Spinning Reel Vs. Baitcaster

Reels

Baitcaster vs Spinning Reel

The two most popular fishing reels are the Spinning and the Bait caster. A lot of fisherman learn on the spinning reel first and never try a bait caster. Everybody can identify the two by looking at them, but we’ll talk about the differences while fishing.

Spinning reels are easy to use and don’t take very much practice for beginners. The spool spins while being reeled and stays still while casting. Basically the line comes off the reel in hoops and when the lure hits the water, the line stops. One of the problems with these hoops is line rubs on the eyes of your pole and slows it down. Another is memory. Those hoops can remain after casting which leaves slack in the line. It allows casting into the wind and is very forgiving with tangles. The spool itself is larger than a bait caster which allows for more line. The bigger spool and more line creates a faster retrieval speed. Gears play a big part of this, but the spool size and amount of line is usually overlooked.

Bait casters function completely different. When casting, the spool actually spins releasing the fishing line in a straight line. This helps the line go evenly through the eyes of the pole. The line will release as fast as the weight on the end will pull it. This means a large weight can be thrown very far with little resistance. The problem is stopping that spool from turning. As anybody that has used a bait caster knows, when your lure hits the water or any other object the spool keeps turning and the line binds up. This is called a bird’s nest and can be very irritating. A lot of anglers become discouraged with it and stop using them completely, but learning the reel’s braking system is key to casting.

Now for the advantages and disadvantages of both. Bait casters are superior for pulling big fish out of thick cover. Spinning reels are better for light tackle and sensitivity. They are more accurate for long casts, but bait casters are more accurate in short flipping situations. Getting precise casts in heavy cover or under obstructions the bait caster wins. They also win for long casts with baits over 1/4 ounce. Newer spinning reels with one finger trigger systems have made them the easiest and most popular for all around fishing, but the newer braking systems on bait casters have helped anglers add them to their fishing arsenal. Whichever one you prefer, adding the other technique can help catch more fish in certain situations. I suggest practicing with both on land first and stick with it.

For more advice on fishing reels check out our forum at www.FishMich.com

Spawning Bass-Michigan’s Forbidden Fish

Bass Fishing the spawn

Bass Fishing the spawn

For Michigan bass fishermen, spring time is unfair. Michigan is one of the best and most popular bass fishing destinations. Yet, it is one of the few states that doesn’t allow bass fishing during the spawn. All spring I watch videos and read fishing articles about the excitement of sight fishing monster bass on their beds and wonder why I can’t take part.

During spring, as the water temps reach 45 degrees, bass move into shallow structure preparing for the spawn. When temps reach 55 degrees they start making their beds. Bass spawning beds are typically 1-3 feet in diameter, in 1-5 feet of water and typically within 10 feet of shore. For a fish that is usually in heavy cover, this is a time when fisherman can troll or walk shoreline and locate them. But, as many anglers know, locating a bass and catching one are totally different stories. Bass are typically more actively feeding during pre and post spawn and don’t eat much while on their beds. Smaller males will be very aggressive, but the larger fish don’t strike. If a bedded fish is nervous enough about your presentation, they will suck it in and spit it out away from the bed. This is where the sight fishing comes in handy. Watch the bass and learn where you need to drag your soft plastic creature bait across the bed. If the bass feels the nest is threatened she will move the bait away. Set the hook!

So why can’t we fish during these times?

I don’t really know. Some believe catching bass during spawning will prevent it. Many studies across the nation have proven this isn’t true. Some fish have been collected from beds, driven 400 miles and transplanted and they still successfully spawned. If a bass is caught and released unharmed (which surveys show 92% of bass are), they will return to their original bed and spawn. Others say it will lower fish populations or populations of large fish. Again, this is easily disproved in the southern states where huge bass are produced year after year during the spawn.

Just one more point. How can we be worried about the population of a fish that is very rarely stocked in Michigan lakes. We stock almost every type of fish in our waters, yet the most fished species doesn’t require it. I think that alone explains what a strong and resilient species the bass is.

Michigan has changed their rules recently to have a catch-and-immediate release season starting April 27th in the Lower Peninsula and May 15th in the Upper, finally. It is a step in the right direction, but why not all year. Many fisherman are out fishing rivers and open water lakes before this. In 2012, with the early thaw, the DNR posted a newsletter warning people that they could not target bass. They had reported seeing a lot of anglers out targeting bass because of the warm weather. I say, with all this proof, Why not leave the possession season alone and have catch and release the rest of the year. Come on Michigan. Everyone else is doing it!

If you have any comments on Bass Fishing during the spawn, please leave them below. And as always check out the forums at www.FishMich.com for local fishing reports.

Topwater Explosions

Large  Mouth Bass

Fishing topwater

The only thing I don’t like about topwater fishing is that it doesn’t always work. If it did, I would never fish any other way. Topwater lures are the most exciting method to take bass or pike. When you’ve casted six or seven times with no success and you just start to let your guard down WHAM. A bass comes out of the water with an explosion and rips into your lure from the top side. If you’ve never tried it, you are missing out. When I was sixteen I bought my first Rapala Skitter Pop. I didn’t have a clue on how to fish it, but when I finally got my first strike, I fell in love. I can’t remember ever being that surprised while fishing.

There are many topwater lures out there and every version is fished differently. I typically use some version of a plug. When fishing with this, cast out and let it set. I like to wait for the ripples to disappear completely. Then give it a short jerk or two and let it set. When it’s sitting still, make sure there isn’t too much slack in the line because this is when the bass erupts out of the water. Keep this action up until it reaches you and then do it all over again.

With a buzz bait I like to keep it a pretty even retrieve. The propellers will make the splashes to draw attention from the fish. Just mix it up a little and give it a few pauses.

Topwater lures are best used in the spring time during spawning periods, but I use them all year. Shallow, calm water is definitely best. Whenever you see bass actively feeding on top of the water, tie one on. I like to fish these around docks and islands early morning or late evening when the water has calmed down. Sometimes you can draw a bass up in deep water, but it has to be pretty calm and nice clear water.

So next time you see a bass surface to eat a fly on the surface tie on a top water lure and let the fun begin. You won’t regret it.

If you have any tips or experiences with a top water lure feel free to leave a comment.