Kids Fall Fishing
Fall time is probably one of the best opportunity times that will give you an advantage for getting your kids to catch a bigger fish. In the fall before the really cool nights start taking over, the shallow waters of our favorite lakes are still somewhat warm. Being the waters are still warm yet, the fish that we seek are still utilizing the shallows in their search for food and also fattening themselves up for the long winter ahead. As we get more colder nights more consistently, these shallow waters will cool way down and this will drive these fish out into deeper warmer water that is more comfortable for them. So by taking advantage of a nice day to fish and taking your kids out, there are a variety of species that can be caught along the shoreline. Fishing for panfish with a float and bait to casting plastic baits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits for the larger predator fish. Take advantage of these warmer fall days and get the family out there and do some fishing and watch their expressions as they reel in a monster fish and they will definitely be remembering these outings for quite a while.
Time to Collect
As we are getting into the fall mode here in New England, many activities start coming around between apple picking, hay rides, Halloween and of course searching for those colored leaves. The New England landscape is changing each day and one thing Kids really like to do is search for colorful leaves as they are falling. Taking Kids for walks is a great family time get together and also getting out and getting some fresh air. This gets them away from those video games, and TV screens and to venture out and search for those miraculous leaves for their ever changing colors and different shapes. Winter will be here soon so why not enjoy one of the best seasons of the year, fall.
Boat Battery Maintenance
Everyone is into the ice fishing scene and not thinking at all about the open water fishing. There is one item that your boat requires maintenance throughout the winter months so that you have a flawless experience come the open water.
The cranking battery as well as those deep cycle batteries need to be maintained throughout the winter months. Putting them on charge once a month will keep them at their full potential and also there won't be any surprises come spring and that first outing in the open water.
Keep those batteries charged and enjoy that spring time fishing whenever that season comes for you.
Spring Check List
As spring is finally getting to most parts of the country, there are a few things that need to be looked at to allow us to have a great and trouble free day on the water. After many of us fishers in the north country put our summer gear away when winter approaches, here are a few things to do to get started fishing this open water season. Your fishing reels will definitely need some attention as the old line is probably still on there and that needs to be stripped off and new line put on. Many fisher’s are lubing their own reels now and before hitting the water this spring, take those reels apart and clean and lube the moving parts and bearings as well. As for the rods, take a look at the rod blanks for nicks and also pay close attention to all of the eyes and make sure that they are not damaged as well. If you have a damaged eye you may want to consider replacing those as they will damage your fishing line and could possibly cost you a big fish. If you are a boat owner, you should have been giving those batteries a charge all winter, but make sure before putting them into the boat that they are all fully charged. These are only a few things to get you started, but are fairly critical to make those first few outings much more enjoyable….
Quietness Pays Dividends
As many hunters know that the hunter that seems to have the stealth at getting through the woods has great success, a little known thing that any hunter can do to improve their success rate is paying attention to how quiet they can be walking in the woods. As you are walking to your stand or stalking your prey, pay attention to every step that you are making. Step around or over tree branches that are lying on the ground, if you are walking through leaves take slow easy steps into the leaves to avoid making that crunching noise. Just be aware of what your feet are doing and anything that can rub onto your body in passing, as any of these noises are going to alert the game you are seeking. By taking some precautions to your actions in the woods, this can improve your visibility and success in your hunting adventures....
As we get ready and excited about the upcoming open water season, one item that many anglers seem to forget about is their fishing line. A good rule of thumb is to replace the old line from the year before each spring, before starting the open water season. Having the line sit on our reels over the long winter season, many times the line takes on the memory of the spool and may cause problems when it comes time to start fishing. Another issue is that depending on where the reels were stored, the line may also start breaking down as well. If an angler uses the old line the next season, there is a good chance that when you hook that trophy fish, the line may snap and say good bye to that fish. Spooling on fresh line each spring gives you that security that on that next hook-set you are going to get that fish into the boat.
Summer is Here, Fish Going Deep
Summer has come in fairly quickly lately and with that the fish have finished their spring ritual and getting setup for summer. Smaller fish can still be found swimming the shorelines but if you are looking for those bigger fish, head for deep water. Water temps are rising and the shallows are getting very warm, the fish head deep to get away from these warming waters and head for the cooler water in their deeper summer haunts. Weedlines, humps or anything that is different out in deep water will attract and hold these fish and using your electronics to find these areas is important at this time of year. Go explore the water away from the shore and you may be surprised at what you find.
Take a look
As many of us are experiencing drought like conditions and our favorite ponds and lakes are getting to a very low state, take a closer look at these bodies of waters and let’s see what is there. Most of the waters at this time of year are getting very low and this is exposing a good portion of the shoreline that an angler hasn’t seen before. What this condition offers an angler is that with these low conditions, this exposes structure and objects that you may not have known were there. Is there an area that you catch numbers of fish from; take a look at that area now as to what is attracting those fish there may be very evident as to why they use that area. It is truly amazing to see that there are rocks, wood, tires or some other object that you would not know is there when the water is at the normal level. Now is the time to take a walk around your favorite body of water and take a look at what is sitting on the dry land now. Take a camera or video recorder with you also and record those objects and structure that you are finding so that when the water level is back to where it normally is, you will have something to remember what the bottom looks like. As the days are getting shorter and winter is around the corner, get out there and take a walk and see what the fish are calling home....
Fish those Docks
The summer is here and will be for a while yet, as this is warming our lakes quite a bit. Fish are seeking cooler waters these days to get away from this heat and many go deep but there are also some that stay shallow. These shallow fish are looking for areas to get out of the sun and a great place for this is boat docks. Fish congregate underneath these docks in the cool shadowy areas and wait for prey to seek out cooler waters as well. Fishing these docks can be very rewarding and by casting your baits up underneath these, you will be very well rewarded. Give them a try next time you are fishing especially if the sun is shining.
As the wintery scene has taken over New England the lakes and ponds are starting to skim over with ice and precautions need to be taken. These cool temps have cooled the waters of New England very fast and many are skimming over with ice. We need to keep in mind that ice is never safe and should never be taken for granted. The ice is looking inviting to our family pets as well as our smaller children and both of them need to be watched and told so that they are not venturing out there and getting themselves and others into a bad situation. The snow is covering the ice as well in certain areas and this is doing some insulating so where there are quantities of snow, these areas may not be making ice as fast as clear open areas of ice. Just be careful out there and keep an eye out for activities near the ice so that a dangerous situation can be avoided....
Spring Fishing Tip
As most of us fisher’s are enjoying the spring fishing for panfish, many are not getting out there yet and are missing out on some great fishing opportunities. You don’t need to have hours on end to enjoy a fishing outing as it only takes a few minutes to see if they are biting. As many people have so much going on in their lives these days, wetting a line for even only 15 minutes can make for a memorable experience. Finding fishable shoreline to cast a line shouldn’t be that difficult as there are many public boat landings and numerous parks that line the shorelines of most of our lakes and ponds. The nice thing about fishing at this time of year is that the fish are shallow and within 10 minutes you will know if they are there. If after a few casts you are not getting any bites, move down the shore and try again. With limited time to fish, by moving and trying different areas, this will allow you to optimize your time that you have and actually in the right conditions, you may catch many fish in those 15 minutes that you are there....
Searching the Shore
With the warming days of summer taking over from the spring weather, now is another time to start exploring the waters edges. Since the waters have been warming they are starting to teem with new life as creatures are being born or hatched on a daily basis. What the young angler will see is the new minnows swimming along the shorelines, different types of bugs hatching and also new vegetation growing in the shallow waters. By watching the new minnows swimming along you will start getting an idea as to how they relate to their surroundings and if you think more about it, the fish that you seek are doing similar things out in deeper water. You may also see some big fish swimming along the shoreline that are either basking in the sun or searching for a spot to create a nest. Now is the time to take a walk along your favorite waters and see all of the new life that is forming
Have you ever noticed on days when you are in the field that sometimes the wildlife activity is either very active or none existent. Weather plays a huge role in how much activity are in the wildlife that we seek. It has been mentioned that you are able to look out your window and be able to gauge if this will be a successful day or not. If you have bird feeders in your yard those are good indicators that you could use to determine if there will be activity while you are out. Most of us are not able to pick our days that we take to enter the field and have to take whatever mother nature throws at us, but if we have a little idea as to the activity that is happening around us then we can adjust our plan accordingly and still make it a successful outing. Fish are going to be doing the same as well and many folks say to watch the bird activity around your favorite body of water and this will let you know how the day will be going. If there is a lot of activity then most creatures are going to be active but if you are not noticing much activity things may be tough and you will have to work a little harder to have an enjoyable day. The next time you go into the field take a look at what is happening around you and see if these things are as we describe.
Rain Brings Food
Are we water logged yet here in New England? After the last three days of solid rain, New England is once again saturated and water levels coming up very quickly again. The downside to all of this rain is that it is keeping folks in the house and off of the waters. The upside to this is it is creating a feeding smorgasbord for the fish in our favorite lake. What this means is that if you fish a lake that has a stream or runoff coming into the lake, that is where you should concentrate your efforts for locating fish after rains like we have had. What happens is the extra flowing water coming in is bringing along with it extra food morsels from the ground being washed. worms, bugs and small creatures of sorts fall victim to the flowing waters, but as these waters dump into the lake, fish know this and are sitting and waiting for dinner. If you are able to get on the lake in the next few days, definitely search out areas that have some of this water flowing into the lake as you maybe surprised in what you find there.
Stay Warm and Dry
Fishing with kids in this wet and cool weather here in New England is really getting to be a challenge. Seems that we are now into July and summer in New England just doesn't want to come around and we are dealing with fall like conditions. This weather shouldn't stop you from getting out onto the waters but keeping your kids dry and warm will be key to a fun filled day. Warm clothing as well as a dry raincoat will definitely help in the cause. Staying out of the main lake winds will help as well as these will cool the kids down very quickly. Fish can still be caught but you may need to slow way down, find the warmest waters, and also look to the weeds. Don't let the weather hold you back from spending time on the water and creating memories for a lifetime.
This has been the winter where kids are having a great winter season as the snow keeps coming. A fun thing to do with the kids in the winter is to try snowshoeing. Snowshoeing is a great past time and also brings one back to nature as we venture through the quietness of the woods and fields. Being this is a fairly quiet sport, we are able to hike around and see wildlife doing what they do in their environment and this is always exciting for the kids. Make a game of it to see how many different animals and birds that they can see and count and before they know it, the day has passed and they had a great time. There are places that rent snowshoes if you want to try them out first and then decide if this is something that the family wants to pursue as a winter sport.
Fall Shoreline Fishing
As many anglers are putting their fishing equipment away and turning their efforts to the hunting seasons, now is the time to hit the water for the large fish. Even if you are not able to fish out of a boat, shoreline fishing at this time of year can be fantastic. There are going to be days that the fish are not biting but those days that they are, many and big fish can be caught. This time of year the baitfish in the lake are getting together in their wintering schools and seeking out warmer waters. These can be found near shorelines and back-ends of creeks and the fish are going to follow them where ever they go. Fishing from shore at this time of year can be very beneficial and using bigger baits to cover the water are a favorable way to catch these fish. Big Spinnerbaits, Topwater baits, shallow running Crankbaits and rattle traps work very well in covering vast amounts of water. Once fish are located, keep working the area as chances are there is a school of these fish and an angler can catch a number of fish in a short amount of time. By fishing from shore in the fall, casting out into deeper water you are giving the fish an illusion that your bait is a fleeing baitfish running to shore to escape and this will get the bigger fish very excited. Don’t put that fishing equipment away yet as there are many more days and fish to be caught and by covering some water and shoreline, you will catch some of the biggest fish of the year....
As the weather warms and the fish are into their spring activities, this is a great time to get kids involved in fishing. The fish can be found in the shallow waters of our lakes and ponds and there will be times that catching them will be fairly easy. But we also need to remember that these fish are in the shallow water for a reason and we don’t want to disturb them to much. If we keep a few for a meal that is fine but a majority of these fish are going to be released back into the water. Quickness of this release is the name of the game to ensure that they are not injured to go back about their spring ritual. Quickly unhooking the fish and placing them back into the water gently allows them to go back to what they were doing and you are able to cast and catch another fish. By being quick about the release this will ensure that they survive for another day of battle and also instills the catch and release philosophy into the kids as well.
Small Boat Ice Fishing Style
As we approach Thanksgiving, the lakes and ponds are definitely cooling down and the fishing is starting to change. The bass that we were seeking are starting to get a little harder to find and that means that we are shifting more towards panfish. Since the ice is not forming yet and we have put the big boat away for the winter, the kayak is the go to boat for these small ponds that only cartop boats can get onto. What we usually do is bring the Vexilar flasher along and hang the transducer over the side to get an idea as to what the fish are doing. Since the transducer is near the side, we use our ice fishing rod/reel combo’s for catching panfish and vertical jig off of the side. This is a great way to fish and allows you to watch your jig and the fish on the screen of the flasher and how they are relating to your fishing. This is also a great way to get geared up for the upcoming ice season and lets you give your ice gear a workout as well. Nothing like catching fish on your 24” ice rods and seeing that bend in the rod as you rear back and rip those lips. The jigs we are using are your typical ice jigs and jigging and watching the flasher many fish can be put in the boat using this method....
With the very strange winter that we are experiencing this year, between unsafe ice and open water in places, there is one thing that needs to be kept in mind....Safety any time that we are out on the lake at this time of year.... With the cold and then very mild weather, if you have ice in your area, that ice will probably not be safe and you need to be very cautious around and on it...if you were to fall into the water or break through the ice, the temps are very low and you do not have more than a few minutes to get out and get your self warmed back up again.... If you have open water in your area and are out there fishing, ALWAYS have a life jacket on because after a few minutes in this frigid water, you will not have much time to swim for shore and the life jacket will at least keep you a float.... Enjoy fishing this winter but always keep safety in your mind because you will want to fish another day....
As we move into February and the ice season is in full swing, the fishing is getting tougher with winter weather playing a major role. This time of year fish are still being caught but many anglers are having to have to work harder at catching their favorite species of fish. The anglers that are having better success are the ones that are employing the downsizing methods to their fishing strategy. By downsizing we are talking about micro baits that are used and there are days when these baits are the only thing that the fish want and are finicky to even bite these. By micro baits we are talking about jigs that are very small with examples of 1/60, 1/80 and even 1/100 oz sizes. These resemble micro organisms and at this time of year this is what the fish are feeding on. Micro plastics are another bait that is shining these days and between these two offerings, this should put more fish on the ice for you. These very small jigs may not be at your favorite tackle shop and there are a number of companies on the internet that sell these. Downsize and catch more fish this winter season and try something that most of the other anglers either don’t know about or don’t want to fish a bait that small.
Getting the most from your maps!
Any person young or old should never leave the dock without having a good lake map with them. Especially if you are not familiar with the lake you are fishing, a map will give you a starting point on where to look for fish. When you are studying a lake map, you will generally be looking for something that is a little different. When you are looking at the map, you will notice that there are lines indicating the depths of the water and these are called contour lines. These lines show you the regularities and irregularities of the bottom of the lake. With these contour lines, what is a useful thing to do would be to color each contour a different color showing you the different depths. After coloring in the contour lines with permanent markers, you will be able to take a quick look at the map and know what the contours and structure will be and this allows you more fishing time. With the different colors on the map, you will quickly see all of the different contours and look for the irregularities. By trying this, you will be able to take a quick look at the map as you are cruising the lake and those irregularities will stand out very readily. Doing this to your maps can be fun and will be very useful for many trips to come. Give this a try and it may put more and bigger fish in the boat for you as now you will see things on your map that you may have not known were even there.
In the New England area we have spring trying to show itself but snow keeps creeping in to prolong the start of spring. But if you were to take a look around you will definitely see the signs that spring is coming and won’t be long before it is finally here. By letting your kids explore around the yard and taking walks in the parks and woods, they will get a good idea as to what spring is like and about. While watching the animals and birds going about their busy day while getting ready in making nests and searching for food is an exciting time. Looking around one is able to see new growth in the flowers that may be starting to come up as well as the new buds on the trees and bushes are getting fully formed. Spring is like a new beginning and letting your kids do some exploring and searching will give them a greater satisfaction of what it is like to see things starting all over again for the new season coming ahead.
Fall Fishing Solitude
Fall is one of those seasons that seems to get forgotten in the fishing community. Many sportsmen are dual outdoor activities and when fall comes around, they concentrate their efforts more in the woods than on the water. But for those that stick with the water aspect of the fall time, these anglers are the ones that are going to reap the rewards. Fall fishing is probably one of the best times to catch that trophy of a lifetime and there maybe a number of them caught at that. The fish are feeding heavily to get ready for the long winter ahead and at the same time become very aggressive as well. Fast moving baits are a charm at this time of year as they allow you to cover vast amounts of water in a short period of time. Once you locate an area that has a school of fish using that area, then you can slow down a little and fish it more precisely if that is the case. Fishing in the fall I find is the best as more times than not you will have the whole lake to yourself and what other time of the open water season do you get that.
KIDS on Ice
Getting kids into fishing can be very trying at times and keeping their interest is the biggest part of a successful day. We are finding that getting them interested in fishing is a little easier in the winter time on the ice as opposed to open water fishing. With spring coming the days are getting much nicer out there and much more enjoyable for everyone that fishes on the ice. Make sure that the ice conditions are safe before doing any venturing onto the ice with younger kids and yourself as well. The fish may be a little more active as the sun is getting stronger and the world under the ice is coming more alive as each day passes. By letting the kids try ice fishing at their own pace makes for a much better day on the ice for everyone. If the fish are not biting or there is a slow bite, let them play around on the ice and there are many games that can be played there as well. Then they will come back and try fishing once again and hopefully the bite will be better and they start catching fish to peak their interest. By letting the kids dictate how the day goes will make for a memorable and also a fun day on the ice and they may surprise you and want to go again next weekend.
Check that Ice Line
Many anglers across the ice belt have been enjoying numbers of days out on the ice catching fish. But, there is one item that gets over looked by many and that is the fishing line that we have spooled on our reels. Fishing through a hole in the ice, the edges of the hole are very sharp and will take a toll on our fishing line. Anglers need to be aware of this and continuously be checking the line every time that we hit the ice. The ice is very hard on the line and will put nicks into it and this may cause you to lose a good fish during the battle. Every time that I go out I take a moment and check a handful of feet of the line for these nicks and if found will remove that section of line. Also, the knot needs to be check each time out and during the day as well. We don't want to sacrifice a good fish for not checking the knots and it only takes a few seconds to retie if the need arises. So take a few moments and check your fishing line before going out the next time and enjoy a day on the ice.
Dog Days Fishing
Fishing with kids in the summer months can be a test to your will power for keeping them interested in catching fish. These hot summer days can and will be tough at times locating actively biting fish. If the bigger predator fish are not cooperating, then switch over to panfish, sunfish and perch, as these are fairly easy to locate and always willing to bite. Remember on those very hot days, don't force them to stay out there fishing as the hot muggy days can be tough on their bodies and may be time to take a swim in the lake to cool them off. Fish can still be caught in these hot conditions but some fun has to come along with it as well. Enjoy taking them fishing on the local ponds and lakes but keep in mind that comes along with having some water fun as well.
Spring Fishing is Here
Spring has finally arrived here in New England and now is the time to take kids out to the local pond. Open water is an exciting time for fishing as the cold winter is gone along with the ice and warmer days are in store. Now that the ice is gone, the waters are going to start warming and the fish are going to start feeding heavily for the spawning season ahead. This gives kids a great opportunity at catching some very big fish and you won't need to be in a boat to do it. Fishing from shore in the spring is exciting and using bait will add to the success rate as well. Find some deeper waters near shore and also shorelines that are in the sun most of the day and this should increase your chances at catching some fish. Baiting a hook with a good sized minnow and using a float for a strike indicator, will get your kids hook on fishing for a lifetime and wanting to do it again tomorrow.
Introduce Kids to the OutDoors
The studies are showing that activities in the outdoors are on the decline and this is in part from that parents are either to busy or not wanting to participate in outdoor activities. With the winter season in full swing and as well that it will be winding down soon, now is the time to get your kids out and do some ice fishing. I have been fortunate the last while that my young son wanted to try ice fishing and now he loves it and wants to go all the time. Introducing kids into the outdoors cannot be forced down their throats either and needs to be something that they want to do and ask to do. Ask them if they want to go out and do these activities, but do not force them into it as that may back fire as well and will you never be able to get them out there again. By getting them out into the outdoors this will pull them away from watching TV and also playing video games. More and more kids are falling into these traps and instead should be concentrating these efforts into learning and exploring the outdoors.
Do you have slack line?
Are you out fishing and you know that you are getting bites, but for some reason when you go to set the hook there is nothing there? One of the possibilities that you may be missing fish is having too much slack in your line. What is slack, slack is when you don’t have control of your bait with your fishing line. There are a few things that cause slack in your line and the biggest problem is wind. If you don’t keep in contact with your bait, the wind hooks the line and puts a bow in the line and when you feel a bite, the bow creates a lot of slack and you are setting the hook into nothing. To always keep in contact with your bait, after casting it out, keep the line tight as the lures falls towards the bottom. Keep reeling a little line in as it falls and always keep some tension on it as well. After it has been sitting on the bottom, lift the rod tip and reel some line until you feel the bait. Always feel for the bait with your rod tip and keep the tension on the line, so that when you do feel that bite, the slack will be gone and when you set the hook, this will put more fish in the boat for you.
New England Fall Foliage
I know that this isn’t a fishing related tip but this is an activity that is enjoyed by many folks around the New England states. New England’s fall foliage is a spectacular view when the leaves are in their peak and many photos’ that are floating around were taken in the New England states. It is October 23 and the northern part of New England is actually past its peak time for color. The central part of New England is at peak right now and the southern part will be there soon. I find it very scenic being out on the waters fishing and taking in the fall foliage as when the sun is shining bright; there isn’t a better picture than now. If you get an opportunity to take a drive, definitely go and see these spectacular colors as they won’t be around much longer.
Open Water is Near
Ice season in New England is a memory as of late and the open water season is coming onto the horizon. Many anglers are getting excited with the coming fishing season and for those that don't fish on the ice, it has been a long time coming. Boats are starting to appear more on the roads and bait shops are starting to hop once again. Spring is a wonderful time here in New England and I know that we can't wait to get onto the open water. Panfish are going to be hungry as well as the bass will be roaming and searching for an easy meal. Get your equipment ready and spool on some new line as a new fishing season is upon us.
Those that use either spikes (worms) or minnows, like to keep them alive as long as possible. Keeping your bait between fishing trips also saves you some money as well.
For the spikes, keeping them in the fridgerator in temperatures from 35-40 degrees will keep them lively and fresh. These worms are in a bed of sawdust and being in the fridge there will be moisture forming in the shavings. Changing the shavings a couple of times during the week and taking the dead worms out, this will keep your bait fresh and also allows them to stay alive so much longer.
For the minnows, changing some of the water and adding fresh water daily keeps them very lively. Also, the container they are kept in we find having the container a dark color keeps the minnow's natural color so much better. If in a white colored container, their color will fade making them very light and not as natural colored. One last thing is to put an airator in the tank keeping as much oxygen in the water as possible.
Seasons are Changing
These last few days the weather here in New England reminds you of being in the northern tundra, cold. Temps at night lately are in the low 20’s and this is cooling our waters very quickly and if this keeps up, will accelerate the ice coming this season. Driving around yesterday I had noticed that the swamps and small ponds are skimmed over with ice and this is getting me excited. If you are still venturing out onto the waters, definitely take some precautions to ensure that you have safe and enjoyable trip. Here in MA, legally, you are suppose to wear your lifejacket in any small craft and this is going to give you a little extra time to help you get out of the water if you happen to go in. We are in transition period now and there are still waters that can be used so enjoy sometime out there and bundle up as the fish have not gone anywhere and chances are they are getting hungry.
Ice Still Uncertain
As we have been exploring different bodies of waters the last couple of weeks we are definitely seeing quite a variation in ice conditions. The warm weather and snow earlier last week have changed the ice dramatically from lake to lake and an angler really needs to pay attention out there. We have seen on the same body of water where the shade is covering the ice there is 9 inches of solid ice but where the sun is hitting, there is 2 inches of hard slush with an open pocket of water between that and the 4 inches of black ice on the bottom. As you are walking through areas like this your foot does break through that top layer and really gets you thinking if you should really be out there or not. We are still using our spud bar every time out as the ice is ever changing lately and at least we know if we are going to hit a soft spot as we are walking. Be sure to bring your safety equipment with you these days as someone may need that and better than not having it could save a life...
Plastic baits in general have always been at the top of producing baits for catching fish no matter which species an angler seeks. Lately, in the search for panfish, there is a new way to catch these fish with plastics, micro plastics. Loby Baits has teamed up with Maki Plastics and the line of micro plastics that they offer covers a wide spectrum of micro organism offerings. What these micro plastics are trying to imitate are the small organism’s that are hatching in the lakes and streams that we fish. These baits are what you call, matching the hatch, as they imitate a wide range of these small creatures that the fish are feeding on, on a daily basis. These small creatures are the staple of the food chain in most bodies of waters and by being able to imitate them with these baits; this will put more fish on your line....
Persistence on Ice
During the ice fishing season there are going to be fishers that are successful and at times fishers that are not successful. The ones that are fortunate enough to be successful are the ones that fish with “Persistence”. What we are getting at is that when you hit the ice, drilling one or two holes is not going to be enough to catch the fish that you are looking for. By being persistent this means that if that hole is not producing then it is time to go and drill another hole and try that. By moving and being persistent in your pursuit of locating fish, this will make your ice fishing experience much more enjoyable and rewarding. There are going to be days and also conditions that may not allow you to do this but more times than not it comes down to how much work a fisher wants to put into making their day successful. Persistence is an acquired skill that needs to be worked at to achieve this but this may make or break your day out on the ice.
Spring Fishing Opportunities
Spring time is one of the few times that you are going to find fish in the shallow water and very aggressive in their feeding habits. As the water temps start to rise, panfish; crappies, sunnies and perch start moving into the shorelines and provide some fast and furious action. This is the time of year that you will have an opportunity to catch some very big panfish as well. The males are making nests in the shallows and the females follow for a short time. When this is going on, the opportunity to catch bigger fish are more abundant and the action can be very exciting. As with any of the larger sized species of fish, we all need to practice catch and release so that these fish and their young, will survive for another day and another great battling opportunity. If you are going to keep a few for a meal, keep the smaller fish and release the large females so that they can finish their spawning ritual. Enjoy this time of year but at the same time, take precautions to ensure that they are returned back into the waters for other anglers to enjoy as well….
Gearing Kids up for Ice
At this time of year, in between fall and winter, kids are not participating much in angling adventures, as the weather turns cool and wet. So to keep their enthusiasm going strong about fishing as we approach the new season of fishing when the ice returns, keep them involved in activities revolving around fishing. Many ice anglers are in the mode these days of getting their ice gear together and ready and you should involve your kids in this process as well. Let them play around some with the ice fishing rod/reel so that they can get a feel for that once again. Have them help you sort through your baits especially the micro plastics, as they will have a fun time looking and touching these. As well as the electronics, you can show and teach them some about the flasher and camera inside your home by actually having them on and explaining what they are seeing on the screen. By keeping them involved in this preparation into a new season, this will keep their enthusiasm high for another great season of fishing ahead.
Baits that are productive and easy for kids to use in their fishing expeditions are generally of the plastic bait choice. These plastic baits allow kids a wide variety of choices in shapes, designs and also colors. Many kid anglers get stuck to one specific type of plastic bait that they are confident in and know that they are going to catch fish with that particular bait. They will cast that same bait all day long and there is nothing wrong with that but if they are not getting a bite a little change in color may change the outcome. By changing the color of that bait this may trigger more bites and you are still using your favorite bait. Have a few different colors along with you and by changing these colors, this may put more fish onto your line.
Get the Ice Gear Ready
As fall fades away to winter, the open water season is coming towards an end but not quite yet. For those that are still venturing onto the open waters, there are still fish to be caught. Sure it is getting a little harder to get out there and the weather is getting cooler, but a little preparation will go a long ways in these cooler fall days. Panfish are a great choice of fish to chase as they can be found fairly easily and give a great fight. Many fishers target panfish in the winter months and why not enjoy today catching them as well. This time of year will also allow you to use your ice fishing gear and that is another point at getting ready for the ice season ahead. Take advantage of these fall days of fishing as many other fishers out there are missing out as they are waiting for the ice.
New and lighter line casts farther!
The rod/reel combo that you are fishing with probably came with 10lb line or heavier. Are you having trouble getting a long cast? Chances are the line on your reel is old and has what they call memory. This means that the line has taken the shape of the reel’s spool. Along with that, if it is old it is probably very stiff as well. This will not allow you to get the distance you are trying to achieve. When you get a chance, get some new line in the 6-8 lb test range. With the new line, you won’t have any memory and also being of a lighter weight, this will allow you to get more distance in your cast and be able to hit the spot that you are casting at.
Fall Fishing is Here
As the nights start getting cooler, and the days are getting shorter, something starts happening and the fish are reacting. As summer fades away and fall takes over, the air and water temperatures start to drop and this means that the fish are going to be putting on their feed bags. Many anglers turn to hunting at this time of year and don’t know what they are missing by not spending time out on the water. As the water temperatures drop, the fish are gorging themselves in preparation for the long winter season ahead. Other than spring, this time of year offers some opportunities to fishers at possibly catching that trophy that you have been searching for all summer. Now is the time to search shallower water looking for baitfish as they school together and these bigger fish are searching them out. This time of year also offers a time to fish big baits, as fish are looking for a good sized meal and these bigger baits offer that to them. Get out there with your big Spinnerbaits, Crankbaits, Rattle Traps, Jig/Pig and also don’t forget to throw those big Swimbaits around as well. By fishing these bigger baits, you are covering more water as these fish have a tendency to search out areas of green weeds for those higher oxygenated areas. The key to a successful day is finding those last patches of green weeds that still exist and work them and hang on to your rod. While a good percentage of fishers are out stomping the woods, take this opportunity to hit the lake and in most cases, have the whole lake to yourself and catch your biggest fish of the season....
Fall fishing can be some of the best fishing as well as some very tough fishing with the ever changing water temps and fall turnover occurring. The name of the game for a successful fall fishing trip is to cover as much water as possible. Try and locate green vegetation as this is some of the only things that are still putting fresh oxygen into the waters. Green vegetation is a fish magnet and the fish in the lakes are searching out these areas of green vegetation. By covering vast amounts of water, this will allow you to present your bait to more fish in that particular lake. Once an area is found to hold fish, then you can slow down and work that area more meticulously and hopefully catch a number of fish. These areas may have schools of fish in them since fall time the fish are doing more schooling together now as opposed to other times of the year. Get out there and enjoy the fall weather and cover water as much as you can.
If a hunter is fortunate that they have received some snow cover while they are on their hunt, this is more of a help then a hindrance. Most people look at snow cover as a nuisance that they don’t like to deal with on a daily basis but when it comes to hunting this can be a blessing. As long as the snow stays in the softer state and not frozen, this allows the hunter to stalk much more effectively since the snow will deaden their steps through the woods. Just take careful steps as there may be hidden objects under the snow that could trip you up and create a dangerous situation since you are carrying a gun. Another plus with snow cover is that this allows better tracking of the game you are seeking. You are able to determine if the tracks are fresh and if the animal is being chased or not. Also if you come across a bedding area, you can determine roughly how long before the bed was made before you came along. If there is still steam rising off of it then you had just moved the animal and they may not be far away. Don’t think of snow as a nuisance but think of it as an element to your hunt and use this to your advantage....
Share the Bounty
As many hunting seasons are underway or have finished up, this is that time of year that the fortunate can share their bounty. This time of year with the holiday seasons upon us, why not share a little of the game that we as hunters have accomplished. There maybe an extra waterfowl, upland game bird or also a package of venison that can be shared with either the less fortunate or those that are not able to participate in the act of hunting. The holiday season is about helping your fellow man out and this little gesture can and will go a long ways in doing that. Take an assessment of the bounty in the freezer in the basement and lets see if we can spare a meal or two for those that may not have a meal and spread the holiday cheer....
Fall Fish are Shallow
We are getting deep into the fall season here in New England and many anglers have put away their gear for the winter. The anglers that are still out there on the water, these anglers are the ones that are catching nice fish and numbers of fish as well. There is a surprising thing that the angler can take advantage of at this time of year and that is fishing shallow water. The waters are still somewhat warm and there are still green weeds in the shallower waters. Fish are still using these areas to feed heavily as they fatten themselves for the winter ahead. If you are fishing deep in the fall try fishing shallow as well and this may increase your chances of catching some nice fish. If they are not biting shallow, then move out deeper but don’t overlook the shallow bite.
Fish are moving
Spring is the time that the fish are engaging in their spawning rituals and as they start wrapping these up, the females will be leaving the shallow areas for some much needed rest. The males will still be found near the shorelines for a while yet while they protect the young. But the females are moving out deeper for their much needed relaxation and you are still able to catch these fish. Post spawn fishing can be some of the toughest fishing but if you intercept their migration routes, can also be some fantastic fishing. These fish leave the shallows and move out to the next feature in a given lake, be it weed lines, deep drop-offs or nearby underwater humps. Fish these areas with slower moving baits and this may entice them into biting. Pay close attention to your electronics as any little different feature will hold some of these fish. Post spawn fishing can be a tough time to fish but determination will allow you to catch some of these fish.
Since most and all hunting activities have ended unless you are still into target shooting at your local clubs, there are still a few things that need to be done to the equipment that we use before it is put away. The barrels of these guns need to be cleaned on the inside to remove the remnants of any left over gun powder. Make sure all of the moving mechanisms are in working order and well lubricated before storing. The weapon needs to be wiped down with a lubricant on the exterior to prevent rusting and may also need to re-blue the exterior metal from a rough and damp hunting season. If there is a scope mounted to your weapon take a look at that as well and make sure everything is tight and also wipe down and coat the scope housing as well. By taking some time and taking care of your weapon, this will add much more life to it as opposed to those that are put away after the hunting season without anything done to them. These weapons are very expensive and should last you a lifetime if some precautions and necessary things are done to them before being retired for the off season.
While laying in bed this early morning with the windows open I was listening to the activity outside of my window. The birds were very active this particular morning and they were singing their songs like there was no tomorrow. In the outdoors when the creatures of the wild are very active as they were this morning, this to me means only one thing, the fish are probably as active as the other creatures outside. What I mean by this is that if the birds and animals are active around you, there is a good possibility that the fish we seek are going to be active as well. If you were to go outside and hear or see no activity around you, the fish probably are going to be inactive as well. I tend to try and use this information when I have a fishing outing planned but today is not one of those days as there are other things that need to be done before I am able to hit the water. Hopefully when I wake tomorrow I will be hearing as much activity then as I do now and this will get me very excited as I head to the lake. I am always wondering if other anglers see this same situation and would be interested in hearing those stories as well.
Fishing Post Cold Front Tip
New England weather is so unpredictable and these last few days are a good example, we were 80 degrees a couple of days ago and now mid 40’s for a high. This is going to have a huge effect on the activity of the fish, with a major cold front that has just passed; these fish are going to be tougher to catch but are still catch-able. They have moved back from the shallows of the shorelines and start looking for them on the first break-lines. If they aren’t there then search the underwater points and follow these all the way to the end in your searches. Bait wise we would recommend that you down size your baits and fish them very slowly. Concentrate in the 8-14 foot depths of water as these depths are not quite as affected as the shallow water is through these post cold front conditions. Jig/pig combinations fished slowly work very well as well as any Texas rigged plastic and jig-worm combo as well. Don’t be afraid to fish very light jigs and you may want to drop down in line size to allow easier fishing of these smaller jigs. Even if the weather isn’t cooperating for us, fish still need to eat and it may take longer to get them to bite, but they are still there and with some work and finesse, you will still catch your fair share the next time that you go out on the water….
Weather on the Change
Now that Hurricane Hanna has made her exit Sunday morning, the winds have definitely picked up from her exiting. The skies are sunny and very enjoyable weather the next couple of days. But this week is going to be a roller coaster as changes are happening and it will seem as if they are changing every other day. The next day or so will be fairly stable but then a major change with storms passing through that will drop the temperatures dramatically. This definitely is going to be a factor if you are going to be out searching for fish. We are going to be heading out right after the coming cold front and should be some of the toughest fishing conditions of this early fall season. I know that I always look forward to a challenge and will be trying many different things as well. Will be concentrating heavily in deep weeds as if the fishes activity level is none existent, this is where they should be. Fall is approaching very fast and that means one thing, the dinner bell has been rung and the fish are on the hunt. Now is the start to any of the best times of the year to catch fish and there will be some big ones caught as well.
With the cost of everything sky rocketing lately this is hampering anglers from spending money on new equipment. Lately there has been somewhat a swing of products that are appearing at your favorite tackle supply store. There are companies out there that have the angler in mind when designing and manufacturing their latest products. These products as well as any other product will need to be looked at in the anglers’ hands to see if they will perform to that angler likes. Some will never make the grade but others will and at times surpass the big named companies as well. With money tight these days, the angler owes it to themselves to do a little shopping and comparing to the products that are out there and see what fits their abilities as well as budget at a given time.
Life Jacket Time
As the waters in New England are opening and anglers and families start pulling out their canoes and kayaks, now is the time to check those life jackets to make sure that they properly fit your children. Make sure that the zippers and buckles are all functional as well as verifying that the weight limitations are still being met. In Massachusetts, canoe and kayak users are required to wear their life jackets at all times through May. The waters are just coming off of ice conditions and very cold and hypothermia is still very possible if in the water for any length of time. Children should be wearing their life jackets at all times no matter what the season as it only takes a second for them to fall off of the boat into the water and if they have their life jacket on, getting them back safely into the boat is made much simpler. Every year the manufacturers come out with nicer gear and make them more comfortable for the kids to wear. Set a good example and teach your kids that wearing a life jacket is a good thing and the adults should be wearing theirs as well. Life jackets do save lives but only if they are worn so dig them out and make sure that your kids have the properly fitted life jacket so that they may enjoy their times on the water.
Getting Kids Fishing
Kids and fishing are two things that go hand in hand when talking about outdoor activities. Fishing is a fairly easy sport to introduce kids to and fairly inexpensive as well. One doesn't need any of that fancy equipment or even a boat as there are many shoreline opportunities that allow access to fishing areas. A plain hook and bobber with a worm can produce hours of entertainment as well as some artificial bait that work very well also. Most outlet stores have fishing packages that you can purchase that have all of the essential items that you would need to experience a day of fishing. Any size fish, big or small, will be a trophy in kids eyes so don't worry about finding those big fish. Biggest thing is getting a fishing rod into a kids hand and a fish on the hook and this will hook those kids to fishing for life.
Open Water Ice Fishing
There is a technique that many anglers are starting to use and they also use this in the winter months on the ice. When you are out ice fishing, you will be vertically jigging through the hole in the ice while watching your electronics to see what the fish are doing in relation to your bait. Why not apply that same technique out on the open water as well using the same electronics and then using your ice fishing rod/reel combo. When fishing in the kayak we do this a lot in the spring and fall in many ponds and lakes that you can't launch a big boat into. Setup up your electronics so it is reading straight below you and then lower your bait down to the level that the fish are using. Many ice anglers do this very thing and by adapting this to your open water as well, you will get more opportunities to using your ice gear as well.
With the warming weather of late here in New England, walking on local lakes and ponds can be a little treacherous. By this I mean, the snow has melted off of the ice and with some rain lately, making the ices surface very slick and footing a little hard to get. By taking it easy as we walk on the ice and doing more of sliding your feet as opposed to picking your feet up, this will allow you and the kids to travel safely without taking a fall. Ice is very hard and if one were to fall the wrong way on the ice, this will definitely hurt as well as possibly breaking a bone or hitting ones head. Take some cautions out there while we are still enjoying the ice season and no one wants to get hurt and by taking it easy and not running on the ice, you will be able to enjoy tomorrow again out there.
Open water is here in New England and time to get the open water gear out of storage and ready to catch some fish. Now is the time to take a look at all of your fishing reels and get them cleaned up. Cleaning all of the old grease, oil and gunk from the inside is very important as we put these reels through a great deal of punishment. Clean grease and oil will make these reels last a long time and with the cost of news ones these days, a little work and maintenance will make them go a long ways. It should only take 10 minutes or so a reel and in one evening you can have them all cleaned and lubed so that when that first open water outing comes, they will be ready. Don’t forget new line as well as the old line has been sitting all winter and has taken on spool memory and also lost some of its characteristics and may cost you a big fish.
KIDS - OutDoors - what a combo
As the ice season starts to wrap up, depending in which part of the country you are located, there will be a little lag time before open water season takes hold. During this time and to keep your kids interested in the outdoors, spend some time walking through the woods either in the many park systems that our country offers or the woods behind the house. By exploring the woods and prairies that are all around us, this gives our kids another appreciation as to what the outdoors has to offer them. By looking at animals, birds, bugs, plants and trees, there is a vast amount of curiosity as well as learning that can come from these adventures. By bringing a compass along with us this is another exercise in learning how to use tools to find our ways through the outdoors. As spring develops in all areas of the outdoors, so does new life and with that a new beginning for all that Mother Nature has to offer us. Always keep an eye on our kids while in the outdoors as these areas are vast and the little ones can get lost very quickly. By showing and telling those about the dos and don’ts of being in the outdoors this will make them a well rounded person and also a person that can appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.
Life Jacket's a Must
Now that we have entered into the fall season and here in New England we have been experiencing some very cool weather, this is cooling our favorite lakes and ponds very quickly. When going out onto your favorite waters, make sure that you are wearing your lifejacket at this time of year, the lifejacket will definitely aid in saving your life. The waters temps are dropping fast and with that hypothermia sets in as well and once this happens, it makes it very difficult for you to be able to get to shore if you happen to fall in. In Massachusetts from September 15 until middle of May, you are required by law to wear your lifejacket at all times in small craft like a canoe or kayak. Fall can be one of the best seasons to be on the water but by taking some caution while you are out there, you will be able to enjoy another trip again next time.
We were out checking lake conditions yesterday and the thaw as of late and rains as well are having a major effect on our ice conditions. With the coming rain storm tonight into tomorrow, this will end ice fishing on a number of the lakes that we fish. The top surfaces we noticed yesterday are honeycombed down about 2 inches and solid ice after that. This ice season I have never used my spud bar so much as this is becoming my most important piece of equipment that I own as of lately. I would highly recommend bringing a spud bar with you if you are going to be venturing onto any ice as the conditions are changing by the hour. The lake that we are going to fish today will be the last time for this ice season and I only have a couple of other ones that may go another week or so, pending on next weeks weather. We have been fortunate to have such a long season this year and will remember all of our outings very well, but open water is right around the corner and a whole new ballgame is in town once again.
No Ice is Safe
With the cold weather that we had not long ago, there was a skim coat of ice that had formed over the local ponds and lakes. Throw a little dusting of snow on top of it and this looks inviting to our kids. This time of year is when we really need to keep an eye on our children if you are near any type of water. The skim coat is a thin layer of ice that will not support any type of weight and caution needs to be taken if you are around the lake or pond. Talking with our kids and explaining to them that the ice out there is never safe, and they should never walk out there without a parent being with them. The weather has gotten warmer now and the rain has pretty much taken care of any ice that was out there and it will be sometime before the ice forms once again but explaining these things now prepares them for the winter season ahead.
New England's Fishing Opportunities
Fishing in New England has multiple opportunities for all anglers that want to sample the waters. We have the various freshwater ponds and lakes around the area as well as many river systems that dissect their ways through the land. Then there is the opportunity of wetting a line into the salt water’s of the ocean from either the surfside or out in a boat searching the many ledges and deep water haunts. Freshwater fish species are a wide choice and the most sought after are the large and smallmouth bass, pickerel, landlocked salmon and perch/panfish. Saltwater offers many as well from cod, striped bass, bluefish and the large tuna that swim these waters. With all of these fishing opportunities where is the angler to start in their quest, freshwater or saltwater. It really comes down to what the angler seeks is to where and how they are going to catch these fish. With all of these places and species of fish to catch, it will take a lifetime to fish these fish as well as all of the waters that are offered the angler in the New England area.
With the dog days of summer upon us in full force and the ever changing weather conditions with loads of rain, fishing can e very trying for those that are out on the water. Don’t let this time of year and these conditions affect how and where you are fishing. It comes down to the angler that can be very persistent in their search for fish and these are the anglers that are going to make the best of the current situations. By not giving up and changing between baits, you will stumble onto something that starts producing for you and makes for a very enjoyable day. Keep the persistence going and you will see what we mean.
Fishing Live Bait
Fishing with kids is a great time and especially if the fish are biting as well. One thing that really seems to draw the fish to the kid's hooks is the use of live bait. Live bait is in the form of worms or minnows and these come in a variety of sizes. Worms can be dug in the back yard and with all of the rain; the night crawlers are around in numbers as well. Minnows can be bought at the local bait shop and they offer a variety of sizes. Fishing with live bait is generally done with a hook, sinker and bobber. Worms draw panfish, sunfish, crappies and perch while minnows will draw the bigger predator fish, perch, crappies, bass and pickerel. If you want to have a fun day get yourself some of this live bait and see what the kids will catch.
Saving some Gas
With the ever rising gas prices that are affecting everyone across the nation, this is also cutting into our favorite past times. Fishing is a sport that is shared by many from young to old alike and is not gender based at all. But with the expensive gas prices that we are paying these days, many anglers are not taking to the waters as much as they use to. One thing that can be done to help conserve gas when boating on our waters is running the motor at lower RPM's instead of wide open all of the time. By bringing the throttle back halfway or more, the fuel savings is greatly enhanced as running the throttle wide open you are literally able to watch the gas gauge move in front of your eyes. It is fun to go across the water a little faster but in these days, taking your time and going slower is much easier on the pocket book. We are all feeling these pains with rising costs but don't let that stop you from enjoying a day on the water with family and friends. Slow down, take your time and get out on the water and enjoy the day.
Fall is here
The fall season is upon us in full force and the waters are cooling very quickly even with the warming sunny days, but the nights are getting very cool. This in turn activates the fish to start moving towards their fall feeding spree and some good fishing will be in store soon. Of course there will be days that you might not get a bite but then the other days that you will catch a number of very nice fish. Fish start schooling this time of year and once they are found, work the area thoroughly as one fish caught may get the rest of the school very excited. Fast moving lures, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, rattle trap style baits as well as in-line spinners are great producers this time of year. The waters are void of activity now and many times out you will have the whole lake to yourself. If you are not a hunter, get out there and enjoy some of the best fishing of the season as you may have the best trip of your life.
With many of the New England states, either in their hunting seasons already or about to enter their hunting season, one key fact to a successful hunt always comes down to the amount of practice the hunter goes through. Practicing with your weapon of choice, bow, rifle, shotgun or others for your hunting adventures, practicing and getting to know that weapon of choice is very important. By practicing you will gain a respect for that weapon, know where it is hitting after the shot, and make for a successful hunt. With good practice, making those quick shots will put a higher advantage in the hunters favor when pursuing their favorite game. If you haven’t done a lot of practice and your favorite season is approaching, go out to a legally approved area and practice shooting some rounds and get to know your weapon and make your next hunting adventure a successful one....
This is getting to be an old record lately around here in New England but we want to keep these thoughts on everyone’s mind this ice season. The ice that we had form early in the season had started out very clear and hard, but with all the snow that we have received this winter has melted and there is a layer of frozen snow/slush. Then came along the few days in the 60’s with a rain as well and what that did was melt the surface fairly well as well as open the shorelines also. Now we have received around another 12 inches of snow the other day on this weaker ice and snow/rain in a couple of days coming again. Luckily the cold weather is starting to come back but if you are venturing out to do some ice fishing, be very cautious and check the shoreline and all ice that you may walk on to making sure that it is strong enough to support you and your equipment. We have been talking about this scenario almost the whole season so far because the ice is ever changing and with the weather that we have been getting, this is not helping matters at all. Spud bar, life jacket, ropes and ice picks are standard equipment that needs to be taken along and you should not be out there without any of this equipment. Have fun and enjoy your ice outing but keep in mind that safety is number 1 and always should be and use that safety equipment and we all want to see everyone being able to fish another day.
New Ice Fishing Line
As many fishers are getting their ice gear ready for the new ice fishing season that is here or approaching, one of the key elements needs to be looked at and addressed, the fishing line on those reels. Many anglers don’t change their line at the beginning of the season and figure that what is on the reel is fine. But if you were to take a look at that line, you will notice some unwanted characteristics in the line. Since many of us are using micro spinning reels, the spools on these reels are very small and this puts very tight coils into the line and if you are using a lesser grade line, it will have memory in it and cause you problems. Also going from the cold to the heat of summer and back to the cold of winter again, the line has some degradation as well and when setting the hook there is a better possibility of breaking the line on a fish. Since the season is starting now it is a good time to load some new line onto those reels and take the possibility of breaking off on a good fish out of the equation….
A couple of weeks ago the forming ice was coming along very well and was looking like we were going to have a great ice season. We are still frozen over but have had a few storms along the way since our first ice fishing trip of this season. We have had warm days with some rain thrown in for good measures. Lately the snow storms have been really putting the snow out there with late last week giving us around 11 inches and then again on Sunday the same but throw in a long period of rain after the snow to add weight to the ice covered lakes. What has this done to our ice here in New England, we are not totally sure yet as we have not been able to venture out and check the conditions. But driving by some bodies of water the last day or so, we are seeing that the lakes are covered in snow and also that the water in areas has come on top of the snow. This is not a good sign as with the weight of the snow and rain, this may possibly be to much for the ice to support that was there and putting a strain on the ice making it possibly unsafe. The snow is firming up very hard with the cold temps the last couple of days, but the anglers really need to pay attention as to what is happening underneath that snow. If you are venturing out onto the lakes, take extreme caution as every step needs to be paid attention to so that we don’t end up going for a swim...
Drive North for Ice
Many anglers across southern New England are getting ready to switch over to open water fishing as the ice season is disappearing very quickly. But for those that are still needing a fix to get onto the ice for some fishing, driving north is still an option to wet a line through the ice. Only an hour away there has been plenty of ice once an access point is found to get on. The northern shores are opening up from the warming sun but other shores especially those that are shaded all day long, take longer to soften up and offer access points. The lake we are fishing on had 15 inches of ice the last time out there and planning a trip soon again as this may be the last ice trip of the season. Northern NH and ME as well will be offering ice fishing opportunities for a while yet as the forecast isn't showing any great warm-ups coming soon. If you wanting to get in a little more ice fishing yet, drive north and enjoy some of the best ice fishing of the year.
Controlling Crankbait Depth, with the position of your fishing rod
For most people that fish a Crankbait, they cast the bait out and retrieve it back towards them. Not totally sure as to what depth the bait is running in relation to the bottom structure that they are fishing. There is a way to regulate to a degree as to how deep or how shallow you want your Crankbait to run. It all comes down to the position that you are holding your fishing rod while retrieving your bait. The position of your fishing rod will vary the depth the Crankbait will run. Examples; at the 11:00 position the crank will run in the upper portion of the water column, at the 3:00 position it will travel at mid depth and at the 5:00 position it will run toward the lower water portion of the column. By keeping these concepts in mind, you will be able to change the depth that your Crankbait runs. By being able to do this, this will give you more opportunities at catching fish at different levels of the water column. Try this the next time you go out and you may discover something that will allow you to catch more fish.
Fish are Shallow
The ice season is gone in New England and in fact the open water has been here for quite sometime. With the nice sunny warming days as of late, the local ponds are warming quite nicely. With the warming waters about us, this will bring the fish into the shallows for their spring ritual. This time of year is a perfect time to get your kids out there fishing as the action could be non-stop. Panfish and bass are invading the shorelines and can be caught with and in a variety of ways. Enjoy a nice warm summery afternoon sitting along a pond shoreline and see for yourself. In most cases it shouldn't take to much work for getting kids into some action and watching them catch these fish is something that you will take with you for years to come.
Fall Patterns to Emerge
Summer is starting to fade away and fall will probably come in with a bang this year. This transition can make or break a fishing trip of success and adjusting to the dropping water temps, will put the odds into your favor. As the waters start to cool, fish will engage into a feeding bonanza to fatten themselves up for the long winter ahead. Baits that work well for bass are crankbaits and spinnerbaits fished along the shallows and weed flats. Covering water is a good strategy in locating active feeding fish. Once an area is found that has fish, keep working that area as generally there are more fish there that can be caught. Fish in the fall group up in search of bait and once this school is triggered into biting, cast after cast could produce a fish.
Dressing for Fall Fishing
As frost starts taking over New England, the lakes and ponds are cooling down fairly quickly now. So when you venture out onto the lake for a day of fishing, it may feel warm at home but a breeze across the waters will definitely cool you down. Fall fishing you will need to bring a few extra layers of clothes especially if it is windy out there. Nothing ruins a day on the lake than being cold and damp and this will in turn head towards developing a cold. Always bring a couple of extra layers of clothing and even if you don't wear them, at least you had them a long. Being prepared makes for an enjoyable day on the lake.
Spring and Kids
Spring time is a great time to introduce kids to the sport of fishing and usually the weather is much more acceptable to them as well. As the shallow waters start to warm and the panfish start to move towards those shallow waters, this opens up an opportunity for getting kids hooked on fishing. The shallow waters are warming quickly with the stronger sun and this brings fish there sunning and warming themselves from the long cold winter. Finding a pond or lake that has easy shoreline access for fishing shouldn’t be that hard and this is where you will need to start them fishing. Getting them setup with a rod and reel is fairly simple as many stores offer packages just for this purpose and built for kids. Get yourself some live bait, small hair jigs or micro plastics and get them rigged up with this and you are all set for a day of fishing. When that first fish is caught, you will see all of the excitement that kids have and they will want to do it again and again. If they are not biting, just keep moving along the shoreline and you will find an area that they will be. This time of year is some of the easiest times to catch fish and why not spend an afternoon introducing a kid to fishing.
Kids Fishing, Keeping it Simple
Many of us parents enjoy the outdoors and what a better way to do that is by taking your kids out into the outdoors with you. Fishing is a great family pastime and anyone can go fishing and catch fish as well. When you are out there fishing with your kids, one thing to keep in mind is that you need to keep things fairly simple for them when out fishing. By this we are talking about not going deep water bass fishing, or throwing crankbaits all day, but keeping it simple with a jig and bobber. The jig and bobber is a great combination that has caught numerous fish for every generation that fishes these waters. Plus, the jig and bobber is not one fish species specific as it will catch just about any species that is swimming in that particular lake. Fishing around some weeds or docks will always produce and keep their interest much longer as generally the panfish hang around these areas. Also, if they have their own rod/reel combination, this will also boost their enthusiasm to want to go fishing. By keeping everything simple for fishing, this will make those outings to the lake much more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Fish Moving Deep
As we found out on the last trip to the lake, the fish are starting to gather into schools and once they start doing this, then they will spend the winter months in the deeper holes of the lake. This last lake that we fished, there is only one deep hole in the whole lake and this area draws schools of panfish searching for food there. The deeper hole may have a better oxygen level than the shallower parts of the lake, but if we get a lot of snow, this will hamper where the fish will be as well. A nice feature when fishing a hole like this, is that numerous schools of fish are able to swim through there searching for bait and if an angler anchors in a spot, the schools generally will come through on a cycle that you can start watching your watch with as they come through. Having a good piece of electronics with you will help in locating these spots and they will show you at what depth's the schools of fish are coming through at. Get out there and do some exploring and see what your favorite lake has to offer you....
Ice is Fading
The ice season here in New England is coming to an abrupt end. Warming winds and rain have taken the ice to unsafe conditions and many shorelines are open water these days. This is a sure sign that spring is around the corner but also a time to make sure our young anglers are not putting themselves into danger. The ice is looking inviting to the unknown angler but what is forgotten is that the ice is very thin and will not support the weight of an angler. Keeping our young anglers away from the waters edge at this time is very important as we want them to enjoy the coming open water season. Take some precautions and keep a sharp eye out so that we all can enjoy another day on the lake.
When Will Ice Come
These cool nights and then warming windy days are really throwing some loops into an ice anglers dreams about getting out on the New England ice. Many mornings here in New England we awake to seeing a ice skim on the local ponds and then by the time that we head home from work, that ice skim is gone to start a new that night. Will probably need to travel north or west to find some good ice and haven’t heard any reports at all that there is good walking ice in the area. Last year we were blessed with a very early ice season but I know that I am hoping that we see ice by Christmas this year. There is nothing that we can do so been enjoying the open water here in December and catching some nice crappies and sunfish as well.
Now is the Time
Spring is in the air and the fish in our lakes and ponds are preparing for this time of year as well. With the warmer temps and longer days, fish are getting ready to move to their spawning areas and moms and dads can get their kids out for the late ice fishing that a waits. Fish are going to be feeding more as they are fattening themselves up for their spring ritual and we as anglers can take advantage of this. This time of year will also produce some of the biggest fish of the year and being in the right spot at the right time; will make for a memorable trip on the ice. But as the temps get warmer, this will bring along with it unstable ice, and caution needs to be taken at all times. If unsure about the ice conditions, then stay off of the ice and either look for a safer pond or lake or it may have been too late to ice fish any longer.
Get ready for big fish
Spring has come and the fish are ending their spring time activities and will be heading out to their summer haunts. It is getting to be that time that you are going to start catching some very big fish once again and then the fun of fishing is really going to kick in. Many of you like to fish with lures and catching fish on these is a lot of fun. Topwater lures are a great way to catch fish and fishing these around shoreline objects and weeds can be very fun. Not to mention that when a fish attacks your bait and the water explodes around it is some of the most exciting ways to catch a fish. As the waters get warmer the fish are going to get a lot more active and want to chase your lures. Fishing is a great time to spend with your family and see if they want to go to the lake and try their hands at finding and catching these big fish.
As most anglers are gearing up for the upcoming open water season, now is the time to pull out all of your gear and start going through it. Rods/reels need to be taken apart and lubed and oiled as well as the old line stripped off of the reels. Tackle needs to be gone through to see what is missing from your usual items that need replenishing. Also with the crankbaits, take a look at the treble hooks as there are times they are rusting and if that is the case, they need to be replaced. If you go through your stuff now, the stores are being stocked and your favorite items are all there as once the weather warms up, the shelves will definitely be picked over. As you are going through your tackle as well, that excitement of open water fishing over whelms you and gets you pumped for another great season of fishing.
One thing that a lot of ice anglers forget about checking regularly on their ice augers are the blade screws and the attachment knob from auger bit to power head.
We always carry the wrench that fits the blade screws and that allows us to tighten them as well as allowing us to change blades on the ice if need be. Only takes a minute to snug these screws up as they will typically loosen a bit after each day on the ice.
As well as the screw knob that attaches the auger bit to the power head. Just a quick turn of your fingers and that is snugged up as well. These items loosen up in every use and only takes a moment to make sure your equipment is functioning correctly.
Proper Bait Handling
Many of us use spike worms when we fish for panfish on the ice. Caring for these worms is very important for getting them to last all throughout the season. Keeping them in the fridgerator is very important and having the temperature set at 34-39 degrees is very critical.
Moisture will condence inside of your container that the worms are in and the bedding material needs to be changed weekly.
Also, going through all of the worms you will need to pick out the dead ones from the live ones so nothing spreads into the live ones reducing your worm count.
The main point is that we need to keep the moisture out of the container that the worms are in and also the moisture needs to be out of the bedding that the worms are resting in and by changing this weekly this will prolong the life of your bait.
Spool Those Reels Up
With ice season fast approaching here in New England, there is one item that often gets over looked. The ice fishing line that is on our fishing reels should be removed and replaced with fresh new line. Ice takes the toll on fishing line as the ice easily nicks and damages the line as we fight the fish to the hole. In reality, one should replace their ice fishing line a couple of times during the season and this will allow you to get a majority of your fish onto the ice instead of breaking them off. There are many lines out there to choose from, and try and get some of the line that is specifically made for fishing through the ice. By changing out your line now you will be set once we get into full gear out on the ice searching for our quarry.
You get what you pay for
The fishing industry has flooded the market with so many different items for the angler in their pursuit of catching fish. A portion of it is to catch the eye of the angler as opposed to actually catching fish. But it always comes down to one thing and that is you get what you pay for and this is about the quality of that product that you use for fishing. In particular this is very true when it comes to fishing rods and reels. There is such a wide selection of the items that it can and will boggle the anglers mind as to which is the best suited for them. It comes down to what the angler can afford and with that, buy the best quality product that you can within those boundaries. If you do any amount of time on the water, you will be rewarded with many years of use of these items if you buy the better quality of items. They work more smoothly and are built much better than the lower grade products, and this will give you a very reliable item. Stay within your means at all times but research and purchase the best items that you can and you will be much happier in the long run.
Watch your Line
Many anglers will cast their line out and wait for their bait to hit the bottom not paying attention to what the bait is doing. But, those same anglers are missing out on a number of bites and fish that could possibly be filling their creel. What we are talking about is that after casting your bait out, you really need to watch your line as the bait is progressing towards the bottom. After the initial cast take the slack out of your line and watch your line until it goes slack after it hits the bottom. There are a number of times that the fish are going to hit your bait before it hits the bottom and if you are not paying attention you are missing those fish. When a fish hits the bait, your line may jump, stop moving before hitting the bottom and actually at times, start moving a different direction then it was going. By paying attention to what your line is doing after the cast, you may and will put more fish on your hook. Set the hook as soon as you detect any of the mentioned effects and get ready to fight a battle as these fish may be a better quality fish and make you a happy angler at the end of that battle....
Watch for Holes
The ice season is in full swing and many fishers bring children with them out on the ice for a day of fishing. There is something that we may not realize with the holes that we drill into the ice for our fishing lines. Many fishers are drilling 8 to 10 inch holes and these can become traps for the children that we bring along. If the holes are not mark, covered by slush or just not visible, children and as well as adults can step into these holes and many things can happen at that point. The boot fills with icy cold water ending a day of fishing, loss of the boot under the ice, broken bones with forward body movement as well and pulled muscles from an abrupt altering body action. Nobody wants to have an accident on the ice and ruin the day, but watching and remembering where these holes are is fairly important in keeping everyone safe to enjoy a great day on the ice.
Spring Ice Deterioting
With Spring around the corner and arriving in little more than 2 weeks, for those that have ice on their waters, this is a time of year that great caution needs to be taken....As the weather turns warmer and the winds get stronger, the shorelines of our frozen lakes are going to fade away and create unsafe access to be able to ice fish.....Caution needs to be on your mind at all times at this time of year as shorelines are melting there is no need to take your life into your hands to catch these fish….If you are not able to get onto the ice easily without assistance from other objects, then just don’t go out there and wait until the lakes thaw out and you then are able to take a boat or fish from shore in the open water….This is the time of year that you do not want to go out on the ice alone and should always be going with someone so that is something does happen, there will be someone to help get out of a possibly dangerous situation…..Enjoy the late ice fishing that is out there but at the same time please don’t risk your life to catch a few fish….
Plastic Baits for Water Clarity
As the fishing season is going along there are a few things that fishers learn after every outing that we wet a line. Every body of water that is fished, the clarity and color of the water varies from lake to lake and so does the plastic bait choice as well. Some waters are clear, to somewhat clear, to murky, to almost looking like chocolate milk. As we fish these different water clarity lakes, there are a couple of things that may help a fisher catch fish or maybe more fish. When we fish clear water lakes to semi clear color, for the plastic bait choice can be smaller, thinner, have a sleek body and also not have a lot of tail action works very well. The fish are able to see the bait and the bait that was described will come through the water very slick and look as natural as possible. These baits also usually won’t have any appendages on them. When we are fishing murky to chocolate colored water, we will have a tendency to use a bigger, bulkier, more appendages on the bait, and tails that have more action. These baits will give off more vibration in the water as the fish are not able to see the bait, but are able to feel the movement of the bait through the water. These baits will move a lot of water as they come through and are easier for the fish to locate, this will allow them to locate the bait and get you more bites. So the next time that you are out fishing and after you determine the water clarity, give the previous examples a try and see if they help put more fish on your line like they do ours....
Fishing in the Heat of Summer
As many fishers are experiencing the high heat and humidity factors as they are enjoying time on the water, these times are uncomfortable to fish in but with some work and tactic changes, fish are still there willing to be caught. The water temperatures are on the rise as numerous areas the air temps are in the high 90’s and this is warming the lakes water temps very quickly. As the water temps raise, the fish move out to deeper water and also thicker weed areas to escape the sun and rising water temps. At this time, the efforts of a fisher should be concentrating on deep weed-beds and weed-lines. Finding a sweet spot in these thicker weeds can be done with good electronics and look for something different in these weed-beds, such as rocks, wood, different type of a weed or maybe clear spots in amongst the weeds. These sorts of spots will attract numerous fish and also larger ones as well as the dominant fish of a certain species will occupy these prime areas. By slowly fishing a jig or a plastic bait through these areas at different angles, one is sure to catch some very nice fish. Spend some time concentrating on these spots and fish them slowly and get a feel for what is down there and this will give you a better idea for what to look for as you are moving around the lake. By fishing these deep and thick weed-beds slowly, you will start seeing some better quality fish and you may lose some of your baits along the way, but your time and persistence is going to pay off in these hot summer days....
Fall Crankin’ Difference
As the fall season continues on and the water temps keep dropping, fishing with a Crankbait only gets better as times draws nearer to ice up. There are a couple of differences in the cranks that we throw at this time of year and may help increase your hookup success. There are fat bodied and thin bodied Crankbaits on the market and they have their place and time to be fished. The fat bodied cranks have a wide wobble that is attractive to fish in the warmer times or when fish are more aggressive. But the thin bodied cranks really shine at this time of year with a very tight wobble on the retrieve. Fish in the cold waters of fall are a little more lethargic and will react much better to the thin bodied tight wobble Crankbait and should be a part of your tackle at this time of year. This is a reason why the rattle trap will work so well in the fall and spring as well. Try a thin bodied Crankbait the next time you are out there and this may put a few extra fish into the boat for you....
Hard Water Coming
Seasons are changing quickly and many have done or are putting their summer fishing items away and getting ready for winter. Don't be unprepared when that hard water season finally comes and start getting your gear ready now. Reels should be lubed and new line put on; rods need to have their eyelets inspected for imperfections. Augers need to have their blades sharpened and also motors ran and tuned up. Batteries all need to be charged and ready so that first trip to the ice will be a fun and productive one.
The time has come
Summer is fading away very quickly lately and the nights are cooling off. As the waters start cooling, this will trigger something in the fishes brains that it is time to eat. Especially in the northern parts of the country fall brings on a feeding binge as the fish start preparing for the long winter ahead. What this means to anglers is that some of the best fishing is coming and for those that take advantage of this, big fish are caught as well. Don't put those fishing rods away quite yet and take advantage of the season that is coming.
Look to Weed Clumps
Spring is fading away and summer patterns are starting to set up for the fishes activities. The spawn has ended and either those fish are still resting from that or are moving out to their summer haunts. One location that you will find or where you can intercept them is the weed clumps first away from the shorelines. These may be in somewhat deeper water but offers these fish a place to either hide to recoup, or a place for them to take up an ambush location. Fishing these areas isn't difficult and a variety of plastic bait riggings will get the job done. Check out these clumps of weeds as it won't be long and the fish will be heading to their summer deeper haunts.
Shot Placement Success
As many hunters have entered into their hunting seasons and the time spent practicing with their weapon of choice, a successful hunt comes down to shot placement. Knowing where to place the shot for an effective and quick kill, takes some knowledge as to where to place the shot as well and making sure that the shot is do-able. Where to place the shot is in the vital areas and by looking at the animal’s anatomy through a book or on the internet, the hunter should know where the general area is for a quick kill. The other important factor is being able to get that shot placement without hitting the animal in a non-vital area. If there is not a clear shot at the vitals, or there are obstructions in the way of the shot, the shot should never be placed as this may wound the animal and may never be recovered. Being able to hit the targeted area is very critical and if the hunter is not certain that can be done, then don’t take the shot and maybe the shot will present itself again or you may have to wait for another opportunity. Passing on the shot is better than wounding an animal that may die later and never be found, which would be a waste to the ecosystem….
Post Spawn Fishing
Now that we are into June and the bass have spawned in most of our waters, fishing may be a little tough these days. These fish are in post spawn mode and are resting after their vigorous activities associated with spawning. These fish are still catchable and you may have to work a little, but there is some fantastic fishing going on out there. Start with a wide array of baits to cover the bottom, mid level of the water column and also top water baits as well. Concentrate on flats outside of the spawning grounds as well as the first breaklines towards deeper water. Points are a good area to search and with working at all of the water depths available to you, you will find them and there should be some very good quality fish caught as well. Let the fish dictate what they want and as you figure that out, the patterns will start to appear and the fish will come into the boat. This time of year the fish are transitioning from spawning to summer haunts and with a little work, you will have a productive day on the water….
Open Water Soon
Since this spring has finally come and the lakes and ponds are on their way to being open water once again, time to go through the fishing gear and get ready for another season of fishing. Many of us haven’t looked at our fishing rods and reels since last fall and now is the time to get them out and clean them up. Stripping all of the old line off and getting ready to load new line is always on the list as fishing with old line could cost you that fish of a lifetime. Also the reels need to be taken apart, cleaned and lubed as the gears and moving mechanisms need this to prolong their life and for them to work properly. Rods need to be looked at for nicks and possible areas that are potential for breakage and the eyes definitely need to be looked at and replaced if they are worn out. By going through our equipment and making sure everything is clean and in working order, then when that day comes that we are on open water, we know that our equipment is going to function the way it is suppose to and this doesn't cost us that fish that we have been waiting all winter for.
Summer Fishing Patterns Emerging
Many parts of the country are now experiencing the heat that summer brings and are also seeing that the fish are reacting to this as well. As the water temps rise to much higher temperatures that we have been experiencing, this is forcing the fish into their summer patterns. There are still going to be fish that stay in the shallow waters of the shorelines, but the better quality fish are going to be in deeper water. Summer time is early morning and late evening top water action at its finest. Start and end your fishing day trying this type of fishing and you may be surprised at what you are catching. But, we are spending most of our time out in deeper water and searching these depths for some quality fish. Deep weed flats and deep weedlines are being used constantly by these fish and by working these areas very thoroughly, the quality of your catches may increase dramatically. The key point that I look for is a good concentration of green weeds and any sort of object in those weeds, rocks, wood, and open sand spots are attractants to the bigger fish in these areas. With good electronics and sensitive fishing rods, you are able to see and feel what the bottom substance is that you are bring your baits through. By working these areas with a wide array of baits, Carolina rig, jig/pig, jig worm, crankbaits, Spinnerbait, drop shot rigs, and anything else that you use to fish these deep weeds, your diligence and determination will be rewarding to you at the end of your day. As the temperatures soar higher day after day, these is no need to stop fishing, just concentrate your efforts in deeper water and this may open up a whole new sort of fishing for you and areas that you have never dreamed of fishing before....
Leaves are Changing as Well as the Fish
The summer season is slowly coming to an end and that means fall fishing is around the corner. With the coming of fall, this will get the fish back into a feeding mode as they prepare for the coming winter. What this means to you the angler, is that we are approaching some of the best fishing of the year. As many anglers start putting their gear away, keep yours out and get out there and fish as you may catch that trophy of your lifetime.
Fall Time for Kids Fishing
Fall is one of those prime times that make a fun day to have the kids out on the water chasing a few fish. The pleasure boaters have left to put their boats away for the year and this leaves our favorite waters void of much activity. Fall is also the time of year that kids may catch a trophy of their lifetime as the fish are on a feeding binge getting ready for the long winter ahead. Picking a nice sunny day makes for an enjoyable time to be out on the water with the kids and also is much more comfortable for them as well. You may have to search a little to find the active fish but once they are found there usually is good numbers of them as the fish are in the schooling mode this time of year. Why not take the kids out on the water and enjoy a pleasant day basking in the sun, talking while enjoying each others company and catching some good fish.
Spring is here and Ticks as well
Spring has finally arrived in the New England area and with that spring type pests come along with that. One that you may have noticed as of late would be the tick, Wood Tick and Deer Tick. Now that we are over 40 degrees these little critters are coming out in full force and be cautious of them and check yourself after coming in from the field. Another area that they can be found is in the yard, so by keeping the grass cut is a way to keep them under some control. Check your kids and pets every night and by taking these little precautions will let you enjoy being in the outdoors….
Summer Cold Fronts
Summer's heat comes in and hangs around for quite sometime until a refreshing cold front pushes through. Cold fronts give humans a much needed break from hot, steamy summer weather but it also has an affect on fish in our lakes. Fish in the summer are out in their deeper haunts and actively feeding until a cold front comes through. What they do then is move into the weeds and waits out the conditions until they improve and then go back out about their business. An angler can still catch these fish but needs to slow down their presentation as well as down sizing the baits they use. By slowing down and go smaller, these cold front fish can still be caught and a day on the water will still productive.
Start Moving Out
As summer is fast approaching, this means that the fish for the most part have finished their spring spawn season. The fish are going to start moving out towards deeper water as the temps are rising and their comfort zones are in a little deeper water. A good place to start the search for these fish is on the inside weed line. As you are leaving the shore and heading out, watch your electronics and also over the side of the boat and you will come to the shallow side of the weed line. Fish are going to position themselves here in ambush for an easy meal as the panfish are moving around in this type of an area in the warming waters. Finding any type of an irregular feature or piece of structure along this inside line is an extra bonus as these areas attract fish and usually better quality fish at that. Fish may not be out in the deep water quite yet but give this inside weed line a try and this may surprise you.
Kids Safety Courses
As we involve more and more of our youth into the outdoors and the equipment that comes along with those activities, we as parents need to keep in mind that our kids need the proper training at home as well as from outside sources. Many states offer safety courses in the areas of hunting, boating, atv, snowmobile, fishing as well as other areas. We owe it to our children to get them involved in these training courses so that they have a clear understanding as to how to act and operate in the proper way. These courses fill fairly quickly so make sure to continue checking the schedule and when you find a course that works with your schedule get your kids signed up for that. We here at BWS OutDoors try our best to keep the "OutDoors for Kids" page as current as possible and list the upcoming courses in their respective states. Our children are the future of where the outdoors is going to go and with the proper training and hands on experience, this will keep them safe, others safe and make for a very enjoyable outing into the outdoors.
As our winter ice season is getting towards the end and the days are starting to warm, late ice is right around the corner. What this means is that the fish’s activity is going to start picking up as their feeding habits are going to start increasing with the longer days of light. As well the fish are going to be getting into a mode for the upcoming spawn that will be happening and this will increase their appetites as well which means hungry fish look for bait. Many of our locations that we have been catching fish in are in deep water up to 20 feet and as the spring approaches this may change to a shallower bite. With the snow melting away from the ice and the sun’s rays getting through, the weed growth will start once again and start supplying that fresh oxygen that the fish haven’t had much of lately. But adding shallower water to your hole drilling, this may increase your odds of catching fish and the sunfish especially will be moving up soon. These are great areas to take your kids to as they won’t have to deal with the deep water and having a lot of line down the hole. Putting kids onto active fish is the best way to get them hooked on fishing and this makes for a great day on the ice. Spring is around the corner and open water follows as well, but the best times for ice fishing are still coming so be prepared and enjoy these waning days of this winters ice season.
Fishing and Weather
Much of the country is going through a number of these weird weather patterns and this may be causing the angler a little grief. With weather condition swings, from lots of rain to drought conditions, from cold temps to severely hot weather this will and does affect the angler consistently. But does this affect the fish that we seek as well? Chances are that it does and an angler will need to adjust their game plan when hitting the water in these changing conditions. By change we are looking at fishing all of the water column depths until those fish are found, shallow shoreline water to outside weed lines to the depths of deep water that is available. With some searching the angler will definitely start seeing the pattern that fish are using under certain conditions. Bait wise as well you will want to keep changing until the baits start coming productive and the fish again will let you know what they are looking for. By playing around with the water depths, bait choices and times of the day, fishing can still be productive in these ever changing conditions.
Check those knots
As many anglers get caught up in the moment of catching fish after fish, they forget about checking an integral part, line above the knot. As each fish is caught, their teeth rub on the line at some point. If the line is not checked often, there is a good chance of losing a fish of a lifetime as the line snaps on the hookset. Take those extra few seconds and check the line above the hook and you will be much happier when you have that fish in your hands.
As many hunters head into the woods these days in search of their favorite quarry they seek, one word should always come to mind is safety. Safety can not be talked about enough as one that is carrying a gun in the field; a hunter needs to be aware of everything that surrounds them. As we seek the game we hunt, our sense of hearing comes into play as we are continuously listening for any clue as to what the targeted game is doing. This is where the word safety comes into play the most as we hear that twig snap or the rustle of leaves; make sure of what is making that noise long before the idea of pulling the trigger comes into play. In the same breath, also make sure of what is behind your targeted shot, so that something dramatic doesn’t happen after pulling the trigger. Enjoy being in the woods hunting and seeking the game of your choice but at the same time, take a few precautions so that you and another hunter can have another day in the woods....
Vacationing and Fishing
Many families, mine included, are out there traveling across the United States and enjoying the countryside while on their vacation. Many of us fish regularly in our home areas but don't think of doing that when they are on vacation. What a better opportunity to introduce your family to different types of fishing that you may never be able to experience in your home area. Recently we were down in Virginia camping on the Chesapeake Bay area and the saltwater fishing opportunities were right outside our door. We didn't experience any rod/reel fishing but spent a lot of our time crabbing from the piers. Crabbing is something that we had never experienced and even my 6 year old and also daughter really enjoyed trying their hands at this. If we wouldn't have tried the crabbing while we were there, none of us would have been able to experience a different way to fish. This is a prime example as to getting out there and enjoying what the local outdoor area has to offer you and this will also broaden your angling experiences.
Fish Transitioning into Summer Patterns
Summer is in full swing these days and the fish are starting to get into their usual summer haunts. It has taken quite sometime this year to finally get to this point, but I think we are finally there. If you are a deep water angler these fish have moved there and start trying some of your favorite spots. Weedlines adjacent to deep water is a good place to start as the bigger fish are using these areas as ambush spots. Baits of choice are crankbaits and this is allowing you to cover vast amounts of water searching for active fish. Once these fish are found you can slow down your presentation and baits and work these areas more thoroughly. Deep water can yield some big fish and give it a try if you haven't already.
Cover water for Fish
Now that spring is in full swing and the waters are still fairly cold, finding active fish can be a challenge. One technique that helps locate and catch fish is covering as much water as possible in a short period of time. Especially when fishing for bass we will be looking for active fish as opposed to working fish into biting. One lure that works fairly well in covering water and catching these fish is a lipless crankbait. There are many companies that produce these and find one that you feel will work for you. These baits you can cast a long ways out and are great for covering shallow water as well as deeper water also. Number one areas that these produce very well are shallower flats that have weeds on them. Cast the bait out and reel it back towards you while trying to knick the tops of the weeds coming back. If it gets stuck on a weed, rip it free and a number of times this is when the fish is going to hit. Try this out the next time you are looking for bass and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Fall Brings Fish to Shore
The fall season is upon us now and this is cooling the waters that we fish. In turn, the fish are going to start their trends of heavy feeding as they prepare themselves for the winter season ahead. In this preparation, fish start migrating towards the shorelines looking for prey. Fall time has many creatures heading to the shorelines, frogs in particular. Frogs start their migration back to the shallow mud bottom lakes and ponds for their yearly hibernation. Fish know that these tasty morsels are on their way to do this. The fish will start positioning themselves in prime locations to intercept the frogs and other prey as they enter the waters. Fishing this time of the year should involve some topwater frog baits or any sort of topwater lure to seek out these waiting fish.
Careful in Boat
As more and more families are taking to the waters these summer days, families are enjoying fishing together as well. Many times there are numbers of people in the boat and when it comes time to go fishing it can and will be a little crowded. Fishing with kids is a thrill but when fishing in a boat with others, they need to be reminded to watch their fishing rod and baits when casting. By having them turn their head and watch their bait behind them at all times as well as the rod itself, this will save the situation of somebody getting hooked or possibly hurt. By teaching them this early in their angling career, this will build a conscience angler that will follow them through their adult life as well.
Finally the weather in New England has become stable with bluebird skies, bright sunshine and light winds. These conditions have not been around here in quite sometime and are a welcome to our wet and cool climate of late. With the weather being stable this should benefit the fish's activity as well as the anglers catch ratio should be going up. We are into the late summer time and heading to early fall patterns so looking for fish in deep water should be a part of the days game plan. There will be fish still shallow especially early and late in the day and should not be over looked, but the deep water structure is still going to be holding fish. Water temps are still warm but losing their temperature quickly as the evenings are cooling down and this will start getting the fish into their fall feeding frenzy.
Stay Clear of the Ice
This winter season started quickly but the unseasonable warm weather and rainy conditions are ruining any ice that was out there. Ice is never safe but this time of year here in Northern MA, conditions have deteriated to having to start the whole freezing of the ice from the start. There will be plenty of time once the cold settles in and stays, but at this point stay clear of any and all ice out there. Warming weather and rains again coming towards the end of this week will take away more of the little ice that is out there. Best thing is to stay clear of all ice.
Dead Sticking Panfish
As the winter months are progressing further along here that is bringing along high pressure days more frequently. This in turn makes the fish a little tougher to catch as the bites are more finicky and also very light hitting the baits that we offer them. Until we start seeing the spring thaw anglers are going to have to work a little harder to being able to put fish on the ice but we are starting to see a technique that is starting to pay off on these high pressure days. What we are talking about is dead sticking which is just like it sounds. Instead of giving any type of action to the bait, just leave the bait sit there motionless and this is attracting fish. Once you notice that the fish are hovering around your bait then you may want to put a very minimal action to it and usually one of those fish is going to grab the bait. Then there are times that just letting it sit there they will attack it as well. Play around with this technique and see what you can get to work for you and this may help you put some fish on the ice when others either are having a tough day or not getting bit at all. Adjusting your fishing methods to what the conditions are is what is going to make a mediocre day into a fruitful day.
Ice fishing rod frozen eyelets
Many of us ice anglers are fishing in some cold climates and our equipment is feeling the effects. One thing that if you fish outside a lot is you need to keep your ice rod eyelets clear and free of ice. Every time that you reel in your line, water comes along and goes through the eyelets and freezes instantly when water meets the metal. The line needs to flow freely and if there is ice build up in the eyes, that will restrict line movement and can also damage or break upon setting the hook into a fish. As you are feeding line down the hole, that is a good time to pop all of the ice out of the eyes. Keep the eyes free of ice and this will allow you to keep reeling in those fish.
Match the Hatch
Spring is the time of year that we need to concentrate on what the fish want and what they are showing us in their feeding choices or habits. The creatures that fish are feeding on these days are small and this is what the angler needs to offer these fish in their bait presentations. This is called “matching the hatch” and it is exactly what it sounds like. The baits we present need to be of the same size and to a point same color as the forage the fish are feeding on. By doing this, we are increasing our odds in catching fish when other anglers are not. This spring has been a cool and wet one as well and by offering similar sized baits, or even smaller baits will put the favor in our presentations. Try “matching the hatch” as best you can and you may surprise yourself and have a very productive day versus the other anglers that are fishing right next to you.
Check your Ice fishing Line
Ice season has been going for a while now here in New England and many are catching some very nice fish. But there are also some nice ones being lost as well. One cause for these lost fish may be line damage from rubbing on the bottom of our ice holes. The bottom of the ice holes has a sharp edge that wears heavily on the line especially when fighting a fish. It would be good practice to start routinely check your line for nicks and abrasions especially the few feet above the hook. By doing this check every now and then, this may put a few more fish on the ice for you.
As the ice season is finally getting close and into full swing, KIDS should be ready to start wetting a line through the ice. Taking KIDS out on the ice can be a great time for them as it may be a new experience for many of them; it is a different type of fishing. For KIDS, Panfish consisting of gills, crappies and perch are the game of choice and will provide the best action to keep their attention. The nice thing is that if you don’t get a bite within 10 minutes, chances are the fish are not in that area and you will need to move. You don’t need to move far but keep moving from hole to hole, this will increase your chances of catching Panfish. Another thing for keeping KIDS attention and catching fish, KIDS can keep changing their baits from grubs to minnows and also now the evolution of plastics. By changing up on the baits, this will give those fish something different to look at and also having different baits on different lines, they will see which baits are producing better. By moving around and letting the KIDS change their baits as they are fishing, this will make better fisher KIDS as well enjoy being out on the ice. Moving and changing is the name of the game for icing some Panfish and KIDS, you will have a more enjoyable time as opposed to staring down the same hole.
Going Deep for Fish
The fall season is upon us and the fish are into their feeding frenzy fattening themselves for the long winter ahead. One way to locate these fish in the deeper waters is to vertical jig a bait while you are watching your electronics. By using a electronic flasher you are able to watch your bait below you and also this gives you an idea as to what the fish are doing down there in relation to your bait. By taking the boat and moving around different locations and structure, you can key in on the fish and see what they are doing down there. This type of fishing is the same thing that we do when we are ice fishing so why not apply this to your open water fishing as well. Electronic graphs are a little tougher to watch your baits but the flashers are instantaneous and real time. Take advantage of this fall time fishing and you never know, that trophy of a lifetime.
When most deer hunters are in the woods hunting their favorite quarry the way to hunt for deer the most often is from a tree stand. Many either build a stand or buy one that straps onto the tree to give them a perch above the ground allowing them to see the game as it is coming through the woods or fields. As we are climbing into these stands we always need to think about the safety factor as we climb the tree. Those tree steps that are screwed into the trees can and will be slippery especially on those cold frosty mornings. There maybe frost on the ground as well that clings to the underside of your boot and this makes every step up a slippery one as well. There are many stories that we hear about fellow hunters falling out of the tree stand and always make sure that you have a safety strap on and attached properly to you and the tree. One of these falls out of a tree could end your hunting career and takes away from your experiences of being in the field. Make sure that the stands are fixed rigidly and securely, make sure the safety straps are as well and always use common sense whenever you are off of the ground as one mistake that could have been prevented will ruin a good day in the woods.