Walleyes make a late-winter/early spring spawning run out of lakes and into the tributaries. Depending on your geographical location, this typically occurs when the water reaches the 40-degree range. Understand not all fish will make the run, however, the ones that do are definitely worth targeting.
I could make this a column about Sandy’s unforgiving destruction and disrepair in New Jersey, but there’s a better angle - You can’t keep Jersey down. After weathering the most destructive storm system in recorded history, Jersey’s recreational fishing industry got a solid low blow, but not a knock out punch. Tsunami-like surges, battering waves and uncontrolled fires gave the whole Jersey Shore playground unwanted cosmetic surgery from tip to tip of the state.
For a feeding bass, more is always better; hence, the umbrella rig’s appeal. No doubt many manufactured rigs will produce right out of the package, but savvy anglers have come up with a variety of new rigging options to match on-the-water conditions. Here’s a handful of specialty tweaks.
THE MAXIMIZER ▶ ANGLER: Mark Rose, Marion, AR HOW IT’S RIGGED: Starting with a Strike King Tour Grade Titanium Umbrella Rig, add willow-leaf blades to two or three of the arms (depending on local regulations) and fit the others with 3½- or 4½-inch Strike King Shadalicious swimbaits. TIME FRAME: Use it when the fall feeding frenzy finds bass ravaging shad in creeks. PRESENTATION: Match the blades, which can be purchased separately, to your swimbait color.
On Friday, just one day after BP's record $2.4 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, another rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. There were 22 people on board the Black Elk Energy-owned platform when the mishap occurred. At lease one person is dead. Sister publication, Salt Water Sportsman, had a film crew near the rig at the time of the explosion. Here is the dramatic video.
My life is changed forever. On Sunday, October 28, I had poured Captain Morgan rum and apple cider in a mug and walked up to the beach as stinging northeast 40-knot winds kicked up spitting ocean spray into my face. Locals truly love big storms, and Hurricane Sandy was predicted to hit us in Normandy Beach New Jersey square on the nose in 36 hours.
I stepped over the last sand dune and watched the waves already churning in punishing 10- to 14-foot Noreast surf; the waves already sucking out the sand dunes like a three-day Noreaster had passed through. This wasn’t going to be good. Air raid sirens pierced the howling winds and an eerie, silent feeling enveloped my soul, something didn’t feel right. I was prepared to ride out Sandy in my beach home, after all, I’d been through pummeling shore Noreasters and hurricanes before, and sat down to fix another drink, but something gnawing in my gut told me to leave.
Winters doldrums can challenge the most patient bass fishermen. If you’re having trouble drawing strikes from traditional presentations, give dead sticking a try the next time you're out.
Dead sticking is probably the easiest soft plastic technique in all of bass’in. All you do is cast a bait into a likely haunt and then simply let it fall on a slack line without any action. Rigging is almost as easy as fishing a dead-sticked plastic. I personally throw mine rigged weightless; either skin hooked Texas style or whacky-style. In either case, the trick is to let the bait have plenty of bottom time.
A Florida tarpon documentary produced in the early '70s was recently restored and preserved on DVD. Aptly titled "Tarpon," the movie was a cinematic masterpiece. However, it was a financial flop. The 53-minute film stars a trio of writers; late poet Richard Brautigan and novelists Jim Harrison and Thomas McGuane. The soundtrack was written and performed by then little known Keys resident Jimmy Buffett.
Circle hook use has been mandated in U.S. waters for years. Their use has been implemented to save fish from lethal wounds inflicted by conventional J-style hooks. North Carolina State biology research assistant Paul Rudershausen wanted know whether circle hooks are effective as conventional J-hooks.
Rudershausen, teamed up with North Carolina charter boat captains to determine the efficacy of circle hooks versus J-hooks when trolling for game fish. Researchers compared hook-up rates for three popular fish: 1) mahi mahi (dolphin); 2) wahoo; and 3) yellowfin tuna.
Fish aren’t always cooperative. Sometimes the smallest tweaks to your bait can mean the difference between loading the boat or stringer or going home empty-handed.
For example, the bite had dried up on a recent redfish trip. An over-abundance of storm minnows had put the redfish bite in check, as the fish were only interested in these bite-sized treats swimming on the surface.