Adding New Fishing Techniques

boone bassFishing with soft plastics is probably the most widely used method for bass fishing. There are many different styles, colors and brands to choose from and multiple rigging options. This makes it very confusing and intimidating for the beginner fisherman, but adding soft plastics is imperative to catching more bass.

I grew up fishing rivers in Mid-Michigan armed with a bait-holder hook, split shot and a tub of night crawlers. When I was older and wanted to add more options the obvious and easiest was the crank bait or in-line spinner. These are easiest because the beginner can just cast it out and reel it in. There are many different techniques that can be added to this like reeling speed and jerking/twitching the lure, but it’s easy to cover a lot of water with them and start catching fish.

The thing is, a largemouth’s favorite food is night crawlers. Of course they eat minnows and flies and many other things, but they love a fat juicy crawler. So without using live bait the only option for me was to learn to fish with soft plastics. I had tried them many times, but had no luck catching fish. I quickly lost confidence in using them and once that happened I would quickly change back to a swim bait. Confidence in your presentation is probably the most important factor in catching fish. Without it you won’t allow enough time to catch fish.

So, to gain confidence, the first thing to do is go to a place you know how to catch fish. Go somewhere that you always catch fish. For me it was a line of docks along a weedy shore line. I knew whenever I trolled past the docks I could cast close to them and catch a bass or two every time. Next, I asked Google. There are so many different rigs to use, but the first I found and the easiest to start with is the Texas Rigged Senko. The Senko itself was so heavy that I didn’t need any weight for where I was fishing. What I learned first was how to be patient again. It’s not like casting a lure and reeling it in. I let it set almost like I would when I first started fishing. Then basically would twitch and retrieve the line to keep it tight. The first three docks were a success. Obviously, I still didn’t really know how to fish them perfectly, but I could at least catch fish when I knew there were fish there. That whole summer I alternated between places I hadn’t fished much and the line of docks. I’d try new rigs and different ways to fish them in my comfort zone at the docks and then take the same thing out to different places.

I’m still no expert on fishing plastics, but if you’re looking to expand your fishing experience to new levels with any kind of lure, you can use these tips. Remember that confidence in your presentation is key and always build that confidence where you know the fish are.

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Fishing Lake Cadillac and Lake Mitchell

adam pikeLake Cadillac and Lake Mitchell are equally impressive with their fishing opportunities. But oh wait, there is a canal connecting the two, so you can fish them both on the same day. At 2,648 acres for Lake Mitchell and 1,172 acres for Cadillac there is plenty of water to fish.

I’ve spent many weekends on both lakes staying at close friends’ cabins during the summer and winter. There hasn’t been one time that we got skunked fishing either one of these lakes. Of course they had their go-to spot, but whenever the fishing slowed we could always go to many other places. Whether we were fishing for pike in Big Cove or Little Cove  or for monster crappie off Blind Island , we seemed to always catch fish.

The fish of choice in this area is northern pike. Both lakes are known for massive pike and plenty of them. Mitchell has so many weed beds that it can be hard not to find these toothy fish. If you’re looking for something else, how about walleye? Both lakes offer top notch walleye fishing in different areas. Largemouth, smallmouth, crappie, bluegill, rock bass, perch and bullheads are other abundant fish. With a maximum depth of 27 feet and about 65% of their bottom covered with weeds, this is a fisherman’s home.

adamBoth lakes are almost completely surrounded by private cabins, except for a few spots. The William Mitchell State Park lies between the two lakes and is split by the connecting quarter mile long canal. There is a beach and a boat launch at the park. There is also a sidewalk all the way along the canal for shore fishing access. Fishing pressure is pretty heavy during the summer months along the canal, but it stills produces fish and is a great place for kids to cast a line.

During the spring walleye spawn, fisherman can be found in waders walking in from the State Park after dark targeting the big females. Mid summer you’ll see boat lights at night out trolling or jigging during the day for walleye and big crappie. If you see a boat moving hole to hole casting big spinners into the cabbage weed, they are most likely going after the big pike and bass in the area.

Winter time brings shanties galore. Both lakes bring ice fisherman from all over the state. You’ll see tip-ups spread out, guys hunkered over a hole jigging or even fisherman spearing pike inside a hut. There’s plenty of walk on access for both lakes during the winter and the fishing holes aren’t too far from shore for walking.

With plenty of access, lots of big fish and tons of water to explore, Lake Cadillac and Mitchell will always be in my top fishing lakes list. You’re able to fill a dinner table with delicious walleye or crappie or just go out and fight a massive pike or bass. In the huge expanse of weed beds you never know what you’ll catch next.

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