Category Archives: Bass Basics

10 Things to Keep in your Bass Boat

10 Things you may not have in your boat, but probably should.  These are some of the items that are beyond what is legally required and what is commonly carried by anglers.  Some stuff is more obvious than others and some items are quite unordinary.

 

Jumper Cables – Jumper cables have saved my day many a times as well as some other people I have run into.  Its even saved a few tournament days.  Sure you can always switch your cables over to the trolling batteries, but when you only have a minute or two to spare to get back for weigh-in, jumper cables save a ton of time.

 

Buoys – I know many a guys pass ob buoys for GPS, but on windy days there is nothing like a buoy for a reference point, especially in these Boater/Non-Boater tournaments where co-anglers are not allowed to run the boat, so if you are trying to hold on a deep hard bottom spot in the wind, its nice just to be able to motor back to that spot and start fishing, instead of trying to feel your way around for it again and again.  Bass Pro Shops carries a great selection of buoys.

 

Extra Life Preserver – Its nice to have for those impromptu evening fishing trips with a buddy or coworker.  You hate not to take someone because you only have one life jacket.  Also, you can make someone’s day at the tournament take-off when they forgot theirs and you can lend them one.

 

Old-Fashioned Ice Fishing Depth Finders – This is for fish health!  If you are not familiar with this item, it is basically a .5 – 1oz lead weight molded to a gator clip.  I use these to clip on to the pectoral fin of a fish in my livewell that is starting to turn on its side.  The basic premise, is that the fish does not have to fight and waste energy to stay upright and it recovers easier and you do not kill the fish and save on dead fish penalties at the scale.


 

Rope – Handy for tying up to docks, bridges & trees.  Also good to have when you need a tow or try to tow another boat back to safety.

 

Small Anchor – An anchor can make life easy on a windy day and you have a real tight group of fish.  Plus, I really like for sight fishing.  Once you locate a nice fish, back just far enough away so you can see what you are doing and gently hold the boat with the anchor.  Less trolling motor noise, more bites!

 

Toilet Paper – When nature calls there is not always a restroom available and often boat ramp facilities are often out of this key supply.

 

Cable Ties – I find these are handy for batteries that come loose out of trays, for re-securing transducers and many other things in the boat.

 

Multi-Tool – It’s a great single tool that can make those wireing repairs, loose screws and bolts.  Rather than a toolbox, this tool can do most everything and take up a lot less room.  You really cannot go wrong with a quality tool like the Leatherman Wave or Gerber 600 Fisherman.

 

Quality Side Cutters – Great way to remove really deep hooks from fish and can often save a fish that otherwise might go belly up in your livewell.  Its also handy for cutting hooks that are buried into your hand or skin.

 

Hopefully you find these tips useful and makes your future fishing trips safer and more productive.

Rich
www.richlindgren.com
basstournament.blogspot.com

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How to Swing a Bass into the Boat…

After fishing with a couple of new members in my bass club this year, it reminded me of a simple thing that will save some of you a lot of headaches.  It seems simple, but there really is an art to swinging fish into the boat.  My partner was doing it all wrong, reeling down to about 12” of line and then trying to lift the fish into the boat.  I warned him not to do that and that he is going to snap his rod tip.  Sure enough the next time he went out he busted the tip of his Shimano Spinning Rod.

 

So here are the basic principals:

  1. When you are lifting a fish leave about a 4-6’ of line out.  This lets the line and rod work together, plus when you lift the fish will swing right to your waste.  Only bad things happen when reeling right down to the fish.
    1. Short line puts unnecessary stress on the tip of the rods; this severely shortens the life of your rods by snapping tips off.
    2. The short amount of line focuses the stress on a short section of line, which can lead to line breaking or straightening off hooks, plus it gives the fish a much better chance to throw the hook or tear out of its mouth.
  2. Uses the fished momentum, when you have a fish coming just lift and swing.  Never try to dead lift the fish when it’s just lying next to the boat.  Its basic physics!
  3. Never try to swing too large a fish for your equipment.  If you are using 8lb line on a spinning rod, you probably should net or lip anything over 2lbs.  If you are fishing a frog on 65lb Braid with a flippin’ stick, you can probably handle swinging a 4-5lb bucket mouth in.
  4. Once this fish is in the boat, handle with care, do not let is bounce all over the floor of the boat.  Swing it to where you can quickly grab it and then handle the fish down in the center area of the boat.  If you do drop the fish, it will be less likely to flop out of the boat, like it would if it was bouncing up on the deck area of the boat.  I am sure you have all seen Jim Bitter’s Classic debacle and I just witnessed my non-boater drop a 3lb fish back into the lake up on Le Homme Deu, which probably cost him a couple hundred bucks.

So if you are going to swing your fish follow these guidelines and land more fish and save your equipment.  It just takes a little practice and you can swing them in like the pros.  But remember, netting a fish is almost always a more reliable way to land a fish in a tournament.

Rich
www.richlindgren.com
basstournament.blogspot.com

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Monofilament vs. Fluorocarbon vs. Braided Lines… How does one choose?

My Blogging has been pretty focused on tournament news and hot baits, thought I go with something a little more practical.
Choosing the Right Fishing Line.

 Times are changing and it seems like you are at a serious disadvantage if you still use one fishing line for everything you do.  For years I would just switch from brand or weight of monofilament to another.  Now there are 3 main stays when it comes to choosing fishing line and none of them are the answer for every situation or technique.  I am going to breakdown why I choose Mono, Braid and Fluorocarbon and for what situations.

 

Braided Line (Super Lines) – This is a fairly broad category in itself.  There are many types and brands of braided lines, and the all have there differences and advantages/disadvantages.  For the most part, I am not a big fan of braided line, it just feels uncomfortable for me and its probably mostly a confidence thing.  I think it stems form the fact that I like to feel a fish when I fish soft plastics, I do not set on the first tap.  Thus when I lift to feel or weigh the fish with my rod tip, braid has no stretch, so the fish feels me faster and I feel more fish drop my bait.  I mainly use braid for slop fishing (frogs& spoons etc.) and heavy flipping.  So far I like Power Pro Braided Line and P-Line Spectrex IV Braided Line for my super line fishing. There are many anglers that use braid for just about everything, I am not one of them.  One thing braid does, is increases sensitivity.  It’s a great option for newer anglers; it helps them feel bites and contours.  It also makes up for bad hook sets and less then average rods.

 

Monofilament & Copolymers – This was my mainstay when I first started fishing.  I used Silver Thread AN40 for everything; it was a very good line.  I still use mono for many things.  I like a heavy mono for some flop and heavy cover situations.  I like the feel and the way it loads up, almost like a bungee cord when you set into a big fish.  For the most part, I use a ton of Cajun Red Line line, its red, tough as nails and very affordable.  I have recently purchased some Gamma Copolymer Line & fluoro lines, I anxious to spool them up and test them out.  Heavy mono is what I use for most of my dock fishing.  I pair 20lb Cajun Line with a 7ft baitcasting rod.  The heavy line and baitcasting rod give me a lot of power to horse fish out from under docks & piers.  It also seems to help me skip,  that stiffer heavier line almost pushed the bait back under the dock, lighter lines tend to sink into the water quicker and reduce distance on skipping for me.  Mono is a must for topwaters as well, it floats so it helps the action.  I also you some mono for jerkbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits based on how the depth I am fishing.  If I shallow cranking, I will likely use mono because I feel it helps the bait rebound of cover and structure.  If I am fishing these baits where more depth is desired, I probably will go with Fluorocarbon.

 

Fluorocarbon I have only been using fluorocarbon based fishing lines for a little over a year and I find myself using them more and more.  I started out with P-Line Floroclear Line, which is a copolymer line coated in fluorocarbon.  I really liked this line in 10lb & 12lb, for crankbaits & jerkbaits.  I feel like I get a little more depth to the sinking properties and I get a better feel from my baits.  The low stretch also gives better action to my Husky Jerks & Pointers.  It has been good for spinnerbaits, lipless cranks and other deep water applications.  I tried using it in heavier sizes for fishing around cover and I started to break off on hook sets.  I never have problems with Cajun line in the same situations.  I think by going with a true quality fluorocarbon like Gamma Edge may solve these problems.  I also really like fluorocarbon for finesse fishing with jig worms, Shakey Heads , mojo rigs and drop shotting.

 

I hope this helps you make better decisions when you are faced with ever expanding option of the fishing line wall at your local sporting goods stores.

Tight Lines,
Rich
www.richlindgren.com
basstournament.blogspot.com

 

Becoming a Better Bass Angler

Learn how to become a better bass fisherman by joining your local bass club.

In my mind, the best way to shorten the learning curve of bass fishing is to join your local bass club. It’s also probably the most cost effective way as well. Below you will find the 7 reasons why.

1. You can only learn so much by reading articles and going to seminars. You need an outlet to practice and try the things you learn. Reading about techniques in a magazine do not mean a heck of a lot until you can try them and build some confidence on the water using your new lures or techniques. A bass club is a good way to get onto some lakes, especially if you do not have a boat. You can learn fishing from shore, but some things you need to get out on a boat to practice.

2. So let’s say you have a boat and you can get on the water when ever you wish. There is only so much you can learn fishing by yourself. Fishing with partners or buddies can really accelerate the learning curve, especially if you are fishing with someone who has a lot of experience.  Every club has a couple of guys that have been around for a decade or two.  Often times in a bass club, you fish with a different guy every tournament; think how much you could learn in 6-8 tournaments over a summer, especially if you practice with your partner as well. Thinks of the olds adage, “Iron Sharpens Iron”

3. Why not money or pay tournaments? Its good way to learn, but it also can be a very expensive lesson. If you enter tournaments as a boater, you can really take some lumps and at a couple hundred dollars per entry, its not that effective. Pro-am or draw tournaments are a good option, but you are still better of getting the basics down in club competition which the dues may only cost $50-$100 for the whole season which could be 8-10 tournaments. Besides you may draw a boater that does not care to teach or help you learn and really just wants to catch his fish, hard to blame him, he has money invested as well.

4. Most of the members in a bass club have similar goals to yours. Learn more about bass fishing and have fun while doing it. Sounds simple, but its very true. They are very open to sharing their knowledge, because they were probably in your shoes when they joined a bass club. You will meet people you will fish with the rest of your life.

5. Thinking about buying a boat? Join a club as a non-boater for one summer first. Ride and fish out of 6-8 different boat brands and models during the year. You will quickly find out what you like and dislike about these boats and you will be better educated when you hit the spring boat shows the following year.

6. Don’t just take my word for it. Many well known pros started in bass clubs and worked their way up the ranks through federation tournaments. Mike Iaconelli & Denny Brauer are a few of the biggest.

7. There are clubs for everyone. There are clubs that fish for fun, clubs that fish for money, clubs for couples, and clubs that have JR. clubs for kids.

So go out and contact your local bass clubs, you will not regret it. Usually it is pretty easy to find bass clubs in your area if you search the internet or contact the State Bass federation in your state. You will find out a lot of information and links to good bass site with club listings at www.gopherbass.com

Rich
www.richlindgren.com
basstournament.blogspot.com


Fishing with your eyes

It baffles me the number of guys I know that still fish without sunglasses and/or caps/visors.  If you ask me its just plain stupid not to protect your eyes when fishing!  It’s the only set you have and probably the only set of eyes you will ever have and I depend pretty heavily on my eyesight.  Not too mention, polarized sunglasses will help you catch more fish.

 

Protection:

I have been hit in the face with a lure several times, either by a fellow angler or me jerking on a lure that springs free and fires at my face.  Two of those times my glasses deflected lures that otherwise would have hit me in the eye.  The other factor of protection is UV rays, it is important to protect your eyes from over exposure to Ultraviolet Rays from the sun and a good pair of sunglasses will protect your eyes in both instances.  Good glasses will also protect your eyes when you are blasting to your honey hole on tournament day, how many times have you had to run in the rain or on a morning when there were a lot of bugs hovering on the water.

 

Catchin’ More Fish:

I know people will argue that they rarely have water clear enough to see bass where they usually fish and that the spawn is short, so why bother with sunglasses.  Sunglasses more often help you observe structure, holes in grass, baitfish and other things that either help you cast where the bass should be or help clue you into what the bass are doing.  If bass are holding open pockets in a grass flat and I can see the holes better than you because of my glasses, I will wear you out that day in the boat if we are together.

 

What to Buy:

Rule of thumb, buy the best glasses you can afford and make sure they fit your face.  You can have a $200 pair of sunglasses, but if they are uncomfortable, you will not wear them and you will lose then because you keep taking them off.  I am a big fan of Costa Del Mar glasses and I see the value of investing in good glasses.  I use to wear $10-20 sunglasses and after wearing high end glasses, I really believe you get what you pay for.  With my old glasses, I would be tired after a day on the water in the bright sun, eyes would feel strained, and they would be bloodshot.  I can now fish all day and my eyes feel great and I have more energy to drive home after a long day, rather than fighting to keep my eyes on the road.  The reason is because cheaper glasses have lower quality lenses that have inconsistencies in the lens that cause your eyes to constantly readjust and refocus to compensate and that is terrible for your eyes.  A good set of wrap around glasses that fit your face not only reduce glare of the water but cut down on wind that dries out your eyes in the wind or when you are hauling down the water.  You can find a great selection of glasses at Basspro.com

 

So invest in your eyes and some new sunglasses, buy what you can afford, but do not sacrifice comfort and fit.  You will be glad you did!

 

Rather be Fishing…

Rich
www.richlindgren.com
basstournament.blogspot.com