Tips

Winter Bass Scouting

Winter is a great time to get out and look for some great fishing spots. Many lakes are lowered in the winter. There are two things I really like about lakes being lowered in the winter. They concentrate the fish in a much smaller area. Secondly, you can see some great structure that is usually covered by feet of water.

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Winter fishing can be difficult, but also very rewarding. You need to have the mindset that you may only get a couple of bites during the trip, but they may be from the biggest fish that live in the lake. Fish will be concentrated in very specific spots. I call these high percentage spots, because there is a high percentage a fish is living there and you will likely catch one there. I look for bluff banks that drop off quickly. This allows fish to go deep to shallow without using much energy. This also allows your lure to be in the strike zone for a long period of time. You may only have to move your lure a few feet but the depth may change drastically. I also like to fish isolated cover such as boulders or stumps. Again, this kind of structure concentrates fish and allows you to have your bait in the strike zone for a long time. You may have to make multiple casts in the same location to get a fish to bite in cold water. This is another reason why I like to fish high percentage spots.

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Winter is also a great time to take pictures of a lowered lake. Take pictures of rock piles, logs, stumps, drop offs, anything that a fish will call home in the spring and summer. Use these pictures later in the year along with your depth finder to find those spots many anglers will miss. Make sure to take some notes so you know exactly where to go back to once the lake is back to its normal level.

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Next time we get a nice warm day this winter, use this time to scout out some new fishing spots on your favorite lake. The time invested now, will pay off by putting more fish in the boat later.

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Tips

Christmas Lure Options

Buying fishing gear for another angler can be difficult. When it comes to buying lures, the task becomes even more challenging.  All fisherman have specific lures they like and some they do not. The selection of lures is endless and can be overwhelming for someone that is not a fisherman. Here are some lure options that every bass fisherman will enjoy.

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Topwater lures are favorites for most fisherman. There is something exciting about seeing a big bass exploding on topwater. Most topwater lures cost between $5-$15. The buzzbait is a lure that can catch fish almost anywhere. It is a great lure for largemouth and smallmouth bass. Frogs are another great topwater option. These lures work well in lakes, ponds, and rivers. Check out my previous post about topwater lures here.

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Crankbaits are another lure that you can’t go wrong with. Most crankbaits cost between $5-$10. I suggest buying medium diving crankbaits. Bass spend a lot of time in water depths from 2-6 feet. These lures work great in this water depth.  Bass fisherman can never have enough crankbaits!

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Soft plastic lures are a staple for most bass fisherman. A bag of soft plastic lures should cost about $3-$7. One soft plastic that we all own and love to use is a Senko style bait. These baits are very soft and tear easily, so you can never have too many Senkos.  A second soft plastic option is a Beaver style bait. These baits are great for punching heavy cover and skipping boat docks. Pick up a pack or two of natural looking colors and you will be good to go.

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This holiday season show the angler in your family that you can buy some great lures for them. These are lures that they will truly use and not forget about in the bottom of their tackle box.

 

Tips

Rainy Day Tackle Organization

Tackle organization is a great thing to do when the conditions are not right to go fishing. I actually really enjoy going through and organizing all my tackle.

Being able to find that exact lure needed quickly during a fishing trip can be the difference in catching fish and not. I have had times when I really wanted to use a certain lure and couldn’t find it. Taking time to organize your tackle is something that you should do throughout the season.

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I like to divide my tackle into lure specific trays. I divide crankbaits up by depth and then color. I have multiple trays just for crankbaits. I have trays for jerkbaits, topwater, spinnerbaits, jigs, hooks, and sinkers, too.

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It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of lures or you have one box full.  Keeping your tackle neat and organized will save you time. When you are on the water, spend your time fishing and not hunting for a lure.

 

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.

Tips

Fall Haul

I just bought some baits that I intend to use this weekend. I often wonder what other fisherman are using, so here is a look at what I will be throwing this weekend. Weather permitting, I plan on fishing a local lake that has been lowered for the winter. The bass in this lake should be located along steep sloping banks that have tree and rock structure. I do not anticipate the bass being deeper than 10 feet. These lures should produce some good results for this time of year.

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The jerkbait is a great cold water lure. I bought a suspending model.  Suspending models allow the lure to sit in front of the fish. If the fish are inactive, this bait should work well.

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Shallow diving crankbaits are a favorite of mine. These lures work very well around structure. Crankbaits with a square bill will go through wood cover without getting hung up on anything. They work much better around wood structure than crankbaits with a round bill. I use the round bill crankbaits for fishing rocks and steep sloping banks. Round billed crankbaits dive a little quicker too, this will be good for fishing fast sloping banks.

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The jig is a bait that works everywhere in every condition. This will be my last option if the other two lure styles aren’t catching fish.  Jigs can be fished very slowly around heavy cover. Jigs usually produce some big bass. I will try this lure when all else fails, because you have to fish slow using this lure. I would prefer to fish fast and cover a lot of water using the other baits, but I will fish whatever lure seems to be catching the most fish.

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Late fall fishing can be a difficult season to fish. Finding the exact location where the bass are located is more challenging, than when fishing in warmer conditions.  However, once you catch one bass, there will often be more located in that area. Hopefully my fishing trip proves to be successful this weekend using these key baits.

 

Tips

Shallow Water Crappie Tip

Crappies spend most of the year in deep water, but during the fall and spring they move into shallower water. These transitions to shallow water make them much easier to catch. I like to use a rattle bobber when the crappies are in the shallows.

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I actually found this tip out by accident. I was crappie fishing one day and saw a green and yellow rattle bobber hanging in a tree. I had never tried one before, and I’m not one to pass up a free bobber, so I switched out mine for the new found rattle bobber I found.

I quickly found that crappies are really attracted to the sound of a rattle bobber. I was surprised by how well it started catching crappies. I had not been catching many crappies that day, but once I switched bobbers I started consistently catching nice crappies. The crappies were around boat docks in 3 to 4 feet of water. I know that the bobber helped turn my day around.

This bobber is only going to be effective catching fish in water no deeper than 6 feet. Fishing in water any deeper than this, the lure will be too far below the bobber and the crappies may not find it. Also, the crappies who are hanging out in deeper water won’t be able to hear the rattle. Next time you find yourself fishing in shallow water for crappies I would suggest trying this kind of bobber. You may be surprised as surprised as I was to see how well it works.

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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