Fishing

Lots of great info out there for finding and catching those big bass and tons of crappie at the beginning of the year.  Well here is some more!

Bass:

Pre spawn: When water temps start hitting high 40s to mid 50s bass get triggered into the feed up for spawn.  Flukes, swim baits, flat sided cranks, and medium profile swim jigs are all great choices for this time of year.  Bass are aggressively feeding up and sitting on structure near sandy bottom flats, as the temps climb closer to the mid 50s start looking for males building beds in 4-8′ of water. Once you locate the males fish a little further from shore near grass beds and structure in 10-15′ of water for those large egg heavy females.

Spawn: Throw swim baits, creature baits, and brightly colored soft plastics Slightly past the beds and work them in sticking close to the bottom.  It may take some time to get a bite, but there is the potential for some monster bass.  Make sure you release the fish quickly so it can return to the bed to do its part to keep the bass stocked in your favorite honey hole!

Post spawn: Even after sitting on the beds and not eating it will take the fish a while to get back into hunting mode.  Reaction baits like spinners, cranks, and top water baits are going to be your best bet!

Crappie:

Pre spawn: Usually occurring in mid to late February when water temps hit the lower 40s these sight feeding fish are going to be all over twitching jigs and live minnows, look for mid depth to deep brush or rock piles.  just remember sometimes you have to catch all the little ones to land those monsters!

Spawn: Much like bass, crappie love those sandy bottoms to build their beds in, however crappie are a bit more open to having a good snack on while on the bed, though they won’t travel far from the beds to do it.  Bright colored jigs and small shiny spoons will work wonders for you!

Post spawn: Crappie don’t have the same cool off period as bass and will be right back to aggressive feeding on their way to some deeper water after spawn.  small rattle traps, cranks, spoons, brightly colored jigs, and live bait are sure to land you a ton of voracious crappie.

When most people think about fishing they think warm spring and summer days with lots of sunshine and a cool breeze, but a true angler fishes all year round and reaps the rewards.  During the winter months it is easier to find large schools of fish and with the right bait you can nail some monsters.  Winter time is great for Blue Cat (Mississippi whites)  they are easier to find and being opportunistic feeders you can usually tempt them to bite in the first 30 minutes.

 

Blue cat tend to find deep channels and holes with easy access to feeding grounds when the temperature in the lake gets really low. Like all other fish species they are cold blooded so they don’t want to use a lot of energy to get a meal so having a good knowledge of where to find them in your home lake is a big key to a successful day on the water.  Look along dams, old river and creek channels, and deep holes near flats and points.

Bait is the second part of that, the big ones aren’t going to move to come get a 1″x1″ chunk of bait, use hole shad or 2″x4″ chunks of frozen cut bait.  The bigger the meal the farther they will move to eat it.  Now we aren’t saying that you are guaranteed to reel in a monster cat with every cast but knowing what to throw and where will definitely increase your chances of hooking into one!

Third key to winter time fishing is to keep yourself comfortable, you wont have the patience to find the fish if you are cold, hungry, or thirsty.  So keep stocked with warm drinks, clothes, and a nice supply of snacks while you are out searching for that monster bite!

It’s cold, the water is cold, you are cold, and the bass are cold.  To a lot of anglers it is the end of the fishing season. Winter time bass fishing is for those truly passionate anglers that want to hook into their personal best and have the tenacity to endure the slow winter bite and bone chilling temps.

First of all, bass are cold blooded and their metabolism will slow drastically as the water temps drop into the 50s and below.  They won’t want to waste a lot of energy chasing fast moving prey and sometimes even prey that isn’t going to make a good meal.

Throw those big baits, crank them slowly across the bottom, let them sit and soak, and generally make them a slow appetizing dish for a big bass.  Six inch swim baits, big creature baits on Carolina rigs, chatter baits and jigs with big bulky trailers, and lipless cranks bounced off the bottom are all great choices.  Nothing in the water during the cold winter months will be moving really fast or making a huge racket very often so slow quiet baits are going to be your wheel house.

Don’t get discouraged, the bite will be slow. You may only get one or two bites a day, but they will be worth it.  You may end up with the fight of your life as you crank in that 10 lb  behemoth.

On the opposite end of the spectrum there will be days where the bas are going to love small finesse baits just like they do during spawn.  Ned rigs, drop shots, micro Carolina rigs, finesse jigs, and weightless Texas rigs can bring you some amazing bites during those frosty months, especially if the temps have been a little higher than usual and the shallows gain a few degrees of warmth in the late afternoons.

So keep those rods and reels out and ready, bring out the big baits and the teensy baits, and see which ones the bass in your lakes prefer!

Fly fishing a river

Let’s face it, fishing a river is different than fishing a lake. The reality is, in all water systems fish will act very much the same, give or take a few adaptations. Battling the constant current, eddies and slack water are all unique to river fishing and make the experience both fun and challenging for fisherman of all skill levels.