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Entries in bass fishing (45)

Wednesday
Nov222017

Happy Thanksgiving From Activist Angler

For the following I am thankful:

  • The fondness of bass for topwater lures.
  • The rainbows that I’ve seen because I got up early to go fishing
  • Bluegill too big for me to hold with one hand.
  • The big bonefish that found my offering, even though my cast was way off target.
  • Thousands of dolphins swimming alongside the boat.
  • The good people that I’ve met and the friendships that I’ve made because of fishing.
  • River fishing on summer nights for catfish, while listening to the baseball game.
  • Bats chasing insects all around the boat under a full moon.
  • Seeing the joy that a child derives from his first fish.
  • The power of fishing to bring us together, no matter how polarized we are politically. 

From Why We Fish.

Sunday
Nov192017

'Fisheries-Induced Evolution' Could Make Bass Tougher To Catch

Following what is believed to be the first research to look at fish stress as it relates to angling success, scientists have some bad news for bass fishermen.

"We could potentially be selecting for fish that are harder to catch," said Cory Suski, University of Illinois natural resources and environmental sciences professor, who conducted the investigation, along with Illinois Natural History Survey research scientist Jeffrey Stein and graduate student Michael Louison.

Over time, as the bass within a population willing to bite are diminished by anglers who keep their catch and/or delayed mortality, "fisheries-induced evolution" could occur, leaving behind a larger percentage that are not. Commercial harvest of the only the largest fish in a species provides an example of how that happens.  Eventually, fish predisposed not to grow as large dominate and average size declines.

Before this research on bass, most studies of fish vulnerability have focused on personality traits, such as boldness and aggression. This one looked at levels of stress hormones and how they related to a fish's reaction to presentation of a bait.

"When it encounters a challenge or novel situation, a fish's adrenaline shoots up, and that individual is more likely to attack or run away," Louison said. "But if an animal shows a relatively high cortisol response and a low adrenaline response, they're more likely to freeze."

Based on a study of 113 largemouth bass for boldness and stress response, those that freeze are the least likely to bite. For the boldness test, researchers looked at how often each fish left a refuge area of a tank and ventured into the open. For the stress test, they took blood samples, exposed the fish to the open air for three minutes, and then returned them to the tank, where they recovered for a half hour before a second blood sample was collected.

The researchers compared cortisol levels in each fish before and after the air-exposure challenge. A separate trial measured the fish's metabolic rate.

They then released the fish into a small pond and commenced seven days of two-hour angling trials, using a variety of lures. They found no correlation between a fish's metabolism or willingness to explore and its likelihood of being caught. But they did see a substantial association between stress-related cortisol levels in the fish and their likelihood of being captured by angling. Post-stressor cortisol concentrations were 48 percent higher in the fish that were never caught than in those that took the bait.

The researchers cautioned that their findings so far apply only to one species under a special set of conditions. Other species may respond differently.

"The ultimate question that we're trying to ask is, 'Why do fish hit a fishing lure?'" Suski said. "We tested a lot of mechanisms that could potentially explain this behavior, and we saw that hormonal response was the main driver."

Friday
Aug042017

Trik Fish Introduces Fluorocarbon For Flipping, Pitching

Stealth fishing just got stealthier with new Flippin'/Pitchin' Fluorocarbon line by Trik Fish, a company in Clermont, Fla., owned by my good friend Dave Burkhardt.

 Just introduced at the ICAST show in Orlando, the new line is tough enough to fish in the heaviest cover, yet, unlike braid, it "disappears" in the water. That makes it especially effective on bright days, in clear water, or when bass have lockjaw.

"I like to use the 20- or 25-pound test when I have to fish slower and they are looking at the bait longer," said Florida tournament angler Uby Rosell. "Bass are more likely to see the braid than the fluorocarbon."

Additionally, fluorocarbon keeps baits in the strike zone longer. Because it is more dense, it sinks faster than monofilament and copolymers, but not as fast as braid, allowing the bait a slower and more natural fall. That's another plus when the bite is tough.

Also available in 15-pound test, this is the first fluorocarbon packaged specifically for bass anglers who flip and pitch cover. "It's on 150-yard spools so this German-engineered line is perfect for the bass guy with low-profile reels," said Burkhardt.

Rosell added that he uses the 15 for flipping and pitching to grass edges with a smaller bait. "Also, I'm a co-angler," he said. "While the guys up front are using braid, I'm using fluorocarbon to get the bites they miss, especially when the fish are sensitive."

FLW pro Troy Gibson especially likes the 15-pound line. "I really am pleased with the minimum stretch that is delivered by Trik Fish and the super stealth that this line provides," he said.

" I cannot say enough about this line and will not use anything else when the money is on the line."  

Besides minimum stretch, Trik Fish Flippin'/Pitchin' Fluorocarbon doesn't absorb water, meaning it won't lose strength when wet. It is extremely UV resistant. Plus it has great knot strength and is highly abrasion-resistant with virtually no memory.

Finally, braid, no matter its color,  has a distinct visual presence, meaning fish can see it in even the dingiest of waters. On the other hand, Trik Fish Flippin'/Pitchin' Fluorocarbon refracts light nearly the same as water, meaning it disappears. That translates into more takes, especially when the bite is tough.  

"More and more of the pros are rigging with Trik Fish Fippin'/Pitchin' Fluorocarbon to get more bites," said Burkhardt.

(You also can check out Trik Fish on Facebook.)

Wednesday
Jul202016

Volunteers Bring Texas' Lake Livington 'Back to Life'

Too often, fisheries habitat projects by non-government groups are limited or even shut down because of a lack of funding. With that in mind, bass clubs and other organizations would do well to follow the example of Lake Livingston Friends of Reservoirs (LLFoR).

The goal is "to bring this lake back to life," according to Tom McDonough, project director for. "This used to be one of the best bass lakes in the United States, and we want to make it that again."

But McDonough realized that sustaining a 10-year commitment to establish aquatic vegetation on the 83,000-acre water supply impoundment near Houston will require more than occasional grants from Friends of Reservoirs and others. A funding-raising raffle helped some, but it was formation of a Business Leaders Council (BLC) that likely will sustain the project.

 

In just two months, LLFoR is a quarter of the toward its goal of recruiting 20 companies, local governments, and even individuals to donate $500 a year for the nine remaining years of the project.

"The BLC donations will be key going forward, as we most likely cannot apply to FoR for a grant every year," McDonough said. "This will provide us bridge funding and gives us the flexibility to do some funding of items that the federal government will not allow grant funds to be used for."

Thus far, work has focused on propagating and planting water willows for the coalition that has 23 partners, including six school districts, Texas Black Bass Unlimited (TBBU), Onalaska Bass Club, and Polk County Hookers, as well as Trinity River Authority, Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPW), and Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership severing as advisers.

Plantings by volunteer students and teachers were planned for May and August of this year, while McDonough hoped that anglers and others would wade into the action in between those two months. The goal is to put in 10,000 plants a year, with TBBU paying for production of a video, both to promote LLFoR's work and to provide guidance for volunteers.

All of the vegetation to this point has been water willows, but McDonough said that other species might be added as well, including bulrush.  "This plant is  grass carp resistant and can grow from the shoreline into three to five feet of water," he said.

Both the natural aging of the lake and the illegal introduction of grass carp contributed to the fishery's decline.

Monday
Jun132016

Gift Guide for the Father Who Fishes

 

1. New bass boat--- $50,000

2. New tow vehicle --- $30,000

3. Fishing trip to Mexico's Lake El Salto--- $2,000 plus air fare

 4. Why We Fish: Reel Wisdom From Real Fishermen--- $12.86