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Entries in bass fishing (43)


Follow the Shad for Bass Fishing Success in Fall

Mike Iaconelli and Pete Gluszek share insights into how and where to catch bass in fall at Keep America Fishing.

Here’s an excerpt:

“In order to understand the bass migration, you must first understand the bait migration. In most lakes across the country, shad are the main forage for the bass. After summer, the colder water brings the baitfish out in search of food of their own. The main source of food for the shad is plankton, and this brings them out of the main lake and into channels and creeks.

“The most important part of bass fishing in the fall is knowing where to find these schools of bait. If you can find the schools, you can also find the bass.”

Read the full story here.

But Don't Forget . . .

Secret: Many pros believe that most of our reservoirs have two distinct populations of bass. One population stays offshore except to spawn, relating more to deep-water structure and feeding primarily on shad. The other might migrate into deeper water during summer and winter, but prefers to feed in shallow water during spring and fall. What this means is that you almost always can find fish deep, and deep fish receive far less pressure from anglers than do those in the shallows.

--- From my book, Better Bass Fishing, available here or at Amazon.


Dredging Next Strategy in Attempt to Restore Florida's Lake Apopka

A new chapter in the decades-long request to restore Lake Apopka will begin next spring, with a $4.8 million dredging project.

To date, about $187 million has been spent trying to correct the environmental abuse heaped upon Florida’s fourth largest lake and once one of the nation’s best bass fisheries.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) are teaming up on this effort, which will suck about an estimated 50 acres of muck from areas near Newton Park in Winter Garden and Magnolia Park near Apopka.

Along with enhancing water clarity and quality, the dredging should improve navigation in the 30,000-acre lake.

“The state can’t afford to dredge the whole lake, but removing patches of the puddinglike black goo from strategic areas could aid fish populations and accelerate the lake’s recovery by helping eel grass and other native plants re-establish roots on the lake bottom,” said Tom Champeau, FWC fisheries chief.

Improving access is important too, added David Walker, SJRWMD’s basin program manager. “The idea is to carve some sort of channel that gives access out to the lake, even in low water conditions, and clean out the muck,” he said.

As of right now, the muck will be removed in a couple of ways. A much more expensive approach, termed “experimental,” involves quickly drying the muck and stuffing it into “geotubes.”  The latter then will be anchored around the dredged area, in hopes of preventing fluid muck from surging back into the cleaned area.

Additionally, muck will be pumped out via pipeline and spread on public land, where it will dry into an organic cap, intended to protect wildlife from pesticides in the dirt below it.

Lake Apopka declined and its bass fishery crashed because of nutrient overload from citrus processors, sewage plants, and runoff from “muck” farms. Shoreline development aided its demise, as filtering wetlands were destroyed. Fed by nitrogen and phosphorus, algae blooms turned its dying waters pea green.

(Reprinted from B.A.S.S. Times.)



Activist Angler Finds Better Luck at Lake Eufaula

Troy Gibson with Lake Eufaula largemouth. Photo by Robert Montgomery

My friend Troy Gibson was disappointed that we didn’t catch more fish when he showed me Alabama’s Lake Eufaula Tuesday.

But considering the slow fishing that I had experienced for several days in Arkansas, I was delighted. Our largest five weighed 15 pounds or better. Plus, we caught several chunky spotted bass in the 1- to 2-pound range.

Additionally, Troy caught a white bass/striped bass hybrid and a channel catfish, which I solemnly promised to reveal to no one. As a tournament angler and one of the nation’s foremost designers of soft plastic baits for bass, he didn’t want that information to get out.

We caught most of our fish on Strike King XD Sexy Shad crankbaits, as we positioned in channels and ditches and threw up onto submerged points and flats in 6 to 17 feet. This was the first time that I had used the Strike King crankbaits, and I was impressed by their action in deeper water and retrieve consistency.

Before we fished Eufaula, Troy took me to Southern Plastics (SP), where he is marketing and sales manager. SP has been making plastic baits for about 40 years, and, since my friend joined Terry Spence’s team, its role as a major player in the fishing industry has grown even more. Terry said fiscal 2012 was their best year ever for the company that produces about 50 million pieces annually, with Bass Pro Shops among its clients.

Here’s an interesting observation from Terry, who knows as much about soft plastic baits as anyone:

“We sell more green pumpkin than anything. Previously, it was pumpkinseed and before that it was electric grape.”

I’ll post more about Southern Plastics later. 


A Touch of Mink --- and Catfish

Photo by Robert Montgomery

Seeing this mink with its catfish breakfast was the highlight of my morning in the White River National Wildlife Refuge. Fishing for us humans was slow, as two of us managed just three fish.

For the afternoon, I moved to the Arkansas River and caught about 20 spotted and largemouth bass, with largest just under 3 pounds.

It was a long, long day, starting at 4:30 a.m. and ending about 8 p.m., but any day in the outdoors, and especially on the water, is a good one.


B.A.S.S. Missing Spiritual Leader

As a newspaper outdoors editor, Gene Mueller has a longer history with B.A.S.S. than I do. I first met him at one of the many Bassmaster Classics that we attended, along with dozens of other journalists from across the country --- and even around the world --- back in the glory days of the 1980s and early 1990s.

 In an opinion piece on his website, Gene Mueller’s World of Fishing & Hunting, he laments the loss of passion that founder Ray Scott brought to the organization.

 Here’s an excerpt:

 “These days, B.A.S.S. for the most part has become a fishing tournament group. When was the last time you heard of B.A.S.S. fighting the good fight, taking on polluters or dictatorial government regulators the way Scott and his company did on a regular basis. When was the last time B.A.S.S. has supported a bass-boater in court after he was threatened with bodily harm by an angry shoreline owner who figured that he not only owned the land but also free-flowing water, or perhaps arrange to study the piscatorial inhabitants of a large reservoir so his company could learn about the health of the fish?”

 As the first and still the only Senior Writer/Conservation for B.A.S.S., I will say that many in the organization still care about such issues as pollution, invasive species, and access threats. That concern is evident in the coverage that B.A.S.S. Times provides for these topics and in the work that National Conservation Director Noreen Clough does behind the scenes with government agencies and other conservation organizations. It’s also exhibited in the many good works performed by the conservation programs of state Federation Nation chapters.

But Gene is right in that B.A.S.S. certainly isn’t the same without a Ray Scott to fire up the constituency and lead the way on issues of concern to anglers. And, while former owner ESPN glamorized tournament fishing with its glitzy coverage of the Classic, it possibly did more harm than good among rank and file B.A.S.S. members.

I’m hopeful that the new owners, all of whom are anglers, are remaking B.A.S.S. in the organizational image that Ray Scott brought to bass fishing. 

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