Category Archives: Fun Fishing

Winter Bass = Blade Baits & Hair Jigs

As air temperatures become almost unbearably cold and water temps
dive into the 30′s, I have found that few baits produce bass like Blade
Baits and Hair Jigs.  Far too often these baits are forgotten in our
tackle boxes and rarely get the playing time they deserve.  Even for me
they had become such an after thought I found myself having to do an
emergency restocking for my early winter bass fishing.

For hair jigs, I like a hand tied football jigs with a blend of hair
and round rubber in blacks and browns.  There are some places that make
nice jigs, but for the most part, I like to tie my own.  In my last few
smallmouth trips, a custom nearly all black combination combined with a
subtle compact trailer like the Evolve Kompak Craw
was the ticket.  I generally fish these baits so slow on the bottom, it
is like counting rocks on every cast, you almost can fish slow enough
on some days.  My usual setup is 15lbs flouro and a long rod with a
moderate tip for feel and strong back bone for hooking up in deep water
on long casts, but a balanced rod with light tip is critical for the
light bites in cold water.  My rod of choice is a Champion Extreme DX 744 from Dobyns Rods.  Here is a video of a buddy & I catching some smallies with this deep football hair jig technique – Watch Video.

source:  Football Hair Jig w/ Kompak Craw Trailer

On the flip side, blade baits can really trigger fish and you can
actually fish these pretty fast in comparison to hair jigs and still get
bit.  Depending on depth ranges, I like a 1/4 to 3/4oz blade baits can
be casted and worked on slow deliberate hops almost like speed worming
to find and catch good quality fish, plus you are likely to catch just
about any fish that swims in the waters you are fishing.  Your rod and
line setup can vary depending on size and weight of your blades baits,
for 1/4oz or smaller baits, you may want to consider a spinning rod.  As
I usually throw 1/2oz or heavier blade baits, I like to use a moderate
cranking rod like the 704CB or 705CB from Dobyns and fish them on 10-12 lb fluorocarbon.

So once you fill your hunting tags, consider getting out on the water and trying this dependable One-Two Punch! 

Oh yeah, Have a Merry Christmas!!!!


Not ready to pack it in just yet….

There is just something up about launching a bass boat at a vacant boat ramp in November or December, knowing that most anglers have winterized their boats, put their tackle in storage and are either watching football or hunting, that is appealing to me.

Knowing that almost certainly I will have the lake or river to myself as well as the bass that are in it.  I went fishing this past Sunday, the weather was awful but my Under Armour from KrugerFarms and the smallmouth made it not so bad.

To be honest, the fishing was kind of tough, the smallies were just barely nipping and grabbing our presentations in 25-38ft of water, but I guess that was to be expected when we had a 30 degree temperature swing over night and the water was only 42 degrees.  It is always nice to fish with good equipment, but when fishing that deep and the bites were as light as they were, I know my Dobyns Champion Extreme DX 744 put extra fish in the boat.  The balance, sensitivity and overall balance made it the perfect option for scraping football jigs in that deep cold water.  Check out a few of the catches we got on video.  You could not move your jig slow enough for these fish.

I did pick up one fish on a drop shot leech and Paul got a couple bites on a shakey head, but almost all the fish fell for the football jigs.  Overall, we boated around 26 smallmouth, which is pretty good anytime, but under the conditions it was darn good.  When we got off the water, it was so cold that when Paul went to spray and wipe down his boat, it just froze to the side of the boat!

Even though we just had a cold snap that froze most of our local ponds, I am pretty sure I will give it another shot this weekend.  Late fall / early winter fishing can be great, but make sure you are dressed right, if you need some UnderArmour, KF has the best selection you will find anywhere!

 

Videos of Super Bass Raise Many Questions…

I recently read some press releases and watched videos of super aggressive and large “Super Bass”.  Special breeds of bass called Gorilla and Tiger bass genetically cross bread to make a bass that grows fast and is incredibly aggressive.

So after reading release which I have inserted below, here are the questions that come to my mind:
How far North can Tiger bass live, say Minnesota?
How much do they cost?
Would my wife divorce me for digging a bass pond in my backyard?

Man-Eating Tiger Bass

The Tiger Bass…big and aggressive.

BIRMINGHAM, AL – With the cameras rolling from WKRG TV out of Mobile, AL, Spencer Ross of Chatom, Alabama, slipped his fingers into the waters of the private Bear Lake. In less than 5 seconds, a 6-pound bass attacked and bit Ross’ fingers. But, the quick-handed Ross brought his thumb under the bass’ jaw & snatched the Tiger Bass out of the water. “I’ve caught these man-eating Tiger Bass that weigh up to 10 lbs numerous times using this technique,” Ross explains.

Ross had been developing his hand-grabbing bass technique for several months. He’d noticed that when he threw bread or crackers off the dock and into the water, that the bluegills there began a feeding frenzy. “I also saw the bass move-in & start to feed on the bluegills,” Ross says. When only 3 or 4 would feed on the bluegills, the bass were very timid. But, when 8 or 10 bass moved-in to feed – especially the bass that weighed 10 lbs or more – these Tiger Bass started attacking the bluegills furiously. One day I stuck my fingers in the water & moved them like a bluegill. A bass came-up out of the water & bit my fingers.” After 3 or 4 more bass attacks, Ross wondered if he could grab hold of these bass by their jaws when they bit his fingers, like catfishermen hand-grab catfish in several southern states. His technique worked. “I’ve even had bass that weighed 10 lbs or more inhale my whole hand and bite my wrist,” Ross explains.

Man-eating Tiger Bass – a cross of a highly-aggressive northern male bass and a female Florida bass that has a history of producing offspring weighing 10 lbs or more – have been stocked in private ponds and lakes for the last several years. Two fishery scientists, Don Keller and Barry Smith of American Sport Fish Hatchery, wanted to solve the problem of stocking the Florida strain black bass that would grow quickly, but these bass were reluctant to bite artificial lures. “A bass in someone’s pond that weighs 10 pounds that no one can catch has very-little recreational value to the pond owner,” Smith explains. “But, if that same 10-pound bass bites aggressively, the fish can be caught and released by many anglers. That’s why Don and I developed the Tiger Bass.”

The proof of the aggressiveness of these big tiger bass is not only in these videos, but also in the catch records of Spencer Ross. “I fish the lake 3 days a week, all-year-long, and I’ve caught and released over 100 bass that have weighed 10 pounds or more from Bear Lake,” Ross reports. If you don’t believe the Tiger Bass will bite you, then check-out this video, shot by one of Ross’ friends (http://youtu.be/Mq76pbE6qDg). The news department at WKRG TV out of Mobile, Ala., didn’t believe this tale either, until they sent-out a camera crew. See the results at (http://www2.wkrg.com/news/2012/jun/05/fisherman-catches-bass-bare-hand-ar-3922721/). To learn more about Tiger Bass, go tohttp://www.americansportfish.com/?option=com_content&view=article&id=34&Itemid=60.




Bull Shoals Fantasy Picks and much more…

Recorded the Fantasy Fishing Insider podcast earlier this morning, hopefully it edits and drops in time for all of you to listen in, but if not, here are my picks.

Last Saturday was so beautiful, had to get out on Pool 2 if only for a few hours.  Tried some new water, for the most part unproductive, caught a few fish though.

I am also excited for the Minnesota Bass Expo this weekend, looks like it is going to be a really cool show, check out the list of vendors.  I will be there from 4-8pm on Friday, probably find me walking around or hanging near the TBF or Kruger Farms booth.  FYI – Kruger Farms had some killer deals at the Northwest Sportshow, do yourself a favor and stop by their Bass Expo booth, they might surprise you, plus they should have some Dobyns Rods on display if you have not checked them out yet.

Don’t forget about the Aquateko contest, you still got 12 days to enter that contest for free tackle!

Last but not least, I did another quick video showing my system for organizing and storing my soft plastics for bass fishing.  Check out the video.



Minnesota Bass Fishing in March

What a wonderful lack of winter and early spring we have had.  Could not have been more welcome considering I had to stare at the BassCat that I bought in November all winter long.  This past Sunday I got out to the Mississippi River for some bass fishing.  Super happy that in less then an hour from my home in Lakeville, I can be on Mississippi River for some completely legal bass fishing even in March.

Fellow Gopher Bassmaster member Chong joined me out on the water.  We started on a couple points leading into known spawing coves as the water was 55 degrees when we launched.  The second point gave up a 3lb plus smallmouth to Chong and 2lb largie to me on a black tube.  We then made a run back to some backwaters, as the main reason Chong came with was to learn a little about how to navigate the river.

The water was 58-59 degrees in this area, I caught two quick largemouth on shad colored Shad Rap along a rip rap bank, the next spot gave up a couple more small largies on a Sexy Shad Megabass ITO Vision 110 jerkbait.  As we idled to next area, I saw some shad balled up on the edge of the grass.  I shut it down, Chong instantly bowed up and landed a 5-6lb walleye on a swim jig.  From there I did some work on that Megasbass jerkbait, I caught about 10 before we left that area, including 2 over 3lbs.  I also picked up a couple small fish on a spinnerbait.

Only one I weighed, had to test new scale 3lbs 8oz

Did not take long for Chong to tie on a jerkbait, on his second cast he got a nice chunky 3lbr on a Smithwick Rogue.  We covered a bunch more water in this backwater, most of our fish came on jerkbaits, but we did get a couple on jigs & soft plastics. 

We decided to make our way back towards the ramp, we finished up in a side cut of the main river.  I ended up breaking my jerkbait on some rocks, breaking it right at back hook, causing it to only have 2 hooks.  I kept throwing it and just a few casts later I bowed up on a donkey of a smallmouth.  Had it up next to the boat and it jumped as I reached it and spit my bait, that 3rd treble would have been handy there.  Oh well, still fun, I did catch a 3lb smallie two minutes later on a drop shot with a hand poured wacky finesse worm.

Total I caught 22 or 23, Chong had 7 or 8 with a big walleye & a big drum.  We both probably had 16-17lbs for our best 5 bass.  Glad I could get out, should not have a problem catching a legal bass in every month of 2012 now!

In summary, although water was creeping towards the 60 degree mark, which is super warm for this type of year, the fish behaved much like the water was in the lower 50’s.  With water likely hitting 60 plus very soon, I think the actual spawn will lag behind the water temp a bit, because the bass biologically just have not had time to get ready to spawn.  I am guessing it takes time for the females to produce those eggs, so keep that in mind fishing this spring.

If you are going to the Northwest Sportshow this week, you should be able to find me hanging out in the Kruger Farms booth, they have come on as a new Dobyns Rods dealer, come by and let me show you some rods that have balance and feel like no other!  If not, I will be selling some more Loomis rods in my Bass
Fishing

eBay
Store
.

In other news, if you follow my facebook page, I have mentioned we got some good stuff coming soon.  Should be several new product reviews and giveaways for my readers, one in particular I am excited about is Evolve Baits, check out some of their offerings.

 

2012 Bass Closer & More

I did get out fishing for a few hours on the Minnesota Bass Closer, it was hard to leave the laptop and all the Bassmater Classic coverage, but I decided catching was better then watching.  Air temperatures were tolerable, but the wind was ridiculous.  I did catch 7 smallmouth pretty darn quick on a homemade smallie beaver bait on a 1/8oz shakey head.
 
Then the bite just died on me, I switched to a jerkbait and only mustered one follow.  Next up was an Ima Square Bill and that produced 3 nice chunky smallmouth to round out the trip.  It is always nice to catch a few open water winter bass to keep the cabin fever at a minimum.  On a positive note, it was 55 degrees and in all likely hood I will be fishing the Mississippi River in March and catching a few bass out of my boat.

I continue to be tuning into Major League Fishing every week, and it continues to be a solid product.  This week in the first Sudden Death Elimination round, 6 anglers fished for two spots, the first two to get to 40lbs moved on, the rest eliminated.  Spoiler Alert: Cream rose to the top, KVD & Ehrler advanced.  KVD DOMINATED!

FLW Hartwell tournament starts on Thursday, still time to lock in a Fantasy Fishing roster or make last minute adjustments.  Below is my roster, soon a Podcast will post here, breaking it all down!

Lake Hartwell

SELECTED WINNER


 

Weekend of open water bass fishing

After a very busy winter, I was able to sneak away from the house to chase some open water bass with some good bassin’ buds.  A place that I have fished a few times before in the winter, but a first for several of the others.  The fishing started decent but was not as hot as I had seen it before.

We all caught fish on several lures from flukes, to jigs, swim jigs and chatterbaits, but as the day went on the swimbait bite started to dominate.  It was clear the swimbait would elicit strikes form better quality bass that would pass on most normal offerings.  For the most part we fished a range of 6-8″ swimbaits in slow to moderate sink rates and had to fish them quite slow.
   

 The patience and persistence paid off in the from of several 3-5lb fish for all those that stuck with the swimbaits.  I have done a fair amount of dabbling with swimbaits and caught fish here and there, but this is probably the first time I felt the swimbait was the predominant bite.  It was very addictive, as these fish keyed on the vibrations of these swimbaits until well after sunset.  My Dobyns 795 Mike Long swimbait rod finally got a well deserved work out!

I inserted a couple pictures into this post, but you can see the full gallery of fish catches here.

Also, Fantasy Bass Fishing season is almost upon us, so catch the first Podcast of the season here.  We break down the Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Central Open on Lake Lewisville & much more.




Podcast Powered By Podbean

Rich
 

Finally a few smallmouth

Been a slow winter bass fishing for me this winter, the weather has been great, but time commitments have made it near impossible as of late.  I had not caught a Minnesota bass since November!  On the bright side, I did make a November trip to Lake of the Ozarks, a December trip to Lake Falcon & caught a Sailfish in Playa del Carmen, so I am guessing I will not get many sympathy comments from the faithful blog readers.

Even with all that, I was feeling some urgency to get my first 2012 bass under my belt and the Minnesota bass season closes at end of February for awhile, so my window was shrinking.  So against my better judgement I set out for some fishing this past Sunday in weather temps that I would normally pass on, 14 degrees with wind chill of 1.

It ended up being not too bad other then not being able to feel my hands and fingers after touching wet fish a few times.  I ended up with 16 smallmouth, mostly 2-3lb chunky fish, all came on a Shakey Beaver combo except for one on an Ima Square Bill. (See video for Shakey Beaver rigging).  My fishing buddy for the day got 6 nice smallmouth on soft plastics as well, he wore better gloves and did not get frost bit fingers like this guy.  Also of note, unbelievable how my DX 782 Dobyns spinning rod launches lights baits & gives great leverage when fishing from waders, super sweet setup with a 4000 size spinning reel.
 
But on a positive note, I can report near normal feeling in my right fingertips as I type this blog.  Which is good, because I plan to brave the cold to chase some winter largemouth this weekend!

FISH ON!

Back From Playa

It was a much needed break, relaxing with the wife and another couple at the beautiful Grand Mayan resort just North of Playa del Carmen in Mexico.  So that and the holidays is the reason for the lack of activity hear on the blog.

I did get out fishing for half of a morning, nothing special, but we did “Luck” into a sailfish right before the morning trip ended.  It was pretty cool to feel how hard a 40-50lb class sailfish pulls and that is not big by any means for a sailfish.  Check out the pics and the video.

On a positive note, feel pretty recharged and the warm weather definitely gave the fishing bug big time!



Quick Falcon Lake Trip

This past weekend I finally got down to see my Dad and fish with him on Lake Falcon.  A bit of a whirlwind trip and only two days of hard fishing.  The weather was about 15-20 degrees cooler then normal for Zapata, TX this time of year.  The cooler temperatures seemed to temper the fishes’ attitude a little but we still caught some good fish.

My Dad spent some time practicing before I got there and had one really good area identified and it didn’t take but about 10 minutes to get the first bite, it was only a 2 pounder on Brush Hog it felt good to swing back on a largemouth which feels good to a Minnesotan in December.  A few minutes later I got another fish on the Brush Hog, I then tried one of my new Kinky Beavers in Okeechobee Craw, quickly caught a bass and then got a pretty good fish on, turned out to be a good sized catfish.  Shortly after the cat, I got a nice 5 plus pound fish on the Kinky Beaver.  Just after I got my limit of fish by switching back to the big brush hog, my Dad loaded up on a good’un, soon I helped him scoop a 9lbr into the net that fell for a dark jig.

I worked hard throwing several baits, and I ended up catching around 15 bass and got a few 6lb class fish, but the 9lbr was the highlight of the day.  I caught some nice fish power shotting a Lake Fork Hyper Freak.  We caught quite a few 4-6 lb fish and our best 5 would have weighed over 34lbs.  The best area was a channel drop with hard wood on the top of a 4-6ft ledge dropping into 20-25ft.

We started in this area early on Sunday, but the water was 3 degrees cooler and there were 2 boats already there.  A few fish were being caught by the other boats and us included, but size seemed to be down, as I quickly caught a fish on a jig, but it was only about 2lbs.  After the other boats slid away from the sweet spot, my Dad bowed up on another dandy, it went 10-07 which fell for a Mag Fluke.  We fished hard the rest of the day and mixed in some other areas, ended up with 13 fish, good ones were tough to come by, but my dad got 7-10 just before dark of a rock pile in about 8ft of water on a Carolina Rigged Magnum Fluke.

Weather and short amount of time, limited the amount of video that I was able to shoot, but I will put together a few clips soon and probably embed it in here when it is done.  In the mean time, check out my photo album here.

For those of you that want to fish Falcon but are a little worried, after visiting I have no apprehension or worries about returning to do some more bass fishing.  You are more likely to get mugged at your local shopping mall then run into trouble down on Falcon Lake.  My only complaint, is that the trip was far too brief!