Tom Keer 1/30/2013 Part of me likes catching the same old fish in the same old spots. I think it is because I have a baseline for comparison that comes from years of catching the same old fish in the same old spots. Patterns develop […]
Month: January 2013
My Steelers did not even make the playoffs, so the upcoming Superbowl is of little interest this year. However, I am eagerly awaiting another Superbowl of sorts: The Bassmaster Classic.
This year, the giant event is held on Grand Lake in Northeast Oklahoma on February 22-24th. Weigh ins will be held in the new BOK Center in downtown Tulsa. This marks the westernmost Classic held in the modern era. 53 competitors will compete for the first prize of $500,000.
That is a lot of zeros, but the anglers are going to have to work for it. The average temperature in Oklahoma in February is about 40 degrees, cold enough to don insulated overalls and snow mobile helmets for the frosty boat ride.
These anglers know how to catch bass under any conditions, even with a camera in their face. I am sure during the 15 hours of nationally televised coverage on ESPN and ESPN2; we’ll see plenty of hefty bass in the 3-4 pound range.
I’ll be curious what technique will triumph on this cold 73-year-old flood reservoir. It is a fairly unique fishery because it one of the few lakes that is very productive, without aquatic vegetation. It is so productive that these waters also are home to a thriving paddlefish population. However, no tournament angler will be allowed to weigh in one of those strange 120-pound filter-feeding fish if snagged.
The Expo is the part of the Classic I look forward to most. Besides the chance to see lures and fishing tackle from exhibitors, it is easy to bump into some of those familiar faces you’ve seen on fishing shows, commercials, even on lure packaging. These anglers love what they do and are very approachable, freely share tips and advice.
About 70,000 attend the average Bassmaster Classic, with 10,000 to 20,000 hotel rooms filled during the tournament.
Which reminds me, I’d better book mine.
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Kirk Deeter 1/23/2013 Being stuck in the grips of winter is certainly no reason to stop thinking about fishing. After all, a full slate of boating, fishing and general outdoors shows is sweeping across the nation. For example, last weekend, the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) […]
One of the best winter bass lures is the jerkbait. It is sure to play an important role in the upcoming Bassmaster Classic, on Grand Lake, Oklahoma. Selection of size and color can be significant, but the speed and rhythm of the retrieve is the most important part. In particular, the pause.
Although it may resemble any number of long-profile, minnow-looking crankbaits, this time of year, you don’t just crank in this lure. As the name implies, it is jerked or twitched all the way back. But here is the tricky part: once that lure reaches that key depth, by either diving or sinking, stop.
Think working a topwater lure, but underwater. Twitch, twitch, twitch,… then let it set. Imagine several seconds of imaginary underwater ripples receding.
“See how I’m working it?”
“You’re not doing anything.”
2012 Bassmaster Angler of the Year, Brent Chapman, executing a “Grand Pause.”
Mark Zona may wait 20 seconds between twitches of a jerkbait. That’s a long time to wait, especially in the cold. But a little bit of success goes a long way during the winter and if this technique is not in your repertoire, you are missing bass. Jarrett Edwards also employs this technique for winter striped bass on Lake Powell in Arizona.
In cold water, bass simply are not eating as much. However, if you can get their attention, it may trigger a reaction bite. A vital part of music is not just the notes played, but also the rests between. And the next sound or movement immediately after a well-timed “grand pause,” (where every sound stops), can be more than a lethargic bass can tolerate.
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Tom Keer 1/10/2013 Winter fishing in the Northern reaches traditionally has been through the ice. While you’re likely to see a tremendous number of ice fishermen on lakes and ponds from Maine to Washington State, you’re also likely to see anglers waist deep in rivers. […]
A longer fly rod can offer tremendous advantages when it comes to fighting fish. But you have to know how best to leverage the design of a fly rod for full effect.
For starters, understand that fly fishing in fresh water and fly fishing in salt water are essentially two different sports played with the same basic equipment. One example of this is that casting distance, while always important, is not always necessary on a trout river. It’s better to be accurate. Knowing which flies to choose and how to locate fish in the river are far more important than the ability to boom lengthy casts. On the saltwater flat, however, having the ability to make a long cast with a fly rod is usually the price of admission.
There are also some key differences when it comes to fighting fish. If you are with a trout guide and you hook a fish, one of the first things you are likely to hear is “keep your tip up. “ By raising the rod tip, the rod acts like a shock absorber, and keeps you from breaking off what is most usually a very fine and fragile tippet connected to the fly. The most important thing to remember when fighting trout is to maintain a steady arc in the rod. Not enough bend means you don’t have enough tension, and the fish is likely to spit the fly. Too much tension (which causes the rod tip to drop flat to the waterline) and you are likely to break off.
In the salt, those rules are almost opposite. If you are fighting a tarpon, for example, you want to keep the rod low, so you can apply pressure to the fish directly through the line and leader (which are far stronger than freshwater leaders). If you keep the rod tip high, you basically invite the fish to “run around the maypole” for a long time, and more often than not, the fish wins that game.
In both cases, a little side pressure that steers and moves the fish is a good thing. The angler wants to set the agenda during the fight. And believe it or not, tiring the fish out so you can land it quicker is usually the best thing, especially if you plan to release it. Long fights on light tackle can be fun. But it is important to know the reasonable limits… for both yourself and the fish.