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Keep your fish finder face plate clean

March 24, 2008

Anyone who uses a bottom machine or GPS/chart recorder aboard a boat knows how spray—especially salt or brackish water— and dust or greasy fingerprints on the screen can mess up the viewing clarity. Some top anglers have begun experimenting with different methods for cleaning the screens of their electronics. One of the more innovative ways is the use of Rain-X and Rain-X-Wipes.

Minnesota walleye pros Scott and Marty Glorvigan use it—after all the dust is removed, of course, so as not to scratch the screen’s glass. Available at hardware and automotive stores, Rain-X tends to make water bead up (as it does on vehicle windshields) on the screens so a following wipe results in crystal clear viewing.

I checked with a technical expert—Luke Morris, at Lowrance Corp.—to get his read on cleaning agents in general for electronics. While the folks at the company hadn’t tried Rain-X products, Luke feels there are a lot of cleaners on the market that could provide benefits. He cautions, though, that while the actual screen is a special coated glass that should handle most glass cleaners, their concern is for the surrounding plastic faceplate and bezel assemblies. Some cleaners like auto soaps contain chemicals that could cause discoloration or damage. Luke suggests that before you try any off-beat cleaner, that you test an area about the size of a fingerprint on the back of the unit, up high where it’ll receive sunlight. You’ll not damage the vital front face that way.

The technicians at Lowrance, among others, recommend ammonia-free glass cleaner (not blue cleaners like Windex). Or, you can mix up a quick solution of 50-50 alcohol/water.

I’ve personally found the alcohol/water mix works very well. I keep a small bottle handy near my unit.

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  • March 14, 2008

    The Weekend Bite-0

    by

    NORTHEAST

    Rainbow/Brown Trout
    Connecticut is just emerging from winter’s freeze and the fish are hungry. Grady Allen at Upcountry Sportfishing (www.farmingtonriver.com) reported that the high water on the Farmington River is starting to recede from last weekend’s deluge and resulting snow melt further north. Even though trout season doesn’t open until late April, the catch-and-release action for browns and rainbows is fantastic. “No one takes the fish home so they are plentiful,” Allen says. Flyfishermen are fooling these trout with small nymphs and wooly-buggers while spincasters are having luck with yellow coach dog Roostertails. By the end of March, he expects the dry fly action to heat up. “When the water drops, anglers will switch to dry flies,” he explained, recommending bluewing olives or quill Gordons to produce the best.

    SOUTHEAST

    Bass/Pickerel/Crappie
    In southern Delaware, anglers are emerging from their houses and fish are emerging from the ice. Carol Taylor at Taylored Tackle (302-629-9017) in Seaford says they’ve already seen some big fish brought P30200042_4into the shop. They checked in a 4-pound, 9-ounce pickerel caught by Brian Salisbury and a 5-pound, 4-ounce largemouth landed by James Hitches. Both fish were caught in Broad Creek off the Nanticoke River on a live shiner. The same area and the same bait have also produced some fat crappies. She added that the herring have arrived to Laurel Dam. “When the herring come the striped bass follow,” she said. Anglers will target these bass with bloodworms on a bottom-rig. “The smaller males come first,” she said, “then the bigger females follow.”   

    SOUTH

    Rainbow/Brown Trout
    High water on the White River has forced Brian Harris of (www.whiteriverguides.com) to fish out of his boat. Even though he usually catches more big fish out of his boat, he loves to walk the river with his fly rod. “We can’t wait to start wading,” he said. With the water high, Brian suggests that anglers targeting rainbow and brown trout use egg patterns and San Juan worm flies. “Use a No. 7 split shot and a longer tippet to get your fly down to the fish,” he says. Once the water level drops, he expects the caddis flies to start hatching. “Should be within the next month,” he says, but he’s hoping that he won’t have to wait that long. Once he pulls on his waders, he’ll look for the fish at Rim Shoals, Cotter, and Wild Cat Shoals. “The best numbers of bigger fish come when the water is high,” he says, “but the fly guys love wading around when the water drops.” 

    MIDWEST

    Striped Bass
    “Fishing is just starting to pick up,” reports Captain Jack Hoskins at (www.maddjackstriperguide.com) in Arkansas. The ice had only just cleared from Lake Wilson and Jack is already into the striped bass. “Most fish are between 4 and 6 pounds,” he says, “but we’re picking up some 15-pounders here and there.” Jack says that catching stripers is easy when you’re slow trolling live shad behind a planer board. Catching live shad, on the other hand, is hard. “Some days I’ll travel up to 300 miles to catch bait,” Jack says. He says that it is tough to find bait early in the season, but as the shad recover from winter it will be easier to find them. Once he has his victims on board, Jack looks for discolored water to find the striped bass. “The cloudy water heats up faster,” he explains, adding that he also likes to fish on the windward side of the lake. To rig live shad, Jack ties up a Carolina rig with 1/8- to 1-ounce egg sinker and a 1/0 to 4/0 wide-bend Eagle Claw hook. “For some reason, early in the year they want the bait trolled fast,” he noted, so he trolls with his outboard instead of his trolling motor.

    WEST

    Largemouth Bass
    101_05582If last weekend’s Western Outdoor News tournament is any indicator, bass fishing is heating up on the lakes around San Diego. John Cassidy at Angler’s Arsenal (www.anglersarsenal.com) told us that the winning five-fish stringer went almost 24.65 pounds and the top fish weighed 7.72 pounds. The stringer  belonged to Jonathan Wdowiak and Rich Serra while the big bass was fooled by Randy Field. “On most of the San Diego lakes, the largemouth are just staging to get up on the beds,” John said. He explained that higher water levels have anglers flipping the brush or pitching to weedlines. “It’s a good year for jigs,” John said. Anglers are catching big bass by flipping a 3/8-ounce, purple-and-brown jig into the brush surrounding the lakes. On the weeds, John suggests using a drop shot. “The hot color is morning dawn,” he says. “Overall looks like fishing for the next month should be outstanding,—the best time of the year.”

    —Ric Burnley    

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • March 7, 2008

    Weekend Bite-0

    by

    1212120_img_2 By Ric Burnley

    Northeast

    Lake Trout
    It was raining when we called Fish 307 (www.fish307.com) in Lake George, New York. “Fishing is good overall,” Jeff Goldberg told us. Ice fishing for lake trout has been consistent and the ice should last at least another three weeks. “The snow has insulated the ice, so it is in good condition despite the rain,” Goldberg says. Anglers targeting these big trout are jigging lures or fishing tip-ups in 60 to 100 feet of water. For jigging, Goldberg recommends a Swedish Pimple in size 7, 8, or 9 or a Protroll E jig. On his tip-up rigs, he hooks a big shiner or sucker. Several guys fishing for perch in 30 feet of water are getting a big surprise. “They’re jigging for perch and catching lakers,” he added. The trout are feeding on the perch. Goldberg urges anglers to stop by a local bait and tackle before heading out on the ice. “Conditions can change daily—in ice fishing it’s a communication game.” 

    Southeast

    Smallmouth Bass
    “Fishing report?” Ken Penrod asked when we called, “That’s easy: flood, flood, flood.” Seems recent rains had the water level on area rivers way above normal. Before the rain, Penrod says that Mike Breeding had been whacking the smallmouth on the Susquehanna around Duncannon, PA. Ken added that anglers fishing the upper Potomac are also finding steady action on smallmouth with a few nice largemouth and big muskie mixed in. Penrod recommends rigging up a tube worm on a ¼-ounce jig head and look for eddies of calmer water. “I’ll start with a 4-inch Mizmo pumpkin tube and drag it slowly across the bottom,” he says. Penrod’s been using this technique to catch 30 to 40 smallmouth on each outing with most of the fish measuring between 16 and 18 inches. “It’s been a good winter for smallmouth,” he says.

    South

    Largemouth Bass
    Pro Guide, Brian Carper (www.briancarper.com) reports that the Tennessee lakes are heating up and so is the fishing. He’s found bass and crappies all winter by jigging the point and channel edges in 10 to 30 feet of water, but now he expects the fish to move shallow just before the spawn. In the deep water he’s been using Carolina rigs with soft-plastics and dropshot baits. “The key is to use a very slow presentation,” he says. When the fish move up the bank, he’ll switch over to crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps, and jerkbaits. Brian expects the fish to make the move when the water temperature gets above 55 degrees. “I’m getting excited for some warmer water,” he says, “that’s when you can bank on the fish being shallow.” Crappies are also starting to heat up and can be found in the same holes as the largemouths. Carper says that he’s catching these fish on 1/16- and 1/32-ounce jig heads in chartreuse and white or red and white. He adds that a live minnow or shad on a small hook is also deadly for these tasty pan fish. Once the water temperature rises to 60 degrees, he’ll start to target crappies on the stake beds. “The beds should turn on in a couple of weeks,” he says.

    Midwest

    Saugeye
    Wet weather plagued Dayton, Ohio this week, but anglers stopping by Fisherman’s Quarters were hopeful that the rain would bring good saugeye fishing. “The bite was just beginning before the rain,” reported Tom Zobrist. Tom expects the fishing to really turn on in Indian Lake once the water temperature rises above 54 degrees. Finding the fish isn’t hard. “Just look for a bunch of people fishing and you’ll know where the schools of saugeye are,” he says. As the water warms, Zobrist says that the fish will move into the vegetation in the northeast corner of the lake. He uses a Vib-“E” jig or a blade bait and jigs it up and down or casts it out and bounces it slowly back to the boat. “Just tie one on and throw it out,” he says.

    West

    Steelhead
    Local guide, Marv McQuinn (www.marvsguideservice.com) has been busting up big steelhead on the North Coast of Oregon. “We’re catching some monster fish,” he told us, “up to 25 pounds.” McQuinn’s been fishing the Trask and Wilson rivers pulling plugs, side drifting, and drift fishing. To pull plugs, he rigs up a Hot Shot or a K-11 Quick Fish and uses the motor to keep the boat drifting slowly down river. “The key is to tune your plug so that it swims straight,” he says, “If it goes to one side you won’t catch any fish.” When that doesn’t work, he either drifts or anchors and works steelhead eggs or Yarneys, which are little puff balls of yarn. “Use light tackle and let the bait drift with the current,” he says. Pro Guide, Steve Smith (www.stevesmithoutdoors.com) adds that the trout bite is on in the McKenzie River and Upper Willamette. According to Smith, the march browns have been hatching from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day. “Dry fly fishing has been good,” he said. “The Deschutes is open, but the fishing is not red hot yet, but you can find some space and it’s not crowded in the open areas.” Steve reminds anglers interested in fishing these rivers to check local regulations before heading out.   

    [ Read Full Post ]
  • March 3, 2008

    The bass are in trouble. Again.-0

    by

    From the  San Francisco Bay/Delta to the giant Western impoundments and--worst of all --in their native Atlantic waters, striped bass are facing myriad hits from habitat alteration, low water coupled with lack of forage, and along the eastern seaboard, a deadly mix of politics and greed.Varecord73poundstriper

    You might not believe trouble is brewing if you are an angler who fished, say, off Virginia this winter and watched or participated in hauling numbers of big 20- pound-plus bass, and  especially last month when on January 23, angler Frederick Barnes boated a 73- pound, 22-year-old female striper off Virginia Beach. That  fish is the new state record for the species.

    But if you were a veteran of fishing this area you’d have noticed a substantial increase in trailered boats lining up at launches, you’d have noticed more and more boats on the water than ever concentrated in smaller areas. What’s going on?

    [ Read Full Post ]