Tom Keer 3/29/2012 With trout fishing in full swing I reached out to my friend Shannon Skelton for some not-so-common insights into trout. Shannon owns a company called CFI – Global Fisheries Management (www.cfiglobal.com) that specializes in stream restoration and enhancement. Rather than just stock […]
Month: March 2012
Kirk Deeter 3/28/2012 You’re looking at the pieces of equipment that—aside from personal floatation devices—all boaters (and every angler who fishes from a boat) should know and understand. The throw bag can and will save someone’s life, but it’s your responsibility to know how to […]
Deciding when to go fishing can be a complex issue. The conditions when fish may be biting best are considered along with other important issues such as safe weather. And your job. But if we waited until everything was perfect, we’d never get on the water. So off we go on our aquatic quest. Then there is perhaps an even greater dilemma: when to end the fishing trip.
As a youngster, I learned the longer there were minnows in the bucket for Dad, the longer I would get to fish. I would quietly start casting lures, trying to figure out a pattern, amid my own private fishing tournament up against the formidable foe, live bait. Until the minnows were gone.
When does your fishing trip end?
A. too cold?
B. too hot?
D. low trolling motor batteries or fuel?
F. caught enough fish for dinner?
G. tired arms?
H. kids are bored?
I. phone call/family obligations?
J. “you’ll have to drag me off this boat.”
As a bachelor, dark was what ended most of my fishing trips, but even then if the bite was good enough or I remembered a flashlight, I’d continue, sometimes foolishly. I recall racing down a mountain trail with my fly rod in Colorado trying to beat total darkness and almost running into an elk. I’ve fished until I could no longer feel my fingers and toes in Michigan; casted just a few more times with an approaching thunderstorm in Oklahoma; and fished on the way back to the boat ramp, even though my 7-month pregnant wife said she was done.
I’ll let you decide which was the most extreme fishing.
Mark Zona, host of Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show used to let dark end a trip too. Now, family commitments set the duration of a recreational fishing trip. Like the old showbiz saying, “always leave the kids, and the fish, wanting more.”
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Kirk Deeter 3/21/2012 As most of you fly fishing enthusiasts probably know, a number of states (Alaska, Vermont, etc.) have banned the use of felt soles on wading boots. The reason for this is that aquatic invasive species—thinks like New Zealand mud snails, didymo, etc.—as […]
I have always thought the less noise emanating from a boat the better. And I’ve strived for stealth, or at least minimal kid squabbling. Recently, I was surprised to hear Bassmaster Elite tournament pro Dustin Wilks share that sometimes boat traffic is “not a bad thing” when you’re fishing.
During a Bass Fishing Techniques class Jeff Kriet, another Bassmaster Elite Pro, echoed the sentiment. Kriet has the most fun looking for bass way “out” (deep water, away from shore). These bass often are in large, loose schools. Rather than grumble when another boat races nearby, Kriet has noticed that sometimes boat activity can “wake up” (sorry) a school of bass.
“It scatters bait fish, gets the bass moving. Soon they return and are more eager to bite.”
He is so convinced of this, that he has even made boat noise himself while targeting sluggish schools.
“I’ve done doughnuts over them.”
As we share our water resources with other boats being used for various recreational activities, you may not hear me yell, “Hey, ski over here!” However, if a fellow boater buzzes by, I am going to be more patient because the bite just might pick up after a doughnut.
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Kirk Deeter 3/14/2012 Sometimes, losing your footing and falling in the river — especially when you are wearing waders — is no laughing matter. If you keep these tips in mind as you go wading, you’ll be able to react naturally if and when that […]
Crappie is a very popular sport fish in the U.S. Though crappie rarely exceed more than a couple of pounds and are not known to be great fighters, they have a huge number of fans. According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Survey in 2006, there were 6.2 million dedicated crappie anglers.
Even Elite Bassmaster Pro Gerald Swindle ranks the crappie as his second favorite fish to catch, right behind the largemouth bass.
“It’s the taste, Man!”
I’m anxious for Spring. In fact in Oklahoma, Spring seems to be anxious for Spring. And reading Keith Sutton’s new “The Crappie Fishing Handbook” this time of year is not helping to ease my anxiety level.
This book is extensive, and packed with interesting info. For example, there are at least 50 common names for crappie. Usually sometime between mid March and mid April, the water reaches 56 degrees here in Oklahoma. This is generally the temperature required to trigger crappie-spawning activity. Mr. Sutton also shares a study that determined day length for spawning is between 13.2 and 14.6 hours. So, check your sunrise and sunset times and you can calculate when that window of opportunity occurs.
Why should someone care about exact temperatures and day length to tenths of an hour? If you know where to look, and are equipped with light line and tackle as simple as a jig and a minnow, this fish can be caught year round. However, when massive numbers of these ravenous fish slide into shallow coves, the fishing can be amazing. If you hit the lake at the right time of year, you will have just created a new yearly tradition.
“Crappie anglers like the sure thing,” writes Keith Sutton “rather than the battle that may never happen.”
There is an old saying, “that’s why they call it ‘fishing’ and not ‘catching’.” But, one of the closest fishing events to a “sure thing” is right around the corner and I’m going to try to let my kids experience this really crappie time.