Fishing Trips · Tips

Early Spring Fishing

Early spring fishing can be some of the best trips of the year. I recently fished a small local lake that typically has a ton of people fishing it. To my delight, I had the entire place to myself. The fishing at this lake was much better than normal, mainly due to the lack of fishing pressure.

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The water temperature was in the high 40’s, which was much warmer than I had anticipated. I found the bass in 3-4 foot of water, but close to deeper water. This is a standard place to look for bass in late winter and early spring. Bass like to move up and down the water column looking for the warmest water at this time of year. I caught the bass on a Rapala Shad Rap and a Berkley Flicker Shad.

The crappies and trout were located on a flat in about 3-5 foot of water. Both species seemed to be close to stumps and brush piles. This is a very common place to find crappies this time of year. Crappies will spawn in water temperatures between 50-60 degrees. These fish were already thinking about spawning. I caught the crappies and trout on a float and hair jig tipped with Berkley Gulp.

If you are willing to put on some extra layers of clothes and battle the cold, then I think you may be surprised how successful you might be. I was able to catch some nice bass, crappie, and trout on this trip. 

 

Fishing Trips · Tips

Muddy Water

My first kayak trip this year was met with some very muddy water. We have had record level floods, which made the lake look more like chocolate milk than water!

I fished a small lake at winter pool. You couldn’t launch a boat in the lake because the only boat ramp is still on dry ground.

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In muddy cold water, I like to use bright lures that make a lot of vibration so the fish can find the bait. I used a Berkley Flicker Shad on this trip. This crankbait has a tight wobbling action that I like. It also has rattles, so the fish can hear the bait coming through the water.

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I only managed a few bites on this trip, but with the water conditions the way they were I was very happy with that. If all the fish I catch are this big, I will have a great year!

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Fishing Trips · Tips

Late Fall Fishing Trip

I spent a great day on the water this weekend. I went to the lake with the intentions of using the baits from my last post, Fall Haul. I fished a lake that had been lowered for the winter. The lake is about 12 feet lower than its normal level. The water temperature was in the mid 50’s and the fish were biting.

The bass were located around wood structure along the new bank line. I caught the majority of the fish with crankbaits. I tried a few other baits, but the baits from my Fall Haul post worked the best. Once I fished the area thoroughly, I re-fished it with a jig and caught a few more quality bass.

Fishing lakes that have been lowered requires a little more work than normal. Most of the time, the boat ramps are inaccessible, because they on dry land with the water being down. You may have to carry your kayak or boat through mud and debris to get to the water. This keeps a lot of people from fishing this late in the year. I only saw one other boat, but I usually have the lake to myself.

Late fall and early winter fishing can be very good. If you are willing to put in a little work you’ll be the only one catching fish this time of year.

Fishing Trips

Fishing the Everglades

A couple of years ago I took one of the best bass fishing trips of my life. We were vacationing near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and I wanted to take a guided fishing trip while we were there. I tried to book an inshore saltwater trip, but never found a guide that I felt confident about catching fish with.

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I then began my search for a bass guide. Lake Okeechobee was a little too far to drive from our hotel, but the Everglades were very close. I remember talking to Captain Michael Hicks from Bass Assassin Fishing Charters and feeling very confident that he would find good fishing spots.

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I met Captain Hicks at a local bait and tackle store, and we drove into the heart of the Everglades. Michael had a new Ranger bass boat and had it equipped with all the tackle I needed to be successful. We mainly fished the canals adjacent to the interstate system through the Everglades. He knew exactly where the fish were located. These canals run for miles, and he had the bass pin pointed to a few highly productive areas.

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I caught over a hundred bass in a 4 hour trip. Most of the bass were all over 3 pounds. I caught fish on every lure I tried. I used crankbaits, flukes, buzzbaits, soft plastics. I figured out pretty quickly that the larger bass would eat a Zara Spook. Once I figured out that I could catch 4-5 pound bass on topwater, I never put that lure down.

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I even caught a Peacock Bass on this trip. This fish is native to South America and has been transplanted to Florida. We both were surprised to see a Peacock, because we were at the very far northern stretches of this fishes environment. Peacocks need very warm water to survive, and my guide had never seen one this far north.

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Another new fish for me was an oscar. Apparently, these fish are very abundant in the Everglades. I caught dozens of oscars while bass fishing. If I lived in Florida, it would be hard not to fish for these all the time. They are very aggressive and fight hard. They were a lot of fun to catch.

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I also saw many alligators on the trip. It was really cool to see gators in the wild.

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I recommend doing your research before hiring a guide. I like to call around to a few people to see if I get a good vibe. There are hundreds of fishing guides in Florida that will gladly take you on a trip, but finding one that can really take you to where the fish are is what really counts.  This was a trip that I will never forget.

 

Fishing Trips · Tips

Camp Ernst Lake

Camp Ernst Lake is a very popular place to fish in Northern Kentucky. I have learned that just because a lake is constantly fished by dozens of other anglers, it doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish there.

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On my most recent trip to Camp Ernst I caught over 20 bass. Most of the bass were small, but I did manage to catch few keeper bass over 15 inches.

On this trip I used an ultralight St. Croix rod, with 6 pound test line. I caught all the fish on a  Rapala Skitter Pop topwater lure. Using light tackle and using very light line really helped me catch quite a few fish.  Downsizing helps catch more fish on busy lakes.  These fish are used to seeing lures and line.

This trip turned out much better than I expected. I love catching fish on topwater lures. Going out and catching over 20 bass in just a couple of hours all on topwater makes for a fun day.

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Fishing Trips

Fall Fishing at Doe Run

Fish are starting to put weight on for the cold months ahead. Fall fishing can be some of the best of the year. I fished Doe Run Lake last week and caught some big bass.

The bass were suspended in large fallen trees. The trees that extended the furthest into the water were the most productive. I used a Live Target Frog to catch most of the fish. I tried other top water baits, but the lake had too many floating leaves and twigs that other baits got hung up on. The frog came through this floating debris nicely.

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It was a gorgeous fall day to spend some time in the kayak. This is a great time of year to get out on the water. The leaves are changing colors and the fish are biting.

I ended up catching eight largemouth bass, and a couple bluegill on a hair jig.  I plan on revisiting Doe Run in a few weeks.  The fishing is expected to only get better.

Check out my other visit to Doe Run earlier this summer here.

 

 

Fishing Trips

Variety On The Ohio

The Ohio River is not known for its great bass fishing, but it is home to a variety of fish. I spent a few hours fishing near Cincinnati on Sunday and caught seven different species.

When fishing a river where bites are few and far between, I like to use baits that not only target bass, but will catch other types of fish, too. This makes the day much more enjoyable, because you are constantly getting bites. My baits of choice are small crankbaits, swimbaits, small soft plastics and jigs.

By using small baits that appeal to a wide variety of fish, I was able to catch largemouth, smallmouth, spotted bass, striper, catchfish, bluegill, and even a gar!

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I caught the majority of the fish on a swimbait. Squarebill crankbaits and jigs produced fish on this trip, too. Small baits will defiantly catch more fish when faced with difficult conditions. Small lures are a great choice and will always put fish in the boat.

Check out my other post about small baits here