Critical Fishing Tools: Besides a Rod, Reel & Tackle

Going fishing is a chancy thing, right?  You may or may not connect with fish.  Is there anything that will increase your chances of finding fish — besides a GPS (Ground Positioning System)?

Amazing Tools

Finding fish can be a lot like ‘Russian Roulette’ – everything depending on chance.  However, once I learned about the lake maps where I fished, things changed.

There are a variety of maps available, depending on the popularity of the body of water where you want to fish.

The most common ones are available from the local bait or tackle shop.  They are also available online (Google: list the name of the body of water + map) from map companies and (often) your state fishing department.

In some areas, you can get them from the local fisheries.   I’ve even seen them offered by County Extension Agencies.

What Kind of Maps?

Maps offer differing information.  A contour map shows the contours of the water where you want to fish.  Here’s a simple contour map of Balsam Lake in New York).

This map indicates the shallow edges of the lake, where the water drops to 5 feet and where the deep hole is at 10 feet.

Most bodies of water have a number of deep holes and sand bars and the contour map will indicate them.

The Latest Lake Survey Map

This useful map has a wealth of info:  game fish available, aquatic vegetation types (their locations and which fish call them home), water quality, and much more.

One of the most useful features might just be the information on the forage fish populations.  If the game fish are bass, then knowing which fish they use for food will help you select likely baits and a successful strategy for fishing.

Keeping a Log

Second to the maps in value, to my mind, is keeping a log of fishing experiences.  Things I include in my log:

  • Type of water,
  • Season,
  • Water temperature
  • Cover type (sandy bottom, sparse vegetation, are examples)
  • Structural patterns (if any)
  • Water level,*
  • Water depth,
  • Water clarity,
  • Time of day

I’m amazed how quickly I forget important facts.  Without my log, I wouldn’t be able to learn nearly as much from my past experiences.

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* If you find that the water level has dropped, most likely the fish have moved to deeper water.  If the water level has risen, the fish are likely to have moved to shallow areas.

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This is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesandGraphics.com

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Published in: on July 26, 2010 at 8:59 pm  Comments Off on Critical Fishing Tools: Besides a Rod, Reel & Tackle  
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How Fish Use Their Other Senses!**

Fish Use All Their Senses to Stay out of Your Net!

As I mentioned last time, fish have 4 senses to our 5.  Unfortunately, they do a great job of staying off your dinner table by using those 4 senses very effectively!

How Fish See

Fish see colors!  Biologists have proven that fish see :

  • red
  • yellow
  • blue
  • green

Many articles encourage anglers to wear bland, solid colors (think: beige). Now, lots of anglers don’t believe that fish see color.  You can read about the pros and cons here.

Did you know that “if you can see fish … they can see you!?   Thank goodness, there are some limits to their eyesight.

What are the Limits to a Fish’s Sight?

Light only travels so far into water. The sun’s rays stop brightening the water at about 25 feet.  From that point on, objects just seem to be dark shapes.

A fish’s ability to see in water less than 25 feet is affected by various factors.  Is the water muddy or clear?  How far are the objects away from the fish?  Is light reflecting off of the object?

Fish  aren’t too far up the food chain but they certainly recognize the shapes and smells of the things on which they feed!

A Fish’s Sense of Smell

Of all the things I’ve learned about fish and their senses, I think this was the most surprising.  Fish have a killer sense of smell!

Fish can smell odors hundreds of yards away.  The smells that turn them off the most are:

  • gasoline
  • nicotine
  • human scent
  • oily substances

To put things another way, fish can smell these “stinky” substances if they are only 1 part in 80 million parts of water!  That is some serious nose action!

How can you rid yourself of your human scent?  Use a ‘good scent’ or a fish soap that removes your smell!  In a pinch, you can rub your hands together with sand — it absorbs smells.

Special Circumstances

Not all fish have the same level of sniffing.  Predator fish (muskie, pike, bass, and others) rely on their sense of sight more than their sense of smell — to find a ‘meal deal!’

Scavengers (carp, catfish, trout, …), rely more on their sense of smell, rather than their sight — when checking over the buffet choices!

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** Some word changes made for clarity.

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This is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesandGraphics.com

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Commit a random act of kindness:  Pass this article along to someone you know!

Thanks!

Saltwater Fishing Tips

Saltwater Fishing from Shore *

Shore Saltwater Fishing

You may have the opportunity to fish from a boat.  At other times, fishing from shore might be your plan.  The following is an excellent overview of factors related to dipping your hook in salty water.

Sea Fishing Tackle: Pointers When Considering Shore Fishing

I really feel that the author’s comments on ‘time of day, water color and tide’ to be valuable information. You will find it about mid-page.

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Just when you thought it was safe…

Cost of Some Hunting, Fishing Permits Headed Up; New Deer Permit Required

This news relates to Florida, but will your state stay behind?  I don’t think so….

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

* Image used through the courtesy of ClearVue Graphics

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 9:33 am  Comments Off on Saltwater Fishing Tips  
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Things You Might Not Know About Fishing Hooks

A Fishing Hook - from Wikipedia

This is another blog for newbies about the fun of fishing (I don’t advise experienced anglers, they usually know more than I do).*

The Truth About Hooks

Since I’m 60 years of age, I’ve had enough time to see the gradual decline in fishing hooks.  It’s not going to surprise most anglers “of a certain age” that the hooks of our youth were better than newer ones.

The Problem With Dull Hooks

In earlier times, fishing hooks became dull with use.  Now, many hooks are born dull – meaning they are dull when you buy them. **

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 the photo above.  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.

Catch-and-Release Info

In the past few years, catch-and-release has become very popular.  If that is your aim, then it is important to use pliers to mash down the barb.  That part of the hook is what keeps your fish from sneaking away.

In order to avoid harming the fish, keep your line tight. Bring the fish in, take a photo and let junior go back – a wiser fish!

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* This is a good time to remind readers that this info is MY way of doing things. If it weren’t politically incorrect, I’d say “There’s more than 1 way to  skin a cat.”  This is my way — not necessarily the best way.

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** Even though sporting goods stores promise that the latest generation of hooks are superior, the truth is that I haven’t bought hooks for some time.

I’m still busy cussing at the ones I have. It would probably be smart to try some of the latest hooks, however — What can I blame my fish loss on if the hooks are good?

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If you are interested in the NEW and Gorgeous, here are some  items I added this weekend:  Iwo Jima Memorial,  Great White Shark of Guadalupe, Harley Davidson Freedom Banner.

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

Published in: on February 21, 2010 at 10:40 pm  Comments Off on Things You Might Not Know About Fishing Hooks  
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Salt-Water Fishing: More Info

This article is a carry-over from last time.  We are talking about learning the ropes while on a boat charter.

Questions to Ask

 

This Tarpon Beauty Feeds Along the Atlantic Coastline! *

 

If you are not looking to stuff your fish, but want to stuff your face with fish, you may want to keep looking. Watching someone else tussle with a marlin for 2 hours may not be what you want!

Ways to Hear of Different Fishing Venues

Asking for recommendations from your friends and relatives is always a good idea. Another method is — consult the chambers of commerce of cities along the coastline.  They will have a list of guides and fishing charters.

You can go online for information; googling “salt-water fishing + Galveston, TX” brought up scads of information.  The city of Galveston established some of the sites for fishing enthusiasts, while others were created by individuals trolling for customers.

Lady Anglers — or Wannabe’s

While researching for this article, I came upon this site: http://texasladyanglers.com The goal of this site is to help women start or increase their salt-water fishing skills.

This organization puts on weekend retreats, headed by Captain Sally Moffett. It’s goal is for women to help women develop their fishing skills.

Sally’s program seems thorough: teaching some basics of biology, the ins-and-outs of saltwater tackle, how to fish with various baits and practice using a variety of angling techniques and tips.

Although the site hasn’t been updated lately, it is 100 strong and looking for more women to join.  They offer meetings and seminars, fishing tournaments and are always on the lookout for folks willing to help with event planning.

The site has scheduled one major activity for 2010 — a group trip to Alaska (June 20-26, 2010).

Do You Know …

of an Angling Group for women in your region or state?  How about sending me a line, so I can share?  Direct your info to:   marylouise @ GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

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* ‘The Strike’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics!

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

Salt-Water Fishing – The Wilder Side of Angling!

As a native of the Houston-area, I grew up on salt-water fishing. In fact, I was 8 or 10 before I tried landing lunkers from fresh water.

Frankly, it seemed pretty tame in comparison to salt-water fishing.  As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to appreciate the slower tempo of freshwater fishing.

The Differences Between Salt and Freshwater Fishing

In many ways, salt and freshwater fishing are the same: you use a line,

I Wish I had a Dime for Every Hour We Spent on the Galveston Jetties! *

bait, rod, hook and wait patiently. However, the tackle and tactics are different. Generally, the tackle is heavier-duty and rod/reel combinations seem heavier and capable of holding more line. With freshwater fishing, catching a “pounder” is considered great fishing – in most areas.  When angling on the salty side of fishing, many species of under-sized fish must be tossed back (to grow up).  You can keep the fish that meet minimum length/weight restrictions. Some anglers are surprised to hear there are two kinds of salt-water fishing: offshore (perhaps 15 to 30 miles out in the gulf) and shallow bay fishing. We usually went bay fishing (off a pier, dike or jetty), unless we got lucky and were  invited to go offshore on someone’s boat.

Getting Started in Salt-Water

It’s best  to try salt-water fishing with someone who already knows ‘the ropes;’  this can be a co-worker or an uncle.  The idea is to save some time climbing the learning curve! Fishing tackle and equipment for salt-water tends to be more expensive than for freshwater.  It’s a good idea to use someone else’s tackle before buying your own. Ask questions about why they use ‘this leader’ or ‘that reel.’  It can save you time and money when selecting your own. Another way to learn good habits from the onset is to go on fishing with an experienced salt-water guide. Ask for recommendations, then call and ask questions.

Boat Charters for Beginners

You will want a guide that can meet your needs as a client.  I find that going on a boat charter, although expensive, is a great way to learn.  In general, they limit the number in the boat,  provide all equipment and even clean the fish!

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‘Ocean Angler’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics!

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

Published in: on January 23, 2010 at 7:40 am  Comments (1)  
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How to Predict Rain While Fishing

OK, you are out fishing and it starts to rain. Could you have anticipated it?  Here are some tips to be more aware of conditions leading to a rain storm.

First Things to Notice

 

CB108122

What Effect Will Rain & Lightning Have on Fishing?

 

Watch animals in your area.  Are sea birds moving to shore and staying put?  In our area, thousands of seagulls leave the coast and gather on an old (closed) Walmart  parking lot.

Marine biologists believe fish have evolved to the point where they sense rain — or  at least weather changes!

The Effect of Humidity on Weather

As humidity rises, the chance of rain increases.  Watch airplanes as they pass overhead. Those with a vapor trail indicate high levels of moisture in the air.

The longer the vapor lasts, the higher the humidity and the closer rain is. If there is no vapor cloud after a jet, or it disappears quickly, then the moisture/humidity level is low and the weather is stable.

Predicting Rain at Night

Use the stars to predict rain!  The more the stars seem to twinkle, the higher the moisture content in the air!

When Rain Turns to Lightning

Science Daily indicates that lightning requires ice!  It’s so hot where I live, how on earth can there be ice in the atmosphere?

The ice they are talking about is VERY high up in the atmosphere. These pieces of ice can be positively (+) or negatively (-) charged. When these -‘s and +’s collide, they build up a charge. Lightning is the release of the charge!

Since we cannot see how much ice is in the atmosphere when it is raining, it’s tough to be the angler-meteorologist  (weather person) to decide, “Will lightning start soon?  Should we go? or Can we stay?”

There are lots of factors in your decision.  Are you in a boat, far from shore?  Are you in a high, flat area, with no place to hide? Are you surrounded by trees?  All of these are good reasons to go home.

Unfortunately, a rod is an excellent conductor of electricity.You do not want to be holding it during a rain storm that turns to lightning!

Remember, smart anglers fish with one eye on their line and the other on the weather!

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

Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 11:06 am  Comments Off on How to Predict Rain While Fishing  
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Keep a Log of Your Catches

A Sample Fish Log

Name ____________________     Date _______________________

Location __________________    GPS Info ____________________

INFO                     Fish #1           Fish #2           Fish #3           Fish #4

Species               ______            ______          ______          ______

=============================================

Time Caught     ______           ______          ______          ______

Weight                ______           ______          ______          ______

Length                ______           ______          ______          ______

BAIT USED =====================================

Lures (which)  ______           ______          ______           ______

Size                      ______           ______          ______           ______

Live Bait (kind)_____            ______           ______          ______

Live Bait (size)______          ______           ______          ______

FISHING DEPTH =================================

in feet                 ______          ______          ______          ______

WHERE ======================================

Open water     ______          ______          ______          ______

Creek                ______           ______         ______           ______

River                ______           ______         ______           ______

Lake                 ______           ______         ______           ______

Pond                ______           ______         ______           ______

Weeds             ______           ______         ______           ______

Rocks              ______           ______         ______           ______

On Bottom    ______           ______         ______           ______

With Bobber______           ______         ______           ______

Dock/Pier     ______           ______         ______           ______

In Boat           ______           ______         ______           ______

Other              ______           ______         ______           ______

Other              ______           ______         ______           ______

TYPE OF FISHING =============================

Bait Casting  ______           ______         ______           ______

Fly Fishing   ______           ______         ______           ______

Spinning       ______           ______          ______           ______

Still Fishing ______           ______         ______           ______

Trolling        ______           ______         ______           ______

SPEED ======================================

Slow Reel.   ______           ______         ______           ______

Med. Reel.  ______           ______         ______           ______

Fast Reel.    ______           ______         ______           ______

==========================================

A Sample Fish Log

Name __Marylouise_________      Date ____6/1/2009___________

Location _Brenham, TX_______    GPS Info ____________________

INFO                     Fish #1           Fish #2           Fish #3           Fish #4

Species               perch_            crappie          ______          ______

============================================

Time Caught     _7:53 am       8:35 am         ______          ______

Weight                10.5 ozs           _13 ozs         ______          ______

Length                _8″ ___           _9.25_           ______          ______

BAIT USED ====================================

Lures (which)  ______           ______          ______           ______

Size                      ______           ______          ______           ______

Live Bait (kind)minnow         minnow         ______           ______

Live Bait (size)  _1″___          __2″__           ______           ______

FISHING DEPTH ================================

in feet                 __3’__          ___5’__          ______          ______

WHERE ======================================

Open water     ______          ______          ______          ______

Creek                ___x__           ___x__         ______           ______

River                ______           ______         ______           ______

Lake                 ______           ______         ______           ______

Pond                ______           ______         ______           ______

Weeds             ______           ___x__         ______           ______

Rocks              ______           ______         ______           ______

On Bottom    ___x__           ______         ______           ______

With Bobber______           ______         ______           ______

Dock/Pier     ______           ______         ______           ______

In Boat           ______           ______         ______           ______

Other              ______           ______         ______           ______

Other              ______           ______         ______           ______

TYPE OF FISHING ==============================

Bait Casting  __x___           __x___         ______           ______

Fly Fishing   ______           ______         ______           ______

Spinning       ______           ______          ______           ______

Still Fishing __x___           ______         ______           ______

Trolling        ______           ______         ______           ______

SPEED =====================================

Slow Reel.   ______           ______         ______           ______

Med. Reel.  ___x__           ___x__         ______           ______

Fast Reel.    ______           ______         ______           ______

==========================================

Don’t rely on your memory; it’s plays tricks on you! We tend to remember our failures and forget our successes.

By keeping a log, you can try a variety of things and know which of your new ideas work — and when you need to go back to the tried-and-true!

 

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

Published in: on June 30, 2009 at 10:17 am  Comments Off on Keep a Log of Your Catches  
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