Debbie Hanson 6/28/2013 The first day of summer had arrived, and along with it, some of the best inshore snook fishing to be experienced in Southwest Florida. Snook are most active during the warm summer months, so this was the ideal time to introduce one […]
Month: June 2013
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I’m a pond and small lake guy. That’s just where I gained the majority of my fishing experiences and thus, where I am most confident. Recently, I moved to the edge of the Appalachian Mountains. Many of the fishing opportunities are streams, creeks, or rivers. Water here moves. I’m used to reacting to swirls. But now, it is ALL swirls.
Standing on the bank of the Allegheny River, according to my rough calculations, in 7 seconds, the volume of a typical farm pond just rolled by. Now the river fish did not float downstream in the current, but technically, I am now casting into new water.
When fishing moving water, there are some things to keep in mind.
1) Fish have to be efficient. To conserve energy, they use eddies, pockets, and slack areas to rest. These places can be found below boulders, dams, or where tributaries join the flow.
2) If there is a hatch, the fish are going to take advantage of this opportunity. Pay attention to what is flying, swimming around you and adjust what you cast accordingly.
3) Things happen quickly with flowing water. There is no buffer as with lakes. Rivers can rise within minutes because somewhere, perhaps miles upstream, it rained. Key fish holding locations and water clarity can change in a short time.
4) When rigging, such as minnows or other live bait, allow for an upstream/downstream alignment, rather than sideways.
5) Further, obtaining movement will be easier; that crank bait is really going to dig and put on a show with much greater wobble because of the current, so you will not have to be as forceful with your retrieve.
6) Wear polarized glasses. Even when sight fishing in shallow, clear water, the flow can play tricks with your vision. The shadow of a fish may be more evident than the actual fish. Plus, it is embarrassing to sneak up breathlessly, then spend a half hour methodically and carefully casting to what turns out to be just the dark edge of a rock.
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Local Allegheny River angler Joe Stefanacci learned I was new to the area and was kind enough to offer a boat ride. While our kids were in school one afternoon, I took him up on it.
“How many props do you go through each year?” I asked, looking at all the big rocks in the clear river.
“None,” he said, grinning. “It’s a jet boat.”
When I hear the word “jet,” I think of screaming airplanes, rockets, and a need for ear projection. However, this was not the case. His outboard sounded, and looked like a standard outboard above water, making me wonder how many other boats I’ve seen on the river also were jet boats.
“It is basically a big water pump.”
Though the engine has less horsepower than when fitted with a propeller, we easily reached smallmouth bass shallow river haunts among submerged rocks, logs, and boulders. No nail biting. No gripping the gunnels. No colorful language.
Access is a large part of a successful fishing trip and this was like having 4-wheel drive and plenty of height clearance. We glided up a skinny-water tributary and then he cut the motor, just using a trolling motor occasionally to correct our drift.
It took us a while to find them but on this afternoon, but a 50-yard boulder laden stretch was smallmouth city. While Joe landed another, this time a sturdy two-pounder, I noticed how difficult it would be to try to reach this spot from shore or by a boat with a larger motor.
Back at the ramp, I watched a couple launch a boat with a propeller-fitted outboard. And I noticed their fingernails were exceedingly short…
There are sunfish that grow larger and there are sunfish with “gills” that streak bluer. No one follows around the bluegill stocking trucks, yet the prolific bluegills have their followers.
Bluegill do not need supplemental stocking because they are hardier than trout, capable of not only tolerating, but thriving in conditions with relatively high temperatures and lower oxygen. Plus, they can spawn multiple times a year.
Well known as great table fare, these fried micro fillets are addictive. I’ve even learned of some anglers who like to remove the head and insides of small bluegill and simply fry them whole.
This time of year, bluegills can be found rather shallow, feeding on small insects near the surface. If you are not into flyfishing, flies still can be casted using a “casting bubble” and light spinning tackle. It works like a bobber except the line slides through the “bubble” up to the leader swivel or stopper to prevent fish detection.
But be advised: even though these are relatively small fish, you may catch so many that your arm will be tired the next day. In addition, your face may be sore from several straight hours of smiling.