Archive for the ‘predator fish’ Tag

ICE OUT PATTERNS FOR COLD FISH   Leave a comment

Lake of Egypt 0001

Some fishermen mistakenly seem to think fish are like bears and go into hibernation.  Large game fish often turn up at this time of the year.  The fish are not as aggressive when water temperatures are below 500-degrees.  But they still eat and take a properly presented lure.  In winter fish suck bait gently in leaving only the sensation of a tic on the line.

Any current in a body of water increases the oxygen content and fish relate to it.  In general fish are in the 12 to 20-foot range this time of year.  On larger impoundments without a warm water discharge the warmer water is in the section closer to dams.  On main part of a lake the combination of structure and currents hold promise of good fishing.  Fish tend to be just out of the current near structure.  The forage fish are there picking up the small plankton that flows with the current.  Bass in particular hang around the area close to stumps, beneath undercuts, rocks or just on a sharp breakline.

Thawing periods increase river flow and current.  The warming trend that occurs signals a feeding frenzy in predator fish.  For some reason the larger fish are the first to react to the action.  Often one will have to fish hard for a long time to get bites but the bites come from the larger fish.

Game fish like to hold on the edge of muddy water concealed from the forage fish so they can ambush them.  The silt attracts the forage fish as it presents a source of food.

Disruptions such as noise on shore or in the water make the fish shut down.  Light also seems to have an effect on the fishing action.  The brighter the day the closer to the bottom the fish seem to locate.

Weedy areas or those with the dark bottom warm sooner and are areas likely to harbor fish.  The weeds and the dark muddy bottom absorb what heat there is available on a sunny day and hold it longer than any other bottom structure.

Lures for ice-out fishing fall into two categories jigs and deep diving crankbaits.  The rods should be very sensitive and the line very light test.  The bite will be just a tic and therefore the light line and sensitive rod are required for the angler to know of the bite.  One-piece rods are more sensitive than two-piece rods.

Fish all lures slowly.  The lure needs to get down to the bottom or at least near the bottom.  Crankbaits should slowly bounce along the bottom kicking up small clouds of mud.  A loose wobbling crankbait that disturbs the silt on a branch or stump is more likely to attract the fish’s attention than one just passing over his head.

Because bait fish are just as slow reacting as are larger fish the crankbait needs to move in slowly.  The idea is to make the crankbait imitate the action of the baitfish.  That is to dart, slow down, and shimmy in one spot before moving off.

The lure is going to have to be right in front of the larger fish for him to react to it.  Long retrieves are a must in order to get the crankbait down to the strike zone of fish sitting on the bottom.

Jig fishing is a little less complicated.  A 1/16th ounce or 1/32nd ounce jig fished right below the boat works well.  With electronics one can park a boat right on top of the fish and bounce a jig right in front of their noses.  It is possible to cover the fishing zone with the jig.  The fish will not be more than a foot off the bottom.  One can do well with just about any type of jig or jigging spoon as long as it weighs less than an ounce.

You also need to fish jigs slowly and right up against any structure available.

In the case of both jigs and crankbaits it is important to pay close attention for the tic of the bite.  Then set the hook quickly.  They will not hold the hook for long.  Any variation in the action of the line calls for immediate setting of the hook.  This is a game of total concentration on the job at hand.

CRAFTING A NIGHT FISHING TRIP   Leave a comment

Night Bass 0001

Regardless of the species sought, catching fish at night takes some changes in tactics as well as special care for safety.  If you have the energy to stay up late you just might find some of the best angling of your life.

The first quarter moon phase seems to be a good time to go fishing.  There is something about this first night light that tells fish to feed, feed and feed.  Shy daytime fish seem to become awesome predators in the dimness of darkness.  Some anglers believe that warm water temperatures raise the fish’s metabolism requiring it to eat more.

Clear water conditions are a plus.  Water temperatures cool at night.  Fish are more active in warmer water but oxygen depletion in the hot water becomes a factor.  The dissolved oxygen levels peak toward the end of day, making fish more active.

The night makes forage fish more active.  The free-roaming bait fish move to the surface to feed on micro-organisms that seek the fading light.  The swarm of insects that emerge at night and rest on the surface also draws small fish.  This creates a smorgasbord for the predator species.  For the efficient predator fish the cooler water of nighttime is less stressful and food is easier to find.

Night feeding fish take just about any bait one can use during the day light hours.  However, fishing those baits can be a bit of a challenge.

During the day, one can see the underwater structure and weed beds.  At night one has to rely on feel to find those same locations.  The angler must try to imagine the shape and size of every piece of structure on the bottom by the way it feels when the lure strikes it.  Total concentration is important.

When one can tell the difference between a stump and brush, between weeds and wood, and exactly what size rocks the lure is hitting, he is a night fisherman.

Humps are good locations for night feeding bass and other predators.  These unconnected points are like submerged islands.  Ones close to deep water are prime locations.  Crankbaits and Carolina-rigged plastics work well on humps.  The best way to work them is from the top down.  If there is no action doing this, then position the boat on top of the hump and fish from the bottom up.

Night fishing is also slow fishing.  This means very slowly.  To most anglers, slow fishing is still faster than most of the pros fish crankbaits and spinner baits.  That is fast!  Most anglers try to set the hook the instant they feel a bite.  In night fishing patience is important.  Give the fish a chance to really grab hold and stretch the line.

Rhythm is also important.  The angler covers more water if he can forget the fancy twitch-and-jerk retrieves.  Make effective use of those fan casts to cover all areas around the boat.

Safety is vital in night fishing.  Get started before it gets dark.  This allows your eyes to adjust to the darkness.  Doctors report it takes about 15 minutes for eyes to adjust to dark after exposure to bright light.

Running and anchor lights are important.  They must be visible from 360-degrees unless docked.  Spotlights are not a must but they are helpful in navigation.  Wear a Personal Flotation Device (pfd).  Your sense of balance is impaired in the dark as is your vision.  It is easy to trip over a rod, tackle box or some other object in the boat and fall overboard.

To minimize risk take only 2 or 3 rods for the technique you plan to use.  Take only baits you will need for the trip.  Have both the rods and baits organized so you know where they are located.  Keep as few things as possible on the deck to minimize risk.

Predator fish are feeding machines.  They will feed whenever they can.  During the hot summer they are most comfortable at night.  Next to air conditioned lakes, night fishing is the only way to go during the apex of summer.  Give it a try.

 

THE HOOKMASTER ON HOOKS   1 comment

TJ's Rod Building Class

According to Forbes.com, the fish hook is the 19th most important tool in mankind’s history.  Consisting of a piece of bent wire with a barb, it has allowed us to eat, without the danger of hunting or the hard work of farming.  Have you ever wondered just who is the foremost authority on hooks?

People seeking answers to questions about hooks go to the “Wizard of Wetumpka (AL).”  Who is he and why him?

TJ Stallings of the TTI-Blakemore Fishing Group is the go to guy with questions about hooks and their use.  This jovial and unassuming man has spent a lifetime studying hooks.  He is probably the father of the “bleeding bait” hook, those red hooks that are popping up all over the place in tackle stores and catalog outlets.

Stallings began his career in the hook business as a youngster by selling red jigs in his father’s tackle shop.  Customers who tried them came back for more.  Later, he reports a friend used a laser light in a large aquarium and found that the fish followed the red dot around the tank.

According to Stallings, fish in test tanks strike dark red more than any other color.  His Tru-Turn and Daiichi hooks have a red dye over a bright nickel finish.  He explains that the red does wear off but that is good.  As it wears, the combination of the bright finish and the red makes for more flash.

There are two basic theories as to why fish will attack the red hooks.  Red stimulates the predator fish into thinking the bait fish was injured or that the red amounts to a “gill flash” from a smaller fish that is frightened or excited.

It is possible for the layman to study fish reaction to red hooks.  Stallings recommends doing research by tying a crankbait with one red hook and count how many times that hook is deep in the fish’s mouth.  Then move the hook to the front or back of the same lure and do the count again.

Stallings recommends another test, Put out several poles with the red hook while rigging others more traditional hooks.  Then do the math.  A word of caution here in that Illinois limits anglers to two poles and lines in most areas.  You can get around that for this test by having more than one angler present.

The gill flash theory could account for the fact that predator fish tend to strike the head of a lure.  As a result, Stallings recommends installing the red hook on the front of a crankbait or jerkbait.  It is scientific fact that predator fish strike the head of their prey in an effort to swallow it without problems from the fins.

Regardless as to why, years of study in the laboratory ad on the water have found that dark red triggers a feeding response.  It just appears to TJ that the red indicates a feeding opportunity and that in turn creates the aggressive response exhibited by so many predator fish.

For more information about hooks, check out the following websites: http://www.daiichihooks.com.

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