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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The Love of Fishing

The Love of Fishing

The Love of Fishing

I’m an addict, a junkie, a fiend. I can’t get enough of it. When I don’t go fishing for an extended time period, I start to get irritable. I start pacing, thinking about it day and night. I read everything I can about it and stare at pictures for hours at end. Then when I finally get out to a lake or river, it all slips away. It puts me in a better mood within minutes. It’s hard to describe and sometimes I don’t even notice, but it just does something to my all around being.

Fishing is truly a way of life. Whether you do it daily or just a couple times a year, you know the feeling. Getting out on the water alone or with family or friends just slows down life a bit. Listening to the waves against the boat or the hum of a finely tuned outboard, hearing the river flow over a rocky bottom stops the constant noise of everyday life.

I’ve loved fishing since I was a small kid. Whether I was digging worms or chasing big night crawlers in my backyard after dark, it all has a part in the fishing experience. I grew up on the rivers edge out in the country. Back then our parents would let us go out and explore all day long. I remember digging and finding one worm, running to the river and fishing with it until it was taken then running back to the shovel to get another. I couldn’t stand to stay away from the water and collect many worms. It would be get one and go fishing.

Now a days, I enjoy fishing for just about anything. As long as I’m out there, I’m happy. There’s something I love about picking the right lure, choosing the correct color pattern or just making a piece of plastic mimic a wounded bait fish. Casting that perfect cast  or over throwing into a snag, it doesn’t make much difference. It’s still making me feel productive.

I now have a wife and two young kids that are getting into it. There is nothing more satisfying to a father as his son and daughter asking to go fishing. I don’t mind baiting hooks or taking off hooked fish. I don’t mind losing precious fishing time, so they can learn the art of fishing. This is one addiction I hope my kids possess. It can be torture sitting at work on a hot sunny day or a cool fall day when you know the salmon are flooding your favorite riffle, but without those days you will never know the true happiness of being on the water chasing fish.

Michigan’s Opening Day

Lakes starting to thaw.

Lakes starting to thaw.

For us Michiganders, the last Saturday in April is a day that rivals opening day of deer season or Tigers baseball opening day. The start of the Lower Peninsula’s bass catch and immediate release, musky, pike, walleye and trout on Type 1 and 2 streams draw fisherman to all bodies of water. This is the sign that summer is on it’s way.

Michigan residents are drawn to the water right from birth. We even flock to water during the winter and Michigan has some rough winters, especially this year with the most ice coverage on the Great Lakes since the 70’s and snowfall totals in many areas setting new records. So, when late March and early April come and the inland lakes become unsafe for travel and rivers swell past their banks, it’s time to start thinking about summer. There’s a short period in there when Steelhead flood the rivers to take our minds off summer, but for the many that don’t live near a Great Lakes tributary this isn’t an option.

At the beginning of April we start to get antsy. Every time you drive by a lake you’re checking the receding ice. Drive by a river and you’re observing the flow. As the ice melts along the shoreline and the rivers begin to withdraw back inside their banks we start to think about it while at work or just watching television at home. We think about summer time fishing constantly.

And so the preparation begins. You’ll start to see people hauling boats out of storage. We start going through, organizing our tackle boxes, buying new lures, tying every fly pattern that might work on our favorite stream. Planning where to go when that day finally comes. Do you go to your favorite bass spawning ground, trout stream, or walleye river? Is there a new spot that you’ve read about or seen recently just waiting to be fished? We start to think about that monster trout that followed a spinner out from behind that rock and if there is a chance that he’s still there. What about the numerous 30″+ pike you saw last year being caught on a fly rod while bluegill fishing? It’s all going to be available to you on that Saturday.

For the unprepared, there will be many line twists, snags, lost lures and boat problems. For the prepared maybe less frustration, but maybe more. You never can tell until you get out there. One thing is for sure, with all the thinking and waiting for this day to come, it will be the best day since the season closed. Now go get ’em and have fun.

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