Archive for the ‘Fishing’ Category

Hooked on Bass

They say that once you’ve hooked a bass, you’re hooked on bass fishing for life.

The popularity of the sport suggests that old bass-fishing aphorism has a lot of truth to it. Contributing to the sport’s popularity is the fact that bass fishing doesn’t require a lot of travel or money. You can probably find a good bass fishing spot nearby, as the big fresh water fish is plentiful in our lakes and rivers. And some basic equipment can have you fishing with little money spent.

The Fish

Before thinking about bass fishing, think about bass. Two varieties are common in U.S. freshwater: smallmouth and largemouth. Smallmouth were originally native to the central states, while largemouth lurked in central and southeastern states. However, both have been introduced to most of the nation. Both are similar in appearance and have large mouths, although the largemouth’s yap is a bit bigger. While smallmouth rarely exceed 17 inches, largemouth grow to 26 inches.

Bass travel in schools. So if you catch one, you’ll probably catch more. When bass feed, it’s usually near the bottom of the lake or river. Whether they hang out in deep water or shallow depends on temperature. They’re likely to feed where the water temperature is 60° to 75° F, and they frequently congregate near weed beds or underwater structures.

The Rod and Reel

If you’re new to bass fishing, don’t invest in fancy equipment. You can catch fish with a basic outfit. The Zebco 404 spincast fishing combo is inexpensive and well regarded. The bargain-priced Quantum Vibe Series Spinning Combo features a graphite reel and two-piece rod. The South Bend Ready-2-Fish Inshore Spinning Combo is a good choice as well.

Not as basic as these but still affordable is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik® rod, fitted with a Pflueger Trion spinning reel. This medium action rod is suitable for a number of bass fishing techniques.

The Bait

Most bass fishermen prefer artificial bait. There are plenty from which to choose, but plastic worms and tubes are most popular. Plastic worms are self-explanatory; tubes resemble a minnow moving through the water. You won’t find either appetizing, but bass will.

The Texas Rig

Texas rig bass fishing with plastic worms is very popular. The hook is shielded by the worm, so it won’t snag on underwater plants or debris.

For this rig, you need a size 3 or 4 hook and a plastic worm. You also need something to weigh the line and bait. Brass weights are better than lead for obvious environmental reasons. A ¼-ounce weight will work for most conditions, although in calm, shallow water, some fishermen go lighter, and heavier in deep, choppy water.

On bright days, a light colored worm works best; if it’s cloudy, choose a dark color. For murky water, select bright colors; the Berkley Power Worm is a good choice.

To assemble the rig, slide the weight onto your line, then tie on the hook. Hold the worm in one hand and push the hook into the end of the worm with your other hand. Push the hook through and out, so that about ¼-inch of the shank is covered. Pull the hook until the eye is right up against end of the worm. Turn the hook so the point is facing the worm and push the tip into the worm until it almost protrudes from the other side.

A tube bait can be Texas rigged in much the same way. A 4-inch tube is usually good for bass fishing. Color choice is dictated by conditions, just as with worms.

The Carolina Rig

The Carolina rig is useful in water with poor visibility because it allows for plenty of action; fish can spot it readily.

The main difference between the Carolina and Texas rigs is the location of the weight. To make a Carolina rig, slide a ½-ounce weight onto the line then tie on a swivel. Attach a leader of 1 ½ to 3 feet to the swivel. The shorter it is, the easier to cast. But long leaders are better in deep water.

Tie a size 3 or 4 hook onto the end of the leader, then hook the worm as described above for the Texas rig.

The Wacky Rig

The wacky rig is simple, and the bait reacts with a lot of action, so it’s another solution for low visibility. To assemble a wacky rig, position the point of the hook so its shank is perpendicular to the worm and run the hook through the exact center of the worm until it protrudes fully.

The Drop Shot Rig

This rig ties the hook into the line 6 inches to 4 feet above the sinker. It’s meant for deep water, so the position of the hook will depend on where the fish are hanging out. Insert the line into the hook’s eyelet from the side opposite the point, tie a palomar knot, then push the line into the hook from the other side. Pull your line through and tie on a 3/8-ounce bell-style sinker.

Your equipment is in order, so it’s time to head for your favorite lake or river and drown that bait. And don’t forget to take a youngster. Every kid should learn to fish.

Okay, Let’s Fish

The key to successful fishing is presenting the bait in a way that makes it look like a tasty meal.

Bass are stationery fish for the most part, so you have to bring dinner to them. Cast your bait just beyond where you think your lunker may be lurking: 10 feet past that sunken tree stump or mass of vegetation. Before you begin to retrieve the bait wait 20 seconds.  If the bait’s splash spooked the fish, they’ll have time to return. Then retrieve slowly, providing action by moving the rod tip and alternating the speed of your wind.  When fishing a Carolina rig you may want to stop intermittently. When fishing a Texas rig, a steady retrieve can sometimes produce the best results.

Drop shot rigs are well suited to fishing over structures, like sunken boats or the remains of trees and buildings at the bottom of man-made lakes. All underwater structures are favorite hangouts for bass, and the drop shot lets you position your bait just above them.

Whether you’re fishing the drop shot rig on a structure or on the bottom of a deep lake, you should give the bait 20 seconds to settle after your cast. Then, after retrieving it a few feet, let it rest for a few seconds. While it’s resting, wiggle it just a bit by moving the rod tip. Retrieve it a couple of feet and let it rest again. Give it a few wiggles, then repeat. Continue until the bait is back at the boat.

Whatever type of rig or water you’re fishing, when you feel the slightest nudge on the line or see the line move in an unexpected way, set the hook immediately with a quick lift of the rod top. Don’t give the fish time to reject the bait. Setting the hook doesn’t cost you a thing. Failing to do so will cost you a fish.

-Hook, Line & Sinker

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Ice Surprises!

If you’re an ice fishermen, you’ll enjoy some unexpected surprises this season – not only in the size or amount of perch, pan fish and pike you’ll catch – but also how quickly and easily you’ll be able to drill through the ice to reach them, and the whole new level of comfort and convenience you’ll enjoy once you do it.

If you’ve used any other hand ice auger before, you’ll really be surprised how quickly and easily Eskimo’s Barracuda hand auger tears through the ice without tearing up your arms. The Barracuda has three height adjustments, includes a palm grip handle for added comfort and it’s also available with a choice of 6-inch or 8-inch dual stainless steel TurboCut blades. TurboCut blades are tough, durable and curved to help you drill faster. They’re also replaceable and include a blade protector to help guard against accidental damage. And, with Eskimo’s two-piece Crossbolt Takedown System, the Barracuda can be disassembled quickly and easily with just a twist of a knob.

If you prefer to power your way through the ice, grab hold of Eskimo’s Stingray power auger. The Stingray is equipped with a high-performance 33cc Viper engine rated at 1.2 horsepower. Eskimo Brand says, “Eskimo saw the need for an economical high performance engine. We found an engine manufacturer with a large engineering staff that was willing to work with our engineers to develop a high performance engine that hit our price target. The Viper is a powerful, durable and reliable two-cycle engine that really will surprise you.”

The Stingray also features primer start, muffler and carburetor guards, a see through gas tank, a heavy duty gear case and 8-inch diameter dual stainless steel Quantum blades for maximum performance. According to Eskimo Brand, “Our Quantum blades cut faster, last longer and have smoother breakthrough than any other power auger blades. The design also features an exclusive centering ring that prevents drilling angled holes. So, the Stingray delivers outstanding power and performance at the best price.”

And, once you’re on the fish, you can now also enjoy a whole new level of comfort and convenience. Frabill, Inc. of Jackson, WI is celebrating 70 years of providing the most trusted gear in the fishing industry by introducing the Refuge, a new cabin-style ice shelter that’s loaded with unexpected surprises.

“We’ve put a lot of extras into the Refuge,” says Frabill. “For example, we added a pre-assembled galvanized steel Quick-Set frame. Just flip it up, and go fishing. Refuge will accommodate up to three anglers, plus gear. It has two oversized doors with heavy-duty zippers, a fully carpeted floor, four removable clear-view windows and a four-foot by six-foot footprint with 72-inch of head room.” Mobility is another welcome surprise. Cabin-style portables aren’t supposed to be mobile, but the Refuge folds into a tight package and weighs only 44-pounds, so it easily fits into most smaller SUVs and trucks.

If you need more room, just step into Frabill’s Outpost Hub Shanty. It’s ready to fish, with room for up to three anglers plus their gear. The Outpost features a Quick-Set frame, has a six-foot by six-foot footprint, includes four removable clear-view windows and the high-profile roof design offers 80-inches of head room. An oversized corner door with a heavy-duty zipper allows easy entry and exit, and Frabill’s adjustable MaxVent system helps minimize interior condensation.

According to Frabill, “The Outpost is ideal as a base camp, cook house, warming house or final fishing destination. And, room isn’t the only pleasant surprise. The Outpost is also incredibly lightweight, weighing in at only 24 pounds.”

Both the Refuge and the Outpost feature amazingly durable, high-quality 300 Denier tent material with extra polyurethane coatings for water-resistance, durability and maximum protection from extreme weather conditions. The black exterior color also warms faster.

Or, if a “quick fish” single-person ice shelter is more your style, Frabill’s Recon is designed just for you. The Recon has a molded sled runner base for easy towing over snow or ice, a durable steel conduit frame, includes two removable clear-view windows, and has a 50-inch by 29-inch footprint with 57-inches of head room. Recon’s exclusive “flip-over” windbreak roof design also includes a vented roof to improve airflow and minimize condensation. The Arctic Armor Tent provides superior protection from the elements, yet remains pliable no matter what the temperature. It’s also removable for cleaning and off-season storage. The Recon is also compact enough to fit into most car trunks and weights only 32 pounds.

So, now you can tear through the ice more quickly and easily than ever before, and also enjoy a whole new level of comfort and convenience after you do it. The only surprise left is size and amount of perch, pan fish and pike you’ll catch.

-Hook, Line & Sinker

*To receive Dunham’s coupons and information on new products, events and sales, sign up for Dunham’s Rewards.