Archive for category Kinard’s Fishing Blog

Summertime Smallies

It’s been a unusual summer where lakes that have been traditionally good, in Western Pennsylvania, are not fishing all that well. The up-side to this is that it forces anglers to adapt and find new waters or techniques to capitalize on. With the nights cooling off now, in the end of August and early September, baitfish have began to ball up giving the gamefish prey to focus on. To my surprise, two recent trips to catch Largemouth Bass have turned into great Smallmouth Bass days… days that would traditionally not be prime for smallies (high blue bird skys).

When Bass are feeding on bait balls, I look to fish the wind or areas that the wind is affecting the movement of prey. The wind blows the bugs and organisms in a direction to which the bait will follow to feed on. This bait movement is followed by the gamefish! Points, Islands, shallow drop offs, shoreline cover all create areas where current flow is broken. This break in the flow creates eddies, slack pools, and other type anomalies for bass to stage on where they can feed up. Combine these factors with a hard bottom and you may find wolf packs of Smallmouth Bass (or Largemouth) congragating when the nights start to cool off. They will instinctively seek these area to feed when the surface temperature starts to drop. When fishing these areas you will realize that even if you are way out in the lake, you may acutally be fishing a long point or secondary point. With this, even the smallest depth change can be enough to hold large groups of bass waiting for an easy meal.

On two of my recent trips, I started out looking for the areas, which I just spoke of, starting out with search baits (crankbaits, top waters, spinnerbaits, etc). Once located, I realized there was no need to change my presentation because active feeding bass will look for a aggressive moving target. Crankbaits can be determined on the depth which you are fishing but I would always recommend matching the size of the bait which the bass are feeding on. If you can’t see the bait, take notice to what the bass is spitting up as you are catching them. Another good tip is to put a few in the livewell (releasing them later) to see what they cough up. The days that I spent catching over 60 smallmouth in a few hours provided clues with the water looking like a chum slick from all the bait that was spit out from the bass feast! This time of year, you need to find the hard bottom, determine the wind direction, locate the best areas of the structure, make a presentation that is either natural or able to entice a reaction strike. Look for points and drops and determine the depth. Watch the birds!… the birds will tell you allot… One lone seagull on the back side of a point or island can provide a good starting point.  www.skinard.com

 

 

 

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Waiting Out The Storms

Recently I went out for a very stormy evening with the hopes of catching a few nice Largemouth Bass. After being pounded by several evening thunderstorms, I did manage to get a couple hours of fishing in. To my surprise, the bite was a bit slow, but still managed four nice largemouth in the 4 lb class. When times are tough on waters, slow down your presentation…. slow way down!! .. This is when a quality product can really increase your fish catching. www.skinard.com

 

 

 

 

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There are no Tuna in Pittsburgh

It’s a true statement that “There are no Tuna in Pittsburgh”. You can fish your whole life in the burgh and I can guarantee that you will not hook into one! We seem to always make blog posts on how and where to fish in the Western Pennsylvania region but ignore the best option when the fishing is slow … that option is do NOT fish around here… take a trip and go where the fish are active! I just got back from a great trip to the Gulf of Mexico for a two day Tuna, Wahoo, and Mahi Mahi trip. Every couple years I get invited to Dauphin Island Alabama to visit friends and associates and sample the great fishing that the gulf has to offer. Last year, around this time, the Gulf coast was under siege of the Deep Water Horizon oil rig spill that all but shut down the fishing industry in the gulf. After it was all said and done, the damage to the marsh and Gulf was not near what the government and media led us all to believe. The spill equated to one drop of water in a large bath tub and did nothing to damage this great fishery! The fishing is back and better than I have ever seen. Our journey led us out to sea about 6 hours into the gulf in roughly 5000 feet of water. Bonita were busting the surface everywhere around the different oil rigs we fished and the gamefish were close by. It was an incredible two day experience with at least 5 or 6 Yellowfin Tuna landed that were all in the 100lbs class.. several large Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Shark, and even some smaller Blackfin Tuna. If you have a chance to get out of the Burgh, I would highly recommend Captain Mike Thierry of Dauphin Island Alabama (CapThierry@aol.com) or on Facebook (Capt. Mike’s Deep Sea Fishing Inc.) Also a special thanks to Quality Valve Inc., of Mobile AL, for making this trip possible again.

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July 4th Weekend

Just a quick post on this past July 4th weekend. Went out for some time on the water in search of a few big post spawn Largemouth. Not many bites, but they were quality bites! Been testing out the Backstabber Lures provided by Keith Ray of Alabama… took a little tuning of the baits, but very good product. www.skinard.com

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It’s All For Fun!

As serious anglers, all of us can forget sometimes that it’s all for fun! Serious tournament anglers can get wrapped up in the competition and forget the true purpose of the recreation. Fishing a very limited tournament schedule I try to take advantage of the freedoms that life should be all about. For many years I have been fishing with Ernie and Ken Pate who are well known in the area to be two of the best bass tournament anglers that the area has to offer… bass experts if you will ! Regardless of who you are fishing with, we all can learn things from each other, but the experience and privilege to fish with two of the best is truly a great experience. I’ve learned a great deal from the Pate’s over the years and always look forward to another day on the water with them. I’ve taken several trips to Lake Erie so far this year on their boat and the fishing has been phenomenal as Erie is known. Taking traditional bass tackle and simplifying the bait and presentation to a natural form is their forte. For many years they have been doing this around the area and country and are always at the top of their game every time they head out onto the water. Between the three of us in our trips we have landed literally several hundred bass using their time tested techniques and persistance in search of our favorite gamefish. The trips are always entertaining and very productive and a real experience for both the serious angler and weekend angler alike! Here’s some video of underwater camera shots on the big water!!

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Search Baits

As fisherman we all know, or have heard of, the term “search bait”. Most lures in your box can be catagorized as search baits in the right condition, but you have to be aware of when and how to apply the tool. Traditional search baits, such as spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and crankbaits are not only primary weapons, but also can be used to determine bottom contour, find fish, and determine where you should be and what you should be doing to catch the fish. This time of year in clear water Smallmouth Bass conditions, I like to use a Shad Bait to search. When the sun is out and the wind is down, it’s most likely that the spooky bass will not aggresively hit a faster moving bait. A Shad Bait, such as the Jackall Soul Shad 68SP, can be used to probe the waters, find the right bottom hardness, and tell you where the fish are at. Now that the Smallmouth are spawing on the great lakes, I like to cast the Soul Shad on spinning tackle, run it down in about 4 to 6 feet of water to feel the bottom and find the beds. The smallmouth will hit the bait on the pause, but most of the time you have a follow in, short strike, or you actually see the bass turn on the bait without hitting it. At this point, I pick up a spinning rod with a light tube, small jig, fluke, etc., to give the bass a slow vertical presentation… and that’s when they eat it! Time on the water is limited for all of us and one of the main keys to success is eliminating dead zones. Cover water with a horizontal presentation to find the key ingredients, and then follow up with a vertical presentation to catch the fish. I like the Jackall Soul Shad 68 SP for the high quality, perfect balance, action, size, and castability in this situation… not only is it a perfect search bait in the shallows, but also a great “catching” bait as well when the conditions call for it. www.skinard.com

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Hook Removal Tip

Serious anlgers spend more time on the water than most. Because of this fact we are more prone to on the water accidents that involve sharp objects! The most common accident for fisherman is getting a sharp hook in the hand. Knowing what to do in a situation like this is important, not only for your health, but also not to cut your day on the water short by having to rush to a hospital or seek medical attention. To be prepared for accidents some good items to keep in your boat are: pliers, sharp wire cutters, clean sharp knife, gause, bandages, and cleaning alcohol. The best way to remove a hook that is stuck in places where it shouldn’t be is to bring it back the way it came in. The problem with this is that most of our hooks have barbs on them. Once the barb has penetrated the skin, it is not coming back out very easily! If your lucky, the hook will have gone clean through the skin… if not, you must push the point and barb all the way through until the barb is exposed (that’s the tough part). Once the barb is exposed, you are now able to use your wire cutters and snip off the hook point and barb. Slide the hook back out the way it came in and allow yourself to bleed out the wound a bit. Your not home free yet though! … Hooks can be rusty and a wound like this can get infected very easily. Flush out and soak both ends of the wound in alcohol and cover it up so it says clean. If you fish allot, you “must” be current with your tetnis shots as well! Use this tip when you are on the water. I put at least one hook through my hand every year so the best thing to do is not panic! Just cut it out, clean it off, and you should live to fish another day. www.skinard.com

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Pre-Spawn Transition Largemouth Bass

The spring of 2011 in Western Pennsylvania can be summed up in weather terms of “cold and very wet”. There is not doubt that the unusual weather has set all the lakes several weeks behind schedule as far as transitions. With water still hovering in the mid to high 60’s in early may, the Largemouth Bass are now approaching one of their “transitional periods”. This transition is the pre-spawn. After the ice out, when the water is still cold, the smaller males will invade the shallows looking to make the spawning beds for the coming spawn. The smaller males will congragate around wood cover, rock, and anything that holds the heat while they await the warmer temps when their bigger females will join them. Once the water temp reaches the upper 60’s, the females will transition from being suspended on the drop offs and deeper weedlines up onto the spawning ares of lakes. As all transitions, this can be the best time to catch a true trophy Largemouth Bass. The biggest females will move up to the spawning areas first and well ahead of the time that most anglers think. Not all areas of a lake will be golden to find this transition though. Time on the water and knowledge of the area will help eliminate many areas where the bass will not be. When looking for a pre-spawn transition area, look for the flats that are near a deeper drop-off. Points and pockets make great areas to try. Look for the harder bottom areas with sparse weeds, stumps or laydowns. Ideally you will be looking for all the cover mentioned but the bottom must be a harder silt and sand with pea gravel or small rocks in water anywhere from 6″ to about 4′ depending on the lake and water clarity. Many anglers focus on the shorelines looking for these areas, but the true transitional spot for me will be off shore a bit where all of the factors exist while being hidden a bit from the anglers looking for an easy find. Although in shallow water, as always, your electronics can help identify the bottom hardness. Another “old fashion” way to determine bottom hardness is to simply stick a pole in the water. If it comes up with mostly mud, then move on. On recent trips, i’ve done well with smaller bass using shad baits such as the Jackall Soul Shad. Now that the big ones are starting to get active, I prefer to cover water with shallow running crankbaits (Backstabber Lures 0′-4′ Stabber) and homemade Chatterbaits. The areas I have been hitting are a bit stained in water color so the Chatterbait, with it’s erratic actions and incredible vibration, has been producing well. In this transitional phase, time on the water and knowing the factors of where to find the bass in transition will help increase your catch in both numbers and weight.

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Fall Water Temperature

Water temperature matters! From early spring until late fall, and beyond, anglers need to be aware of possibly the greatest factor that affects us from either catching or not catching gamefish. Early spring yields the quick warm ups which may act as a possitive or negative factor in bass fishing. Quick water warm-ups will put the bass into a shock mode where they are confused and not acclimated to the fast change in their enviornment. But a slower warm up will trigger them into a spring feeding frenzy that can arguably be the best time of they year to catch bass in the shallows. On the opposite side of the spectum, fall fishing can be greatly affected by rapid temperature drops. Gradually falling water temperature with days of stability in the weather can trigger the best action of they year for those who are patient enough to wait out the bad days to search for the areas that will be incredible when the water temperature is perfect. Water temp that falls into the mid to lower 50’s will equal the best bass fishing of the year, but even with a slight dip below that majic number, the bass can shut off and suspend which creates the most frustrating situation a bass angler can experience. Unfortunately, in the northern areas of the United States, once the water temp dips below 50, it is rare that conditions would favor or hold long enough to bring the temp back up, and almost never be long enough to retain for stability. This weather situation creates a very narrow window to capitalize on and the avid angler must be aware of the area’s water temp by constant monitoring to determine the right days to be there. A couple recent trips (in perfect conditions) have yielded some of the best fall fishing action I have seen in years. With the water temperature holding in the lower 50’s range for several days, the largemouth bass were grouped up on channel ledges and holding off the stumps near weedy points. For three days straight, in these perfect conditions, the educated angler could catch bass on nearly every cast with multiple fish in the 4 to 5 lb range! Search baits (cranks), jigs, creature baits, etc… in these conditions it’s not so much about bait or color, as much as where you are fishing. Doing your homework ahead of time and knowing where the fish are grouping up is key to having the time of your life on the water when the temperature stabalizes to “perfect”. After a three day feeding frenzy, the water temperature dropped to the high 40’s… subsequently, the bass shut off, suspended, and all but disappeared from the area’s in which they were so very concentrated on just days prior. Once the bass become lathargic in their 40’s mode, the use of suspending jerkbaits becomes the bread and butter. Although still tough, these somewhat dormant creatures will still hit… but for my money, I still dream of the “perfect” days when the water temperature dictates the best bass action of the year… www.skinard.com



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Early Fall on Lake Erie

Although Lake Erie offers some of the finest freshwater fishing in the world, the fall season can be the best time of the year to land yourself a true trophy gamefish. Many anglers flock to the lake and tributaries for Steelhead, Salmon, Largemouth Bass, Perch, and Walleye. All the species are represented in the fall season with great catches to be had. Although I enjoy the other species, world class Smallmouth Bass fishing attracts my attention! If you plan your trip according to weather conditions, it is not likley that you will be dissapointed in the results from this incredible fishery. I had the pleasure of spending half a day on Lake Erie last week and was able to hook three tropy sized smallmouth that were all above 5 lbs. If you are looking to catch numbers of bass in the fall, it can be done by exploring the waters off shore in relativley shallow depths. If you have the patients, and are looking for a monster, you will want to make sure that you seek them out without the temptation of landing 50 bass in a day. I seached for about an hour with my electronics and marked several familiar humps that I have fished many times before. This homework on the water will pay off if you have the persistance. This is where a good side scan unit becomes very valuable! Realizing that the humps are actually shell and rock beds, I begin fishing them with tubes, jigs, and drop shots to mimic what they are feeding on. The monster smallmouth are feeding on the Gobies (invasive Great Lakes Species). A hump, located on the electronics, is noted to hold the Gobies by the bait signals hovering close to the bottom. On the electronics, you will also be able to spot the areas holding the giants. Noting that the smallies were holding to the upwind side of the hump, I then narrowed down my approach to hooking on to the giants. Bait patterns and presentations in the fall should coincide with the natural look of the bait in which the species is feeding on. Without the numbers landed, a truely successful day can be measured in “pounds” and not numbers. Another great trip to the big waters of Lake Erie… and as always, looking forward to that next opportunity that mother nature provides to seek out the giants of the fall… www.skinard.com

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