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

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

Fishing Info You Need to Know to Catch More Bass

Bass are rather finicky about their environment!  If the water isn’t between 68 and 78 degrees, bass are likely to be moving on to waters within their narrow range of comfort – instead of eating.

This Predator Lies in Wait for a Tasty Morsel! *

Summer

When the weather heats up, bass head for cooler waters.  Look for deep pools in the body of water in which you are fishing. Bass are very fond of hiding near the drop-off points of deep holes s0 they stay cool while waiting for something smaller than themselves to stroll by.

Fall and Winter

As  the water starts to cool, bass moves back to the shallows (from the deep pools) to do some serious feeding.  They must eat enough to carry them through the winter months – no matter how much cold comes their way.

Spring

During the early chilly mornings, bass are likely to be lazy and slow-moving.  As the sunlight strikes the water and warms it, bass will become more active. Under these circumstances, bass like to live in shallow waters, hiding in grasses and weeds, around submerged stumps, etc.

How Can You Apply this Info?

  • It is important to know the water’s temperature.  You will be wasting your time fishing for bass in a shallow pond if the water is over 80 degrees.
  • Having a topographical map of the body of water in which you fish is a great investment.
  • Predator fish, such as bass, tend to hide in submerged structures (rock piles, weedy areas, around fallen trees, etc.), watching for a tasty tidbit!
  • The TV meteorologist is your best friend!

If you live in an area near water, as we do, the meteorologist adds water conditions to the weathercast: high and low tides, water clarity, water level and water flow.

When you find water at the correct temperature, your task is to figure out what he’s in the mood to eat – and serve it up on the end of your line.

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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!

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* ‘Missed Opportunity’ – displayed through arrangement with Vantage Point Graphics.

How to ‘Texas Rig’ a Soft Plastic Fishing Lure

Last time I was talking about rigging for fish, I had the “Average Fisherman” show how to do the Carolina Rig

Today, I’d like to show the Texas Rig (in East Texas, it’s called “draggin.'”  This is an adaptation of the Carolina Rig.

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Texas Draggin’ Rig

This almost 3 minute video leaves out a few things I’d like to mention.

  • a 1-ounce bullet sinker (instead of the flat, stone-looking  one on the Carolina Rig)
  • a large glass bead (red is nice and obvious)
  • 20 lb mono or 30 lb Spectra line
  • tying onto a size 10 barrel swivel
  • a 3 foot, 12 lb. mono leader
  • plastic choices: lizard, worm or crawworm

Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

Why a glass bead?

It keeps the sinker from damaging the knot and provides a nice clicking sound.

Why use a lighter leader than the weight of the line?

If the hook gets snagged, you have a better chance of not losing the whole rig.

Keep an eye on the mud/grit/sand/whatever comes up around the top of your bullet sinker.  Why?

If your sinker’s hole is bringing up mud, the area is too soft for bass.   They prefer a sandy bottom!

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Give them both a try; let me know which one works better for your situation!

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

Fishing for Brown Trout

Brown Trout

To Catch Brownies Takes Patience -- And A Lot of Luck! *

These fish were imported from Europe in 1883; now they are abundant and average between 14 and 18 inches (in length).  Lunker brown trout reach 38 lbs., – or more.

These trout are found throughout the US, but call the cooler waters of the Great Lakes and northern sections of the country ‘home.’

Characteristics of Brown Trout

Smart and wary, your shadow on the water will warn them away for a couple of hours!  Catching browns requires patience and luck.

The browns “hang out” under fallen branches and in deep pools. They only come to the shallows to eat in the early morning and  late afternoon. Favorite treats are mayflies and caddis flies.

Lures and Bait

Brown trout can be caught year-round. However, they are most active in water temperatures between 50 and 65 degrees.

Anglers catch brownies using bait casting, fly-fishing and spinning gear.  They seem to respond best to spinners, spoons and wobbling plugs.

If you are fly fishing, use wet flies, nymph patterns or streamers.  These resemble their natural food sources: aquatic and terrestrial insects.

If you will be using live bait, opt for cut baits, alewives, smelt and spawn sacs.

Finally

When I think of brown trout fishing, I think of wading and fly fishing in a river or stream. Other great places to try are spinning or fishing with live bait, along river banks or streams.

Trolling in larger rivers or the Great Lakes can be very rewarding.

If you are going brownie fishing, this is not the species to take your kids for their first lessons on fishing. Perch fishing is a better choice for kids.

Brownies are skittish and very suspicious of noise.  This is another one of those fish that prove the adage: If you can see them, they can see you!

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*This brown trout is shown by permission of Vantage Point – provider of rear window graphics. This is part of their Wild Wings Art Collection.

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

Published in: on February 17, 2010 at 8:55 am  Comments Off on Fishing for Brown Trout  
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Why ‘Weeds’ Are Important to Fishing

As a beginning angler, I didn’t have the proper respect for the weeds in the rivers, lakes, ponds were we fished.  I thought of them as ‘stuff in the way.’

This posting will hopefully help newbies understand how important all that underwater ‘stuff’ is.

Why Weeds?

In the fish world, there are two roles: eat or be eaten!  Larger fish are looking for smaller fish to eat, while tiny fish are looking for plankton or other invertebrates for a meal.

No fish wants to be a larger fish’s meal; thus, they hide in weeds. Large predator fish lurk in the weeds, waiting for an unsuspecting bait fish.  Tiny fish feast on the bits of food caught in the sticky tendrils of the weeds.

Cabbage Weeds

 

The Water Around Cabbage Weed is Highly Oxygenated

 

Cabbage has a thick stock with long, willowy leaves.   Bait fish and game fish call these weeds home.   Whitefish, walleye, largemouth bass and suckers particularly like to hide in these weeds.

Although bait fish think they are safe, pike and other predators lurk in the shadows, hoping to nab a meal.

Coontail Weed Beds

 

Coontail is Important to Ducks, Fishes, Reptiles & Amphibians

If you are a duck hunter, you probably know about coontail weeds.  They are excellent food for fish and ducks.  As a rootless plant, coontail breaks down and feeds reptiles, amphibians, fish and ducks.

Coontail exists as deep as 6 and 1/2 feet in water (2 meters), and is shade tolerant.  Because it is mostly rootless, it can form dense mats in slow-moving streams and bodies of water.

Fishing Weed Beds

This info is all very good, but how do we use it for fishing?  First, use the beds to your advantage.  Fish prefer to hide in the weeds – rather than swim around – waiting for a larger fish to eat them!

Fish along the irregular weed edges and above submerged weeds.  The deeper you are fishing, the lighter your lure should be.

For example, in deep weeds – where light does not penetrate so well, use light-colored lures: white, yellow, light blue, light green.  In the depths, these lures will appear larger and brighter.

Did You Know?

If you are fishing 40 feet down, your red lure looks black in the dim light.  At the same depth, your orange lure appears dark brown to fish!

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

Quick Fishing Tips for Trout

Today, let’s talk about the 3 main freshwater trout types in the US. Each has slightly differing habits.

Brook Trout

This fish is the only trout that is native to the US.  We have to worry about

Brook Trout - Beautiful and In Danger *

the continuation of this species because of the brook trout’s:  need for “clear waters of high purity and a narrow pH range in lakes, rivers, and streams, being sensitive to poor oxygenation, pollution, and changes in pH caused by environmental effects such as acid rain.”1

Smaller than either the brown or rainbow trout, the “brookie” lives comfortably in water too shallow for the other trout. They use the green vegetation as hiding areas.

“Brookies” are aggressive and fairly easy to catch. If you catch a 14 inch ‘brookie’ — it’s a genuine trophy game fish.

Brown Trout

 

Brown Trout - A Gorgeous Import! *

 

These fish were imported from Europe; now they are abundant and average between 14 and 18 inches.

Smart and wary, your shadow on the water will warn them away for a couple of hours!  Catching browns requires patience and luck.

The browns “hang out” under fallen branches and in deep pools. They only come to the shallows to eat in the early morning and  late afternoon. Favorite treats are mayflies and caddis flies.

Rainbow Trout

 

A Rainbow Trout is Poetry in Motion!*

Rainbows once lived only in west coast waters.  Their habitat is very different from the browns and brookies.

Rainbows call fast waters their ‘home.’  If you’ve ever seen a rainbow ‘tail-walking,’ you have seen one of the wonders of nature!

Trout Tips

Keep in mind that trout always have a “Plan B.” When upset or hooked, they rush to a pile of underground rocks or a mass of brush or submerged logs. Often, they leave your hook and line in the rocks or brush as they run away.

Remember that trout are very heat-cold sensitive. If it is 90 degrees above the water, they have moved into the deep pools (that are a cool 55 degrees).

If you are shivering while you fish (the outside air is a chilly 45 degrees), then the trout are down in the deep pools, where the water is a warm 55 degrees.

Trout are opportunistic feeders.  What is available to them when you are fishing? If it is spring, there are lots of hatching mayflies, caddisflies and stone-flies. Your best bet is using an artificial fly that looks like these foods.

If you are ice fishing, then the trout are looking for minnows. That’s what you need for bait.

1 Wikipedia, “Brook Trout”

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* These 3 Trout Portraits are from the Wild Wing Collection of Vantage Point Graphics. Used by permission. (Images are click-able)

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

How to Catch Brook Trout

Brook Trout Info

 

Aggressive and Fun to Catch!

 

Brook trout are not really trout, but members of the char family. An easy way to determine “what you have” is to look at the underside of your fish. The beginning dorsal fins of ‘brookies’ are always  white.

Next comes a line of black.  the rest of the brookie’s fin is usually orange.

Brook Trout

This fish is the only trout that is native to the US.  We have to worry about the continuation of this species because of the brook trout’s:  need for “clear waters of high purity and a narrow pH range in lakes, rivers, and streams, being sensitive to poor oxygenation, pollution, and changes in pH caused by environmental effects such as acid rain.” 1

Smaller than either the brown or rainbow trout, the “brookie” lives comfortably in water too shallow for the other trout. They use the green vegetation as hiding areas.

Spawning season is from late summer to early autumn and at this time, they are their most colorful.  They prefer waters between 47 and 67 degrees.

Catching a “Brookie”

Like his cousins, the rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout, brookie’s prefer deep pools. This is where the termperature is most stable.

“Brookies” are aggressive and fairly easy to catch. If you catch a 14 inch ‘brookie’ — it’s a genuine trophy game fish — and it is about 5 years of age (they generally live ~6 years).

If you are hoping for a “lunker,” you might want to use live minnows. As the trout grows, he spends more time chasing small fish for a meal, and less eating insects.

Fly fishermen indicate that these are the most successful lures for catching trout:  spawn egg imitation patterns (ex: single egg patterns ro egg sucking leech), crustaceans (freshwater scud patterns).

Of the streamers, anglers are successful with leech , wooly bugger and bait fish imitation patterns.  These wet flies are faves with fly fishermen: Quil Gordan, Adams, Black Gnat, LeadwingCoachman, Butcher, Blue Zulu and McGinty.

Of the dry flies, these are favorites: Adams, Black Gnat, Black Midge, Cahill, and the Poly Quil Spinner.  Nymphs: Prince Nymph, Peeking Caddis, Sparkle Larva and Zug Bug.  Hook sizes should range from #10 to #20.

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*This brook trout is shown by permission of Vantage Point — part of their Wild Wings Art Collection.

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

Published in: on July 31, 2009 at 1:56 am  Comments (2)  
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Part 2: How to Catch Cutthroat Trout

How To Catch Cutthroat Trout

020305L_Cutthroat Trou tProfile

This handsome boy is always hungry! ***

Depending on where you fish, it’s possible to get a crack at the sea trout that have moved back into fresh water.  Generally, it takes a few years for the fish to mature before they  return to spawn. The adult cutthroats feed and spawn from fall through  spring. They prefer water between 55 and 62 degrees.

These fish, even after years in salt water, have no problem finding their home waters.  They spawn in the months of April through June.

What Cutthroat Trout Eat

By July, the first of the young cutthroats are leaving the gravel nests of their birth.  Always hungry, cutthroats seem to bite everything: lures, flies and live bait!

This branch of the trout family eats lots of insects; fly fishing is a great way to enjoy successful angling.  In Alaska, these fish are the most common trout species in the state.

Younger cutthroats, spend their days in lakes, hiding in and around submerged logs and vegetation.  They rush from their hiding places to snag insects and small fish (they’ve been known to eat other fish, up to  1/4 th their size)!

By the time they reach 14″ in length, they give up this slow process to a meal and turn into predators of smaller fish.

Where Cutthroats Hide

Here are some of the most common ways to catch cutthroats:

  • Looking for trophy size?  In land-locked lakes, troll off of steep shorelines.*
  • Spinners & spoons are great for lakes with deep pools. Fish deeply here & along steep shorelines (with plenty of vegetation).
  • In small inlet streams, use wet or dry flies.
  • The combination of a muddler minnow** and underwater vegetation is a winner for the cutthroat angler.  Make sure your line sinks quickly.

Finally

Remember that cutthroats prefer the deeper pools of water; they don’t like extreme water temperature changes (deeper waters remain a more constant temperature).

When fishing deeply, remember that light only penetrates so far down. Use larger lures or bait — so the fish have an easy time finding them.

Please fish responsibly! These beautiful creatures are endangered in some areas.  Check their status in the waters where you plan to fish!

* According to the Alaska Dept of Fish & Game

** Muddler minnows are artificial flies that are very popular.

*** Used by permission of Vantage Point Concepts.  This image is part of the Wild Wings Artwork Collection.

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