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Structure vs. Cover

April 22, 2011 Comments off

Wanna start a fight?  Mosey into the fishing shop and start discussing the difference between fishing structure and fishing cover!!

If anglers chose to use the same terminology across the board, there would be no need for these discussions nor (for that fact) no need for this blog entry!  But for the fact that this discussion does take place and for the fact that I will be discussion various fishing tactics and techniques, it is only fitting that I put up a clarification of what I mean when I’m discussing fishing structure and fishing cover.

Definitions

Structure – a change of any sort in the “natural” surface of the bottom of the water body regardless of the depth of the water column.  This change can be in various forms:  depth and geological formation.

Cover – these are naturally occurring and man-made which include: vegetation (grass, weedbeds, etc.), brush piles, stumps, rock piles, wood piles, foundations of buildings, rip-rap, concrete pilings, sunken cars or heavy equipment (hey, they are out there!), sunken roads, sunken railroad track, etc.

Fish, whether they are freshwater or saltwater species, generally will gravitate to structure of some sort.  For example:

  • Crappie – fish structure such as brush piles, concrete pilings as this species is generally not found out in ‘open’ water (no structure or cover).
  • Amber Jack – fish structure such as oil rigs or sunken boats; again, this species is not easily caught out in ‘open’ waters.
To further elaborate, let’s say you and I are discussing a recent fishing trip of mine and I say, “I caught that bass off the rip-rap on the east side of the dam near the emerging weedbed.”  Just from that statement, you will know what structure I was fishing (rip-rap) and the cover that was nearby (emerging weedbed).   If I stated that later in the day I caught a bass off the hump, then you’d know only the structure that I was fishing.
However, if I said that I caught that bass off a stump on the hump just off of Hangman’s Point, you’d have a lot more information.  Here’s what you’d have:
  1. Cover – stump
  2. Structure (given) – hump
  3. Structure (later quantified) – change of surface and depth.  You would get this information by looking at the water map to determine where Hangman’s Point is and then looking at the relief features to determine where the hump is.  Then you could determine the change of the surface and how deep that change was and much, much more.
Here’s a great video discussing this topic:
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Nighttime on the Lake

April 12, 2011 Comments off

At night the lake comes alive and darkness provides cover so that the predator fish does not have to use up some much energy when attacking their prey.  There is little doubt that on very clear lakes you’ll catch more fish at night and bigger fish than at any other time.

The jig-and-eel (or jig-n-pig) and the spinner bait are good night lures on most lakes during the spring and fall of the year. During the summer, a plastic worm or a spinner bait will take more fish.  Crawl these baits right along the bottom.  Surface plugs also often provide exciting action at night.  And it doesn’t really make a difference whether you fish on a bright night or on one when the moon isn’t shining.

Plus the one big benefit of fishing at night… the water isn’t as crowded as it is during the day!

Weather & Fish Behavior

April 7, 2011 Comments off

All of us should know that weather affects fish behavior, and that this behavior can be amplified by the season of the year and the type of water.

  1. It is believed that fish are more active on cloudy days.
  2. A slowing rising/falling barometer seems to provide the best fishing.
  3. Fish bite well just before a storm.  I’m not sure why but I hear that the plankton are able to move about in the water columns more easily.  I’ve been told that high pressure tends to force the plankton to  move down low which then causes the bait fish to be less active.  Some of my fishing mentors tell me that the dropping pressure was nature’s way of letting the fish know that a period of high pressure was on the way and that this would cause them to chow down (like animals eating up in preparation for their winter hibernation).
  4. The muddier the water, the shallower the fish will be.
  5. In a clear lake, you’ll do better with lighter lines and smaller lures and the fish will be relatively deeper than they would be in dingy or muddy water.
  6. The windy side of a lake is often better because the breeze creates more oxygen, and it also pushes baitfish against the shore.
  7. Fishing is often better along the rip-raps that border a dam when they are on the windy shore.

 

Bluegill Catchin Tip

January 27, 2011 Comments off

While you see most folks fishing for bluegills/bream/sunfish with a hook-n-bobber… I love to fish using in-line spinners and don’t be afraid to use some wacky colors every now and then!!!  Always give them something that they haven’t seen before!!

I generally use the “double-ought” (or “00”) and then the “0” and the “1”…. lots of black and brown in-line spinners in my pack but there’s also yellow, red, and chartreuse…. even a few purples.

But one trick I love to use is tying on a trailing fly!  I’ll tie it in using 2-pound (when you can find it!!) or 4-pound test line right on the d-ring used to hold the treble to the in-line spinner.  Give yourself about a foot of line and tie on your trailing fly.  This way, when the in-line spinner goes through the school, you’ll get a fish on there for sure but the all the other fish that have gotten excited will see that trailing fly and nail it too!!

Fish on y’all!

Bank Fishing Tips

January 27, 2011 Comments off

Here are some handy tips to consider when fishing from the bank:

1.  Use jig-style lures (bottom bumpers)

2.  Keep track of how long it takes for the lure to hit the bottom.  This will help to identify the structure in that area… how it’s shaped/contoured, etc.

3.  Use 7 foot rods with no-stretch superline (10-14 pound test) and even go hi-vis!  Be sure to upgrade your line for tougher conditions as they warrant.

4.  The first sign of warming during late winter/early spring is the time to pound the banks!

5.  Look for fast-warming spots such as feeder creeks and backwaters, canals, and/or channels.

6.  Fish areas that get the first sunlight.  When the sunlight shifts, move to fish those areas.  But don’t forget to fish the shady spots during the heat of the day.

 

Live Well Tip

January 25, 2011 Comments off

In the book, Bass Master Shaw Grisby: Notes On Fishing and Life, the topic of how to keep fish alive in the live well was brought up.

Put a generous amount of ice into the live well.  Instead of pumping in fresh lake water, recirculate the water in the live well.  Have plenty of a commercial preparation to replenish the slime coating on the fish.

 

Buzzbait Tips

January 20, 2011 Comments off

Source: B.A.S.S. Advanced Bass Fishing Skills: Best Lures, Techniques and Presentations

 

  1. To keep a buzzbait from tumbling and tangling on the cast, leave 18 inches of line between the lure and the rod tip.
  2. Heavy line prevents breakoffs in thick cover, and it helps keep the lure riding high on the surface.
  3. Maintaining the proper speed requires concentration.  In most cases, listen for a steady plop-plop-plop cadence.
  4. The squeak of a buzz blade rotating on the wire seems to draw more strikes. To increase the noise, crimp the rivet a the end of the blade.
  5. Tie a buzzbait to your car’s radio antenna as you drive down the highway to “tune” the blade.
  6. For easier casting of 1/4-ounce and smaller buzzbaits, mash some split shot on the hook shank.
  7. Superlines, either fluorocarbon or  braided lines, will aid in hook sets.
  8. Prime time for throwing a buzzbait is warm weather just prior to the passage of a cold front.
  9. Always keep a “comeback lure” – a worm, grub, or soft jerkbait – handy when fishing a buzzbait.  If a bass misses the buzzer, throw into the same area with the slow sinking back-up (comeback lure) bait.
  10. Like most lures, buzzbaits come in a variety of colors. You can cover all the bases with white for bright days and black for darks skies.
  11. Cast beyond your target, and you’ll get super strikes.  Tournaments have been won by anglers casting buzzbaits onto the banks and dragging them into the  water.
  12. To prevent short strikes, trim the skirt to a point even with the belly of the hook.

 

Bonus Tip: Bass are notorious for striking buzzbaits and missing the hooks.  For extra strike insurance, add a trailer hook to the main hook.  Use a single stinger when the cover is thick, and a treble trailer hook in open water.