July 25, 2008
Buffalo, New York—Andy Michalak at Big Catch Bait and Tackle in Buffalo, New York expects competitors fishing this week’s Bassmasters tournament to find plenty of fish at the Roundhouse with rubberworms and jigs. He suggests anglers look for cooler water that will hold the fish. “The water has been so warm that the fish have headed to the deeper holes,” he said. Along the Niagara River, anglers will find muskie in Small Boat Harbor on big pike chubs and spoons. There are lots of weeds so Andy recommends looking for open areas to find the muskie. In addition to the muskie, pan fish are biting along the river right in town. Andy recommends fishing around the locks at the railroad bridge for sunfish and the occasional large perch. “Fishing’s been really good,” he said, “Guys have been filling buckets full along the shore.” He said that anglers can access the river at Ontario Street and at the foot of Ferry Street. Andy told us that the walleye have emigrated to the Canadian side of the river. To boat keepers, anglers are dragging Thompson’s Hole with three way rigs and live bait. Andy reminds anglers that they will need a Canadian fishing license if they want to chase these fish over the border.
Birmingham, Alabama—Blake Harlow at Marks Outdoor Sports (www.marksoutdoors.com) in Birmingham, Alabama reports that Guntersville Lake is on fire. He said that anglers throwing big worms or pitching a jig around the docks are scoring some impressive largemouth bass. “We went there two weeks ago and the largest fish was 6 ½ pounds and our five fish stringer was over 20 pounds.” He says that spinner baits have also been effective. “You could also try a frog bite in the morning,” Blake added. He also told us that the night bite on Logan Martin had been phenomenal for guys throwing a big ¾-ounce black and blue football head jig or ¾-ounce spinner bait with a single Colorado blade in black-and-red, black-and-chartreuse or black-and-blue.
South Tulsa, Oklahoma—Despite lots of rain recently, Jack Kitchen at Oakie Bait and Tackle outside Tulsa reports that bass fishing has been good and is getting better as the water clears. He said the best bet was to target Grand and Gibson Lakes with everything from crankbaits to a Carolina rigs. “The spinner-bait bite is kicking in pretty good, too,” he said. He told us that the biggest largemouths are holding around the main lake points in water anywhere from 7 feet to 30 feet deep. He admitted that crappy fishing was slow but sand bass are starting to school on main lake points. Lucky anglers are able to pull slab crappies over brush piles and around bridge pilings with small jigs.
Chicago, Illinois—It’s finally happened, kids have taken over the world. Well, at least they’ve taken over the perch fishing on Lake Michigan. Carl Virgo at Henry’s Sport and Baits (www.henryssports.com) told us that perch fishing is closed to anyone over age 18 until August 1. So, its up to the kids to catch good numbers of nice yellowbellies with soft-shell crayfish and fathead minnows on a two hook rig with a small split shot for weight. He said that the little tykes are finding fish from Montrose to the Aquarium to Monroe Harbor and Northerly Island. “We had a kid in here the other day with a full stringer,” he said. Carl told us that the charter boats are still catching Coho salmon in 50 to 100 feet of water a few miles off Chicago. He had heard that the catfish were hungry at Starved Rock. Most anglers are catching the cats on stinkbaits, but the best catfishermen are catching the biggest fish on small suckers.
Las Vegas, Nevada—Anglers visiting last week’s ICAST tackle show in Las Vegas were able to sneak away and get in some fishing on Lake Mead. Captain Mark Edison at Adventures in Angling www.worldwidefishing.com/nevada/b2785/index.html told us that striped bass fishing has been hot in the morning and evening, while the weather has been too hot to fish in the afternoon. He said early in the morning he’s finding striped bass busting bait on the surface in the Lower Basin at the Vegas Wash and 33 Hole. He’s been catching the fish by walking the dog with a Zara Spook plug or an unweighted jerk bait. “You can catch 50 to 80 fish a day,” he said.
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The best gear and tactics in your area right now.
July 21, 2008by
A fishing reel is a fishing reel is a fishing reel. Right? Hell no! I can't ever forget when a company that used to sell the gear-shift mechanisms on "stingray" bicycles started to sell fishing reels in the United States. The reel was a Shimano Bantam (something-or-other-model-number).
However, it was silver-colored and had a rod to match. Bass Pro sold it...I gobbled it up and I still have it and use it. As I recall, it was the first baitcasting reel with a 'backlash-control' mechanism--and it worked pretty well. I've no clue how many largemouths I caught with it, but it was a ton.
Before that, though, was the Garcia-Mitchell line of spinning reels.
First, there was the Garcia-Mitchell 300 and, as I recall, 300c which was left-handed. My brother opted for a 410, which was a totally awesome spinning reel. He used it. Abused it. And he still has it.
Me? For my 8th grade graduation, I asked for a Garcia-Mitchell 440. This Cadillac of all reel featured an automatic bail. To cast, all you had to do was touch the bail, rear back, fire forward and take your finger off the bail---great reel. Later, I bought a 308 which was the ultralight version of all of the above--lots smaller.
Every one of those spinning reels were built on the 300 base. What a reel. Are there any others really, really like it?—Gerry Bethge, Deputy Editor
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July 18, 2008by
“We’ve been beating lake trout up something awful,” reported Rich Greenough at Sure Strike Charters. When we called he was just returning from a trip on Lake Champlain where he caught 30 fish in 3 hours. He’s fishing in the main part of the lake, pulling downriggers. “Some days suspended is better at 55 to 70 feet,” he said, “and some days the fish are on the bottom.” Rich has been fooling the lakies with small and medium spoons in a variety of colors. He said that a recent wind change had mixed the thermocline but he expects the water conditions to change in a few days. The key to catching these trout is understanding water temperatures on the lake. “Run a temperature probe,” he said, “on the lee side of the lake you fish higher in the water and the windward side you fish lower.” He said that the bite revolves around the internal and external seiche – or wind generated sloshing wave that moves from one side of the lake to the other. “If you don’t understand seiche you will have a tough time catching fish,” he says.
Travis Kirkley from Hammonds (www.hammondsfishing.net) reported that striper fishing is a piece of cake on Georgia’s Lake Lanier. “Put the boat in 80 to 100 feet of water and put the baits down 40 to 60 feet,” he says. The best method is down lining live baits and slow trolling through the deepest parts of the lake. “Bigger baits are better,” he said, adding that anglers are catching a lot of smaller fish on smaller baits. But crews who have the larger offering are getting striped bass up to 30 pounds. “Ten to twenty fish days are not uncommon,” he said. Largemouth bass fishing has been good, too. Anglers are casting topwater plugs on the points and humps while finesse worms and jigs work when the fish aren’t keyed into the surface. Travis says that the south end has been best for the bucketmouths. “Try Six Mile Creek, Young Deer Creek, and Flat Creek,” he recommends. For shore-based anglers, bream and crappie are all over the public fishing areas taking nigh crawlers or red wigglers under a bobber.
Captain Glenn Satterfield (www.pursuitguidefishing.com) told us that striper fishing is heating up on Lake Ouachita in Arkansas now that the water is warming up. He’s slow trolling Bombers, J-plugs, and umbrellas on down riggers from 120 to 60 feet deep. Glenn finds the the fish holding over dead trees and other structure. “The key to the bite is getting up early and fishing before the sun drives the fish deep,” he says. He adds that finding schools of shad will also lead to finding striper. Before the sun comes up, Glenn has stumbled into striper working schools of shad near the shorelines. That’s when he breaks out the surface poppers such as Zara Spooks or topwater Bombers and has a ball catching nice striper on light tackle.
The smallmouth bite is going off on Lake St. Clair, Michigan. Captain Jon Bondy (www.lakestclairfishing.com) has been blasting 2 to 5 pound smallies and catching 20 to 30 fish on each trip. He’s finding the fish on the offshore reefs in 10 to 15 foot of water by drifting drop shots and 4-inch Berkley handpoured worms. In the morning, Jon goes to jerkbaits and catches the fish in the same area. He says that anglers will find smallmouth where they mark bait balled up in schools. “If you mark bait stretched out in a line, you need to move,” he says, “because they aren’t being pursued.” Instead, he looks for blobs of bait as a sure sign that smallmouth are feeding in the same area.
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For freshwater anglers, sturgeon are probably the biggest adversary they can target. Captain Pat Long (www.snakeriverguides.com) has put the bead on these beasts in the Snake River. “Sturgeon fishing has been very good for very big fish,” he says. Each trip he’s averaging a half dozen fish from 4 feet to over 8 feet long. Recently, he’s noticed that the fish favor cut squid and anchovies–baits that aren’t native to the river–over cut trout or herring. It takes heavy tackle to subdue one of these sea monsters, and he’s using 9/0 barbless Gamikatsu hooks with 24 to 30 inches of leader and a fishfinder slide. “I use the slide so that if we break the main line the fish isn’t dragging a weight around with him,” he explains. Pat looks for sturgeon in two places, the deep holes where they hang out and the shallow eddies where they feed. “I’ll spend thirty minutes in 40 to 120 feet of water before moving off to the shallower back eddies or channels where the bait collects.” One place he doesn’t target sturgeon is on the gravel bars where they spawn. “If you stress them while there spawning they may abort the eggs and not spawn again for 7 to 10 years,” he says. With so many big fish available in the deeper holding areas and shallower feeding areas, there is no reason to chase them where they spawn. “It’s really quite easy,” he says.
July 17, 2008by
It was 1:40 a.m. by the time major league baseball's all-star game ended the other night and I couldn't help but think about a time when I was a kid and could listen to the all-star game in the early evening hours on the shore of my favorite bass lake. The lake was pretty remote and normally I would have just a transistor radio and a cousin for company. The newly built lake was a bass factory back then and we could catch 10 to 15 fish in just a couple of hours. But that was when all-star games ended by 9 o'clock. I miss that which got me thinking about some of the other icons of my salad days. So I decided to come up with my Top 10 list of the things I really miss about fishing.
No. 10--Sports Liquidators: Although the catalog arrived in the mailbox in late spring, it wasn't until summer that it got it's biggest workout--largely because I had to replace all the lures that I lost while fishing. I remember being mesmerized by page after page of fishing equipment and unnamed generic lures that I couldn't afford, but were sure as hell fun to look at. Finally, each summer, I'd manage to talk dad into springing for the lure "Grab Bag." Each day I'd longingly wait for the mail to arrive. As I said, none of the lure were brand name, but they worked.
Next....No. 9--Garcia Mitchell 300 spinning reel
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July 11, 2008by
Kevin Groundin at Saco Bait and Tackle www.sacobaytackle.com told us that fishing on Maine’s East Coast has been slow but anglers trolling surgical tubes and umbrella rigs are still finding some nice striped bass. “On hot days it’s better to fish early in the morning or at night,” he says. Kevin suggests anglers look for cooler water around the islands. He said that crews exploring the water around Scarbarough are finding plenty of smaller bass. “Bluefish are starting to move in to the same areas,” he added. Offshore the bluefin tuna bite is picking up at Stellwagon Bank and Jefferies Ledge. Kevin suggests trolling black squid rigs or a Big Kahuna rig to lasso tuna over 200 pounds. Ground fishing has also been good for cod and haddock at the Fingers and Jefferies Ledge. The best bait has been black, pink, or chrome jig. On the freshwater scene, a lack of rain has left the rivers and streams low. Kevin says that anglers can still catch trout by trolling pre-rigged hooks with orange beads and spinners with worms or Super Dupers or Swedish Pimples. “You’ve got to find the deepest spots in the lake,” he says. Sebago Lake has been producing a few lake trout up to 40 inches for anglers pulling flatfish lures. “Use the biggest lure you can buy,” Kevin says. Largemouth bass have started to move off their beds. Kevin says that the fish are holding around weedlines and drop offs. “Bass fishing has been decent for guys working Gary Yamomoto black and white flukes or a Wacky Worms,” he added.
New River, West Virginia
Recent rains put a damper on the action along the New River, but P.J. at Rivermen Outfitters www.rivermen.com says that the water is dropping and fishing is picking up. “We’re averaging 80 to 100 smallmouth each trip with a handful going 19 to 22 inches,” she says. She told us that most of the action has been on the New River, but fishing on the Gauley has been hot, too. The guides are rafting from Stone Cliff to Cunard working a blue pearl fluke against the banks and in the eddies behind rocks. P.J. said that the overnight trips have been very popular with anglers covering up to 45 miles of the river and taking advantage of the early morning and late evening blitzes of smallmouth. She added that trout fishing was good before the rain. “The streams were low, but now they should be in better condition,” she said. The guides prefer to fish Dunlop and Lake Creek. Check out the action on an upcoming episode of Red Neck Adventures – P.J. told us that they’ll be filming the smallmouth bite this weekend. She’s looking forward to the New River Smallmouth Classic which is coming up August 23rd . The tournament benefits one of their guides who was diagnosed with Multiple Schlerosis. Check out their website for more details.
Sardis Lake, Mississippi
“Crappie fishing is all we do,” Bob Hare at Mike Hare’s Guide Service www.mikeharesguideservice.com told us. And crappie fishing has been very good. Mike’s been way-laying crappie on Sardis Lake, which is one of the largest man made lakes in the U.S. To cover all that water, Mike side pulls jigs and minnows over stumps and brush piles. A 12 inch minimum size limit on crappies hasn’t slowed him up, either. “Last Monday he caught 101 crappies and had 37 keepers,” Bob told us. At 12 inches each, that’s a nice mess of slab crappies.
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
Tom Helgeson from Mid West Fly Fishing www.mwfly.com has had a hard time deciding where to fish this week. “Trout fishing has been good, smallmouth good, pike are good, muskie are good,” he told us. When we called he was preparing to West Central Wisconsin to fish the tributaries of the St. Croix River. After the recent deluge of rain, Tom said that the trout streams have finally recovered. “The hatches have dropped off from the peak in June,” he said, suggesting anglers float small dry flies or cricket patterns early in the morning for the best chance at enticing a summer trout. Tom added that smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent in the St. Croix and the Mississippi rivers. Tom fishes out of a drift boat tossing streamers and poppers to the bank. “It’s not very sophisticated,” he says, “but it’s very effective.” Fishing for largemouth bass has been productive, too. “My luck has been crappy,” Tom laughed, “but the fish are around.” The best bet is to work a popper through the weeds in any of the local lakes. Pike and muskie fishing has been especially good for anglers casting super long streamers in the backwaters of any of the rivers or streams.
Alaska fishing is just starting to heat up around Ketchikan. Russell Thomas at Clover Pass Resort www.cloverpassresort.com told us that a few king salmon are floating around but anglers are having better luck catching pinks and silvers with a few nice chum mixed in. The most effective method for salmon is trolling plug cut herring on flashers and hoochies. “Everyone has his favorite color,” Russell says, “but I haven’t heard of one hot color.” Once the salmon arrive in force, anglers will switch to mooching whole herring from anchor or at drift. “Drop the bait down to the bottom and reel up for a chance at catching halibut or salmon,” he says. He said the salmon are running through all the local channels and inlets. “Just about anywhere you go you’ll find fish,” he says. The pro guides have been running offshore to jig up halibut. “No real big fish yet,” Russell says, “but the action is getting better.”
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July 3, 2008by
Delaware River, Pennsylvania—Gary Mauz can’t get
enough of the excellent smallmouth fishing on the Delaware River. So,
he’s taking his clients on three-day, two-night excursions down the
Water Gap section of the River. “It’s a lot of fun,” he says,
explaining that he can cover 25 miles of pristine wilderness and take
advantage of the predawn bite or even fish after dark. He’s finding
smallies on shallow flats with streamers before the sun comes up. On
the full moon, Gary will fish for striped bass through the night.
During the day, he’s using streamers, wooly buggers, crayfish and
hellgrammite patterns to find striped bass on the faster side of
current breaks and smallmouth bass on the slower side. “It’s all
wilderness,” he says, “we’re seeing bald eagles, deer, and black
bears.” Oh my!
Toccoa River, Georgia—“Fishing
is great,” reports Gene Rutowski from Upper River Adventures in
northern Georgia. Gene says that a good flow of freshwater has left the
rainbow, brown and brook trout hungry. He recommends that anglers fish
the Toccoa River and it’s tributaries. “Just look for a pullover in the
National Forest along any of the streams,” he says, adding that the
best stretches of river are in Fannin County. The trout aren’t too
particular about their diet and Gene is catching fish on caddis
imitations in the morning and wooly buggers and parachute Adams with a
drop-down nymph in the afternoon.
Percy Priest Lake, Tennessee—In his lifetime,
Tennessee bass guide Brian Carper has caught thousands of largemouth
bass. But he’s still learning some lessons about his favorite fish.
This week, Brian was schooled by his fishing partner on Percy Priest
Lake. “The fish are in their summer pattern which usually means fishing
deep drops with small jigs,” Brian says, but his partner was using a
heavier football jig and catching more fish. It didn’t take long for
Carper to catch on and switch tactics. Brian says that a big 12-inch
worm on a Carolina Rig is a mainstay of local bass sharpies. “You’re
not going to catch tons of bass, but you’ll catch bigger fish,” he
says. Old Hickory lake is following the same pattern, but Carper is
also finding bass by flipping frogs and worms to the shallow grass beds
early in the morning. Bass fishing may be slow, but crappie fishing is
red hot. Brian has been jumping from submerged trees, to bridge
pilings, to rock piles and loading up on these pan fish. “Get a bucket
of minnows, a couple of buoys to mark the structure, and some small
jigs and you can catch 50 to 60 crappies a day,” he says.
Miami River, Ohio—“The local rivers are on fire!”
reports Tom Zobrish from Fisherman’s Quarters (937-222-2224) in Dayton
Ohio. The Miami River is holding good numbers of smallmouths and
channel catfish, but northern pike are creating the most excitement.
According to Tom, anglers are catching northerns by bouncing ¼-ounce
jigs and twister tails in the rock piles, bridge abutments, and flow
dams. “About every third fish is a pike,” he said. C.J. Brown Reservoir
is the hot spot for walleye. Use a ½-ounce black and silver Hot-n-Tot
to invite a mess of walleye to your Independence Day BBQ.
Astoria, Oregon—We caught up with Marv McQuinn while
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he was fishing for Sturgeon out of Astoria on the lower Columbia River.
“Wait a minute,” he said when he answered the phone, “I’ve got to land
a fish.” A few seconds later, he was back on the phone. “Fishing
hasn’t been red hot,” he said as we overheard someone behind him
announce that the sturgeon was 43 inches. Marv explained that they were
on the end of the sturgeon run and gearing up for the arrival of
salmon. For the sturgeon, Marv anchors up and drops anchovies on the
bottom. “Wait for them to bite three times before you set the hook,” he
suggests. Even though the action hasn’t been fast, Marv has managed to
produce keeper sturgeon on each trip. In a few weeks he’ll return to
the same area to troll for salmon.