FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE
There’s no telling how many times I’ve sat in my boat after dark or before daybreak trying to find a bait in a locker or spooling new line. All the while I’d be holding a Maglite in my mouth or trying to adjust a headlamp where I need the light.
Five or six years ago Guido Hibdon won a tournament at Lake Eufaula by sitting in one spot and casting crankbaits and soft plastics over and over again to a point that had a couple of big rocks off its end.
Pro Tips Weekly with Ish Monroe
Everybody has his own ideas about the best baits and approaches for bedding bass, but I’ve had the best luck using the 7-inch Mizmo Ish Tube for fish that weigh more than 5 pounds.
When the weather gets really cold, you start experiencing equipment failure and the effects of freezing temperatures. One of the best things you can carry with you on a winter fishing trip is a can of silicone spray. There are all sorts of products made for fishing line, but silicone will get the job done just as well as anything. In icy conditions, especially, you want to spray your line on the spool and your fishing guides fairly often so they don’t ice up as bad. Another thing you want to do is leave your braided line at home in really cold weather. It doesn’t cast very well when it soaks up water and freezes and loses a lot of its sensitivity. I go back to fluorocarbon, or even monofilament. Spraying it with silicone also helps it stay a little more limber so it doesn’t stiffen up so bad in the cold.
Although you couldn’t tell it by the weather up north, bass are moving toward their spawning areas in a lot of Southern lakes. In south Florida, where the FLW tournament season is set to begin in about a week, they’re already spawning. Though there are certain rules that apply to fishing the spawn, I’ve developed an approach that has helped me catch fish when other things have failed.
A Pitch for Winter Spoons
Brush Pile Basics
December and January are the two months when anglers really start preparing for the coming season, whether it’s firming up sponsorships, planning tournament schedules or restocking baits and equipment. This is also the time of year when a lot of anglers plant cover in the lake or the lakes where they fish so they’ll be productive the following year.
The umbrella rig sort of follows its own script on Lake of the Ozarks and some other highland reservoirs. While it’s a good producer on other lakes in warm weather, we don’t catch bass on umbrella rigs around here in the summer. Instead, the bass will get on them starting in late fall and continue on until the spawn next spring.
A strong, gusting wind can really have a negative effect on fishing. If you’re sight-fishing, fishing drop-shots or fishing targets in clear water that you need to see, wind definitely works against you. It affects the action of a lure, your ability to feel the bait and how you present it.
For some reason, this time of year smallmouths like to hang around objects in the water, whether it’s just a small feature or something as big as a car. They’ll still move around, but it’s like they move from rock pile to rock pile – or whatever – instead of just swimming around aimlessly. So you’re target-casting at objects that are likely to be holding fish.
I jumped on the big-spoon bandwagon and got some just in time to be in on the tail end of the prime-time season for them. It seems to me that it’s another one of those typical niche-type deals where it’s a heck of a bait when they’re on it, but not so much at other times.
In late summer, one fishing pattern is to flip and pitch jigs or soft plastics, or to fish frogs, in matted grass where bass are hunting for bluegills and minnows to eat. When does this pattern stop?
Fall weather can provide some of the best fishing of the year. Lakes are usually not as crowded because the water gets too cool for some water sports, and a lot of guys give up fishing temporarily for deer hunting.
First, I slide the keeper down the shank and away from the eye about 1/8 inch from its original position. Then I place the hook in a fly-tying vice and use either black or red thread to lash around the base of the keeper.
Fishermen are starting to catch on to the importance of profile when using buzzbaits, especially in the fall when the fish are more particular. When you’re fishing a buzzbait and the fish either miss it or just swirl at it, usually it’s a speed thing or the profile in the water isn’t right. They’re keying on something, and you’ve got to figure it out.
We’re still not done with summer yet, but the season is changing and putting the fish closer to the bank again. My three go-to baits for this time of year are a Brian’s Bee, a small Yamamoto buzzbait rigged with a Zoom Horny Toad instead of a skirt and a Yamamoto Chikara 100 square-bill.
A lot of the guys in the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray caught fish by skipping buzzbaits under docks. A buzzbait isn’t a lure that you would normally associate with skipping docks, but you can’t argue with success. The only rule is that the flatter the bait, the better you can skip it – like a flat rock skips better than a round one.
A lot of anglers equate smallmouths with rock and gravel bottoms in the summer, but they shouldn’t overlook weeds. Depending on the time of year and available forage, smallmouths will feed in vegetation just as heavily as largemouths.
First, if the school you’ve marked in a certain place – say, a long underwater bar or stretch of vertical ledge – isn’t there next time, the fish are likely to be somewhere in the range of maybe 50 yards in any direction from where you waypointed them in the first place. You idle around using your StructureScan until you relocate them, then make a few casts and try to get them fired up.
It’s July, and time to deal with some of the hottest weather of the year. Whenever surface temperatures start bumping the upper 80s, it can make fishing tough. Unless I’m fishing a lake where ledge fishing is about the only game in town, I look for the thickest cover I can find, wherever I can find it.
There’s a topwater bite all summer somewhere on the lake you fish; it’s just a matter of finding it. There might not be enough topwater fish to win a tournament, but it’s a lot of fun, especially if you’re just out fishing for the heck of it. Topwater fishing in the summer is all about the baitfish.
Go Subtle for Pressured Ledge Bass
What I use to fish a ledge usually depends on the time of the year and my judgment on how much the bass have been pounded.