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Bass fishing is one of the most popular types of fishing in New England. Ask anyone you know who likes to fish, and chances are they will tell you their own stories and tips. The truth is that though there are some basics to remember when learning how to fish, so much of it is about personal style, research, and knowledge of the location and patterns of the area and fish. Although each fisherman can come up with their own unique routine in order to be successful, there are a few things that will make for an easier time when first starting out, or even changing up your routine.
So next time you’re thinking about heading out to fish for bass, remember these two simple pointers to keep you on the right path to fishing success.
Know your environment
So much about having a good track record as a fisherman comes with knowing about the bodies of water you fish in. The simple fact is if you don’t know where the fish are, you can’t catch them. Understanding the lay of the land beyond what your fish finder tells you can be crucial to your overall success because if you’ve done your homework, you’ll know where to start off in the water before the fish finder brings you there. Pay close attention to the landscape of the water. Does it have fallen logs? Lots of greenage? Where are the areas where the water gets the shallowest and the deepest? What is the water clarity like? Keeping track of these simple facts can help you find the schools more quickly, and save you time and aggravation. If it’s your first time on particular waters, doing a scout is always a good idea too.
Patience is a virtue … and it makes for better fishing
Ever wonder why you’re only pulling up small fish? Why that huge fish you’ve heard tales of just never seems to be around when you are? Chances are that legendary trophy-sized fish is that way for a reason: it’s clever. The big guys don’t get big by nibbling at everything that comes their way, so take heart. Make sure your gear is on point with your location and desired catch, understand the environment, and start developing a system. Rest assured, with some patience and a method that you think works for you, you’ll start seeing results soon enough.
Below are reviews of three great products you can find at Fisherman’s Outfitter.
Frabill Chum Bag:
Described as a “neoprene coated nylon chum bag ideal for shark and tuna chumming,” this efficient little bag has a drawstring top closure to keep contents secure. The great thing about this bag is that it can double as a line holder.
Whether you add weights to the bag to drop it below the surface or attach it to a long line to rest behind your boat, this durable bag will give you the gradual release of chum you need to draw in the big fish.
As opposed to other methods of chumming, like baskets, the chum bag is a great way to chum without having to do any smelly cleanup or storing large chumming items.
Rigging Kit for Shark Fishing:
This handy kit really makes rigging for trophy fish like sharks much easier. It has everything you need, including:
- 1-Rigging Kit Bag
- 1-Wire Cable Cutter
- SC-3C Jinkai Crimper
- 1-50 lb Scale
- 1-Hook File
- 1-Pair of Mono Cutters
- 1-Pair of Needle Nose
- 1-1/4lb Spool of #19 Wire
- 100′ of 400 lb, 49 strand wire
- 100-Black Rubber Bands
- 1-Roll of Electrical Tape
- 10-7698B 9/0 Mustad Hooks
- 100-Double Barrel Wire Crimps
- 12- 350lb Snap Swivels
- 12- 350lb Barrel Swivels
Although you may choose to not use all items in the kit for each fishing excursion, the rigging kit for shark fishing really has all necessities and is a great source for fisherman just getting into sport fishing.
2-Piece Complete Harpoon Setups:
Comes with A-1 Poly Ball, Steel Shank, and Bronze Harpoon Dart on 200 feet of rope with basket. They come in 8-foot or 10-foot lengths, as well as custom sizes.
This handy harpoon is foolproof, with no small pieces that can get lost in the boat or on your way to the water! Anyone who has ever fished for trophies knows the heartache of losing your fish after an agonizing game of tug and war. Harpoons are essential for big fish because they allow the haul into the boat to go that much more smoothly. This is a great harpoon because it breaks down easily for storage, but because the male piece is welded, it does not have any small bits that can get lost. Cut out the risk factor of losing your trophy fish by using this harpoon. All you need to do is bring in the fish!
When thinking about how to set up the best rig for your fishing trip, fundamentally you want it to be the most attractive set-up for your targeted fish. Sometimes this means having delicious-looking, live, squirming bait on your hook, and a good-sized sinker to keep it in the right spot. Other times, lures and plastic bait are more effective. At these times, it’s worth your while to consider a weighted fishing hook.
A weighted hook holds the extra weight on the hook’s shank, and works best with soft plastic baits. For swimming baits, like a minnow, the weight acts as a mobilizer, keeping the wiggler upright and moving. Rather than using a sinker to help keep your hook and bait in place, a weighted hook allows you to combine both weight and hook into one, putting fewer objects on your rig, and ultimately, making your bait the main focus. By simplifying the objects you put in the water, you create less distraction for potential fish, and hopefully increase your chances of hooking a beautifully sized keeper. Another benefit of the weight hook is that it is more weedless than other types of set-ups because it eliminates the sliding factor, which can cause snags in vegetation.
There are a few schools of thought on how to bait a weighted hook. Some argue that sliding the bait up the hook for a traditional Texas rig will actually work against you and damage your bait. (A Texas rig involves, among other things, hooking the worm about a quarter inch down from the head, rotating it up toward the hook’s eye which locks it in place, and then placing the other end on the hook.) Others feel that a more precise method is necessary for weighted hook, regardless of the weight. There are two alternative ways to do this. One, push the hook’s eye through the bottom of the bait and out the top, leaving the hook free, or two, line the hook up against the bait in its desired position, then push the hook eye into the opposing end and out again. It’s worth your while to try baiting your hook a few ways, and see what works best for you and your fishing conditions.
Weighted fishing hooks work for a variety of fish species, from bass to redfish, and come in a wide array of weights and sizes that will fit most types of fishing excursions.
Keeping your fishing gear clean, well maintained, and safely stored is key to your success as a fisherman. So often we think about keeping our equipment storage buttoned up on the boat, where things are likely to go overboard if not properly secured, or at home, where things can get pretty messy pretty fast if they don’t have proper storage. However, the way we transport our rods, reels, and other equipment from home to shore is just as important as where we keep them when they aren’t being used. In fact, it may be even more important to keep them safely stored in your vehicle because more likely than not, if you are heading out for a day of fishing, your vehicle is packed with other equipment that could prove damaging, especially to things like poles. Although rods can withstand a lot when in action on the water, they are surprisingly fragile when, for example, your cooler smacks against them in the bed of your truck. (Hopefully, this is a mistake you only make once, if ever). So keep your investment safe and install some holders in your car!
Like with a lot of gear like holders and racks, they can be easily bought or made. Most fishing outfitters sell some great options for racks, but you can also make them fairly simply with PVC. You can really go wild with the design; it all depends on how many poles you need stored, what kind of conditions you travel in, and what your vehicle is like. For the sake of argument, we’ll discuss three common ways you can set up pole racks on pickup trucks.
Behind the cab storage
This is a pretty common rack, found online and in stores. Mounted in your bed near your cab, it hold the rods upright (at a slight angle) for easy and safe storage. If you have any low clearance zones to deal with, this may not be your safest bet. But this is a solid way to store your rods and keep them safe from harm in most cases.
Along the length of the bed storage
If you’re one of those aforementioned fishermen who has to cover rocky terrain to get to your fishing spot, this option may be a good one for you. Your rack will run along the inside of your truck’s bed, along the long side of it. Although things could potentially still smack against it, you will at least rest assured that they are safe from any elements outside your vehicle.
Behind the bed storage
If you are traveling a short distance to your fishing spot, consider a rack that is mobile. These can attach safely to any truck with trailer hitch opening of about two inches and are great because they could be transported to different vehicles or a boat without disassembly.
Buying a simple canoe and fixing it up to become a fishing canoe is a great project and a really rewarding experience. In order to optimize all of its potential, perhaps the most important thing to install in the canoe is proper rigging. In this article, rigging will mainly mean the nuts and bolts needed to take your canoe to the next level: the hardware and tools themselves. The special modifications – the cup holders, comfy seats, and no-slip deck – will come later. First and foremost, once you set yourself up with good rigging, no matter what else you’ve done to your canoe, your fishing excursions will be successful.
One aspect of a standard canoe that needs to be adjusted for fishing is the overall stability of the boat. When you are just sitting and rowing in calm waters, it is OK for your boat to be a bit wobbly. However, fishing requires a lot more effort than that and most likely will include some standing and moving around. For this reason, outriggers are key. Outriggers add extra stability to your boat. They can be made of simple lobster buoys, lighter foam buoys, or any other kind of floating device that fits your needs. Some canoe-fishing enthusiasts choose to add a thwart to the interior of the boat, and attach the outriggers from there. This will ensure your boat is fortified and more stable as you reel in your catch.
Another important part of rigging for your canoe is making sure that your rods have homes and holders. There is no point in heading out in your canoe if you can’t properly fish from it. You can buy a simple, pre-made rod holder and easily attach it to the interior of your boat, or create your own holders from PVC piping or similar materials. Some fishermen like to add the PVC under the rear seat, heading toward the back of the boat to have additional rod storage. Whatever you decide to go with, make sure that your rods can stay firmly in place and consider some fasteners for extra protection against things going overboard.
Having small anchors on each side of your boat will really help tether you to the spot you choose to fish from. Along with the outriggers, these anchors will make sure you stay put as you cast off and reel in, and help to make your trip not only bountiful, but also successful.
If you’re just starting to get serious about fishing, it can seem daunting. Every fisherman has different ideas and methods, and there are so many different things to keep in mind when getting ready for a trip. You have to make sure you have the right rod, right hooks, right tackle, that you do your research, know where to go. It can seem like a lot! However, there a few things that most fishermen will agree are absolutely crucial when starting out. These few equipment basics will act as a starting point, and allow you to test the waters and learn what does and doesn’t work for you.
Remember: so much of having the proper gear depends on where and what you are fishing, so do your reading and don’t be afraid to ask more avid fishermen when you first start out. Doing your research and asking questions at your local store before heading out will ensure that you get the proper hooks (not to mention overall equipment) for your needs. There are a few things you’ll need to know about.
The Rod and Reel
What kinds of action are you hoping this rod will take on? How do you want your reel to function? There are a variety of speeds, functions, and ability levels to consider.
Like with all other elements of fishing, the right kind of line depends on what you are using it for. You have to take into account where and how you are fishing, what kind of rod you have, and what works best with your bait.
Bobbers, Corks, Floats, and Bait
Not only do bobbers, corks, and floats help you know when you’ve snagged a big one, but also they help keep your bait where it needs to be. Knowing if live or plastic will work best for your scenario is also important to learn as a new fisherman.
Hooks and Sinkers
What types of hooks will you need? Weedless? Circle? Barbless? What kind of sinkers do you need? What weight will work best?
A Well-Stocked Tackle Box
“Less is more” is never true for fishing. You want to be as prepared as possible, and that means having lots of extras, as well as safety gear and tools that you may need. These can include pliers, knives, a first aid kit, bug spray, sunglasses, sunscreen, flares, a whistle … the list goes on. Always have your fishing license ready, and, if you are on a boat, some easily accessible life jackets.
Keep these things in mind and you can focus on the fishing!
Ponds are an excellent place to fish for bass, mainly because of the variety of vegetation available for them to make habitats, and the wide array of insects and small fish for them to eat. Although it is possible to catch bass in any season on a pond, each season presents different challenges and things to be mindful of. Consider what month offers the right fishing environment for you!
It’s tough going in the winter if you are not one for taking lengthy preparations. If you live in an area with a harsh winter, get ready to gear up, not only with your fishing equipment, but also with some serious cold-weather clothing and even a fishing shack. The bass will definitely be less active in the winter, but it is still possible to get some while ice fishing. Remember that bass love to lurk near habitat-oriented environments, like rocks in the water. This is a good place to start when drilling your holes.
As things thaw out, the bass will become more and more active, but, like in winter, it can be slow going in the spring. Knowing what kind of environment the fish will crave is key, and drop-offs can be a good jumping-off point as well as areas of high vegetation or structures like rocks under the water. Minnows are a safe baitfish in any season, but in the spring they may be the difference between getting the fish interested and going home empty handed.
This is the warmest and perhaps most productive time to fish for bass. In the summer when small bodies of water get hotter, the fish are full of energy, often coming to the surface of the water for insects and other prey. You can take advantage of their activity by using crickets or other shallow water baits to entice them. A good thing to keep in mind is that, although they are more active, they are also warmer, and will seek out the cooler areas of the water. Shady areas are great to fish in during the warm months, and there is nothing like night fishing to get some bass in the warm summer waters.
Fall is an excellent time of year to hunt for bass because the race to beat the cold weather is on! In this time of year fish are very active, trying to fatten up before the water freezes, leaving them with fewer options. They are a bit frenzied and ready to bite, which can really work to your advantage.
Catch-and-release fishing with barbless hooks is a great way to enjoy fishing while ensuring there is no damage done to the fish. Why worry about the safety of the fish? Well, it is not necessarily about not wanting to “hurt” the fish, but rather wanting to take care and make sure no unnecessary harm is done to it. Making sure the fish population can return to the waters unharmed is all about conservation, and making sure the delicate ecosystem of the open seas remains in a good state. Without throwing a few small ones back, you’ll never be able to get the big ones.
Although there is no true winner of the barbed vs. no barb hook debate, most fishermen do have a preference as to which they use. Many argue that barbed hooks help keep the live bait on, and ensures that the fish stay on the line when caught. Others feel the barb is unnecessary as long as you set your hook correctly and proceed to reel in with caution. Since barbed hooks tend to get stuck deeper in the fish than barbless hooks, it is safe to say that if you prefer the catch and release method of fishing, barbless is the way to go.
However, barbless hooks do not act alone to prevent unnecessary damage to fish. There are other things to keep in mind to make sure you are as precise as possible when fishing. A quick reel in ensures the fish struggles and thrashing as little as possible, helping to decrease the risk for fatal damage. When bringing the fish into the boat, never grab it by the line, but rather with your hands (gloved is always a safe bet) or using a soft net. Rubber lined nets are great because they cause the least amount of damage to the protective layers on the outside of the fish. As always, make sure your fish spends little time out of the water if you intend to throw it back.
Ultimately, the barbless hook may decrease your overall risk of harming fish you don’t intend to keep and is a great tool for catch and release. Along with other safe handling practices like quickly reeling in the fish and minimizing exposure to human contact, barbless hooks allow you to have a great fishing experience without the worry of damaging the ecosystem you fish in.
The Atlantic Codfish
Both inshore and offshore. Inshore you can find them in areas of dense rocks, like a jetty, or even in areas that offer the protection of logs or kelp. Offshore, Cod tend to like areas that are not out in the open. You can often find them near rocky areas, as well as near wrecks, or any area where the ocean floor has some good hiding places. Cod tend to be somewhat relaxed when looking for lunch; very rarely will they aggressively seek out their prey. They instead wait for the fish to come to them, and they choose these areas with hiding places because the current draws smaller fish in.
About the Fish
Brown-green in color, Cod can be easily identified by their spots, as well as their lateral line. Comfortable from the shoreline to continental shelf, they can grow to be a little over 200 pounds. Cod are currently considered a “vulnerable” fish by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and they have recently become the center of some controversy in the fishing industry when the amount of fishable cod was drastically reduced to allow their numbers to replenish.
The bigger the better. Cod seem to be most drawn to clams, mussels, shrimp, and octopus. You also can’t go wrong with old standbys of baitfish and sea worms. For the smaller bait — like clams — make sure to bunch more than one together, since you are (hopefully) not catching a small fish.
Every fisherman’s setup varies, but there are a few tried and true ways of fishing for Cod that help yield good results. A 50-pound class rod is usually a safe bet when fishing for Cod. A fast action rod ranging from 5 to 8 feet is a smart choice, and a 30 to 50# braid is great because its lack of stretch helps indicate to the fishermen when there’s something on the line. (With a braid of this weight, 16oz bouncing sinkers work well on the ocean floor, but you may have to change the weight of your sinker depending on the tide.)
A rig attached to the mainline with a 100lb swivel keeps things flexible, and a 4 foot leader (50 to 80lbs), drop hooks (with maybe a 5/0 bait holder hook on each), and some shiny teasers should round you out nicely.
Don’t hesitate to deviate from the normal rig and try something new.
Cod are attracted to noise. Try using a jig with a rattle or jingle on it.