8-11-13 – Bowfin Blast On Lake Champlain

It was one of those days to try something new. I fished with a buddy from work with intentions of targeting bowfin and pike. We weren’t on the water until about 7:30 but it was going to be a nice day. Temps were in the mid 70’s, no clouds were suppose to be present until later in the day, and  a south wind in the single digits. Although the wind forecast was slightly off, it was a great day to be out.

As soon as we launched the boat, we got right to catching bait. We picked up several perch and bluegills in a few minutes and motored to the first and only spot that we ended up targeting bowfin in. Watching the fish boil as we crept in because of the shallow water  tempted our patients. With our rods already rigged up we started cutting our bait into chunks.

Within our first few casts we both hooked up. We were fishing in 3-5′ of water with 3′ of line under our bobbers. It didn’t seem to matter what section of a fish we used. Sometimes they prefer the head while others they want the tail. With the bite that was going on, we were trying to conserve the few baitfish that we had so we cut them into thirds. Fish after fish, we keyed in on a sweet spot. Most casts resulted in a take after only a few seconds.

Usually one of the biggest problems with these fish is getting a hook into them because of their bony mouth. Today we planned on testing circle and treble hooks. To start the day, we both fished circle hooks with great success. Later on, my buddy switched over to trebles with equal success. Although we weren’t able to figure out which one worked better, the biggest factor in a hook up seemed to be the sequence of events leading up to striking. Our theory today was that after letting the fish run for a bit if you reeled up your slack and the fish felt you, you missed because it would spit it. If your timing was right and the hook was set with a foot or so of slack, hook ups were far greater. For me, when I felt I was nearing the end of my slack, I would stick my arm way out to try to get the maximum stoke on my set.

Our hot streak for bowfin ended shortly after noon so we decided to go after pike. We target the 10-12 foot contour which we figured would be the hot zone and would also allow us to pick up some bass. After a few hours of slow fishing, we gave up our quest for toothy fish and focused on panfish around the docks. We fished until just before dark and were content with the quality and quantity of fish that we put in the boat!

Check out Bowfin Blast On Lake Champlain on our YouTube page for more action!

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8-4-13 – Doesn’t Matter If They Are Blacks Or Whites

With the recent addition of my son Henry to the world, my fishing time has been drastically cut back.  I have been fortunate enough to get out on the water a few times and this time in particular with my brother in law.  We met up for an afternoon of crappie fishing on Lake Champlain. With partly cloudy skies and a chance of some rain,  he picked my up at the launch and we headed for one of his spots.

The introduction of side and down imagining to the fishing world has had a major impact on how my brother in law catches and searches for fish.  In just a few months time, he has been able to locate hundreds of sunken trees, brush piles and ship wrecks that are currently holding fish.  He asked me what I wanted to catch, Whites or blacks, “it’s doesn’t matter to me” I responded.  We stopped first at a spot in a little bit deeper water, around 16 feet, that had producing good numbers of whites.  It didn’t take long once we marked our tree to get into the fish.  I was using the new paddle tail from Lake Fork Trophy Lures.  We used two different presentations depending our our angle to the structure.  As we were right over the top we would vertical jig the water column, starting high and working our way down.  As we drifted a little off of the structure we would use a pendulum approach, casting past the structure and just letting the bait swing along side ever so slightly popping the jig back to the boat.  The approach really let the new bait shine.  The action of the new paddle tail combined with the action of the swim slots of the Live Baby Shad body made it irresistible to fish suspending in the structure.

We would fish a spot for a half hour or so and then move on.  My brother in law started his fishing career doing a lot of bass fishing.  I learned that using this type of approach for crappie (run and gun) was very effective for staying on a consistent bite.  You weren’t there long enough to condition the fish to your bait, constantly presenting your bait to new fish.  The other thing I noticed is that this approach also gave you a much better average fish, we put fish in the boat the whole day that averaged 11-12 inches.  The day ended with us putting well over a hundred crappie, both blacks and whites in the boat and all fish swam to see another day.

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8-4-13 – Early Morning Success

I hit the water this morning with a few buddies. We were on the water for sunrise and planned to only stay a few hours due to prior commitments. With the water flows in our favor and some nice weather up until about noon, it couldn’t get any better. That is until we put some fish in the boat!

For a short while, the bite was slow. Part of the problem with the spots that we fish are that the fish don’t hold in them over night so the mornings tend to take time to be productive. Each trip, a chunk of time is spent trying to locate them coming from their staging areas. Once the sun hits the top of the trees, locating fish is usually not an issue though.

Finally, on this trip, we had some success! The fish that we found were coming from a large hole through a gradual sand rise funneling to their daytime haunts. Though this path might not be the one they use every time, it certainly was today! Dragging 3/8 – 1/2 ounce jigs tipped with half crawlers was the ticket. With no significant flow, the trolling motor was set at 15%. This speed seemed to provide us the most production until we could see the sun.

Over the next few hours, we targeted several log jams in 11-16 FOW. The majority of the fish we caught were rockbass, perch, and smallmouth bass with walleye coming in closely just behind. While none of the fish were over the slot, all three of us took home a few eaters. My grandfather sure will be happy when he gets this delivery!

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7-31-13 – Beginner’s Luck

My girlfriend and I were finally able to line up a free day that we could go chase white crappie on Lake Champlain. Although we fish together regularly, making the two hour one way trip takes a good portion of a day. One of the big motivators for us to get down there was that she had never caught a white crappie before!

We were on the water at 4:30 am and it didn’t take us long to find fish. The very first fish that came into the boat was both her first white and the largest one we saw for the day. The fish was over 14″ and thick!I wish we would have taken measurements and a weight. Not everyone marks their first white as a dandy! In past trips, I have taught her how to lift fish in the boat. When I saw her jacking this one up, I was freaking out! Luckily, the fish made it in safely and we got to take a few pictures before the release.

The rest of the day we spent looking for new spots and picking at the fish as we went. We found several new spots that held quality fish but as the day wore on the bite slowed up. We putted around a bunch more looking for new spots using side imaging. It’s amazing what you can find if you really look. There sure is a lot more than meets the eye!

By the end of the day, we kept a mess of eaters and released a bunch of big breeders. Looks like I will have a hard time taking a solo drip now!

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7-30-13 – Rough Road Bass Fishing

My girlfriend and I convinced her sister to come out with us for the day to paddle around a remote pond while we fished. The weather was going to be nice and what better way to spend it than on the water!

We made the drive in, taking our time because the road has deteriorated quite a bit since last year. After about 30 minutes of being in 4-wheel drive, we arrived to our destination. The only thing left to do was unload the kayaks and make the 100 yard portage to the water. After shoving off and loading up the dog, we were ready!

As we started to work around the pond, we found that the fish were not like they have been in the past. While still relating to wood and grass but the numbers seemed fewer. This pond was unfortunately stocked by someone who though bass were better than wild brook trout several years back. Since then, the bass have stunted, and from what I can tell, steadily decreased in overall size. On a plus side, you can usual fish for a few hours and catch well over 50 bass!

Because of the size of the bass, using the standard 5″ rubber worm makes hooking up difficult.  To counteract this, I either buy 3″ worms or break a 5″ worm in half. Rigging weedless is ideal because of all the weeds and timber but most bites come within the first few seconds of free fall so in most cases, the weedless rigging isn’t needed.

After a few hours of paddling, we were all ready to head back to our home base and have some well deserved lunch.

Check out Rough Road Bass Fishing on our YouTube page for more action!

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7-28-13 – Foggy Morning Walleye

We got on the water at 5 am.  We have been keeping track of the water flows recently, trying to align a day where we could get on the water early when there would be some slack above the dam. Finally the day came!

The morning started off cool and foggy with no breeze. As we started fishing, things got off to a slow but fast start. Before even boating our first fish we burned through a tub of crawlers. Although we were getting a lot of bites, none were good enough for us to bury a jig. As the tub quickly dwindled, the first fish came aboard. It was as we expected, a rockbass. As we put a few more rockbass in the boat, we began moving around trying to locate where the walleye were holding up.

The fog was thick and as the sun got a little warmer the walleye turned on. They were located very tight to woody debris in 12-14′ of water. They were relating to brush and smaller timber more than the large logs which usually changes as mid day approaches. Vertical jigging with 1/2 ounce jigs was the only way that we can pull these fish out from the trees without snagging constantly. Although, we did burn through our fair share of jigs!

The hot color for the day seemed to be chartreuse yellow and pink. The one big thing that we were able to confirm was that today the walleye wanted whole crawlers rather than the standard half that we usually offer.

Check out Early Morning Walleye on our YouTube page for more action!

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