Archive for category Fishing Blogs
fish are in a “post spawn funk”, How many times have you heard that? With the spawn starting to wind down, if you haven’t heard it, more than likely you will hear it from some of your fellow angler buddies in the weeks to come. The post spawn is one of my absolute favorite times to fish, especially in grass lakes. The fish haven’t moved far from where they performed there spawning ritual and are hunkered down in thick cover recovering from the strain they put on there bodies. I believe the biggest fish in the entire lake spawn first so these big fish are already in the thick grass and vegetation when allot of the other fish on the lake are on beds.
Punching your bait into the heart of thick vegetation is a sure way to catch big fish during this time of year. Thick lilly pad clumps, duckweed, coontail and milfoil are starting to thrive and grow with the warming weather. Some people will shy away from the thick grass because it can be challenging to fish if you don’t know how , or have the wrong equipment. Other people will pitch to the holes in the grass and you can definitely catch some fish that way. In my experience though to catch more and bigger fish in the grass you want to flip your bait into the nastiest thickest grass you can find. This is one technique in bass fishing that having the right equipment means all the difference in the world. You need heavy artillery to get these mossback monsters out of the grass thickets they call home.
As far as bait selection goes I stick with 3 baits and they can cover just about any kind of vegetation thickness that I encounter. When punching heavy duckweed or heavily matted grass I like to use a tube or slim creature bait that will slide into the thick cover with the least resistance. Powerteam Lures 4.5” food chain tube and bully grass devil are my baits of choice when targeting bass in the heaviest cover. Some grass species grow slower than others and if the grass isn’t as heavily compacted I will opt for a big creature bait like a conviction craw.
Hooks and Weights
The weight is one of the most important parts to this entire system, even if a lighter weight will get your bait down in the grass, you will get allot more bites 99% of the time with a big heavy weight. A 1-1.5oz weight will get you reaction bites from big bass as the bait flys by there face, you will also catch any fish that are in the mood to feed when your bait presents itself to them. I prefer unpainted polished silver tungsten weights for this method of fishing. It is dark in the dense vegetation and I think the little bit of flash you get from an unpainted weight gets you a few extra bites. Also with no paint on the weight it comes out of the fishes mouth a little smoother and allows you to burry the hook in the roof of there mouth where it belongs. Honey Hole tackle out of Pittsburgh has some of the best tungsten weights on the market, if your looking for some good pure tungsten give these guys a look. Below the weight sits a 4/0 or 5/0 Paycheck baits punch hook. You can use any hook but the welded eye and slightly larger gap on this hook gets the nod as the best punching hook money can buy.
Rod, Reel and Line
Until a few years ago using a big heavy rod was the norm for this type of fishing. I landed lots of fish on my old heavy flipping sticks, but I paid for it the following day when I couldn’t move my shoulder due to wielding a rod that weighed as much as a brick. Normal heavy action rods are just that, HEAVY. Last year I heard about a new company out of Florida called 13 fishing, I ordered one of there 7’11” Omen Black Heavy action rods just for this technique. I heard these were good strong rods and American made, when I put the rod in my hand for the first time I got mad because I thought for sure I got sent the wrong action, I flipped the blank over and sure enough it was the heavy action that I had ordered. This rod is so light it is unreal; it literally weighs half of what my old flipping sticks did. Needless to say I ordered a few more in other actions. Having a light, sensitive rod is crucial when when flipping with a big heavy weight all day. I pair up this rod with a 7:1:1 high speed reel, you want to make as many flips as possible during the course of the day and a high speed reel helps you get your bait back to you as quickly as possible to make another flip. Braided line for this type of fishing is an absolute must. I like to use 50lb Gamma torque. Gamma is a little more expensive but you wont need to change your line nearly as often so its actually cheaper in the long run. Besides the cost savings it is absolutely the strongest most sensitive line on the market today. When you set the hook on a big bass in heavy vegetation your line is the last place you want to skimp.
Now that you know what kind of equipment you need lets get into the specifics of where these fish are living right now. You should be able to find large concentrations of bass in the 3-6 foot of water range. If you know of a flat that had allot of spawning fish on it a week or 2 ago and there is grass nearby, there is a good chance allot of those spawners are now in that grass recovering. Inside weed lines are an excellent place to start but make sure you’re not just flipping to the edge. Be sure to throw your bait back deep into the weeds and explore the depth ranges. A small drop off or little rock pile in the weed bed could be holding the mother load of fish so be thorough in your fishing this time of year.
I hope this helped any of you that are suffering from a case of the post spawn blues, get out there! Big fish are waiting!!!
Spring has officially arrived! That’s right guys, if you haven’t made it out on the water yet I suggest you make arrangements and get out there as soon as you can. The pre spawn bass are in an all out feeding frenzy right now. Most of the lakes around western PA are up quite a bit with all of the rain we have been having, pushing tons of bass into the new cover that’s available to them on the shore line. The “pre frontal” day before the storm is one of the best days to be on the water, the fish are usually aggressive and it’s also the best time to catch a real giant Bass. Any time I have the chance to get out on the water the day before a front I make it an effort to go, even if it’s just for a couple hours. Yesterday was one of those nights and I was blessed with the best day of bass fishing I have had so far in 2013.
We started off shallow throwing a chatterbait over the flooded cat-tails and brush, almost instantly I was hooked up. Fish after fish came exploding out of there new found homes in the flooded cover along the bank. This was allot of fun but most of the fish were males in the 2-3 pound range. I don’t want to sound like I am complaining about catching fish of this quality cast after cast, but this lake has produced fish near the 7 pound mark every spring and this is what I really wanted to catch. In the words of Paul Elias I was looking for “Nadine”. I was pretty dialed in on how to catch numbers but told my dad I would trade all of these for one big one, so we were going to give the shallow fish a break for a little bit and go search for her. I went to a bank that we found some big ones on last year this time of year. This bank has a defined weed line that runs from the bank out to about 3 feet of water and then comes out to a ledge and it drops off to about 10 feet. With the water being up so high the weeds were now in about 6-8 feet of water, what a perfect place for some bigger fish to be staging in. I backed off the bank and started dragging a jig down the slope on my 4th or 5th cast my rod loaded up and when I set the hook the fish didn’t move, it felt like I just set the hook on a truck. I have been fortunate to have caught fish of this size in the past and was pretty positive unless it was hung up on some cover I indeed had old Nadine on the end of my line. This was one of the hardest fighting largemouth I had ever hooked when it came up beside the boat for the first time and started thrashing I honestly thought it was close to 8 pounds after one last ditch effort to get to the bottom I got the fish turned and back up where my Dad could get put his hands on it. The Digital scale that I carry in my boat bounced back and forth between 6.50 and 6.56. We snapped some quick pictures and got the fish back in the water.
Catching big fish like that makes me shake, it is pretty much the same feeling you get after shooting a big Whitetail with a bow. That’s about the only other thing I have ever experienced that makes me have the feeling of catching a 6-7 pound bass. I cant stress enough the importance of having good equipment when you have fish of this size hooked, any weak point in any of your equipment from the hook point to your reel will result in failure. This is why you hear so often about “the big one that got away” I make it a point to be meticulous about my fishing equipment. You might only have the opportunity once or twice a year or once or twice in your life depending on how much you fish so you want to make it count.
The window to catch a giant bass is short so get out there, there is another storm coming across the Midwest right now…..Nadine is waiting
As some of you may know the Bassmasters Classic was this past weekend and like allot of other Bass nerds out there I was glued to my computer for 3 straight days following Basstrak and the live blog through out the day. This was the one classic that everyone predicted a “local” would win. Mostly in part because there were allot of guys fishing this event that were considered aces on Grand Lake. Jason Christie said he fished upwards of 50 tournaments on Grand Lake and has won 3 boats there. Mike Mcclelland and Edwin Evers also cut there teeth fishing this lake and were pre tournament favorites. There were also a handful of guys from the federation and Opens who qualified that were sticks on this lake as well.
So how is it that a guy from Mississippi who can count on both hands how many days he has been on this lake and another young man from Idaho who was fishing his first tournament ever on Grand Lake out fished these local aces? They call it the local curse that only one guy has ever won a classic in his home state, is it a curse or just the fact that being a local is not really an advantage at all but maybe in a big event like this with this kind of talent it’s a HUGE disadvantage. I believe in the latter, I have a lake that I fish 50 or 60 days a year in the summer time, it’s a great lake and its only about 10 minutes from my house. I find myself fishing it pretty much the same way every time I go there because I have success fishing that way. I can look around that lake and can show you a laydown or clump of pads that I have caught a big fish off of all over that place, but if there were ever a big tournament there with allot of good fisherman unless I could erase every memory from every fish I ever caught at this lake more than likely I would get beat. Knowing where everything is at on a lake is precious information, the key is not to get attached to any of it. You have to treat the piece of wood that you have caught fifty 4 pounders off of the same as you treat the piece that looks so good but you still to this day have never had a bite off of.
I hear allot of guys talking about how they found some great spots on lake X last year or 2 years ago and they cant wait to get back up there for that tournament. Some of them are so confident in these spots from years past they might not even practice much for the tournament because they think they already have the thing locked up. Weigh in rolls around and they just shake there heads in disbelief as they come in with out even a limit. This does not just apply to places you found the year before but even the month or the week before, This is especially true in the spring and the fall. Fish are moving so much this time of year your pattern can change literally from hour to hour based on the temperature, wind, sun, clouds etc… Try to approach every day on the water as a new day I try and treat my tournament days as additional practice days and some of my best tournament finishes to date where instances where I ran new water and caught fish in areas I never even fished in practice. If you’re a recreational angler just out fishing you favorite lake for the day, go ahead and fish with a different bait or technique that you don’t usually do, the results might surprise you!
In the past winter has been a somewhat unhappy time for me because the lakes are frozen and fishing is very limited. Personally, I have never been one to drill a hole in the ice and fish. However, lately I have found myself enjoying the winter months more and more. A few years ago I started pouring my own soft plastic and lead jig & weights. In my next couple posts I will show some pictures of lures, molds, and tools that I use. This post will show you some very general information.
First of all, I should tell you that after a couple years of doing this I can honestly tell you that I do not want to try to make a living pouring lures. It is a great hobby, but it is very time consuming and can become frustrating at times. Here are several things you should know before you start.
1. You should have a well ventilated area or work with a garage door or at least a window open.
2. Moltant plastic & lead are both over 300 degrees during pouring and have toxic gases. Practice safety by wearing gloves and a respirator at a minimum. (Safety glasses are recommended.
3. Getting started is the most expensive part of pouring anything. Molds can be expensive and it will cost you a decent amount of money for liquid plastic, glitter, dye and other supplies.
4. The internet is your best friend. There are many forums and guys out there willing to help you become successful at it. They might not give you the mix for this colors, but they will help you with any problems that you are having. This includes me. Any knowledge I have gained you are welcome too.
A good place to start looking for supplies is www.lurecraft.com. There are several good companies when it comes to molds. Aluminum molds are expensive, but they are worth the money. A lot of companies will send you samples of the lures before you by the mold so you can see if it is something that you want. In order to get the samples you will often have to contact them via email or by phone. Realize that you can get hand pour molds and injection molds. In my next post I will explain the difference between the 2 styles of molds and the basic equipment and supplies you will need for both.
As always good fishing!
I bet allot of you reading this have thought about it and some of you will end up doing it eventually when the time is right. I took the jump this year from local tournament angler to the national stage and put my deposits in for all 3 of the B.A.S.S Northern Opens for 2013.
First off let me introduce myself and give you a little bit of background on me. I am a 29 year old fishing nut who grew up fishing the small ponds and creeks that dot the country side in Western Pennsylvania. I am not rich and would like that to be known from the get go, I had to make a TON of financial and family sacrifices to be able to fish the opens this year. Just like in years past I had allot of great excuses not to make the jump and fish the bigger events this year. When I was 6 years old I watched Brian Kerchal hoist the Classic trophy over his head and I decided at that moment that I was going to be fishing against those guys some day. Fast forward 23 years I am now married to my beautiful wife Holly and was blessed with my first son Brody this past June. In those 23 years though I have not really done anything pro active to get myself to the upper levels of the sport so this is the year that I really start trying to get there.
Well that’s enough about me, I would like to hear from you guys and what you would like to see me write about this year I am planning on doing a complete recap of all of the tournaments I fish and explain how I caught them ( or didn’t catch them) I will also be doing lots of product reviews so if there is a bait out there you have been wondering about or a question you want answered about anything at all please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org I think there are allot of misconceptions amongst anglers about moving up in the ranks of tournament fishing and I will do my best to share the bold truth of tournament bass fishing at every level I compete in this year.
This winter has been rough on me I am ready to get this tournament season started, my first tournament of the year will be a Bassmasters weekend series event on Rocky Fork lake in Ohio. Unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts I will not be able to fish the full schedule of the weekend series but I am going to fish enough events to make the regional and hopefully make it to the national championship on Old Hickory in Tennessee.
Cant wait to see all of you on the water in 2013!
Sorry for the lack of updates this year, it was a busy, busy summer for the team. The team traveled from Washington D.C. into Ohio, up to New York and all over Central and Western PA. The Bass Hounds welcomed a new member in this year, Ben Billott. Derek and Ben fished the 2012 PA Fishers of Men circuit together. Ben also competes in the PA Bass Federation state and regional events.
The 2012 Fishers of Men circuit were held in western and central PA, starting off at Raystown Lake in the spring, traveling to Sayers Lake near state college, from there to Shenango Reservoir in north western PA, Kinzu Reservoir in north central PA, and finished up in central PA at Curwensville Dam near IUP. Ben and Derek held their own, bringing fish to the scale at each event, they did not fish the last event due to other tournaments they are committed to, but in the end they finished 24th in the state and qualified for the regional championship.
Team members Brad Bressler, Derek Severns and Bob Severns fished the 2012 Mingo Creek Anglers Events together. This is a 10 event scheduled that is followed by a Classic at the end of the year. This series traveled from the Potomac River in Washington DC, into Ohio to Mosquito Lake, through PA to the mighty Mon River, Pymatuning Lake, Lake Erie, Conneaut Lake, Clarion River and Lake Wilhelm. Some of the highlights from this series were, at the first event of the year. The Potomac River in D.C., team member Derek Severns won the event and also won tournament lunker. Mosquito Lake in Ohio hosted two events for this circuit, at the first of the two, Derek Severns won the event and Brad came in second, team member Bob Severns finished inside the top ten at each of these events. At the second event held at this lake team member Brad Bressler won the event and also won lunker, Derek finished 4th. Lake Erie hosted an event in the summer, Derek Severns finished the event in second place, Bob Severns finished 8th. Soon after this event we traveled to the Mon River, in the Elizabeth pool, this is the pool above Pittsburgh. This gave anglers the option to stay in this pool, lock up to the Mon City pool or down to the Pittsburgh pool and then fish the Mon, Allegheny or the Ohio Rivers. At this event Brad finished 2nd and won lunker. The team traveled north to Lake Wilhelm, here Derek finished 3rd, Brad finished 4th and Bob finished 6th. In the end the team finished well in this series, Derek Severns won the points race, Brad finished 6th and Bob finished the year out in 10th. All three anglers fished the Classic, the event was held at Lake Erie the first weekend in October. The weather was extreme the first day, high winds and waves made the event be “bay only”. At the end of the first day Derek was in 2nd place only a half pound off the lead, only two guys brought limits to the scales that first day, and Derek was one of them. Day two of the event was open to the main lake, the waves were still 2 to 4 foot range but it was fishable. In the end Derek Severns ended up winning the event, Bob was 10th and Brad was 12th. Derek was informed that he was the only angler to ever win the Angler of the Year race and the Classic Championship in the same year.
Along the way throughout the year the guys also fished some other events. Ben qualified for the PA Bass Federation State Championship, this is a very elite group of anglers that make it to this event, from there only the top 12 make it onto represent the state of PA in the Mid Atlantic Divisional event, from there the top angler advances to the Federation National Championship and the top guy from there makes it to Bass Master Classic. Ben finished 15th at the State event held at Cayuga Lake in New York and then 26th at Lake Erie, these to finishes were enough to qualify Ben for the State Championship. This event was held on the Potomac River in D.C., Ben went on to finish 6th, which makes him a boater for the PA divisional team next fall.
Brad and Derek also team up to fit in and fish two buddy tournaments along the way. They fished the Walt’s Tavern Buddy tournament that is held at Conneaut Lake in northwest PA, at this event they guys finished 4th. They also traveled to Chautauqua Lake in New York to fish the Do-Bass Series event there; this tournament had 67 teams signed up for it, the guy’s finished mid pack with 10.13 pounds. The weights were extremely tight and only one good bit was between the guys and a check, it just didn’t happen on that day.
As you can see the guys had a full plate this year, next year is shaping up to be a good one, with some of the events and locations have already been announced. The schedule will be full again, but I’m sure the team will be there and putting their best foot forward representing the team sponsors the best ways they know how. The team once again wants to thanks all of their 2012 sponsors as without them none of this is possible. Please look these company’s up and use them as they support the sport we all love.
This past weekend I spent Friday and Saturday helping Dick’s Sporting Goods with their grand opening at their two new locations in the area. Berkley and pure fishing had asked me to represent their companies and talk to folks at the new Cranberry location on Friday night and the new South Hills Village location Saturday afternoon. Doing this enabled me to meet a bunch of great customers, fellow fishing and future fishermen.
I would like to say thank you to Ted, a rep for eagle claw and seagar line, and Eric, a rep for Diawa, for sharing the experience with me and teaching me about their products. Of course I was happy to talk to them about all of the great pure fishing companies.
For all of us fishermen in the area the new stores are such an improvement in the fishing department. They each have an extensive fly fishing area. A better selection of rods and reels. The lures, hooks, accessories, and tackle products make these stores the most well stocked in the area. Both lodge managers told me that if there are lures in which we wanted to stock in any brand to tell them and they would see if they could get them in. Remember Dicks Sporting Goods sponsors the Keystone Bass Buddy Circuit (KBBC) so give them your business to show appreciation for their help in making our local tournament circuit function.
The last couple of weekends I have been spending them at Pymatuning Lake. Water conditions have been extremely low and the water temperatures are running much warmer than usual at this point. This hasn’t stopped the fish from biting though. The entire spring the water has been low leaving the bass to spawn in different areas than normal and fisherman having to adjust without being able to fishing in their normal areas.
Two weeks ago was KBBC event. My dad and I are a team as always and have been catching a good number of bass up there. Two weeks prior to the KBBC event we won a touranment catching prespawn fish on a staging area. Because the spawn was going on for this event that spot wasn’t holding up. We ended up flipping weeds with beavers and tubes to get ourselves to a 14th place finish. Not a great finish, but when you can’t find spawners getting almost 15lbs of fish is a good day.
This past weekend I fished my first YRBA tournament on Pymatuning. The guys in the club were really excepting and put on a nice tournament. It was a 2 day event and we fished 6 to 2 on both days. Day 1 Jon and I managed a small 11.85lbs of fish. However, Sunday we managed to boat 17.26lbs in the boat by switching to ledge fishing. That switched allowed us to win the tournament by .35lbs to a team that fished weeds both days. I am looking forward to the next event I get to fish in that club.
Hopefully, before the next tournament up at Pymatuning the water level rises some. If you are fishing a tournament there any time soon. Don’t forget to keep your livewells cool with lots of ice. Post spawn is very tough on fish in a livewell and they aren’t used to warm water yet.
2012 “The Bass Hounds” Fishing Team
2012 is shaping up to be a great year for the team. This year the team of fishermen will be competing in the “Fishers of Men” national sanctioned professional tournaments and B.A.S.S. events stretching throughout the East. The “Fishers of Men” circuit is a new circuit that the team will be competing in. The tournaments start in PA and then stretch to regional events and then on to the national level. You can check out the circuit at www.fomntt.com
This year the team will be traveling to Washington DC to fish the Potomac River, into Ohio and New York to fish select lakes, as well as many events inside of PA. There are many expenses incurred when running a team such as this, at this level of competition. We rely solely on sponsorship, and through our own fundraising. The major expenses for this team include entry fees for the tournaments, travel fees such as gas, hotel rooms, and pre-fishing for these events. We would like to take a moment to thank all of our sponsors that help us do our best to stay competitive at this level.
Valvoline Oil Company, Nervous Waters, Strauss Automotive, Metal Menders, www.fishpittsburgh.com, and McElhinny Insurance Agents all sponsor the team and without their help none of this would be possible. Please take time to check out all of these sponsors and if they can help you, tell them the Bass Hounds sent you.
The TBF state championship was held on Oneida Lake the first weekend in October. Oneida Lake is located just north of Syracuse New York. Bass Hounds team members Brad Bressler and Derek Severns qualified and fished the event. Brad fished on the boater’s side while Derek fished the co-anglers division. There were 130 anglers signed up to fish this event, where only the top 12 would make the PA state team. This truly is an all or nothing event.
The week prior to the event, Brad and Derek spent the day’s pre fishing the lake, exploring new areas and doing their best to locate the fish. Oneida can produce big bags of both largemouth and small mouth bass. Under normal conditions it would take a mixed bag to win this event. Knowing this made the practice period a little difficult. The guys got on a top water frog bite early in the week; they thought it would be the ticket to the largemouth that Oneida has to offer. The smallmouth proved to be a bit tougher to locate. That time of year the cold fronts move through and shut down the fishing. It affects both the shallow and deep bits.
As the event started Friday morning, Brad headed right to his large mouth spots and began to frog. He got a few fish early but not the big ones he had caught in practice; he moved out deeper but could not get bit. He ended the day with 3 fish and was in 25th place on the angler side. Derek pulled a boater that was on some small mouth in the morning that were coming up onto a flat to feed. He was catching fish on jerk baits, tubes and top water lures. It wasn’t until around 10 that Derek got his first bite. By noon Derek has landed 3 fish and his boater hadn’t landed a fish. He asked his boater to move up the lake to a stretch that he had caught them on before and his boater agreed. Upon arriving at the spot, Derek landed 4 more keeper small mouth, thus filling out his limit and culling a few fish. All of his bites came on a green pumpkin zoom centipede. Derek ended day one in sixth place on the co angler side, right where he needed to be. Friday night turned out to be the coldest night of the week. It made the last day of competition very, very hard. Derek went out and caught two fish for around 7 and ½ pounds. He finished the tournament in 11th place just 2 pounds away from making the team. Brad had a few small keepers that didn’t make any difference in his placing. Both guys left the tournament a little disappointed, but that is fishing. “Close but no cigar”, is the old saying and as was true here.
We can’t say enough about our 2011 team and team sponsors, the support from everyone has made this possible. Valvoline Oil, Metal Menders, Strauss Automotive, Bowser Collision Center, Poor Boys Baits, Fishpittsburgh.com and Nervous Waters, have all been behind us 100% and without them we would not be out there. Thank you to everyone and we are looking forward to a great 2012 season.