Archive for the ‘boat fishing’ Tag

FINDING FISH IN THE WINTER ZONE   Leave a comment

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While anglers in northern Illinois are fishing through holes in the ice, anglers in southern Illinois are still fishing open water lakes and ponds.

 

Mild winters allow southern Illinois anglers to fish all year around.  Granted the temperatures are colder than would be the case the rest of the year, the lack of ice permits both bank and boat fishing.  The key to this type of fishing is finding the fish.  Never does the old adage “Ninety percent of the fish will be in 10 percent of the water” seem more applicable.

 

By knowing at what depth other anglers are taking fish, you go a long way toward being a successful angler on a particular day.  Depth is particularly important during the cold months when game fish are less likely to move around.

 

Experienced anglers know that winter bass fishing success is dependant upon knowing the depth at which fish are suspending.  It is more important than ph, structure and other factors.

 

Other anglers on the same lake may not have much success.  Yet you can take good numbers and sizes of fish.  With the aid of electronics, you might discover that the big fish are down nearly 40 feet.  It might be that no one else is fishing even close to that depth.  This gives you the upper hand when it comes to catching fish.

 

For those without the electronics, a local bait shop operator is the next best source of information.  He can usually tell you how deep other anglers are fishing and their relative success or failure at those depths.  He usually will recommend particular lures or baits that are producing at this time.

 

Another question is where successful anglers are finding fish.  You can divide most lakes into three areas.  They are shallow areas with stained water and abundant cover, an area of moderate depth with less cover and semi-clear water or a deep area with little cover and clear water.

 

If you know the depth at which fish are most active then you can probably eliminate two of the three areas and focus on the remaining water.

 

KAYAKS AND SKINNY WATER   Leave a comment

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Perhaps one of the more recent developments in boat fishing is also one of the oldest.  It is fishing from a kayak.

As the water warms from early spring sunshine, phytoplankton and zooplankton begin to appear in the very shallow water.  Be it either a lake or pond, the nutrient rich skinny water attracts hungry bluegills.

Due to water depth ranging in the inches, most anglers disregard this fishery or fish it only a little from shore.  Boats have difficulty reaching the backs of coves where most of the fish are feeding.  Kayaks are an exception to the rule when fishing such water and dropshoting is a productive method of fishing.

When man first crossed over the Bering Strait and began to settle in North America he brought with him a craft made of animal skins stretched over a wooden frame.  This one man craft was fragile and no doubt cost some people their lives.  But it was light and portable.

Today’s kayak is made of manmade materials and is much safer.  Usually constructed of fiberglass they are heavier but still much more portable than other watercraft.  Some even have portable carts that allow for wheeling right up to the launch site.  Some like the Hobie are for fishing, with live wells and rod racks, etc.

Dropshoting is a finesse presentation that is also known as controlled depth fishing.  It is particularly effective for suspended fish like the bluegills found around the boat docks and in coves.

This pattern is particularly effective with light line regardless the type of rod and reel combination.  For flooded brush fishing a long rod with four to 6 pound line is best.  In jigging situations from boats stationed over a brush pile shorter rods can be effective.

Rig the line by tying a Palomar knot in the line, about 18 inches from the end, with a very long tag end.  You tie the Palomar knot doubling the line and form a loop three to four inches in length.  Pass the end of the loop through the hook’s eye.  Hold the standing line between thumb and finger, grasp loop with free hand and form a simple overhand knot.  Pass the hook through the loop and draw line while guiding loop over top of eyelet.  Pull the tag end of the line to tighten the knot snugly.  Do not trim the tag end.

To the end of the line (on the tag end) attach a sinker.  This can be a split shot sinker, but remember to tie a small overhand knot to the very end.  It helps to keep the sinker from slipping off the end when caught in brush or rocks.

Thread a piece of nightcrawler onto the hook.  Once dropped into the water the worm and hook float above the sinker.  Thus as the rod tip is moved, the action is applied to the bait not the sinker.

You can cast, jig or drift this rig.  The key is to move slowly.  The idea is to wiggle the bait, not jerk it.  Cast it out and let the bait sink.  Watch the line float, twitch it and watch it float. Give it a shake occasionally which will cause the worm to twitch.

Bluegills later will relate to vertical structure such as sticks, trees and other vegetation in the water.  On hot, sunny days they will seek out areas shaded from overhead light.  This can be under docks, or a tree hanging over the water.

Kayaks allow anglers to sit comfortably.   In real skinny water, you can move over brush and rocks.

Topside water-tight compartments permit stowing gear and rod holders.  Additional gear can be attached using bungee cords.  Modern craft are stable unlike the old fashioned kayak.

Cruising around coves we may tend to spend more time looking at the wildlife than actually fishing.  But, you can catch a number of nice bluegills or a few crappies.

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