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The “Sound” Difference

Earlier this summer I had a guide trip with a gentleman; we started out running some topwater baits around and caught a couple but I was anxious to get to some deep fish that I had found the day before. I got to the deep fish, set up and made a pull across the hump and we each caught a fish. I made 3 more pulls across the hump and each time he caught a fish but I did not, the fact that I wasn’t getting bit wasn’t that big of deal to me as the day was really about him catching fish but it got me thinking. I had rigged his rod with a silent/non-rattling crankbait and I had a crankbait with a rattle in it, both the same color pattern. So, I took a moment to experiment and rigged another silent crankbait on my rod and we made another pull across the hump. For 3 ½ hours we went back and forth across that hump catching at least one; had a couple of doubles on the same bait and more instances than I could count where we each caught a fish at the same time. Also this summer I found a deal on Hydrowave unit and have been using it regularly. For those unaware of the Hydrowave, it’s an electronic device that plays sounds of bait fish during various situations through a speaker mounted on your trolling motor. Since installing the unit I have seen many instances where I would be fishing offshore and the bait would rise to the surface and begin moving around (when I didn’t see any bait on the surface when I first pulled up). I have seen fish [...]

By |September 4th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized|1 Comment

The “dog days of summer”

In the heat of the summer sun the water temperatures rise towards the century mark as air temperatures hover in the mid to low 90’s the fishing generally gets pretty tough. Fishing in the daylight hours can be a chore in more ways than one. The soaring temperatures and recreational boat traffic can make being out on the lake down right miserable. Something you can do is pack lots of drinks on ice, don’t expect to catch a lot of fish and work on techniques that may not be your strong suit. What I mean is this, take advantage of this time to work on your skills. There are fish scattered throughout the water column, some fish remain shallow prowling the banks for a meal, others position themselves out on deep water structure chasing baitfish schools. This variety allows you to fish just about any technique and be able to catch a few fish each day. So for someone who is learning to fish a deep diving crankbait or gaining confidence in pitching a jig around docks this time of year is a great time to learn. Most of the tournament trails are at a break in their schedules and this allows you some time to just go fishing. I often get asked by folks that are trying learn a specific technique “what’s the best way to learn it?” My reply is pretty simple, get out there and practice it! There is no substitute for time on the water! I say, “Go out with one or two rods with that bait and spend all day learning that technique.” Another alternative that will definitely shorten the learning curve on a particular technique is to hire a [...]

By |August 21st, 2012|Categories: Articles, Wordpress|0 Comments

Staying warm

As the temperatures continue to drop, the fishing in many cases gets better, the lakes certainly become less crowded and for those willing to brave the winter weather it can be a great time. Being prepared/dressed for the winter weather can make or brake your winter fishing trip. Years ago while I was in the military I learned an acronym that I have continued to use and remember to this day. The acronym, C.O.L.D. stands for Clean, Overheating, Loose & Layers and Dry. The message behind each of these key words is as follows: Clean; meaning keeping your clothing clean so that it can “breathe” properly, many of these new high tech fibers are breathable materials and this airflow is critical to the function of the garments, if the pores of the materials are clogged with dirt/debris they can’t “breathe. Overheating; meaning to avoid overheating, when our bodies get hot we sweat/perspire as a cooling mechanism, that moisture evaporates from the skin and cools us or is absorbed into our clothing. Another perspective on this is to avoid wearing all your warm clothing in a heated space (car, house). I usually save at least one layer to be added once I’m in the boat on the water. Loose & Layers; just as it sounds, its recommended that your clothing be relatively loose and that you dress in multiple layers, loose fitting clothing allows for some air flow and the air in the space between the clothing to be warmed, dressing in layers allows for layers to be removed or added as the situation dictates. Dry; is pretty straight forward, avoid getting your clothing wet from sweat/perspiration or other fluids and take wet clothing off as [...]

By |August 21st, 2012|Categories: Articles, Wordpress|0 Comments

When the going gets tough…

Certain times of the year fishing gets tough, the bites are few and far between and the size of the fish isn’t what we hope it to be. Post spawn fishing can be one of those times and ladies and gentlemen we are in the post spawn period. Many of the fish have come off their beds, are no longer guarding their fry and are just trying to recuperate from their struggle to reproduce. Fishing can be tough during this time, so I thought I would share a few of my ideas for overcoming this situation. First, I want to confirm that the fishing really is that tough or am I just hunting for the fish in the wrong areas. So I’ll fish some transition areas, areas in between where the fish were and where they are headed; i.e. points! I’ll also fish the places where they are headed; i.e., points, flats, river or creek channel drops/ledges. If I can’t get bit there then, yes I’ll concede that the fishing is tough. Accepting the fact that the fishing is tough and knowing that the bites are few and far between helps and hurts you. Your expectations should be a little lower, understanding that you’re going to get fewer bites, this helps keep your head right. The down side to that is you can’t afford to miss or not execute when one of those few bites comes. Keep these things in mind. So, what do I do when the fishing is tough? I slow/bear down, concentrate and try not to make any mistakes. First, I go to an area that I have a lot of confidence that there are fish in the area, usually someplace shallow [...]

By |August 21st, 2012|Categories: Articles, Wordpress|0 Comments

Lessons learned from Lake Erie

I recently went to Lake Erie to fish as a co-angler in the Northern Division of the Stren Series with the intention of learning more about catching northern smallmouth. The tournament was July 17 through the 21st, out of Cleveland, OH. When it was all said and done it was certainly an interesting trip and I thought I would share some of my observations. Downtown Cleveland was surprisingly empty, there was no traffic at 5pm and the sidewalks had very few people on them. I stayed less than ¼ mile from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and saw very little traffic headed that way. They call those lakes, the “Great Lakes” for a reason; they are bigger than most can comprehend a fresh water lake being. Its like looking out at the ocean, you can not see land on the other side, its awe inspiring and a bit un-nerving. Bodies of water that big and that open give a whole different meaning to the word rough. We had slight 5 to 10mph winds out of the north east the first day that produced 2 to 4 foot rollers. Southerly winds are ok for this area as most fishing areas within 20 miles or so are reasonably protected. The beating that your body and boat take in this kind of water is unlike anything I’ve seen. Nightly you go through and check/retighten motor mounting and jackplate bolts. Be prepared to replace anything and everything in or on the boat. Two plus hours of pounding in 2-4 footers will break or rattle loose just about anything. Its surprising what a bouncing trolling motor head will brake, and those bounce busters wont necessarily protect you. Pack [...]

By |August 21st, 2012|Categories: Articles, Wordpress|0 Comments

Jig fishing

In competitive fishing few baits have a better reputation for catching big fish than a jig, which is also known to catch fish when the bite is tough. I thought I would take some time to share my perspective on fishing a jig, selecting the jig and the equipment to fish it. Let’s start with the presentation, generally speaking this is a POWER technique, although you can finesse fish a jig, that’s not what I am discussing here. By POWER fishing I am referring to moving fast, covering lots of water, heavy equipment and if everything is going right, big aggressive fish. You should be putting your jig into the heaviest cover you can find, flipping/pitching into the heart of that laid down tree or brushpile or pitching/skipping as far under that dock as you can get it. You can’t worry about getting that fish out of those places until after you stick it.  The bait is falling to the bottom, if it makes it that far, it’s hopped once or twice and you’re off to the next shot. The bite, when power fishing a jig you’re looking for the aggressive fish, most will take it on the fall or on the first hop. The bite can present as a “line jump,” the line may start to move in one direction or another; you may feel a slight tick or a thump that rattles the guides on your rod. Probably the toughest bite to catch is the one where your jig just stops falling, you may think it’s on the bottom but the fish has it and is just sitting there chewing on it. This is why it is important to be aware of how [...]

By |August 21st, 2012|Categories: Articles, Wordpress|0 Comments

It was better in the old days

It’s always funny and interesting to hear stories of how things used to be. There was a time when all the wives stayed home, cars were made of steel and you could catch a fish on every cast. Today both adults, if there are two in the household have to work. Cars are mostly plastic and there are days when you don’t catch a single fish. In this day and age the fish in Lake Wylie have seen it all.  They’re accustomed to some lures and to others they don’t pay much attention. The good news is that Lake Wylie is still full of fish. The bad news is the fishing pressure on Lake Wylie is relentless. My friends and I often ask each other if anyone works full time anymore because on any given day there are bass boats zooming up and down the lake and the boat ramp parking lots always seem to be half full. The lake has been through some changes as well. In the past the lake usually had some amount of stain or color to the water and now its stays pretty clear. There were stretches of undeveloped land with natural cover to which the fish could relate.  Today, most of those stretches have homes and the fish’s natural habitat (or cover) has been removed. The lake is cleaner now than it has been in years with the reduction in emissions into the lake from the city of Charlotte and the business’ upstream. Still we can go out to “the river” (as most of the locals refer to it) and if we keep an open mind and vary our techniques, we can catch plenty of fish. In the days [...]

By |August 21st, 2012|Categories: Articles, Wordpress|0 Comments

Getting started in bass tournaments

If my son came to me today and said he wanted to start learning and fishing tournaments, I would be so very happy to teach and share with him my passion for the sport. Tournament fishing is a bitter sweet circumstance, you want to win but you have to learn first. You can go to any number of sources, find the name and details of more tournaments than you can possibly fish. It’s great to have the competitive drive, it inspires us to do better, but jumping into the deep end of the pool with a bunch of sharks can be discouraging. Until you can consistently catch 10lbs of fish a day, I say save your entry fees for gas money and spend more time on the lake learning.  With that having been said: Which tournaments to fish? In the last few years MANY folks have found that they can make a decent chunk of change by running tournaments and taking money off the top in the form of membership fees. Be aware of the payback percentages, do the math, and ALWAYS question membership fees! What do you actually get for the membership fee? You want to make sure that you are getting as much publicity as you can from the tournaments you’re fishing. For instance, FLW Outdoors has a $20 membership fee, their results are posted on a website that has traffic numbers in the millions, a TV show and they publish a magazine. Many local trails hit you up for a $60 or 80 dollar membership fee and the press you get if you win one of their events is minimal. Get the most bang for your buck! Until he is 16 and [...]

By |August 21st, 2012|Categories: Articles, Wordpress|0 Comments

Following your instincts

Once in a while my instincts kick in and tell me to do one thing or another, sometimes I listen, other times I ignore that little voice in the back of my head, only to later wonder about how things would have gone had I listened. Well, just last week while filming a show with a friend, I told him that I thought we could catch some fish on spinnerbaits or crankbaits around brushpiles. At the time we were fishing out deep, had caught a couple and were reluctant to leave. Finally after beating around for more than an hour without another bite we moved back to a little place and threw a crankbait around some. Even though I caught a couple of fish on the deeper diving crankbait, I still felt like better things awaited us shallower and on the end of a spinnerbait. I finally made it to some scattered brush around the outside of a dock in the back of the creek. On my second cast slow rolling a 5/8oz double willow leaf spinnerbait, a 4 1//2lber jumped on. After that fish I managed to catch one more pretty quick and we were out of time for the day. I had a feeling that the spinnerbait bite was working everywhere but didn’t have time to prove it. The next day I got invited to go out with another friend. We put the boat in the water and headed towards a river channel drop, when I thought of a brushpile that was near by.  This brush wasn’t in the back of a creek, but I thought the fish could be there. I threw my spinnerbait past the brush, let it sink to the [...]

By |August 21st, 2012|Categories: Articles, Wordpress|0 Comments

Find your own fish!

Have you ever had a buddy tell you he “whacked them” on this place or that place?  Have you ever watched someone else pummel fish in an area or on a place and then when you tried it - nothing, zippo, zilch?  Well, everyone probably thought this was going to be a tirade about folks watching or following others and then moving in on those fish, but its not. Many times I have tried to help out others by telling them where the fish were and later hear that they struck out or only caught one or two. I think that there are a couple of factors involved in this: confidence (a lack there of) and changing fish. Here’s a good example: I had a friend tell me that the fish were eating a whacky rigged worm skipped under docks. I tried it, spent several hours trying different docks in different locations and only managed a couple of fish. I abandoned the pattern because I didn’t have the confidence to stick with it. Fortunately, that weekend we were fishing different tournaments.  He finished the day with almost a pound more than I managed on that day. He caught most of his fish on the pattern he told me about and in many of the same areas I had tried it in. My point is this: if you don’t find the fish yourself or witness first hand the catching, you probably won’t have the confidence to go to those fish on your own and find or catch them. I’m not saying that you can’t; it’s just not as likely. Another factor in this equation is that fish move! A school can move while chasing bait or [...]

By |August 21st, 2012|Categories: Articles, Wordpress|0 Comments