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Tackle Tips, Getting into the sport of Fishing By Gary Howey

 At the seminars and on my web page, there are many questions on what type of tackle is needed to get  into the sport of fishing.

  The information in this column will give you information on the basic tackle needed if you are thinking about going fishing.

  This is a good time to start checking out the fishing department of a sporting goods store, as this is when they start to restock their shelves.

  As I mentioned in previous columns, when it comes to fishing you need to keep it as simple as possible.  There are thousands of lures, hooks and baits out there; the only problem is that many of these baits have caught more anglers than fish.

  It’s best to start with the basics, the hook, line and sinker, your basic live bait rig.

Hooks

  When it comes to hook size, you’ll want to match your hook to the species of fish that you’ll be going after.  I’d recommend that you purchased snelled hooks, those that are

pre-tied, having the monofilament line tied to the hook as snelled hooks are easier to attach to a swivel or rig.

  A good rule of thumb is if your fishing for small fish such as trout or panfish is to use a size 4, 6 or 8 hooks.  Use a long shank hook when ever possible as this makes it easier to remove the hook from a smaller fish’s mouth. 

  For bass or larger fish, you can use a size 1, 2, 1/0 or 2/0 hook.  Walleye anglers prefer a shorter more compact hook in a size 6 or 8.  The main thing to remember is to match the size of your hook with the size of the mouth of the fish that you hope to catch.

Line

As far as line is concerned, depending on what type of fish you’re after and where you’ll be fishing for them, I’d suggest you use the lightest light possible.  Generally, if you’re fishing water that’s not full of snags a 6 or 8-pound test for walleyes works well. If you’re fishing for bass or catfish in or near weeds, brush, submerged timber or areas where there are a lot of rocks and snags it’s a good idea to go with 12-pound test or heavier

  The colder the water temperature, the less active the fish are and the more finesse you’re going to need to catch the fish, so as water temps drop, so does my line diameter as smaller baits perform better on lighter line.

  The larger the line diameter, the less action you’re going to get out of your bait. This is especially true when using diving bait as heavier line has more resistance and won’t allow your bait to go as deep (crankbait) or sink as fast (jigs).

  In addition, heavier line has more memory, it won‘t lay out as nice as lighter line, and not allowing your lure to work properly.

  One thing that you really need to pay attention to is the knot you use to attach your hook or lure to the line.

  Avoid the old overhand knot as it won’t hold, will slip, come loose or break, use a good knot such as the Palomar or TRILENE Knot. Illustrations of these and other useful knots are found at www.animatedknots.com/indexfishing.php

  Before you pull your knot tight, be sure to wet the line, if you don’t, the friction created by the line rubbing together will melt the line.

“Sinkers”

The amount of weight or sinker that you’ll attach to the line depends on what type of water you’ll be fishing.  When fishing in a river, dealing with current, it may require a heavier sinker.  If you’re fishing from a boat, you probably won’t need as much weight because you’re fishing vertically.

  I carry an assortment of split shot, a few 1/4 oz. and 3/8 oz. sinkers.  With these, I can fish just about any body of water in the Midwest.  If you need a little more weight, it’s easy to add more weight or attach a small split shot above your weight.

  The basic rule on what weight to use is to use the smallest weight possible.

I know what some of you are saying, “What about fishing in the heavy current in the river?”

To be real honest with you very few fish will be in that heavy current as it takes a lot more energy for them to fight the current than it does to sit behind a point, sandbar or submerged rock pile where there is little or a reduced amount of current.

  Sure, you’ll find some fish in the fast water, but the majority of them will be behind something that breaks the current (current breaks) like those that I mentioned earlier.

If you use too much weight, and a fish tries to inhale it, as most fish do, and the bait doesn’t move, many fish will move on.

  Crappie Rigs are another item that you might want to try.  A Crappie rig is a pre-tied two-hook rig with a swivel on the top that you tie to your line and then attach your sinker to the snap at the bottom.

  Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about some other lures that you might want to try. [Read more…]

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Summertime is topwater bassin’ time By Larry Myhre

When summertime rolls around, my thoughts turn to topwater for bass fishing.

While 90-degree days under bright sunny skies with the countryside wrapped in sweltering humidity might not be the best time for chasing bass on top, it is certainly a good option.

The explosion of submerged weeds in most of our bass waters is what triggers my desire to wrestle with chunky largemouths in the slop.

You see, there are some bass, certainly not all in the lake, that will take up residence in the almost impenetrable jungle of aquatic growth.

Winching them out of this boars’ nest requires a whole new set of rods, reels, line, lures and just plain old elbow grease.

Of course, you don’t have to be in the middle of the equivalent of an aquatic cow pasture to successfully use topwater techniques. There’s a period of time just before the weeds hit the surface that can be good too. Also don’t overlook woody structure along shorelines or any ambush point in shallow water where a hungry bass might take up residence.

If I had to pick the best time of day to take bass on topwaters, it would have to be that hour before dawn and that hour after sunset. But to limit your topwater presentations to only those

times would be a mistake.

Bass can be taken on topwaters any time of the day. And not only in the summertime. Believe it or not, I’ve caught ‘em in November in the middle of a snowstorm by “walkin’ the dog” with a big Zara Spook.

So what’s my favorite topwater bait? I don’t have any. What is recognized as the “go to” topwater bait for bass? There isn’t any.

Here’s the deal.

There are a huge variety of topwater baits designed to catch bass, both smallies and largemouth. Each has their time and place. [Read more…]

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TAKE THE BAIT, NOT THE WATER

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Anglers are reminded that bait and fish may not be transported in water taken from a lake, river or stream. 

Bait can only be transported away from a water body in domestic water (tap water, well water, bottled water, ice). Most domestic water must be treated to remove chlorine prior to putting fish in it.

Boat anglers can wait until they reach an immediately adjacent fish cleaning station to put their bait in domestic water. They can dump out the lake water and fill their bait bucket up with water from the cleaning station or water they brought with them.

A shore angler can do the same if they are able to access the domestic water source at a fish cleaning station that is immediately adjacent or if they bring domestic water with them.SDG & P

Minnows may be used in multiple lakes as long as they are transported between lakes in domestic water. Lake water must be drained before leaving each lake.

Unused minnows should be poured into the fish grinder at a cleaning station or drained and disposed of in the trash containers at the boat launch or cleaning areas. It is a violation of state statute to dump unused minnows into a water body.

[Read more…]