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Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/26/21 5:57 a.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) :

I agree that it looks like a smallmouth. Nice fish. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
11/26/21 6:21 a.m.

Ack! You're right. The funny thing is my 7 year old identified it correctly.

it put up a nice fight it was a fun fish!

mtn
mtn MegaDork
11/26/21 11:11 a.m.
dculberson said:

Ack! You're right. The funny thing is my 7 year old identified it correctly.

it put up a nice fight it was a fun fish!

Pound for pound, smallies outfight largemouth by quite a large margin. I think they're more fun to catch, but where I am there are far more smallies than largemouth. 
 

You're probably just north of the smallmouth/largemouth line I just made up in my head. You'll find both in most of the eastern half of the US, but generally the farther north you go, the smallmouth will be more common. This is obviously not a rule - I've fished a lake in Canada that seemed to be nothing but turtles and largemouth, and the record Smallmouth was in Tennessee and you'll find them in Texas and Alabama - but generally speaking, the colder and larger the body of water, the more likely it is to be a smallmouth fishery than a largemouth fishery. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
12/6/21 10:24 a.m.

We checked out a new fishing spot yesterday, and I totally failed by not taking any pics. It's the quarry pond part of a new-ish (2016) metro park in town called Scioto Grove Metro Park. It's a really beautiful park with some really varied terrain and cool features. There's an archery range, disc golf course, canoe/kayak river access (2.5 miles of river front in the park!), a long thin mature forest nature trail along the river, etc. The south end of the park used to be a quarry and the quarry pond is open for fishing. We did some back country hiking to get to the far side of the pond (no idea if we were supposed to do that) and found a complete buck skeleton in the woods. It had been there for a while, most of the skeleton was completely cleaned and white. I don't think he was poached as nothing was missing and he had a malformed antler that I think was a sign of an illness or something. The kids had a lot of fun identifying portions of the skeleton.

On the fishing, the water was insanely clear. I could see 10' down if the sun was right. My 7 year old caught the most languid bluegill I've ever seen - I guess 45 degrees isn't quite warm enough for them to put up much of a fight. He was a good size, though, and swam right back to the cover she was fishing near. Just slowly and deliberately. I saw three of the most frustrating bass go after and even nibble on my lures - the nibble came from a beautiful small mouth bass that all four of us got a good look at - but I think they were too cold to go for it with gusto. Maybe I was retrieving too quickly? Anyway, I got skunked but multiple times saw nice fish chasing my lure. Which meant I was hooked and just couldn't leave. It was a beautiful setting, though, and there are far worse ways to spend a nice late fall afternoon.

And of course when we were done and I tossed my 7 year old's worm in the water a largemouth bass came out of cover and ate it and swam away. Thanks, buddy.

Edit: I forgot to mention that, it being a quarry pond, it was of course quite deep. Being about 45 degrees and even colder in the water, the fish were way down. I found it helped to cast my lure then give it a count of 5 or 10 before starting to retrieve it. Is that a thing people do? It never touched bottom and I saw the fish chasing it so it seemed like a thing to do.

JStrobel80
JStrobel80 New Reader
12/6/21 10:57 a.m.

In reply to dculberson :

So, this time of year Bass in particular have really slowed down and are trying move less, eat more for the winter. They have also moved deeper to finder warmer water as the top layer has cooled off. The biggest thing to remember while bass fishing using artificial lures is...what are you trying to mimick? As in, whats the plan. If you're using a worm, its more of a structure based lure, as in a brush pile, deck piling etc. Cast at your target, let it sink through the strike zone, real it in and try again.  A worm doesnt swim like a snake or dart around like a fish, youd use a different lure for that type of reaction. When the natural slow method doesnt work, you can search for a "reaction" bite. Generally something a little heavier that will pass through the strike zone fairly quickly where they wont have time to think, its "Im hungry, do I eat it or not" as it passes by. That strike zone of "active fish" can be found with your worm. As you said, some looked at it but didnt do much with it. You were lucky enough to be able to see that. Otherwise, its a process of once the lure hits the water, count, start at 3 seconds, nothing? Reel it in, same spot for a count of 5 seconds etc...eventually something will give you an indication of where they are hiding, then you can either slow down at that depth, or focus on a reaction bite at that depth. If you dont want to just pass through the strike zone, you can use a crank bait, spoon or spinner bait counted down to that depth and reel along through it horizontally to spend more time in the strike zone. Hope that doesnt sound convaluted and helps a little.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
12/6/21 11:01 a.m.

In reply to dculberson :

Yes, though it will depend on the lure. Rapala actually makes a lure called the Countdown, which sinks at about a foot a second. With that, you can also get an idea of how deep it is by counting until it hits bottom. Then if you want to fish the bottom, cast, count to one less than that, and start your retrieve.

If you're jigging, one thing about presentation is to vary what you're doing. Sometimes sharp, quick, and often (snap, reel, pause, snap, reel, pause) is what will work, cast and retrieve is 20 seconds. Sometimes it is feel for bottom, snap up, reel, pause, pause, pause, feel bottom, snap, reel, pause, pause, pause... A cast and retrieve can take 3 minutes. 

 

May want to consider a shiver minnow there, especially if it is a steep bank. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
12/6/21 1:21 p.m.

I was using spinners, first a rooster tail and second a Mepps Aglia. Both got attention, but the rooster tail was the only one that got nibbles. The other I could see the bass following it but they turned back without nibbles.

I'll have to try a shiver minnow! I'm still pretty limited in my tackle, I got rid of everything at some point as a young adult and as a middle aged dad have been slowly building it back up. Next purchase is a tackle backpack, I think. The cheapo Plano box I bought is just too cumbersome for these back country fishing spots we have to hike to.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
12/6/21 1:37 p.m.

My cousin has a tackle backpack and swears by it, especially for our Canada trips. I have a normal, every day backpack that I use for everything, and I throw 3-4 of these boxes in it when I go on that trip. Different colors for different things. I don't know that I'd get any real advantage out of the tackle backpack vs the regular one, but it would be nice to have a backpack designated for it. 

 

That said, don't forget that more fish have been caught on a hook and worm/minnow/leech than anything else, and that all the different tackle is really good at fooling us rather than the fish. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
12/6/21 1:42 p.m.

In reply to mtn :

I am planning on something with space for 3-4 of those 3600 series trays, I like the little compartments that keep things from tangling and getting mixed up.

And point well made on the hook and worm. I agree -- I made a trip to Bass Pro Shops for boat registration, and was amazed that they had an entire aisle, both sides, dedicated just to rubber worms of different sizes, colors, cuts, tail lengths, etc. Do the bass really care that much or is changing the lure just allowing us to stay interested in tossing the lure out again .. and again .. and again?

JStrobel80
JStrobel80 New Reader
12/6/21 1:53 p.m.

Color matters to a degree, remember they feed in the dark, in muddy water etc etc. If they are feeding on Threadfin shad, youll have less luck with a Sunfish pattern/colors than something silver-ish and similar size. Also, color only matters to a certain depth...think about red vs blue wavelength. One penetrates the water much further down than the other, then its all a form of grey-ish brown

 

If you had to, you could get away with quite a few lures but only in White, Reddish-purple (junebug) or Black, you could just about catch a bass any time of year at any depth. 

mtn
mtn MegaDork
12/6/21 1:59 p.m.
dculberson said:

In reply to mtn :

And point well made on the hook and worm. I agree -- I made a trip to Bass Pro Shops for boat registration, and was amazed that they had an entire aisle, both sides, dedicated just to rubber worms of different sizes, colors, cuts, tail lengths, etc. Do the bass really care that much or is changing the lure just allowing us to stay interested in tossing the lure out again .. and again .. and again?

LOL

There are differences in how they perform, how they swim, how they handle different presentations. But at the end of the day, there isn't much difference IMHO. There are specific lures/baits/colors/presentations that will work for specific bodies of water better than others, so if you're fishing the same 3-4 spots, figure those out. I am a proponent of figuring one of those out, and using that a lot. Have something that you can always fall back on.

I was fishing once with my cousins and their dad, it was in a tannic river that they had fished a few times that I never had. However, it was similar to another tannic river I'd fished a LOT, about 50 miles away. These folks fish a lot of tournaments, any free time they have, they're fishing. They know what they're doing. 

They were using Texas-rigged crawdads. I asked why they weren't throwing any crankbaits (which I used on the other river that was similar), and their dad gave me a very informed answer why they wouldn't throw one here. Well, after 30 minutes of nobody catching anything, and 10 minutes after that question, I switched to a Big-O (my go-to when nothing else works) and by my 4th cast I had 2 fish and my cousins all switched over to similar square bill crankbaits. 

Morale of the story being, sometimes, despite everything you know to be true, just throwing what you produce the most fish with will, surprise surprise, produce the most fish for you. I have two 3600 boxes filled with different sizes and colors of the Big-O. Sometimes I'll even troll with them, 4 lines out, fishing for Walleye. With a bass lure. And it will work too. 

 

So if you like the Mepps or the Rooster tail, stick with it. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
12/6/21 3:20 p.m.

In reply to mtn :

Gah! Lost a post to an errant refresh. Anyway, I have the rooster tail and the mepps and a hula popper, that is the extent of the lures I've purchased. Whether I "like" them is a question, the mepps has never caught anything but the rooster tail has been very effective for me. (Smallmouth, largemouth, and even a bunch of trout but that was on a fish stocking day so not exactly challenging.) Other than those we have a few that we've scavanged or that came with my 7 year old's fishing pole. We're still getting the hang of this fishing thing, as a kid I fished a lot but that was 30 years ago.

Naomi, my 7 year old, loves scavenging supplies we find in the branches or on the banks when we're fishing. I might have mentioned it before, but we put together a sort of mini cane pole type setup out of the end of a broken rod, a wine cork, fishing line, and hook - all stuff we found on the banks of the lake near our house. I cannot even begin to guess the number of fish she's pulled in with that thing. 50? 100? I know she pulled like 30 in one very good day, everything from a tiny largemouth bass to a near 1 pound green sunfish. She calls it her "trash rod," and she definitely surprises people around us when she starts fishing with it.

I need to pick a species and target it for a while. Right now I'm trying to decide between crappie and catfish. I want something we can eat, so not huge catfish but small ones that still taste good and aren't too loaded up with mercury and pcbs. I wish I still had the free hours I used to have, but at least now I have more motivation so I've been getting out there with the kiddos a lot this year.

Any tips on the Big-O, as far as color or size that I should try?

Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos)
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) MegaDork
12/6/21 6:52 p.m.

Since the lucky lure spends the most time in the water, it catches the most fish, so it gets used more and you get more skill with it so it catches more fish, so it spends more time in the water...

 

mtn
mtn MegaDork
12/13/21 8:33 p.m.
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) said:

Since the lucky lure spends the most time in the water, it catches the most fish, so it gets used more and you get more skill with it so it catches more fish, so it spends more time in the water...

 

100% correct. I think most lures/baits that have a following are like this. There are exceptions of course - there are some bodies of water where you just will not catch anything except on the [insert lure/bait here], but those are the exceptions. 

Dculberson, for the Big O and most square bills, the "standard" is going to be the 2 1/4 inch, usually 1/3 oz ; the 3 mainstay colors are Smokey Joe (black top, gray bottom), Black/Silver (black top, chrome bottom), and fire tiger. I would just about always start with one of those colors, though the body of water I fish, I always throw purple in the mix as well. 

Best prices will be Wal*Mart or Meijer. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
12/13/21 8:41 p.m.

Mtn: I'll keep an eye out for those!

I may have overdone a thing. 
 

I wanted a fishing backpack and they were all so expensive. Even the No name Amazon things were $70. So I bit the bullet and paid through the nose for this thing. It's very nice but also gaudy in the ridiculous tactical goober nonsense way. But fishing with it was very comfortable and very convenient. Except when I dropped my pocket knife, inherited from my departed father in law, in the water. Somehow I managed to move the rip rap around and find it. I still can't believe I found it. Anyway, the backpack is nice but I feel kind of ridiculous wearing it. Maybe I should have bought the Kahiki "Piscifun" branded one. 

mtn
mtn MegaDork
12/14/21 12:09 a.m.

Knives and pliers you care about go on a string, especially in the cold. 

That bag looks awesome, goober or not, if you like it who cares?

Piscifun actually makes some decent stuff.  I have two of their baitcasters, and other than needing to oil it on delivery, it is pretty damn good. 
 

EDIT: Note that other than some high end Daiwa, Shimano, and Abu (round reels made in Sweden), and maybe Penn, all of the mainstream reels are made by the same manufacturers in Asia... I think Doyo is the big one. I assume the Picsifun is also coming out of one of those factories. 
 

EDIT again: another thought: since I put scissors and nail clippers in the boat, one each by the trolling motor and console, I use my knife anout 5% of what I used to. Scissors are better than knives for 90% of what you need while fishing. You still need the knife, but the scissors are just better for more things. Nail clippers for mono line (I mostly run braid, hence the scissors)

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
12/14/21 9:56 a.m.

In reply to mtn :

My knife I use most of the time is a multifunction and includes scissors. Thanks for the tip on Piscifun, the bag didn't look bad I was just gunshy on a "cheap" version of something like this. The bag I ended up with is very nice, now I need to start catching more fish so I'm not all bag and no fish.

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