selection of various colors.

First area I started in 28 feet of water and had fish marked on the flasher fairly quickly but more lookers than any takers. I am finding over the seasons that if the fish are locked to the bottom, they will generally come up and look, but don't like to commit. I hovered around this area for a little while before paddling off to the next spot.

In the open water fishing that I have done here, I generally stay on one side of the lake and wanted to make sure today that I would get to the other side to try. So that was where I was headed. While paddling there I would keep my eyes on the flasher and watch for suspending fish as these generally are more aggressive fish.

Arrived where I wanted to hit and wasn't long and a fish came flying off of the bottom and slammed the bait. Fight was on and you never know what you are going to bring up but to my surprise the first fish was a nice 14" crappie. These crappies are not as long as they should be but some have thick backs to make up for that. Worked around this area for a while but couldn't seem to find another crappie.

Moved out a little deeper and then another flash came flying up to take a look at my bait and slam, another fish on the hook. Couldn't tell what this one was either and when the fish surfaced a nice 2 pound largemouth was thrashing on the waters surface. Was feeling pretty good now and figured that as long as the wind wasn't blowing to much yet I was going to work this area over.

I moved over to some irregular bottom features and the screen lit up like a Christmas tree and the fishing rod loaded right up for a strong battle. While fighting this fish you could definitely tell that this one was going to be a smallmouth and it did not want to come up or give up the fight. Was a lot of fun catching this 2.5 pound smallie on my ice gear and this gets me pumped up for the coming ice season.

The wind was starting to pick up and fished a little longer around this area and caught another small largemouth bass. Moved back across the lake to try and get out of the ever building wind but wasn't able to find any activity in this location.

Pulled the plug before noon and for the 2-2.5 hours out there, wasn't a bad day with a crappie, smallmouth and 2 largemouth bass. All in all felt good to be on the water again and if I can find another day that the winds are laid down, I want to go back out there and try and find more of these fish.

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