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Entries in bass (30)


Better Bass Fishing Provides a Look at the 'Big Picture' of Bass Fishing

In addition to how-to information, it reveals secrets for becoming a better bass angler through scientific knowledge on bass biology and the effects of weather, as well as helpful logistical instruction on equipment and techniques. Better Bass Fishing encourages a thoughtful approach to fishing and the realization that success is tied to more than just using the right bait.


Senior Writer Robert Montgomery credits the opportunities and experiences provided him by BASS for much of the angling expertise that he shares with readers in his new book, Better Bass Fishing --- Secrets from the Headwaters. “I’ve learned from the best,” he says of his 25 years as a senior writer for Bassmaster magazine.

In addition to revealing information provided him by the pros and some of the country’s best guides, Montgomery also offers tips and insights from some of BASS’s own, including founder Ray Scott.

Scott details the power of provocation for angling success, while Dave Precht, editor-in-chief of Bassmaster, reveals the importance of determining the proper retrieve.

In the Biology and Behavior chapter, Montgomery says that Bassmaster and BASS Times “provide the most up-to-date information on bass biology and behavior, as well as new strategies for catching them (bass).” He adds that many of today’s young pros say that they grew up reading Bassmaster, “and the knowledge they gained from the magazine was critical to their success.”


Hey, Mate, Check Out the Aussie Bass

B.A.S.S. in Australia? That’s right.

But no bass.

We shouldn’t be critical of that, though, because “bass” anglers in the U.S. don’t pursue real bass either.  Largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass all are members of the sunfish family. On the other hand, white and striped bass really are bass.

Down Under, anglers pursue the “Australian bass,” known scientifically as Macquaria novemaculeata, a member of the Percichthyidae family.

The Australian non-bass bass shares some characteristics with the U.S. non-bass bass, including a pugnacious attitude and a willingness to strike artificial baits.

But they are distinctly different species, with U.S. fish growing larger. Australian bass typically average 1 to 2 pounds and measure 12 to 14 inches long.

How big do Australian bass get? That’s not entirely clear. This website says that the heaviest ever caught checked in at 8.3 pounds (3.78 kilograms).

A recent report from Australia says that a “fishing world record” recently was set during a B.A.S.S. event at Lake Boondooma, when Stan Kanowski caught one on a spinnerbait that measured nearly 19 inches (48 centimeters) long. It also points out that Kanowski says that he’s caught larger fish and that only recently have length records been kept.

Here’s an article from about Australia joining B.A.S.S.


Night Ban Imposed to Protect Sagging Walleye Fishery at Mille Lacs

Removal of the minimum length requirements for bass is but one of the new regulations recently implemented at Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake in hopes of bolstering the sagging walleye fishery.

But it is the extension of the nighttime fishing ban until Dec. 1, instead of lifting it in mid-June, that has stirred the most controversy. That’s because summer anglers like to pursue walleyes after dark.

“It’s like a dagger to the economy up here,” said Bill Eno of Twin Pines Resort.

Guide Jason Hamemick added, “They’re going to have to figure something else out because this is blowing up right now.”

Others think that the “bad publicity” generated by the change in regulations is worse than the reality.

The reality, meanwhile, is that walleye numbers are at a 40-year low, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“The current walleye regulation and extended night fishing ban will protect upcoming year classes of young walleye, adult spawning stock, and help ensure the harvest stays within the safe harvest level,” said Don Pereira, fisheries chief.

By contrast, northern pike numbers are at record highs, and the smallmouth bass population has been increasing since the 1990s.  But populations of tullibee and perch, both important forage species, are relatively low.

“The new regulations reflect our commitment to improving the walleye fishery as quickly as possible with as little harm to the local economy as possible,” Pereira added.

“More liberal northern pike and smallmouth bass regulations speak to the fact these species can withstand additional pressures because their populations are at or near record highs.”

For bass, the creel limit remains at six, with no minimum size. Only one can be longer than 18 inches.

Previously, smallmouths had to be between 17 and 20 inches, with one longer than 20 permitted. Additionally, Mille Lacs will be exempt from the statewide catch-and-release smallmouth rule that goes into effect in mid-September.

The northern pike limit has been increased from 3 to 10, with one of more than 30 inches allowed.

For walleyes, daily and possession limits remain unchanged at two fish of 18 to 20 inches, with one of more than 28 inches allowed.


'12 Worst Invasive Fish on Earth'

Smallmouth bass. Photos from Environmental Graffiti.

Have you ever seen a largemouth bass eat an alligator? Neither have I.

I’m not saying it hasn’t--- or couldn’t--- happen. Predatory fish are opportunistic feeders and will eat any critter that they can catch and swallow.

Or did you know that largemouth bass “eat day and night.”

I didn’t know that either, and I know plenty of anglers who would disagree with that assessment.

I stumbled upon these two portrayals of largemouth behavior on a list of “12 Worst Invasive Fish on Earth” at Environmental Graffiti.”

In general, I agree with the list, including the inclusion of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Because they are popular game fish, and because they are so cooperative and adaptable, they have been spread well beyond their original ranges. And they will eat smaller native species.

Common carp

In our own Northwest, however, they are inaccurately blamed for the demise of salmon populations, which have declined because of altered habitat and degraded water quality. While dams have provided perfect reservoir habitat for bass, they have been devastating to cold-water fisheries.

My belief is that the author of this list is either from the Canada or the United Kingdom. His descriptions certainly suggest to me that he’s not an angler and he has no personal experience with either bass species. Here is what he says about smallmouths:

“Even small mammals and snakes aren’t safe! Once this bass has its prey, there’s little chance of escape, as its mouth is lined with tiny gripping teeth that work like Velcro.”

My biggest criticism: Why aren’t Asian (bighead and silver) carp included?


One of My Favorite Places: Florida's Crystal River

Florida’s Crystal River has been one of my favorite places to fish since I first visited there in the mid 1990s.

No, it’s not place to catch trophy bass.

I like it for the variety of fish that it offers, as well as its natural beauty and wildlife, including manatees, dolphins, and a multitude of bird species.

The most interesting thing for me is how the fishery has evolved since I first went there. In the 1990s, the aquatic vegetation was abundant, especially in the canals, and so were the bass. Additionally, sea trout and jacks were common, with redfish a little less so. Snook were rare visitors, as were tarpon.

Today, that grass is all but gone, gobbled up by the manatees, who keep it browsed down almost to the roots. And without the vegetation to soak up nutrients from runoff, algae blooms through much of the system and visibility is greatly reduced. Additionally, as winters have moderated, huge numbers of snook have moved in, competing with bass for both forage and habitat.  As a consequence, largemouths aren’t nearly as numerous.

Still, it’s one of my favorite places.

 I fished there yesterday with long-time friends Dave Burkhardt, and Matt Beck, photo editor and outdoor writer for the Citrus County Chronicle. Matt probably knows the fishery as well as anyone, and we had a great day on the water with him. (Matt tells me that he is going to include my new book, Why We Fish, in his two-part, gift ideas column.)

We caught bass, snook, redfish, jacks, and ladyfish. Sadly, the bite was slow and quality fish had lockjaw. The only real angling excitement occurred when Matt lost a nice snook near a dock. (I won't embarrass him by posting the photo of the small snook that he did catch.)

But the fish were there; we saw them moving. They simply weren’t inclined to bite. We also saw manatees, dolphins, eagles and another recent arrival, the wood stork, as well as some beautiful shoreline vistas.

By the way, Audubon Florida is concerned about those birds and fish having enough to eat. Check out this article about the need to protect baitfish.