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Entries in largemouth bass (54)

Tuesday
Feb132018

Topwater Wisdom From Legendary Guide and Luremaker Sam Griffin

"Your first fish on topwater is just like your first kiss. You never forget it."

When I fish with Sam Griffin on Lake Okeechobee, I always learn something, especially about topwater fishing.

Some of the wisdom that he's shared over the years is revealed in my book, Better Bass Fishing.

And Sam will figure even more prominently in the sequel to that book, which will be out late this year or early next.

Here's some more from Sam:

“My big things are to be confident and have patience. I’ll fish behind people throwing worms and crankbaits and catch fish they bypass. I like to fish that topwater slower and let ‘em read the menu.”

Tuesday
Feb132018

Another Big Bass From Tennessee's Lake Chickamauga

 Lake Chickamauga yielded another huge bass on Dec. 30, as Todd Beaty boated a largemouth that weighed 14.53 pounds, just ounces shy of the state record. It was 28 inches long, with a girth of 22 1/4 inches.

Two years ago on Chickamauga, which has been stocked with Florida strain bass, Gabe Keen claimed the record with a fish that weighed 15.20 pounds.

"I caught the big one about 10:30," Beaty said. "We were fishing a main channel point. The boat was sitting in 15 to 17 feet of water. I was throwing a (Tennessee) rig up on the point. She hit in about five or six feet of water."

Tuesday
Feb132018

Bull Shoals Gets Habitat Upgrade From Arkansas Game and Fish

Nearly three dozen biologists and technicians from across Arkansas converged on Bull Shoals Lake in late fall to improve fishing.

“As part of the Fisheries Division’s strategic management plan, we do two major habitat projects like this and at least eight smaller ones per year,” said Jeremy Risley, regional fisheries biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). “This one was supposed to have happened in May and June, but due to high water at that time, we transferred that effort to Lake Chicot.”

Through a special agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the White River impoundment, AGFC staff cut both oaks and cedars from the shoreline to make the attractors for about 80 locations. "If we can find a few good oaks, they'll last a long time," Risley added. "But cedars offer a little denser, more complex cover to the brushpile and can last up to 10 years or so.

"We're looking for 8- to 12-inch diameter cedars so they'll last much longer than Christmas trees that are good for about a year or so."

Using three barges, including one donated by Bass Pro Shops in 2005, staff placed the brushpiles in areas that will be 20 to 30 feet deep when the fishery is at full pool. The cover will offer draw baitfish in search of shelter and provide bass, crappie, and walleye with ambush areas, with anglers benefitting, the biologist explained.

"People will be able to get the GPS coordinates for these attractors when the fish move off the banks and hopefully find them out there," the biologist said.

Placing cover along the shoreline, meanwhile, does provide cover for young-of-the-year fish, but studies have not shown a substantial increase in survival as a result in large impoundments.

"Spawning success during high-water years really drives the system," Risley explained. "Through our population samples, we can see nearly 10 times the productivity as average years."

The biologist said fish attractors and deep-water habitat have been added to Bull Shoals since at least 1988, with AGFC and its partners placing more than 500.

 Locations of the new attractors have been added to an interactive map on the AGFC website.

Saturday
Feb102018

Fishing Lake Okeechobee

Lots of bass bit for Dave Burkhardt, Sam Griffin, and me during our two days on Lake Okeechobee. But unfortunately, no lunkers. Largest was a 5-pounder, my first fish of the day on our first day.

But my friends and I caught about 75 fish the first day and could have caught a couple of hundred on speed worms and swimbaits. That's because Big Sam grew up on the Big O and guided there for years, and he knew where to find the fish. He's also a lure maker and one of the best topwater fishermen ever. Dave, meanwhile, is owner of Trik Fish fishing line company (formerly Triple Fish).

Right now, Lake Okeechobee is receiving lots of angling pressure, both from tournament anglers practicing and fishermen down for the winter to catch bass and crappie. Water is high and stained in places, and that's knocked back the hydrilla. Those factors can make for tough fishing in  traditionally productive areas.

 

On the first day, Sam took us to "the secret hole"  in a backwaters area that had been inaccessible for years. It's a series of small lakes in the marsh, difficult to get into and out of, and we had it to ourselves. He warned us that he hadn't caught many big fish back there, and that trend continued. But we'd often find concentrations of 1- to 3-pound bass, and sometimes have on two or three at a time. Biggest disappointment was that they wouldn't take topwaters.

Sam also took us two a couple of "big fish" places, but no luck. As he always does, my friend also found wildlife for me to photograph, including Everglades kites, a snowy egret, and an Indigo snake with its young.

On second day, we tried Fish-Eating Bay, with a 4-pounder our largest. But just as we arrived at our first spot, we saw the girl friend of one of Sam's friends catch a 5-pounder on a Spook. And then they showed us one that probably was close to 10 pounds that she had caught just minutes before.

Friday
Feb092018

Florida Waters Yield Big Bass

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, Guide Kip Grunloh put his client on a big one at Florida's Lake Tohopekliga on the Kissimmee Chain. Caught on a shiner, the huge bass weighed 14-10. She was released.

And woman in photo below caught this estimated 10-pounder on a Zara Spook Friday on Lake Okeechobee.

Both fish are large enough for entry in Florida's TrophyCatch program, which requires that a bass weigh at least 8 pounds.

During the first five years of the program,  anglers entered more than 6,000 fish, with 47 bass weighing 13 pounds or more and the largest checking in at 16-12. It was caught a little more than a year ago in a "neighborhood pond."