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The Weekend Bite

February 29, 2008

By Ric Burnley

From icefishing in the Northeast to big stripers out West, fishing action is beginning to heat up around the country.

 

Northeast

Yellow PerchWhen we called Rich Greenough of Sure Strike Charters, he had 30 special-needs kids fishing for yellow perch on the ice covering Lake Champlain. “Fishing has been slow,” he said, “but the kids are riding 4-wheelers and eating hotdogs so their happy.”

The event was organized by Hunters, Anglers, and Trappers of Vermont. Greenough expects the perch fishing to explode in the coming week. As the water warms, the fish will school up and anglers will get a great opportunity to catch perch on live minnows fished from both tip-ups and hand lines. Watch the ice conditions carefully. “We’ve had three thaws and the pressure ridges are dangerous,” Greenough says, warning fishermen to stay 50 feet from any cracks in the ice.

In addition to the perch, salmon are coming to the inland sea and there are a few walleyes starting to show along with northern pike in the shallows.   

Southeast

Cobia  As if sailfish, dolphin, blackfin tuna and king mackerel weren’t enough, Bill Broach at Bud and Mary’s (www.budnmarys.com) told us that cobia have joined the party off Islamorada. “The offshore boats found cobia roaming inside the reef today,” says Broach. S

kippers key in on the cobia accompanying huge rays just below the surface of the water. “Cast a live grunt or pinfish,” he said. “Cobia will eat almost anything.” Broach adds that cobia have made a showing on the Gulf side of the island, too. “Guys who run far enough on the backside are catching them,” he said.

In the Gulf guides usually find cobia while targeting other fish on the reefs, holes and wrecks. “Cobia will swim right to the boat,” Bill said.

South

Crappies“Now is a good time to catch a lot of crappies,” reports Larry Burchfield at Outdoor Adventures Guide Service (www.larrys-guideservice-com). Burchfield says that these thick panfish are getting ready to spawn. “They’re moving toward the coves,” he said, explaining that the schools are still holding in open water (between 8 and 12 feet deep) but will soon move into the shallow coves. Currently, he’s finding the fish around area bridges by slow trolling a spread of rods rigged with an 1/8 ounce jig and a live minnow. “As I came to work this morning there were six boats fishing along the Route 69 Bridge,” he said.

Burchfield also recommends that anglers look for crappies at Blocker Bridge and the Interstate 40 span. “The Gentry Creek arm of the lake has been very popular,” he said. “There will be 40 boats there today.” The water is dirty in the north part of the lake, so Larry suggests anglers use dark-colored jigs. “Chartreuse and black, pink and black, or pumpkinseed are the hot colors,” he says.

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  • February 28, 2008

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    Venice, Louisiana Captain gets weird double-header.

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  • February 22, 2008

    The Weekend Bite-0

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    Here's a list of what's going to be biting this weekend, and where.

    By Ric Burnley

    Northeast

    Northern Pike
    Ice fishing is red hot in New England. Anglers are already scoring some huge northern pike and, as the ice breaks up, the bite will really take off. Captain Blaine Anderson (www.fishingct.com) told us that several 40-inch fish topping 20 pounds have been pulled through the ice. “It’s close to spawning time,” he said, “as the ice clears anglers will find these fish in the coves and backwaters of the Connecticut River.” Guys are finding fish through the ice that are upwards of 20 pounds 40 inches. As ice dissipates, Anderson suggests that anglers look for pike in shallow water adjacent to the weed beds where the fish will be spawning. “Any place in 3 to 8 feet of water with weeds will be a real good bet,” he says. Swimming plugs such as Huskie Jerks and Xraps work well as do Bombers. You may think that these baits are too big, but they’re not this time of year.

    Southeast

    Catfish
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    South

    Bass
    It’s lunker season in Lake Fork, Texas. “We’re catching a lot of great big fish right now,” Pro Guide Larry Barnes (www.lakeforkfishingguide.com)  reports. Since the fish are pre-spawn, most of these bass are between 5 to 8 pounds. “We’re already starting to catch a few double-digit fish,” he said. Until the fish move onto their beds, Barnes’ anglers are throwing Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and jigs. He’s also fooled big bass by rigging Lake Fork Tackle worms wacky style. “Right now, we’re finding the fish along the grass lines and creek channels,” he says. Once the fish move onto their beds, he’ll start throwing more plastics like a lizards and tube jigs. “We’ll still use Senkos, too,” he adds. Barnes expects the fish to begin spawning by mid-March. Currently, the bass are a little finicky with the best bites coming on warm, cloudy days. “Last week a front came through and brought rain and the fish went nuts,” he says. “Once the fish start spawning, as long as the weather lets you fish you can catch fish,” he says.

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  • February 15, 2008

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