Posts Tagged pitching
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.
|Skirt Flares Perfectly||Not Sold Locally|
|Great for Flipping & Pitching|
|Unique Colors Patterns|
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.
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.
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.
I fished both days this weekend at Lake Arthur. On Saturday my Dad and I put in at the 528 launch around 10 am and started fishing up in Shannon’s bay. We got a few largemouth on chatterbaits and spinnerbaits as well as had a few musky that were following our lures to the boat. Next, we ran up to the old 422 finger and fished in the bays across from the launch with no luck. Then we ran back to fish some laydowns in muddy creek with nothing to show for it. We only caught one keeper all day on Saturday so my hopes for doing well in my club tournament on Sunday were not very high.
Sunday we put in at bear run at 7 am and I ran straight to Shannon’s bay where we had caught a few fish the day before. On my first cast I had a musky come up to the boat and bite off my chatterbait. Then I picked up my spinnerbait, made a few more casts and had another musky hooked up that straightened out my trailer hook. Still not having caught a bass, I grabbed my Red Eye Shad and within a few cast it was gone. Something ate it off. I’m guessing a musky. I was getting a little pissed at this point, so I moved in close to an isolated weed patch and started pitching a beaver. After about a dozen flips in a little musky or pike flash on it and bit it off. That was enough of that so I picked up and ran down to old 422. I made a few cast with my chatterbait and caught a small largemouth. A few cast later, I hooked what looked to be a really good largemouth that came straight at me shaking her head but it came unbuttoned. After loosing that fish, I stuck around for awhile but didn’t get anything else. For next few hours I ran around trying all kinds of different spots: weeds, laydowns, piles, ect. No fish. Finally, I ran into muddy creek around one o’clock and started pitching a craw into some shallow brush that I have caught fish off of in the past. I got hit on my first pitch but missed the fish. I made a few pitches getting hit each time but missing the fish. After about 15 pitches, I hooked up with a solid 3.69lb largemouth. I put her in the boat and made a few more pitches and got a 3.5 lb largemouth. I finished out the day fishing laydowns and managed to get my 3rd keeper, a 15″ largemouth. My total weight with a three fish limit was 9.01 lbs. All my keepers came in about three feet of water off wood on a green pumpkin craw.
This weekend was much like most of my spring days on Lake Arthur usually go. It was full of highs and lows. With the water temperature and air temperature both dropping I new that the conditions would make fishing difficult. None the less, I would be fishing and there is nothing I would rather do.
Dad and I arrived at the lake around 8:00 am. The air temperature was at 24 degrees with sunny skies. We fished Shannon’s Cove right away figuring to fish high percentage areas until the water warmed up a little. When we arrived in the cove I notice the water temperature was down to 45 degrees! It had dropped a good 10 degrees since the last time I was in the cove. Needless to say our day was less than successful. When managed to catch 4 largemouth bass dragging soft plastics very slowly on a rocky bank. At the end of the day I decided to hit a spot that over the years has produced hybrid striped bass for me. I pulled out a rapala x-shad and made my first cast. When I got the lure down to about 6 feet I paused for about 5 second and bam. The next thing I knew my drag was being run, since I was only using 8lb test. It was a great end to the tough day.
Sunday morning I was only going to be able to fish from about 8:00am to 1:00pm. I did not have high expections because of the day before, but I planned on trying some different areas with some different lures. I started by dragging some soft plastics. It didn’t take long for me to start catching some small bass. During the morning I had caught 4 dink largemouth and lost 3 more dragging a texas rig around. This alone was better than I expected, but I wasn’t done. I headed into Porters cove throwing a lipless crankbait searching for the right water. Between 11:00 and 11:10 I caught 3 bass in a small area, but they were all around the 13 inch mark. At 11:10 it started to rain at the lake and my bite quite completely. It didn’t matter what I though or where I was throwing it. If I had it to do over again I would have tried to fish 8-10 feet of water once the rain started.
I am really looking forward to fishing this weekend. With water temps rising the bite should improve. The KBBC tournament at Lake Arthur should be one of the best weigh-ins ever.
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.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.
Anyone who has ever spent any time fishing with me knows that I love to flip and pitch for bass. I would venture to say that it is my favorite way to fish. Even though I feel that there is no bad way to fish because lets face it the old saying a “bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work” is diffidently true. In this article, I am going to discuss the ins and outs of pitching. Throughout the article I will touch on the best conditions to use this technique, best types of cover, some of my favorite lures, and several tricks to help you catch more bass. Pitching is a method used to fish heavy cover at a close distance. It is usually done with a baitcaster and heavy line, jigs, and soft plastics. Short underhand tosses to the cover by disengaging the reel and thumbing the spool to pin point distances.
Let’s start by talking about the best pitching conditions. There are three factors that I watch to tell me if pitching is the correct technique to make you successful on the water. First, take into consideration the time of year in which you are fishing. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Pre-spawn, Spawn, or Post-spawn all have their own set of circumstances that can make or break a flipping day. My two favorite seasons to flip are spring and fall. With fish feeding to get ready to spawn during the pre-spawn in the early spring flipping can really be beneficial to anglers. Fish often use lay downs as cover in the spring because the shallow water warms faster. The structure also acts as an ambush point for bass. Flipping in the fall can be unbelievable. This is true for a couple reasons. First, most anglers choose to fish aggressively for active fish in the fall. Leaving most of the right kind of cover to the pitchers. The other reason is that when bass are feeding in the fall they tend to travel a lot. Lay downs and other types of cover are used as temporary homes until they regain their energy to go gorge themselves once again. Summer can be promising for guys who like to flip as well. However, typically you will need to be pitching areas that are creating shade and cooler water temperatures. A couple examples of these are boat docks, lily pads, mat weeds, and bushes. The winter months are very difficult to use pitching as a technique. The biggest reason why is that most bass suspend during the winter months. If you are going to be successful this time of year pitching you have to slow down and present the lure at a much slower pace.
Now we should talk about the spawn cycle. The spawn is not a on or off situation that most anglers think. Actually, it is the exact opposite because not all the bass in a body of water spawn during the same time. Yes there will be a peek time where it seems like every fish on the lake is spawning, but that is simply not the case. In fact, the spawn usually occurs over the period of one and a half months. Most of the time in Pennsylvania the pre-spawn will kick in during early April. I have seen the Spawn kick off as early as the last week of April and last through mid June. Then the post spawn tends to last approximately one month. The pre-spawn can be a great time for catching a great number of fish because fish are feeding hard. The size of the bass will very greatly because males will be making beds (which are typically smaller) and the females will be moving shallow as well. During the spawn you will have the best opportunity to catch a fish of a lifetime pitching. Those big females will be in shallow, but very inactive. Chances are that you will catch the male that is guarding the bed and not the female, but you will get you share of females to bite. Post-spawn pitching will probably produce the best numbers of fish, but they will be the smallest fish. Usually, there will be a great deal of males protecting beds and in shallow, and male fish tend to feed strong during the post spawn. I recommend using another technique if you are after big fish during this time.
The second factor that will let me know if the conditions are right to flip would be the weather. Everyday that I am on the water I am going to take some time to flip, but there are certain weather conditions that are better than others. Time of year will greatly affect things no matter what the weather is like. However, sunny, warm, and relatively calm winds produce the best results for me. Being sunny and warm fish tend to find shady cool areas to live. They will back up under lay downs, hide under lily pads, get in stumps, bushes, and under docks. Calm winds are a plus because when it is windy it can be very difficult to be accurate and keep your boat positioned correctly. Rainy conditions can be very good for pitching as well. If it is raining or has rained recently, find a tributary and start fishing the cover on the bank. Bass are opportunist and when it rains it washes worms and other bugs into the water. One of my favorite situations is when I am going to a lake that has received a lot of water and has flooded a couple of feet. Even if the water has only came up one foot the pitching and shallow cover bite will be at full swing.
The third condition that will tell us if we should flip or not to flip is the water color and flow rate. As I have stated previously I love fishing a lake that has received a bunch of rain and raised the lake level. However, if the color of the water is what we call “chocolate milk” or is muddy pitching can be very difficult. These conditions can also lead to a high flow rate of water, which will only give you a slight amount of time in the strike zone. Water that is stained or slight stained is probably my favorite. In my opinion these conditions are when you can see you lure up to 2 feet below the water surface. Under these conditions you can be relaxed because the fish probably will not be able to see the boat, yet you will be making very precise cast to where the fish is sitting allowing them ample time to see, smell and eat the lure. Clear water usually means that pitching will work, but you will have to worry about boat position, spooking the fish, making exact casts, and using fluorocarbon and lighter fishing line. I will talk more about fishing line later in the article.
If you hear someone say that they were catching bass pitching and think you are going to just go out and catch a bunch of fish tight on cover you might find that it isn’t as easy as you though. Mainly because you can pitch a variety of structure such as bushes, boat docks, lay downs, stumps, metal structure, lily pads, mat weeds, or debris build up. Finding which type of cover the bass are using is the key to getting bites. The first thing I will tell you is that you have to pay attention to the details. Getting one bite and paying attention to the exact location of the fish will allow you to be more successful on that day. For example, I was fishing at Pymatuning Lake last year with Jon Parker and we spent all morning throwing spinnerbaits and trying to get a pitching bite. It took us until the afternoon to realize that the fish were holding on the deepest Y in the lay downs. The fish were holding in 3 feet of water and the fish felt more comfortable in the Y or the main tree trunk. We had only caught 5 fishing until 2 pm in the afternoon and from 2 to 6 pm we boat 25 fish. Most of the fish we caught were quality fish as well. Pay attention to if the fish are coming off the tree truck, small branches, at the root base, if the tree is old, or if it has leave or buds on the branches.
Although, we are not allowed, in Pennsylvania, to fish docks by pitching soft plastics or jigs can be very productive fishing areas for many species. Dock fishing is just like fishing lay downs. Paying attention to the depth of the dock, type of construction materials, and if there is weed growth under the dock will mean the difference in getting more strikes. Some fishermen prefer to fish wooden docks over metal docks. Personally, I have had equal success fishing both types of docks. I tend to have more success fishing docks when it is sunny and in the middle of the day. That is not to say I don’t catch fish in docks during rainy or overcast conditions. Usually, the fish in overcast conditions will position themselves towards the outside of the docks, and sunny conditions they will be up under the dock in the shade.
In my opinion the most difficult type of structure to pitch are bushes. Bushes amplify the challenge of getting your lure into position and getting the fish out of the bush once you hook-up. There are a couple of things you can do to make fishing bushes easier. As you approach the bush examine it to find the part of the bush that is has less branches and resistance to get the lure in. When pitching soft plastics make sure that you peg your weight. Making sure that your weight can’t slide up and down the line is essential. A slightly heavier weight jig or bullet weight will make a difference as well. Some pro anglers will pitch and flip no less than a ¾ oz. weight. As far as getting fish out of the bushes you need to remember two things. First, you need to pay attention to the type of line you are using. Braided line is my number one line for flipping bushes. Usually, I try not to use braided line when I can, but if need be I will go to it to help my landing ratio. Second, goes back to flipping into the easiest entry. If it goes in easy it will come out easy.
Pitching lily pads and mat weeds are very similar. Fish are in these in areas for a couple of reasons. First, there is more oxygen in these areas. Because of the oxygen fish will stay in these areas the majority of the day until they want to feed. Baitfish spend a lot of time is these areas for the plankton creating food for predatory fish as well. The other reason that bass and other fish stay in the lily pads or mat weeds is that the water temperature tends to be lower than the rest of the lake. This is a great summer pattern that can lead to some big bags at Presque Isle Bay and Lake Arthur. Pegging weights and using P-Line Spectrex IV Braided Line or heavy flourocarbon line will help make you more successful. Usually, I use 65# braided line and 20# flourocarbon. When I flip mat weeds and lily pads I always use heavy weights and heavy jigs. Most guys I talk to think heavy weights are ½ oz., but ½ oz is actually the lightest weight I use. Most of the time I am pitching 1 to 1 ½ oz jigs and mostly 1 oz weights with soft plastics.
There are many lures that you can use and can have success with. Like any other style of fishing you have to match the forage in the lake. Some of my favorite lures to pitch are jigs. Although the weight may very from ¼ oz to 1 ½ oz depending on the structure, I only use a couple of colors. My two main colors are black & blue and green pumpkin. Sometimes you will need to add some chartreuse, orange, red, or purple strands of skirting to help entice bites. The best jigs trailers that I have found are Berkley Chigger Chunk. These chunks that the know powerbait scent and great movement. If I am catching good-sized fish I will change my trailer to a 4″ Berkley Chigger Craw to add bulk to the bait. Using colored lure dye and markers you can customize your jigs without changing trailers and skirts.
There are many great soft plastic lures to use under different circumstances. I have already mentioned one of my favorite lures, the Berkley Chigger Craw. Beaver baits have become my favorite all around bait for pitching. They come in multiple sizes and in many colors. If I were restricted to one to use, I would pick a small beaver lure in a green pumpkin color. This lure will work in every type of cover, in most conditions, and at most bodies of water. Some other lures that I recommend include: ribbon tail worms, tubes, stick worms (Texas rigged or wacky rigged), creature baits, and lizards. All soft plastics have there time and place and it is our job as fishermen to determine which lures work best for the conditions which we are fishing.
Next time your favorite body of water, try pitching some heavy cover. Remember to pay attention to the details and take into consideration the time of year and the spawn cycle if it pertains. Also, keep in mind that there is no place that you should try to pitch a lure into. Fish only need inches of water to survive and heavy cover makes them feel save in that shallow water.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that my favorite style of fishing is pitching and flipping. Knowing that is what I love, I often get asked which reel or reel speed is the best? My answer to that is very simple. First, you have to realize that Quantum, Shimano, Abu Garcia and the rest of the manufacturers produce great products or they wouldn’t be in business. Personally, I have been using Shimano Curado’s for years and I love them. Recently, I have been trying some of the Abu Garcia Revo’s and I have to say that I like them as well. More than the manufacturer you should look at the speed of your reel. Always use a high speed (6.2 : 1 ratio or higher) when pitching. It is my recommendation that you use a 7.0 : 1 ratio. The reason for this is the fish will often take off out from under the cover and you will have to catch up with them. Using a high speed reel will help you with your hook-up and landing ratio.
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.
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.