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Want to Catch More Bass? Here Are 'Secrets' You Should Know About the Bite


These are but a few of the secrets in "The Bite" from Better Bass Fishing: Secrets From the Headwaters by a Bassmaster Senior Writer. Here's a link to the book at Barnes & Noble. Amazon also carries it, but often is sold out.

Secret 7 : Fisheries scientists estimate that only 5 percent of fish in any given bass population are actively feeding at one time. Thirty percent are inactive and 65 percent are neutral. That why accurate casts, subtle presentations, and enticing retrieves are so important.

Secret 8:  But even if a bass isn’t “actively” feeding, it still often will grab at an easy meal if it comes within reach. Most of the time, fish and other wild animals simply do not pass up available food. Survival instinct dictates that they take advantage of every opportunity.

 Secret 9: On average, once a largemouth bass reaches 11 inches in length, more than 75 percent of its diet consists of baitfish, with the remainder consisting a crawfish and insects. That will vary, of course, depending on the forage base of each specific fishery.

Secret 10: Bass bite for other reasons too, among them reflex, curiosity, competition, and protective instinct for their spawning beds and/or territory.

          Long-time pro Roland Martin also believes that they bite out of ignorance: “It’s getting increasingly harder to find bass these days that have never seen an artificial lure,” he says. “But there are still a lot of lakes in Mexico and Canada where these ‘ignorant’ bass exist. And I’ve been able to find a few small farm ponds that were underfished and contained the same eager, stupid bass.”

More "secrets" about the bite upcoming at Activist Angler.

Check out all my books at Amazon.


Will Sugar-Supported Politicians Help or Hinder Restoration of Coastal Waters?

Nutrient-rich waters discharged out of Lake Okeechobee continue to foul and degrade Florida's coastal waters to the east and west with algae blooms.

Before the ecosystem was altered by man for our convenience, for development, agriculture, and flood control, high water flowed south to replenish the Everglades and, eventually, Florida Bay.

That's what needs to happen again to save the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee River systems now being destroyed. It also would benefit the Everglades and Florida Bay.

But much of that land to the south is owned by sugar farmers, just as much of the nutrients polluting that water is from those farms.

And many Florida politicians are owned by Big Sugar. For example, U.S. Sugar Corp. is the fourth largest donor to Gov. Rick Scott's political committee.

"The American political system is dominated by big money, and big money talks," said Eric Eikenberg of the Everglades Foundation. "But we are hopeful in this crisis that the governor and other decision makers see through any of that."

Find out more about the politics of this issue here.


Little Horseshoe Lake Yields Second Record Smallmouth for South Dakota

Little Horseshoe Lake in northeast South Dakota was more of a shallow slough than a fishery until the 1990s, when above normal precipitation increased surface area and depth, creating habitat capable of sustaining a sport fishery.  

And what a sport fishery it has turned out to be, as the state record for smallmouth bass was broken there in April for the second time in less than three years.

This time, Lyal Held of Barnesville, Minn., took the honors, catching a pre-spawn bronzeback weighing 7-3, with a girth almost as great as its length. Before being certified and released, it was measured at 19 1/2 inches long and 19 inches around.

"I've never seen anything so fat. It was so fat its eyes were bulging. It was a freak,"  said Held, who was fishing with Casey Ehlert, who captured the battle on video.

In fact, after a state record weighing 7 pounds was caught at Horseshoe in October 2013, the two had been studying the fishery and strategizing on how to break the mark, with the intent to record the adventure.

And only a hour into the trip in pursuit of a trophy,  the Minnesota angler tied into the smallmouth on a Yumbrella rig with Kalin's 3.8-inch Sizmic Shads, three with hooks and two without, as per South Dakota regulation.

"When the fish jumped, and I saw it's girth, I knew right then that this fish had the potential to be a state record," he said.

Held added that the duo had spent considerable time fishing Horseshoe "and had some bad days. But we knew the state record came out of there."

Eventually, they found a "honey hole," he said. And that morning, Ehlert caught two personal bests  before Held tied into the record.


Wading Into Trouble 

We called them “painted turtles.” But today I suspect they were red-eared sliders.

At any rate, we decided to catch them. We tried a net first, but it proved useless. When we could manage to push it through the moss, the turtles escaped before we could pull it back out. So we decided to wade in and grab the little guys with our hands.

Rather, I decided to grab them with my hands. My friends decided to watch. I doubt they knew what was about to happen, but they were wise in their hesitancy nevertheless. The first time I plunged my hand into the goo, I pulled out a turtle about the size of a quarter. The second time, I wasn’t so lucky.

Excerpt from "Nature's Best" in Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies: Growing Up With Nature.


The Best Bass Lake That You've Never Heard Of

Len Andrews caught this 13-12 largemouth at Kingsley Lake.Why are so many of the lunker bass entered in Florida's TrophyCatch program coming from little Kingsley Lake in the northeastern part of the state?

That's what biologist Drew Dutterer and other researchers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) hope to determine in a two-year study financed with a grant by the federal Sport Fish Restoration program. Information gained  during the two-year project also should help resource managers better understand big bass in general.

"It's an opportunity to learn some things about rare individuals in bass populations at one of the places that seems to produce a lot of them, Dutterer said.

"A lot" is an understatement. The 2,000-acre, semi-private lake (surrounded by private homes and Camp Blanding) has yielded 80 bass of 10 pounds or more since 2013 and a dozen that weighed 13 pounds or better since March of 2014. Last year, 5 of the state's 10 biggest bass came from Kingsley,  and anglers caught two 15-pound trophies in one week, including the state's largest fish of the year,  15-11.

“Trophy bass are a pretty big priority for our agency and for the state of Florida," the biologist said. " It’s one of the identifying characteristics of our Florida bass fishery, and one of the reasons a lot of people come over winter and take fishing vacations in Florida, the chance to catch a big fish."

One aspect of the study involves following the movements of 10 bass of 9 to 13 pounds that have been tagged with transmitters. This could be especially revealing because the lake is far deeper than most in Florida, with at least 300 acres that are 40 feet or more and a few places that drop below 80.

And deep means cooler water during the summer.

"Cooler water may allow bass to live and operate with a slightly lower metabolic rate," Dutterer said. "If Kingsley stratifies and there is cooler water available to the fish in the summer, then they could possibly have a lower metabolism and that could allow them to grow more during the year or it may allow them to live longer."

Additionally, FWC has asked anglers to help by snipping off a bit of a fin on bass of 8 pounds or more  and placing the samples in collection bottles available at the lake. "It's  a proof positive way that we can document that catch and release really does work and leads to increase to increased opportunities to catch trophy fish," the biologist said.