Posts Tagged flipping


Paycheck Punching Skirts

Tested Colors/Patterns: Gas Money, Money Maker, and All the Options

MSRP: $6.69 per 2pk

First Impression: The skirts seemed to have special coloration and really keep a wide flare out of the water and in the water. Although, the colors were stepping out of the box for me it didn’t stop me from testing them.

FishPittsburgh Scorecard – Paycheck Baits - Punching Skirts
I pulled these skirts through rock piles, brush piles, lily pads, and laydowns with the skirts staying in one piece. The lure holds up extremely well.
The bass have been all over these skirts when paired with the right bait. They only seem to work when a big profile baits is the key.
The entire lure is a special trait because it creates a jig profile but allows you to get into tight cover better. Not to metion the unique color schemes.
These punching skirts seem to be high priced at first, but as you use them and realize how durable they are, you will realize that they are well worth the money.
Punching skirts are functional in many types of cover. There are only so many ways to fish them, but the types of cover and water conditions seem to be endless.
Paycheck Baits Punching Skirts have become a main stay in my tackle box and will continue to be there. Take the time and use them and you will be successful.
Pros Cons
Skirt Flares Perfectly Not Sold Locally
Great for Flipping & Pitching
Unique Colors Patterns
Very Durable

RECOMMENDATIONS: Here are a few recommendations that you should consider before using the Paycheck Baits Punching Skirts. My first suggestion is to come into this with an open mind. Yes these skirts makes the same profile as a jig. However, in thick cover the lure pentrates and doesn’t hang up nearly as much. Whether you are fishing mat weeds, lily pads and brush piles the lure will make it through the cover fast than a jig. Not only does it make it through the cover faster, but it hangs up in the cover less because it is essentially a Texas Rig. Be sure that you peg your weight. It doesn’t matter if you are using tungsten, lead, or a metal weight, the skirt and lure preform better when the weight is pegged. Some modifications that you can make include triming the skirt and weight or lure size match with the skirt. Tougher days may requirement a smaller skirt. This is one lure that I will never be without again and you shouldn’t either.

You can find more information about the Paycheck Baits Punching Skirt visit their website.

ABOUT THE CRITIC : You must know that I am very critical of my lures. I only have about 3 lures that I use that would receive a perfect 50 and I personally modify those lures once I have them. I consider any lure over 8 great and any lure over 6 good. Anything less than 6 and you probably won’t see it in my tackle box.



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Stormy Shenago Lake

Some friends, my dad and I spent the weekend camping and fishing at Shenago Lake. The campground was not crowded at all. Which was due to the forecast of rough weather that was going to hit that area. With the recent rains the water had risen, but not an excessive amount. My estimate was that the water was nearly 1 foot high when we arrived, and rose another foot while we where there. The water clearity varied greatly. On the main lake there was 4 feet of clearity, but in the feeder creeks you were lucky to see 6″ in the muddy water.

Friday evening we started fishing around 8:00 pm and fished until 9:30. We wanted to see if the striper were active, and if we could get a topwater bite. The night was pretty successful with the 3 of us catching over 10 bass. Most of which were on top water. None of the fish were big, but topwater is fun no matter what the size of the fish is. Tony, one of my best friends, even managed to hook up with a nice walleye on a spinnerbait.

Saturday Dad and I headed out on the water and fished from 7-12 in the morning. It was probably the single best morning I have ever had at Shenago. We managed to boat 26 bass and a catfish. We caught fish on buzzbaits, spooks, multiple crankbaits, tubes, beavers, and brush hogs. Colors were wide ranged, but the ones that seemed to work best were transparent/natural colors. The depth of water we caught fish varied greatly. We caught them flipping the shallows, topwater shallow, and deep and shallow cranking. It seemed like the fish were all over the board, but when you found 1 you found multiple fish. We headed in for lunch and ended up sitting out a pretty severe storm until 3. At that point we wanted to get on the water. The three of us started fishing again. I tied a crankbait on and never put it down for the next 2 hours. I caught 2 pike, catfish, multiple bass, and a couple crappie. Then the next severe storm came through so we called it a day.

We woke up Sunday to bad weather and high winds. That being said we thought it best not to head out on the water. For the amount of time we were able to fish we were pretty successful, which makes me anxious to get back out there.

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Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is typically about picnics and getting together with friends and family for me. This year was no different with the exception that I fish a bass tournament at Pymatuning Lake. West Penn Bass Hunters and I went out of Manning Launch at 6:00 am and weighed in at 2:00 pm. It was a good thing we fished the earlier time slot because it was almost unbareable during the last hour. The weather was sunny hot and very little wind.

I started my morning by fishing a roadbed in about 10 feet of water. With the water temperature nearing 80 degrees I felt that the fish would be retreating for deeper water. I proved myself wrong in the first couple hours. I spent nearly 1 hour fishing deep and only caught 1 bass. Then I decided to head to Tuttle Bay and throw some buzzbaits. I left having caught 7 bass and probably had near 7lbs of fish with our 3 fish limit. Around 9:30 I decided to run south and try the other end of the lake.

When I got to my weedbed in the south I quickly notice that the water temperature was 3 degrees color and the water clearity nearly reached 6 feet. In my first 10 casts I caught 2 nice bass, one was on a white buzzbait and the other was a creature bait. Being able to see into the weeds gave me a huge advantage. Mainly because I discovered that the bass were spawning all over the weed flat. Quickly, I switched to finesse gear and proceded to catch bass after bass off of the beds. Boat traffic started to kill my bite around 12:00 so I moved to the drop off and caught several more fish. Although I didn’t managed to catch any more good ones it was still fun. I cannot give you a definate best lure to use, but I managed to catch fish on senkos, buzzbaits, frogs, swimbaits, chatterbaits, creature baits and beavers. Once thing was for certain the fish were only willing to hit finesse baits on the beds but there were plenty of feeding bass to catch in between the beds.

I ended up winning the tournament with a 3 fish limit that weighed 8.66lbs. My limit was anchor by 2 fish around the 3lb mark and lunker of the tournament. Looking back I believe the move to the south was the correct move to make because everyone else fish the north end of the lake.

The next morning I took a couple friends, Nick and Steve Black, out for a couple hours to see if I could show Nick spawning bass. We were a little disappointed because the wind was blow enough to eliminate sight fishing, but we were still able to catch around 20 bass on buzzbaits and finesse gear. Steve had hooked into one bass that I believe was 5lbs. Overall it was a great morning on the water and I look forward to my next trip with those guys.

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Flip Shot Rig

Here Leo shows us a lesser used version of the drop shot rig.  The flip shot rig is much like the drop shot rig but is used with much heavy equipment and larger soft plastics. This rig works great is shallow water.


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Crooked Creek Lake

Nice Crooked Creek Lake Largemouth Bass

Do you want to go fishing on a lake that doesn’t get a ton of fishing pressure? In Pennsylvania it isn’t easy to find a lake that doesn’t get a lot of pressure, but I have found one that is a short drive from Pittsburgh and is located just South of Kittaning. Crooked Creek Lake is an Army Corp. or Engineer Lake, and is the perfect lake to spend a day or weekend. This small 350 acre unlimited horsepower lake runs over 5 miles in length in one of the most relaxing settings an outdoorsmen can dream about.

If you enjoy fishing a lake with a lot of weeds then this is not the lake for you. Weeds are difficult to find in the lake. There is however a ton of lake downs and bushes throughout the lake. It is not unusual to find debris build up at certain points of the lake when the area experiences heavy rains or snow melt off. Depth of the lake varies greatly from end to end. When you come out of the boat launch and head toward the dam (left) you will find deeper water ranging from steep banks and 30-foot depths to shelved banks that drop to that depth at a slightly slower rate. You can often find brush piles and fish habitats throughout this end of the lake. Some lay downs will be locate at this end of the lake and will be loaded with bass and crappie. If you head up the creek from the boat launch (to the right) you will find an abundant amount of lay downs, bushes, and debris jambs. This is a much shallow end of the lake and should be navigated very carefully. The water in the creek is usually muddy because the bottom is comprised most of slit run off from the creek. The dam end of the lake is usually clear or slightly stained in part because of the rocky bottom.

There are several species of fish that are abundant in Crooked Creek Lake. Let’s start by talking about my favorite fish, the largemouth bass. I swear that this lake was built for fishermen like myself who love to flip and pitch heavy cover. Needless to say, that I usually come out of the launch and head to the right towards the creek. This is one body of water that you do not need a gas motor to get to a good spot. Usually, I don’t even fire my gas motor until it is time to go home for the day. There is plenty of cover to flip and pitch all day long by heading up the creek.

Beaver style baits have become very popular among bass fishermen.

Some of my favorite flipping lures for the lake are tubes, jigs, beaver baits, and stick worms. Some other lures you should make sure you have with you include: spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, and soft jerkbaits. I have found that sooner or later everyday you are on the water at Crooked Creek you are going to come across schooling fish feeding. You can catch a lot of nice sized bass in a hurry with the more aggressive lures once you see the baitfish busting on the surface.

While fishing for bass on Crooked Creek Lake, I have been able to catch a lot of good-sized crappie. There are plenty of areas to fish for crappie, but the larger schools of these fish tend to be in the 8-15 foot depth range. While fishing the main body of the lake I watch a couple of boats fishing slip bobber minnow rigs for crappie catch so many crappie that I changed my target species for the day. After the day was over I talked to them about their day as they took pictures of a stringer of 12” crappies. The group of guys told me that there was no reason to keep crappie under the 12” size because they are so abundant.

Some other features of this park include a swimming area, campground, picnic areas, spillway, hiking trails, and a horse park. There is a $4 per vehicle charge for use of the park. This includes the use of one or multiple features of the park in the same day. There are 6 pavilions for picnicking and can be reserved through the office. There is plenty of wildlife throughout the park and can be enjoyed while hiking the trails or just sitting in the fields. Campground information and reservations can be made by visiting the Army Corp or Engineer website. If you are looking for a great family location to relax and enjoy the outdoors, remember Crooked Creek Lake is right down the road.

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Canandaigua Lake

This past weekend I participated in the fourth divisional event for the bassmaster weekend series, New York West Division.  As I have stated before these tournaments are the best run tournaments that I have everCanandaigua 007 taken part in.   Canandaigua Lake was the fishery where the tournament was being held.  I have truly fallen in love with the finger lakes because of the beauty and how healthy the fish are.

I arrived at Canandaigua Lake around 8:00 AM Thursday morning.  Since I have never been to the lake I decided to take a drive around and get a feel for the lake.  This is what I discovered.  The lake had shallow flats infront of the docks which did or didn’t have weeds.  In this finger lake the weeds were more sparse and hard to find.  I also found that some of the docks were in 20-30 feet of water.  That condition I had yet to find in New York.  But like seneca lake once you got into the 20 to 30 feet range then the water dropped off to 100 feet.  The lake is about 16 miles long with a creek in the South end of the lake.

Now lets get to some fishing talk. Thursday I devoted my first 6 hours to looking for smallmouth bass. Talked to some of the locals they told me that it was going to take 18lbs to win this tournament and that it would be smallies. I was drop shotting, dragging tubes and beavers, and powerfishing. I even gave jerkbaits a decent amount of time. I had no luck for bass, but the rock bass and perch were all over my drop shot rig in about 25 feet of water. Around 2:00 Thursday I decided that I was going to find some back upCanandaigua 003 largemouth bass. I went to the first set of docks that had weeds on them and started flipping. It didn’t take long and I had caught 2 keepers and stopped sticking fish on this stretch. I started heading back up the lake trying points and good looking docks. Still convinced that smallmouth bass would win this event I spent most of my time trying to find them. I did hit a set of docks that looked perfect and my first flip I caught a 3lb largemouth. I spent some time throwing a homemade chatterbait in the weeds and all I managed to get were pickerel. They are a very pretty fish. The last bass I caught for the day was my lunker. I found 1 laydown on the lake that had good water under it and I flipped in and bam. 4+lb largemouth. I stopped fishing around 6:00 PM Thursday night. After that day I realized that I could get a limit of largemouth that was decent, but not going to win the tournament.

Friday, Jon and I head to the lake early to see if we could get an early bite. I had a couple points that I had marked to try and we ran right to the first one. 10 minutes into the day I caught a 2lb largemouth on a popper. Off of that point was a nice weed line and we worked it down shore about a 1/4 mile to the next point. Jon had a nice smallmouth bass follow his swimbait to the boat twice but couldn’t get it to commit. We decided to keep looking for smallmouth. After alot of looking around we came back to the point where Jon had the smallmouth follow his lure in. The sun had came out at this point and all of the sudden there were smallmouth everywhere and they were big. We fished for these 4 and 5 pound fish for about 1 hour and the only bite I managed to get was a 2lb smallmouth. After that bit of frustration I decided I need to find more largemouth spots. Around 4:00 PM we called it quits for the night and went to eat and charge the batteries.

Now it is tournament day and we arrived at the launch at 5:30. The tournament was set to launch at 6:30 so we had plenty of time. Or I thought I did. I started pulling rods out and testing the equipment. I quickly realized that my front light wasn’t working. After messing with it until 6:10 I gave up. I couldn’t find anything wrong with the wiring and couldn’t get it apart to check the bulb. The next crisis was that my rider for the day didn’t get there until 6:15 and was getting a traffic violation. It doesn’t stop there. Because the light didn’t work we had to wait until 6:47 when safe light happens to leave the canal. We were the last one to leave and we were boat 12. If you think that is the end of my bad luck you are sadly mistaken. When I was finally able to run I went to pull my trolling motor up and I a couple strainds of my rope broke. I was lucky though and it made it through the day. Finally, we got to go fishing, but running full speed is out of the question because there is a 45 mph speed limit on the lake.

The first spot I wanted to start at was where I say all of the smallmouth. There were 5 boats sitting on that point so I decided to run to a largemouth spot. I didn’t catch a bass until 9:00 AM. It was worth the weight though. A nice 3lber. 5 minutes later I put a 2lber in the livewell. We decided to go try the smallmouth spot, but once again there were 5 guys there. I then ran to another set of docks and caught a 14″ and 12 1/2″ keeper. Not big ones but I was glad to have them. Then the bad luck hit again. A nice 2lber hit in a dock and I ripped his lips off, and left him in the dock. I tried a couple other spots and decide at 1:15 to try to get some smallies. No luck because my head took me to the docks in from them. I am glad it did because my first flip I caught a 4 lb largemouth. Now I have my limit and decided to fly through the docks until the tournament was over. I lost 2 more fish that would have called my 12 1/2 by at least 1 lb. I finished the tournament with 5 bass that weighed 11.65lbs. It was good enough to finish 8th place.

Currently I am sitting in 4th place in the standings and the last tournament is the divisional championship at Oneida Lake. I will be looking to hold that spot, so that I can head to the Potomac River for the regional qualifier.

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TBF District 6 – Pymatuning

This Saturday I had a great day of practice fishing with a young friend, Nick Black.  Nick is 9 years old and absolutely loves to go fishing and hunting.  His family has a camp at Pymatuning so since I was heading up to practice anyways I told him that he was welcome to come with me.  I had no idea we would have such a great day.  He was able to catch 10 bass, smallmouth and largemouth, and they varied from 14-17 inches long.  Needless to say he was very excited. 

With a great practice day behind me and a cold front arriving I prepared for a tough day on the water on Sunday.  I was fishing in my first TBF District 6 event ever on Sunday.  I was fortunate enough to draw a great partner and president of the Pennsylvania TBF Mike Pierro.  Mike was more than willing to fish however I wanted to, and it was very obvious that he was a skilled fishermen from the word go. 

Throughout the day we struggle to get good bites, but i managed to get a limit of 5 bass that weighed 9.21 pounds.  It wasn’t what I would call a stellar day on the water but at least I had a limit.  Little did I know that it would be good enough to finish in 3rd place.  Needless to say I was quite pleased and I am looking forward to fishing the rest of the District 6 events. 

For all of the competitive anglers out there who have yet to fish a federation tournament, I urge you to join a club that allows you to do so.  These are good guys that just love to fish and compete.

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Saturday at Lake Wilhelm


My buddy and I took our first trip of the year to Lake Wilhelm on Saturday.  The fishing was slow for most of the day, but by evening it started to picked up.  It was difficult to find a pattern to fish.  Some came out of laydowns, flipping jigs and Texas rigged creatures. We found that green pumpkin was the best color.  Others came off  deeper water structure, e.g. brush piles, road beds and creek channels, working jigs or c-rigs.  Yet others came working a hartreuse and white buzzbait over shallow weeds.  We also had a few that came throwing a senko in the bushes.  We didn’t get anything that was really big, but we were able to get a good number of two to three pounders.

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Pymatuning Open Tournaments

This weekend I spent fishing Pymatuning Lake in a couple of team bass open tournaments.  My dad and I went up friday evening and found a spot with some really nice largemouth bass and had a lot of confidence going into Saturday’s tournament.  The tournament saturday started with my trolling motor fuse melting and we lost about 15 minutes getting the trolling motor to work.  Usually a bad start, but once we started fishing we caught fish instantly.  Although we started catching fish they were not the right size fish.  Most of our fish ranged from 12 to 14 inches long.  We were about to get a couple nice 2 1/2 lbers though.  Dad also caught a 45 inch muskie on a 3″ tube.  That was one heck of a fight and as we got it by the boat we watch a guy trolling catch another muskie.  The muskie are very active right now down by the dam. 

Sunday was much of the same for us.  we caught a bunch of bass, but we were unable to get good bites.  We had tried multiple depths and multiple types of structures with the same results every time.  My best fish of the day came when i flipped into a tree at what I had thought was a bass body.  It turned out to by a 24 inch carp that destroyed my craw bait.  It was not quite what I had in mind. 

Even though we didn’t have a great tournament weekend we still had a great weekend on the water together.  For May the weather was unbelievable and the water temperature was relatively warm.  I should know I ended up falling in the lake during my carp catching incident.  That sure gave us a good laugh and I didn’t get hurt.

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Trouble Flipping?

peggingAre you having trouble getting your bait into the bushes without hanging up on branches.  The first improvement you can make is to peg your weight.  When flipping or pitching a texas rig you should always peg your weight.  This will improve your accuracy and will allow the lure to bust through those hard to reach places.  Certain weight companies have their own pegging system, but all you need is a tooth pick and any type of weight.  The following is how I like to peg my weight.  First I slide my weight on the line and tie my wide gap or worm work to the line (Fig 1).  Next, take a tooth pick and push it as far into the weight as you can (Fig 2).  Next, break the tip of the thooth pick off inside the weight (Fig 3) The weight is now pegged in place and you’re ready to pitch it into some brush (Fig 4).

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