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Entries in books (248)


Toothy Taker

I was fishing for small tarpon with bass tackle in the mangroves of Belize when this barracuda decided that it wanted my MirrOlure.

When you cast that bait, you just never know what's waiting to eat it . . .  This is Why We Fish.


Better Bass Fishing has been selling so well these days that I'm thinking of writing a sequel. I have plenty of material. Just waiting to see if my publisher is interested.

Book was published in 2009, but just now seems to have been discovered. Most information in it is not time-related so it doesn't go out of date. Back then I didn't have high-speed internet or access to social media. And even though publisher was one of the nation's largest, it did nothing to promote the book.

Amazon sometimes temporarily is out of stock. Barnes & Noble also carries it.


While you can catch bass year around, you will not, on average, boat as many bass in cold water as you do in warm.  That’s because bass are cold-blooded. At 39 degrees Fahrenheit, a bass’ metabolism and digestion falls to only 20 percent and 10 percent of what it was at 64 degrees.

---- One of the many "secrets" in Better Bass Fishing: Secrets From The Headwaters By A Bassmaster Senior Writer. Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.


For The Dog Lovers On Your Gift List . . . 

Santa knows what they want.


For Fish And Fishermen: A Real Shocker . . . 

(The following is from Why We Fish: Reel Wisdom From Real Fishermen.)

When I became conservation writer for B.A.S.S., the first thing that I learned is that fisheries biologists are an angler’s best friends. In 30 years, I haven’t changed my mind. 

They are the source for information about bass behavior and biology, as well as fisheries management. And it is their field work that enables the states to maintain quality fisheries. Without them, chances are that many of us wouldn’t be fishing.

Electrofishing is one of the most important --- and least understood--- aspects of that field work. Want to learn what electrofishing is all about and how it and help you catch more fish? Ride along.

Rules vary from state to state, but an angler can volunteer to go along on an electrofishing survey in many of them. It’s one of several ways to get to know our best friends. You also can volunteer to help with cleanups, putting out fish attractors, and planting aquatic vegetation. Also, you can assist with kids’ events sponsored by your state wildlife agency and help out in the booth during a weekend outdoor show.

“We encourage people to become involved,” Florida biologist Bill Pouder told me.

You’d rather just fish? No problem. You still can learn what the biologists are discovering during their electrofishing surveys. Oklahoma biologist Gene Gilliland suggests “following along behind at a safe distance.

“Watch what the biologists turn up and make note of the habitat each fish comes from,” he continues. “When they stop to work up the catch, ask them to show you what they are collecting and fill you in on the latest survey results.

“It might surprise you to see what you’ve been missing.”

Gilliland says that electrofishing is fast, efficient, and non-lethal.”

“It allows us to catch large numbers of fish for length, weight, growth, and diet information,” adds Georgia’s Jim Hakala. “It allows us to see how well the fish are growing, weak and strong year classes, average fish size, how robust the population is, and, often, at what size anglers begin to pick up the harvest on a certain bass species.”

What might you learn by riding along on a survey or talking to a fisheries biologist about his work? Sometimes, you uncover something that will help you during a specific season:

Hakala once found frogs in the bellies of largemouth bass in February.

“I figured that the frogs they were eating were starting to emerge from the mud on the lake bottom,” he theorizes. “As they stirred, they became easy prey for the largemouths. So the potential for an angler to throw a sinking frog imitation and be successful in February, when frog patterns aren’t on an angler’s mind, was potentially identified by the diet study.”

Other valuable information is timeless:

“There are many times more bass out there than you could ever imagine,” says Gilliland

He explains that an electrofishing boat can make a pass down a shoreline and then a make second pass, collecting fish that were missed the first time.

“I guarantee that if I can’t shock them all in one pass, you can’t catch them all in one pass either,” he says. “If you catch a bass, fish that area again. That fish was there for a reason.

“Something attracted it to that area and chances are there are more bass in the same vicinity that were attracted for the same reasons.”

The same strategy, he adds, should apply to a single piece of cover. Many likely looking stumps, bushes, and laydowns will yield no fish to the shocker, but one, for no apparent reason, might give up four or five bass.

“If you catch a bass, fish that cover thoroughly, and make it a point to visit that spot again later in the day.”

Fish in thick cover, he adds, often have food in their stomachs. He believes that’s because they’ve been out foraging and have returned to a safe place to digest their meals. Bass in open areas, however, often have empty bellies “because they are actively searching for that next meal.”

To profit from this electrifying insight, throw a fast-moving bait between clumps of weeds and brush, especially during peak feeding periods of dawn and dusk, Gilliland advises.

“On the other hand, trying to entice a bass that has a full belly out of his hiding spot may take a great deal more patience,” the Oklahoma biologist said. “Choose your lures and presentation accordingly.”

And just what are the contents of those full bellies? When Georgia guide Mike Bucca rode along with Hakala, he was startled to see the forked tails of large gizzard shad sticking out of the throats of 4- and 5-pound spotted bass.

“That is likely why swimbaits perform well on big fish. A big fish has the means to routinely eat something large, but doesn’t until that large prey is in distress. Then it pounces,” the biologist says.

Hakala adds that he more often is surprised by how small the forage is. “I think that a lot of times they (bass) select for a certain size prey that is usually much smaller than what they can handle,” he says.

But whether you’re riding in a shock boat, cleaning up a shoreline, planting vegetation, or dropping attractors, the most valuable thing that happens when you volunteer is that you get to know your best friends.

(From Why We Fish.)