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The Halloween Bite Is On!

October 31, 2008

Fishing on the Susquehanna River was scary good this week. The fish came out for a treat and anglers showed them a trick. George Acord at Susquehanna Fishing Tackle ( told us that the fall bite was in full swing. He said that water temperatures are in the low-50s and the water is rising into optimal range at 17000 CFS. “The smallmouth are aggressive,” he said, reporting that fish averaging 3 pounds are striking at anything that moves. George says that the most popular baits are a Bill Norman and Bandit crankbaits that dive 4 to 8 feet. Catching smallmouths with a jerkbait is a no brainer, George says, recommending Lucky Crafts Pointer 100 in ghost minnow and chartreuse. “We’re catching good quality fish on jerkbaits,” he said. On cloudy days with light wind, George says that the smallies are crushing topwaters. “We’ve been catching fish to 4 pounds on Lucky Craft Sammys,” he said. The bass go into hiding on bright sunny days, but George will tempt them with a tube jig on a 1/8 ounce leadhead and 8 pound test fluorocarbon. While the water level is high, he looks for fish hanging around islands and in the main river shorlines. When the level goes back down, the fish will move to submerged rock ledges. “The dam is open and the fish are going off,” he said, “this is our favorite time of year.” 

SoutheastAtlanta anglers are getting a nice treat for Halloween this year—the delayed harvest sections of the Chattahoochee River will open to fishing on November 1. Paul Puckett at Fish Hawk ( told us that the sections of the river that run through downtown Atlanta will be stocked and ready for fishing on Saturday. He recommends using a parachute Adams dry fly with a nymph dropper. “All the access points are hot,” he says, “because that’s where they dump the fish.”  If the easy spots are too crowded, Paul suggests anglers sneak off to the deeper drops along the river that will hold more fish and fewer fishermen. “Fishing should be good until the fish smarten up,” he said.  Anglers who want to leave town for the weekend should head up to Toccoa River and fish below the dam or at Curtis Switch Road or Horseshoe Bend. Paul says that the water is off color due to the Blueridge Lake switching over, so anglers should use Adam dry flies or streamers. He says that the Nantahala River in North Carolina would also be a great destination for a weekend getaway. “If I could go somewhere this weekend,” he said, “that’s where I’d go.” 

SouthBass fishing is serious business around Tulsa, Oklahoma and this week business is good. Jack Kitchen at Okie Bait and Tackle in Broken Arrow reports that bass fishing has been excellent in Grand, Gibson, and Hudson Lakes. He said that the best baits have been soft plastics, square-bill crankbaits, and spinner baits. “A soft plastic worms on a Carolina rig with a ¾ ounce eggsinker has been the ticket,” he said. Jack reported that anglers are intercepting bass that are chasing shad in the back creeks and on secondary points. He added that guys are catching big cats on the flats in the mainlakes close to creek channels with chunks of shad. Smallmouth are also snapping on crankbaits, spinners, and Senkos at Lake Tenkiller. “Look for the fish hanging on chunk rocks,” he said. Jack didn’t forget about crappies, he said that they are on all the structure in the lakes taking minnows.

MidwestIt seems that all of the kids in costumes have scared away the fish on the western shore of Lake Erie. Or maybe it was the persistent offshore winds that have pushed the water and fish out of Maumee Bay. Not to fear, according to Jackie Mainzinger at Fisherman’s Cave (, the walleye and perch have just moved around the bend to Bolles Harbor and Luna Pier. She said that anglers casting Bombers off the end of the pier at night have been connecting with some nice-sized walleye. The perch are falling for spreaders, she said. “When the wind stop blowing, the water and fish will return,” Jackie assured us. She recommends anglers fish Turtle Island and the Toledo Harbor Lights with Bombers and blade baits.

WestAnglers in Central California are waiting for cooler weather to fire up the trout in local lakes. Until then, they are taking advantage of great bass fishing. Eric Mathiesen at Been There Caught That, reported that anglers dragging rubberworms with a Carolina rig or throwing spinner baits to the banks and structure are scoring double digit catches of largemouth. Once the water temperatures drop below 60 degrees, locals will switch to trolling spinners and Krocodile spoons and triple teasers. On the saltwater scene, Eric reported good fishing for rock cod and ling cod out of Point San Lois. He suggests taking one of the local headboats for some rock cod action before the season ends on November 30. Eric has been targeting big sharks from Pismo and Gaviota piers. “That’s one of my favorite places to fish,” he said.—Ric Burnley

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Recent News

  • October 10, 2008

    The Weekend Bite--10/10-3



    The striper bite is going off on Montauk. “It’s been a great season,” reports Susan Jappell at Paulies Bait and Tackle www. pauliestackle. com.  She told us that surf anglers are experiencing blitzes every day. “The best action has been on the north of the lighthouse,” she told us, “but no one will tell us exactly where the fish are. ” She did know that the fish have been caught on Pimple Poppers during the day and live eels at night. Earlier in the week, Willie Young whacked a 52-pound bass with a bottle plug to take first place in the Montauk Local Surfcasters Tournament. Several other anglers have landed fish that made them eligible for Paulie’s 40-pound club. Jack Yee (www. jackyee. com) added that the bass blitzes occur at a different location each day and anglers must predict where and when the fish will hit to get in on the action. He said that locations like the Bluff, Oyster Point, Shagwon, Westside Jetty, Turtle Cove, Town Beaches and Hither Hill to Deadman have been good locations. “The local sharpies play roadrunner chasing the bass and birds all day,” he said.   

    Fall is a fantastic time to fish the backwaters of the South East. Amy Golden at Tybee Island Bait and Tackle reported that sheepshead fishing has been good around the jetties and bridge pilings. She said the fish are looking for a small piece of fiddler crab on a size 1 live bait hook and a Carolina rig with a 2-ounce eggsinker. Speckled trout fishing has also been good on Ocean Pier, in the South Channel and around Little Tybee Island. These fish will fall for a live shrimp, but Amy says that a Berkley Gulp! on a ¼ ounce jighead will also work. Redfish action is also hot. The big bulls are in the ocean sucking up chunks of cut mullet while the smaller reds are thick in the creeks taking Berkley Gulp! Shrimp, DOA shrimp or natural shrimp.  Amy has seen some king mackerel come to the scales this week, but the fishing hasn’t been read hot. Both inshore and offshore fishing should pick up this fall, she said. Boats fishing out of Charleston are thick into the sailfish this week. They are releasing double digits of sails in 200 feet of water with ballyhoo rigged on a circle hook. The fish will only be there for a short time, so get on the bite while the getting is good! 

    This is a great time to head to New Orleans for some rest, relaxation, and great fishing. From Hook and Line Tackle in New Orleans, Anthony Macaluso had news that speckled trout and redfish action has fired up at Delagux, Shell Beach and Hopedale. Guys are using Gulp!, Bass Assassin’s or DOA shrimp under a popping cork to catch the trout. Anthony suggests putting the bait on a ¼ ounce jig head and hanging it 3 feet under a cork.   He suggests anglers look for the trout on points and oyster bars in the marshes adding that the key to finding specks is finding moving water.   Folks fishing the lakes are finding trout under diving birds while the reds are hanging on the grasslines at the edge of the marsh. “You’ll see the water moving with live shrimp,” he says, “that’s where the reds will be. ” Offshore action has been slow due to bad weather, but Anthony expects the boats to find good numbers of tuna, wahoo, grouper, and snapper around the oil rigs off Venice and the Chandelier Islands.   

    With cooler weather and shorter days, fishing in the upper Midwest has really turned on. Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports in Chicago declared the Illinois River red hot this week. He said that water level has receded and the white bass are hitting minnows on a jig or live bait rig. “The secret to the bite is to keep the bait moving,” he said. Steve suggests fishing the inlets, creek mouths, bridges, and shallow sand beds from Hennipen to Starved Rock Dam. “Anywhere the water is moving and turning and the fish can ambush live bait,” he explained. Salmon and steelhead are also on the feed this week. Joseph Meyer at One More Cast Fly Shop reported that the fish are running up the tributaries of Lake Michigan on the Milwaukee River and Sheboygan River. He suggests swinging large streamers in orange and black with 8-weight  rods and floating line. “Low light conditions are the best,” he said. Joseph said that smallmouth are cooperating in the Fox River. He recommends using larger flies up to a size 2 to catch the biggest smallies. “We haven’t had three stable days of weather in a row,” Joseph complained, “every 18 hours we get a cold front passing through.” When the fish have lockjaw, Joseph recommends working the fly super slow to entice them to bite.   

    Bob Cassidy at Anglers Arsenal outside San Diego told us that the salt water fishing has been good for yellowfin tuna. He said that the fish are scattered, with most of the action coming south of the Mexican border. Once anglers find the tuna they can catch limits of fish by trolling feathers or casting live anchovies to kelp beds. Freshwater fishing has also been good. Since San Vicente Reservoir is closed while the water department rebuilds the dam, anglers have to find other places to fish. Bob says that the best options are to fish El Capitan or Otay Reservoir. He suggests using drop shot worms in the deeper water or throwing a topwater plug early in the morning. “We’re selling a lot of Spro frogs,” he says, “so that’s an indication of the hot bait. ”  Bob adds that a 4 to 8 inch Huddleston, Spro, swimbaits has also been a big seller. “You don’t get as many bites on the bigger baits,” he says, “but the fish you catch will be bigger. ” Bob said that Roland Martin was filming a show about the Spro baits a few weeks ago on Vale Lake. “He would be talking about the bait and get a bite in one shot,” Bob said, “it was kind of neat. ”

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  • October 2, 2008

    The Weekend Bite—10/3-1



    Blackfish season opened up this week, and Gary Brummet at Connecticut Outfitters reports that the fish are hungry. He said that the best bite will be on green crabs fished on a 3-way rig with a no. 2 octopus hook. “The fish are shallow in the fall,” Gary told us, “so look for them on rockpiles in 6 to 12 feet of water.” Gary also announced the beginning of the fall striper run. “Shorefishing opportunities are never better,” he said, suggesting surf jockeys look for fish in Waterford with live eels at night and chunks of bunker or large wooden plugs during the day. On the freshwater scene, Gary told us that the Crappie bite has fired up. “It’s the time of year for filling the freezer,” he said. He recommends using a small shiner or a maribou crappie jigs. Meanwhile, carp fishing is the hot new trend on the Connecticut River. “It’s like a European invasion with British, Irish, Polish and Bosnian anglers stopping by the shop everyday,” he said. Anglers are catching 30-pound carp on hair rigs with flavored corn,” he said. These guys are gearing up for the Hartford Tournament of Champions—a 72-hour carp fishing marathon that will be held on October 15.

    Fall has come early to the Southeast. Jim Bettis at Jim’s Bait and Tackle said that the seasonal run of crappie, bream and shellcrackers has already kicked off on Lake Wylie, Lake Norman, and Mountain Island outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Jim said that the best bait has been a cricket, minnow, or red worm with a No. 4 to No. 6 hook under a bobber. Jim told us that the FLW bass tour blew through town last week and the winning stringer was over 20 pounds. Low water has plagued trout fishermen in the area. Sink Kimmel at Jesse Brown Outdoors told us that fly fishing should pick up in the area as the stocking program starts in the next few weeks. He said that low water has hampered the operation over the last month. The best bet is to fish traditional dry and wet flies in Stone Mountain State Park, Mitchell River, and Watauga River for native fish. 

    This week’s crappie report comes from Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas just over the Louisiana border. When we called American Angler, Carol Ener reported that fishing has been slow, but the action is picking up. She told us that the slabs are falling for minnows fished under a bobber. Local sharpies report that the best bite has been in shallower water. “We just had a big storm come through and stir the water up,” Carol explained. Fishing for largemouth bass has also slowed considerably. Carol said that the best action is coming on Ribbits, Pop-Rs, and RattLtraps worked around the grasslines.

    On the saltwater side, Devlin Roussell of Reelpeace charters in Venice, Louisiana (504-481-1327) reports that the yellowfin tuna fishing is on fire. More interested in reds and specks? Then give Ryan Lambert at Cajun Fishing Adventures a shout (985-785-9855). The fall bite for big bulls is also hot.

    The big news around Lincoln, Nebraska is about big catfish on Branch Oak Lake. Glenn Hartmann at Wolf Tackle Supply reports that anglers trolling deep-diving Rapala’s have been scoring on flatheads to 65 pounds as well as channel and blue cats up to 40 pounds. “The plug has got to churn up the bottom to get the fish’s attention,” he said. Glenn added that bass fishing has been good on the local ponds and reservoirs. He said that dark colored soft plastics have been the sure thing, but a buzz bait worked through the shallows can be the ticket early in the morning. When the fish are stacked on points and humps, Glenn suggests using a diving crank bait like a Bagley’s Little O or a Bomber. 

    We checked in with Jim McAllister at Jim’s Bait and Tackle outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Last weekend, Jim hit Mundow Lake for rainbow trout. “We had 29 the first day and 24 the next,” he said. Jim was using a sinking fly line with a pistol Pete or bead-head wooly bugger. “We searched the lake with the fish finder until we found them concentrated then started nailing them once we found the color they wanted,” he said. By the way, the hot color was brown and black. Other species have been slow, he said, but trout fishing should pick up through the fall. Jim expects the next four weeks to be hot on the local lakes and high-mountain streams.—Ric Burnley

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