Tips

Kayak Rod Holders

I did a little DIY on one of my kayaks this weekend. I fish a little lake that is full of crappies and catfish and one of the best ways I know to catch these species in the summer is to drift fish. Trying to drift with no rod holders from a kayak is very challenging, not to mention it’s a good way to lose a rod when a big catfish strikes. They will literally pull your rod in the water. See what happened to me in the post here.

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Here is how I went about it.

I mounted the rod holders to a Perception Swifty 9.5 DLX. Check out my post about purchasing a kayak here. This kayak has a flat surface that is an ideal mounting location for a rod holder or two. I decided to use the Cannon Exclusive 3-position Rod Holder. This holder is very versatile. It allows me to use bait casting or spinning tackle while having a base that swivels 360 degrees.

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Mounting these were very easy. I put the bases where I thought they would work the best and used a drill bit to make a hole through the kayak. I decided to only use 2 bolts through the bases (using all 4 holes is recommended). I thought two provided enough support and I didn’t want to put more holes in the kayak than I had to.  I suggest playing around with where you want to mount your rod holders first. You may want to stagger them more than I did. Do what works best for your fishing rods and style of fishing.

One other thing I like about these Cannon rod holders is the bases are fairly low and do not stick high up on the kayak. This way when I am not using rod holders and I’m casting, they will not get in my way.

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I am excited to get out and try these. I know it is going to make my drift fishing much easier and hopefully will allow me to put a few more fish in the boat.

 

Tips

Small Bass Eat Big Baits, Too

There is a common thought in bass fishing, if you want to catch bigger fish, use bigger baits. I agree with this, but you typically don’t get as many bites using larger lures. I personally like catching all sizes of bass and hate to throw a bait that I know will only get a few bites.

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One large lure that will catch big and small bass alike is a 10″ worm. This bait looks more like a snake in the water than a worm. Don’t let that bother you, it will catch all sizes of bass. I like to use the Berkley 10″ Power Worm.  Black is my favorite color. That’s the only color you need. This bait works in clear and murky water.

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Huge worms like this seems to work the best in very warm water. Bass get a little lethargic in hot water and like a slow moving meal. They normally will not pass up an opportunity at eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner all in one bite.

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One misconception I have heard is you can only use big baits in big lakes and that you must use small baits in small bodies of water. I recently proved that theory wrong. I fished my pond using this lure and caught multiple small and large bass. Think about it,  have you ever seen big snakes or bull frogs around small ponds? I know I have. Bass in all sizes of lakes and ponds are used to eating big things. Try this lure and see how it works for you.

Tips

Whopper Plopper Tip

By now almost everyone owns a Whopper Plopper. If you don’t own one, you need to. This is a fish catching machine. Bass, pike, and muskies love the sound and action of this bait. Check out my “Most Exciting way to Bass Fish” post here to learn more about this bait and others.

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This bait comes with some sticky, sharp treble hooks. Hooking the fish is usually pretty easy on the Whopper Plopper, but we have all had those days when they just don’t hook up. If you encounter a day when the fish flash under it, swirl near it, or miss the bait entirely try this trick.

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Take the back treble off the bait and change it to a feather or bucktail treble hook. This changes the look of the bait and gives the fish something extra to see.  Often times by adding this style hook, the fish fully commit to striking the bait.

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I think this will really help you on those days when the fish keep missing your Whopper Plopper. This also works very well on popping style topwater baits too!

Fishing Trips · Tips

Memorial Day Crappie Fishing

This past Memorial Day was one of the hottest I can remember. While most Hoosiers were watching the Indy 500, my nephew and I were on the lake catching some crappies.

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It was 90 degrees and super humid. This would have been a great day to relax in the water, like many others were doing. The water temperature actually rose 8 degrees during the time we were on the lake. It was 76 in the morning and 84 by the afternoon!

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The crappies are pretty much done with the spawn and are transitioning to their deep water summer patterns. When the water temperatures get into the 80’s they are usually located in deep water. The pattern we found is almost done now for the summer. We caught our fish in shallow water around docks. The fish were located in the shadiest parts. Skipping plastic grubs worked the best. (Check out a previous post about my favorite crappie lures.)

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Crappie fishing can be very difficult on hot, calm, sunny days. If you are faced with these conditions in late spring to early summer, it may be worth skipping some docks to see if you can get a few bites. I know we had a great Memorial Day on the water.

Tips

Finicky Bluegills

The first fish you probably ever caught was a bluegill. Bluegills have been hooking kids on fishing for years. These fish are notorious for being easy to catch, but what do you do when these fish won’t cooperate? Go weightless.

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Bluegills go through times when they are very fickle and hard to catch. When I encounter this situation, I go very basic in my rigging and it almost always catches them.

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The tackle I use is 6 pound Berkley XL line,  a small bobber, and a  #4 Aberdeen hook. Wax worms or crickets are my bait of choice when bluegill are in a negative mood and won’t bite anything else. The light line paired with this hook allows the bait to fall very slowly. Bluegill can not resist the slow fall of a wax worm or cricket.

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This technique works the best when the fish are located in shallow clear water. The fish need to be able to see the slow fall of the bait in order for it to work. This is also ideal to use in the spring when the fish are spawning.

Bass fisherman talk about “finesse” fishing all the time. This is an ultra “finesse” way to catch bluegill, but I guarantee you it will produce fish when nothing else will.

Tips

Tough Spring Days

There are times in the spring when the weather outside is picture perfect. Although it may seem like an ideal day for fishing, it can be one of the worst. I would much rather fish in spring on a warm cloudy day with a front moving in. The days after a front moves through and there isn’t a cloud in the sky, are about the worst days to fish.

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I recently spent a gorgeous afternoon on the water with bright blue skies and little wind. I tried many of my favorite spring time lures with no success.

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I fished for almost an hour with no bites. Once I picked up a small suspending jerkbait I started catching some. The exact bait was a Lucky Craft Pointer suspending jerkbait. I did not catch any big ones, but I started getting some bites. I ended up catching over a dozen small bass on this lure.

On this day, the suspending jerkbait was the ticket for me. Tomorrow it might be something completely different. Even though I was able to catch a few, I would’ve had more success on a less picturesque day. But a day on the lake is still better than one doing yard work.

Tips

Light Jigs In Algae

Fishing a lake or pond that is full of algae can be very frustrating. Especially when it’s slimy algae. This kind of algae sticks to everything. There are very few baits that can be used in this stuff. This crankbait is covered in it.  

Here’s a bait I think you will want to give a try. It has worked for me many times in this situations. I like to use a 1/16 ounce Strike King Bitsy Bug Jig. For the trailer I use a Reaction Innovations Smallie Beaver 3.50 and cut it in half. This gives the bait a small compact profile with enough bulk to keep the bait on top of the algae. If you try to use a heavy jig, it will immediately get covered in algae and be ineffective

Light jigs do require a lot of patience because it takes time to fall to the bottom. Often the bass grab the lure as it is falling. You must be a line watcher; if you see the line pop, or swim off to the side before it hits the bottom, set the hook because a fish has it!

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Next time you encounter this slimy situation, try this technique out. I know it will catch some good ones.