A Few FishingTips on Catch-and-Release

Catch-and-Release programs have been around for years.  The idea behind it is that we be mindful of the limits of our resources.  Keep the fish you can eat and return the rest to the wild.

Catch-&-Release requires some preparation. Here are some tips!

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What Dry Hands You Have!

Think about the slimy feel of a fish, fresh from the water.  That membrane on the fish’s body protects his skin from infection and disease.

If you handle the fish with dry hands, you can send the fish into shock because of the reaction between the germs on your hands and the fish’s skin.

“When even a small portion of the slime coating is removed, the fish will bleed electrolytes from its body into the surrounding water.” *

Have You Fixed Your Hook?

As I mentioned in a previous article (How Sharp is Your Fishing Hook?), bend down the barb on your fish hooks.                        

Planning on catch-and-release? It is important to use pliers to mash down the barb. That part of the hook is what keeps your fish from sneaking away.

This process makes the hook kinder to the fish … and it is easier to unhook the fish and put it back in the water.

Another option is to use barbless hooks.  Check it out at your sporting goods store.

3 More Tips

  • Return the fish to water as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t toss the fish back.  The fish is already disoriented enough without the shock of hitting the water without warning.
  • Release the fish gently by hand.   Place the fish in the water facing upstream, holding it under water.  It will move out of your grasp as soon as he is able.

Catch-and-Release is becoming a more popular option all the time.  With a little advance planning, you can become a master at the technique!

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* from “The Slime Coat is one of the Fish’s Main Defenses Against Infection and Disease,” on the website Fish Slime Coat

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‘The Prize’ is used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com
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Published in: on June 13, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on A Few FishingTips on Catch-and-Release  
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How Tides and the Moon Affect Fishing

Have You Thought About …?

Fish are cold-blooded  and don’t need energy from food to keep their body temperature at a certain level.  In other words, their metabolism is very slow.

A fish can go without food for days or weeks.  If they are not hungry, why do fish try to snag your lure?

Fish bite your bait for more reasons than because your lure looks tempting!

The Effect of Tides on Fish

Tides in estuaries and bays create movement in the bait shrimp and other foods that larger fish eat.  

When the tide goes out, the it drags these bait fish and food from the shallower areas and into deeper waters.  These foods and baits are concentrated in a smaller volume of water, thus offering more food per cubic foot.  Eventually, fish take notice and respond by chasing all this free-floating food.

Many anglers prefer the incoming tide because this bounty of water pulls food  from their burrowing spots.  Again, predator fish take notice and start looking for a tasty morsel.

The Moon and Tides

The moon and sun create the wave action we call tides.  The phase of the moon has an interesting connection to tidal action.

Spring Tides – have nothing to do with the season of spring.  They occur every 28 days during the full moon.  At this time, tides are at their highest.

Neap Tides – occur during the dark of the moon and have the lowest tidal action.

Is the Best Fishing During a Full Moon?

It seems logical, doesn’t it?  Well, very little is logical with fishing  (you knew that already, right?).

Full moons don’t occur in a vacuum; there other parts to the weather scene.  When a full moon rolls around, you also seem to see that bad weather and a falling barometer have joined the group.  Things can be dicey.

More info about   this important factor:   Barometric Pressure and Fishing.  Click on the words.

Barometer Readings

  • Slowly Rising Barometer = improving or good weather and good fishing.
  • Steady Barometer Reading Over Several Days =  poor fishing
  • Low Barometric Pressure = poor fishing
  • Barometric Pressure is Falling Rapidly = watch fishing shows on TV instead!

What does all this mean?  You will find some of the best fishing when the barometric pressure is rising.  At times, the pressure starts to rise during rain.  Overcast, rainy days are often some of the best times to fish!

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‘Easy Pickings’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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  This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on June 9, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments Off on How Tides and the Moon Affect Fishing  
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How Noise Affects Fishing!

Yesterday, the subject was:  Things You Need to Know to Catch Fish!  Today, let’s take a look at noise and fishing.  Fish respond to noises in surprising ways!

A Quirk of Fishing That Works

Experienced anglers sometimes “stone a pool” while fishing.  It seems that tossing a few pebbles into a stream with salmon can get them interested in looking for lunch!

Fresh water anglers sometimes try this same trick and attract panfish and perch.  If fish aren’t cooperating, toss a  few rocks and see what happens!

Even those with great knowledge of the habits of fish say that they learn new things all the time!

Sonic Lures 

Anglers of the bass persuasion like to use sonic lures; they attract bass by their popping  noise.

Often, the bass will strike at the sound, even when they cannot see the lure.  Champion bass anglers warn that it has to be the “right” sound.  Maybe that is why I haven’t joined their ranks yet.

Other Tips from Champion Anglers

Over the years, I’ve figured out that there is a difference between tournament winners and the rest of us.  They sometimes do strange things to muffle their noises while fishing.

For example, some experts have carpeting in the floor of their boats – to cut noise.  Other tournament winners swear by replacing nylon bearings in their oarlocks.

Still others are very careful about their personal noise; they would never consider dragging their tackle box across the bottom of their boat or tapping against the edge of their boat.

Good News About the Fish’s Sense of Taste 

Generally, fish don’t have a great sense of taste.  Thus, if it looks like a yummy piece of chum and it smells like it … when it enters their mouths, they can’t tell if it is the real thing.

Frightening Fish 

Fish are a nervous group, and they don’t handle fear very well.  They are particularly anxious about fast-moving, dark shadows.  If it looks too much like a predator moving in for a quick snack, most fish will vacate the neighborhood  in a hurry!

Fish in shallow waters, such as trout, are so nervous about dark shadows, the shadow of your rod can frighten the critters away!   Be careful of your shadow while fishing on shore.

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Come Again:  More Fishing Tips … Soon

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‘About to Strike’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Rear Window Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on June 7, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments (2)  
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Things You Need to Know to Catch Fish!

Catching fish requires some knowledge — of fish and their habitat.  The more you know, the more fish you will haul home!

In no particular order, these are some of the facts great anglers say are important!

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Getting a Lot of Fish Action Requires You to Know Some Fishing Basics!

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The Senses of Fish

No doubt about it, fish can see, hear and smell.  If you can see the fish, they can see you!  This is no time to wear your hot pink polka dot shirt; mustard, blue and beige are better color choices.

Fish may not hear soft talking, but they do feel the vibrations of a boat motor.  Folks who insist on shouting to others — are alerting the fish, as well as their friends.

Fish are a lot like bloodhounds — they follow the scent of a favored food until they find it.  That is why tossing chum into the water is so effective; fish rush to the stinky fare.

Remember, odors carry better over water than on land!  Thus, smoking or handling kerosene, oil or gasoline is a dead give-away to fish.

Also, be careful with suntan lotion or insect repellent — remove the odors of these items from your hands before casting.

What Fish Like

Have you ever wondered why there are so many colors of plastic worms and lures?  Fish like colors and motion — however, they must seem natural.

On bright days, leave the chrome and nickel lures in your box.  You want to dazzle the fish; but fish are frightened when the light is too bright.

On bright days, it is better to stay with black, copper or brass colored lures.

Fishing in turbid (muddy) waters?  Yellow just might be the best color for the situation.

Fog lights are yellow because they are easier to see (than white) in murky, foggy or dark conditions.  This holds true for fish; they come toward lures they can see in darker waters.

An attractive, noticeable color is nice, but realistic action is what brings the fish in for a bite.

In fresh water, fish like slower moving lures; while saltwater lures need to move rapidly to catch a fish’s eye!

Come Back Tomorrow:  More Things You Need to Know to Catch Fish!

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‘Surface Strike’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

How Sharp is Your Fishing Hook?

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Fishing Hooks Get Dull Quickly -- from Scraping Against Rocks, Dragging Along the Bottom of the Waterway, Etc.

In a phrase:  Probably not sharp enough!

When You Open a New Box of Hooks

When I was a kid, a new box of hooks meant something:  every shiny hook was razor-sharp and ready to go!   I don’t find that necessarily true today.

I’ve even had a sales clerk tell me (with a straight face) that the new hook “is ready for you to apply the sharpness you want for your situation.”  (This is fancy double-talk for:  Here are the hooks, you make them usable.)

Whatever ….

Into catch-and-release? It is important to use pliers to mash down the barb. That part of the hook is what keeps your fish from sneaking away.

If your hook is dull, you are going to lose fish. Also, it’s easy to drag your hook over a rock and grind away the edge.

Look at this photo. Although it is hard to see, there is an area between the point and the barb that should be beveled. Also, the point AND barb should be sharp.

Fortunately there is a way to correct this problem. Most sporting goods stores sell a hook sharpener.

I found a site with instructions and photos. Go to http://fishing.about.com/od/basicfishinginstruction/ss/Sharpen_Hooks.htm for info on sharpening hooks.

It seems that any quality file will work — the author (above) even suggests taking an emery board fishing for emergency repairs.

Hook Tips

Expect to sharpen all hooks, even new ones.

Vary the coarseness of the grit for different hooks:

  •  coarse grit for large trebles,
  • medium grit for average-sized hooks and
  • small hooks need a finer grit.

Expect to change your hooks often.  With use, hooks get brittle and fail just when you need them to snag and keep the fish.

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‘The Prize’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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Saturday:  Another Joke

Sunday:  Come See a Variety of Army Graphics!

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Upcoming Attractions: When Humans Try to Domesticate the Javelina

Plus

Hunting Javelina and Wild Hogs

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

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Take a Look at Snook Fishing Action!

Looking for some fierce action on the end of your fishing line?  Look to snook!

Snook are also known as Sergeant Fish or Robalo and hang out in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Snook Looks & Habitat

Snook are almost colorless, often with yellow fins and a black lateral line (along its back).  Long and lean, they resemble the northern pike.

Trolling for food in the western Atlantic Ocean, from South Carolina to Texas, snook like to stay in waters that are less than 70 feet deep.  Some of the largest snook have been caught off of the Florida coast (44 lbs.).

Water Salinity & Temperature

Although considered a warm saltwater specimen, snook easily transfer into fresh water; they prefer lagoons and estuaries.

The amount of salt in water is not a problem for the sergeant fish, but they are very sensitive to water temperature.

These fish only appear in warm waters … if water dips below 60 degrees (Fahrenheit), their systems go into shock and then they die.

Fishing for Snook

If water turns cold, look for the snook near power plant water discharge areas.   Otherwise, they like to hide in underground structures (rock piles, reefs, etc.), waiting for smaller fish to cross their path.

Mullet is a good bait fish; however, snook have a decided preference for live shrimp.  Only use enough weight (sinker or split-shot) on your line to get the bait to the bottom.

If you want to use a jig or lure, some favorites are:   some Mirrolures or the Red Tailed Hawk jig.

Biologists tell us that the snook are most active feeding from an hour before high tide through the first 3 hours of the falling tide.

Snook Spawning

Between April and October,  snook tend to spawn in the inlets and passes near open waters.

After a few weeks of life, the young robalo move into nearby estuaries – where they stay for the rest of their lives.  They do not roam over as large a territory as other fish.

Freshwater anglers sometimes report catching snook when they are fishing for largemouth bass.

The Snook’s Reputation

Most robalo are caught in the summer months.  They are a popular game fish for two reasons:  they are fierce fighters and they are taste great!

Once you set the hook in your snook, the race is on!   They don’t come in quietly, but put up a great fight.

Getting a snook to take your bait is just the first step.  It requires strength and patience to haul in a snook.

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‘Snookered’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

 

 

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 12:52 am  Comments Off on Take a Look at Snook Fishing Action!  
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Getting Your Share of Smallmouth Bass Action!

Disclaimer: There are many ways to fish successfully.  This is one of them.  There are other ways … but this one works for me.  I expect newbie anglers will be my audience.

Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass have enough differences that we treat them separately.  Today– Smallmouth Bass.

 

Small Mouth Bass are Feisty Fighters and Fun to Catch!

Smallmouth Facts

A member of the sunfish family, smallmouths are rather picky about the waters they honor with their presence.  The temperature in streams, rivers, lakes, etc., must be rather cool.

In the spring, the females move to spawning flats * when the water temperature heats up between 48 to 55.   When the water temperature reaches 60 to 65, smallmouths get frisky and start the spawning process.

Smallmouths are also picky about pollution.  They will not live in polluted waters.  Even better, they prefer oxygenated waters.

Using This Info to Catch More Bass

Understanding the paragraphs above will help you catch more bass.  First, let’s talk about oxygenated water.

As water splashes against rocks and other barriers, the water mixes with the air.  This makes the water more oxygenated.

Thus, you will want to fish for smallmouths wherever water can be re-oxygenated – around boulders, in riffles and under/in underwater structures (weed beds, rock formations, log jams, etc.).

Spring Fishing

Try smaller lures and hooks in the springtime.  Look for water with a gravelly bottom.

When you are thinking about live bait, consider the crayfish.  We carefully polled as many smallmouths as we could find and they assured us that they prefer crayfish.

Summer Fishing

Smallmouths are not interested in the heat of summer.  As the water heats up, they move to deep pools (during the day).  They only emerge from sundown till sunrise.  This is the best time to fish.

They will move into shallow areas, rock piles and in reefs.

Fall Fishing

Now the water is cooling down and the smallmouth bass prefer the deep pools because the temperature is steady. Again, these bass will come out of the pools to eat at night.

Winter Fishing

Smallmouths stay in deep pools – where the temperature is constant.  They are not very active.  Mostly, they chase small bait fish (that are also in these deeper pools) during the cold months.

Favored Lures & Bait

Crayfish, Mepps spinners, Rebel, jig and pig, Rapalas & spinner baits.

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* Spawning flats have a gravel floor in 8 to 10 feet of water.

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** Smallmouth Bass Tailwalking Profile is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

 

Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 1:11 am  Comments Off on Getting Your Share of Smallmouth Bass Action!  
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A Few Freshwater Fishing Tips

Fishing in Small Streams

Newbie anglers are often surprised when I recommend  keeping a low profile when fishing in these waters.  The axiom is:  ‘If you can see the fish, the fish can see you!’

Dress for the occasion in mustard, beige or yellow clothing.  It is harder for the fish to notice these colors.

Although fish do not have ears (as we know them), they can tell humans are near by the stomping of anglers, shouting, loud talking, revving up boat motors, etc.

Since there are fewer fish in small streams, you don’t want to spook the ones available!  It may take hours before they return to your site.

Is This Your First Time Fishing in a Large Stream? Some Hints.

Fishing in a Large Stream

Fishing in a new area?  One of the best ways to scout a new large stream is to move around and try to find the deep holes.

Have a GPS device?  It’s the ‘new fangled way’ to mark holes and/or great fishing spots for future use.

Fish like to use features of the body of water to their advantage.  For example:  Predator fish like to hover in piles of debris (collected logs, rotting trees & branches that may have piled up in the water.

Predators like to hide in weeds, holes and behind submerged boulders — waiting for their next meal to stroll by!

Look around for structures where fish may hide.  One of my favorite fishing locations is to drop my line near an exposed boulder.

If I can get my line in the right place without snagging it on submerged logs or rocks, I have a very good chance to catch a bigger fish (that is preying on smaller fishes).

What amazes me is that I can continue to harvest fish from those rocks for some time.  When I catch one predator, another takes its place.

Fish are nervous creatures.  Instead of moving around in the open areas of the water, they prefer to use the underground structures.

I guess it is because no matter how big a fish you are, there’s a larger one looking to invite you to be their supper!

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Just received some new “amazing photos.” Will post them soon.

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Come back Sunday: I’ll show off some new items  — Native American Graphics!

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Don’t Forget: My NRA Rear Window Graphics are on Sale during the month of February!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

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We now have 900 + Graphics in 26 Categories!

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm  Comments Off on A Few Freshwater Fishing Tips  
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Why I Like Night Fishing!

In this very hectic season, I like nothing better than an evening of fishing.  However, I might be in the minority;  night fishing isn’t for everyone.

Peace and Quiet

When the sun sinks below the horizon, there’s something wonderful about the

Fishing in the Evening is a Great Way to Wind-Down from the Busy-ness of the Daytime Hours!

quiet that takes hold. I find night fishing more restful and serene than fishing during daylight hours.

Although there can be more dangers with reduced light, there seem to be many pluses — it’s a chance to tune into the night noises — frogs and crickets singing and the stars winking down from the night sky.

Fish Aren’t So Picky

Without elbow-to-elbow fishing that often occurs during the daylight hours,  fish don’t have so many choices for a meal. Biologists say that fish seem to increase their feeding behaviors  just after the sun goes down and around dawn.

Whether out on a boat or on shore, I like to go out when the moon is full.  The water might be as slick as glass after sundown, and the moonlight is enough light to keep an eye on any rippling in the water.

Dining on Bugs and Lures

By using top water lures, I’m able to throw my line out where the top feeding fish are dining on the mosquitoes and bugs that are skimming along the water.

The Down-Side of Night Fishing in Texas

In the southern parts of Texas, we seem to have 10 months of summer, 20 to 30 days of fall, a couple of days of spring and whatever is left over we call “winter.”

At present, it is still fall; our winter is in January.  All those mosquitoes that have left colder climes are chewing on us — still.   I’m convinced we buy and use more bug spray than any other state in the nation.

Next time you grumble that ‘some folks’ can still fish at night in short sleeves, remember that mosquitoes usually come along for the ride!

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‘Sunset Dream’ Rear Window Graphic is used by Permission of ClearVue Graphics!

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on November 29, 2010 at 2:04 am  Comments Off on Why I Like Night Fishing!  
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How Weather Fronts Affect Bass Fishing

 

Weather Changes Affect Fishing!

 

Weather has a profound effect on fishing.  Today, I want to talk about one aspect of weather:  fronts.  Naturally, there is a yin and yang:  a cold front and a warm front.

I know you don’t want a weather lesson.  However, to be able to use the information, you need to understand a bit of weather.

A Warm Front

From Wikipedia:  “A warm front is … the leading edge of an advancing mass of warm air; it separates warm air from the colder air ahead.”

A warm front can occur in any season.  These 2 factors determine if this front will help you in fishing for bass.  If a warm front blows through your fishing area in the winter or early spring, fish will get frisky and eat more.

However, if a warm front comes in during the long summer, fish will move to deeper water and eat less.

A Cold Front

 

Understanding how Weather Affects Bass - and Other Fish - Will Help You Become a More Successful Angler! *

 

Since bass and other fish like warm conditions, a cold front usually means that the fishing will slow down.  However, there are a few exceptions.

 

After the long, hot summer, the first cold front send fish into a feeding frenzy.  Once the live bait starts moving, bass and the other fish follow. 

As the water starts to cool, fish instinctively know they must “fatten up” for what might be a very cold winter.  Your choice of bait at this time is less important that the fact that you have your hook in the water!

Bass notice shiny things that move rapidly.

During the winter months, it is important to fish before the front strikes the area.  Fish increase their eating before the front — and get quiet for a few days after the front blows through the area.

Remember, bass — and other fish — move to deep pools during the winter months.  However, you can try an alternative idea:  The bass that don’t move to those deep pools bunch together in reedy, grassy areas.

Since the water is cold, fish don’t move very quickly.  Make sure you slow down the movement of your bait!

It is going to take a bit of bait “charm” to get bass to move out of their safe spot.  The fish won’t bother to move if the bait moves too fast.

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This Bass Rear Window Graphic is Used by Permission of ClearVue Graphics.

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com