My Latest New Book

My Latest New Book
Fishing Different

Monday, December 10, 2012

Successful Testing of Hydrowave

A little more than one year ago, the manufacturer of the new Hydrowave sound attraction unit asked me to perform a complete set of actual test of this unit to obtain an independent view of the effectiveness of the equipment. The scientific concept behind the Hydrowave is that it generates a series of sounds that are transmitted into the water, that simulate the sounds of large bait fish schools. There are a series of different sounds that can be selected that represent different activities of these bait schools. The theory is that is these sounds are transmitted into the water, predator fish like bass will get excited hearing and feeling these sounds and they will become stimulated to bite actively. Kevin Vandam, the nationally know professional fisherman is one of the figureheads behind this equipment, and it was through his organization that I received the request.
I received a complimentary unit in December of 2011 and started testing immediately. The unit is compact and relatively simple to install and operate.
The primary objective of the Hydrowave is to assist bass anglers to catch more fish and the technique usually used by these anglers is casting of artificial bait in relatively warm water conditions. Obviously testing in the winter months was not exactly the conditions for which the Hydrowave was designed, but I felt that it would provide valuable data over a broader spectrum of conditions. Through 25 days of testing and more than 90 hours of operation in cold water, the results indicated that my catch rate increased from 1.30 fish per hour to 2.11 fish per hour when the unit was actually operating. These results are shown in the next illustration.

The warm water testing conducted in the spring and summer of 2012 showed even better results with the catch rate increasing from 0.79 per hour to 1.80 per hour, an increase of more than two to one. These results are also shown.
I carefully designed these tests so that various elements that could alter the results were eliminated such as weather, pressure, water temperature etc.My conclusion was that the Hydrowave does indeed excite the bass for a more aggressive bite. The report that I submitted to the Hydrowave organization was summary in nature but the file of data collected during these tests was extensive, including photos of the fish caught and also photos of sonar images at the time of the catches.
On Saturday, 9 December 2012, I presented the test report to Kevin Vandam at the 2012 annual Ryan Newman fishing tournament at Lake Norman, North Carolina.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

                                                   Winter Catfish Are a Great Catch
Some folks think that when the water temperature drops into the 50's that the  big catfish disappear for the season. My friend Mac Byrum just proved that to be wrong. Mac was on an early morning Sunday trip by himself. The weather was cold approaching 32 degrees with a slight breeze. Mac saw his closest planer board take a dip and the rod indicated a hard hit. Mac grabbed the rod and started the retrieve and he new instinctively that he had a big fish. The rod loaded heavily, then there was nothing, the big cat was gone. Mac didn't even have a chance to take in the line to check it when his longest line planer board dipped and the rod nearly hit the water. Putting down the first rod Mac grabbed this rod and he knew that he was about to have the fight of his life. The fish headed for the bottom but Mac's years of experience and properly set drag paid off. After a long fight, he got this 50 pound blue catfish into the boat. The fish was 49 inched long with a girth of about 30 inches. Mac rushed to a friends house to weigh the fish and take a photo before returning it to the lake. Mac told me that he saw the image of this fish on his sonar before it hit the garlic flavored chicken bait that he was using. The image was exactly like the image of a big cat that we had included in our recent book :The Catfish Hunters", looked like a log sitting about 1 foot from the bottom. Don't believe those stories about cold water catfish hiding from the cold.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vertical Jigging Working Well

There are so many bait fish in the lake right now that trolling live bait, although still effective, is giving way to vertical jigging. The bass are so used to seeing bait fish swimming horizontally, that they seem to go crazy when they see a jig being moved up and down in the water column. using a 3/4 ounce chartreuse jig, is catching more fish than the live bait.Of course you will need a sonar to find the fish unless the lake is calm and the bait fish are visible on the surface. if you find the bass, they will often hit the jig on the first drop. Using a light rod and reel, this is a very exciting way to catch a lot of fish in a short time. I have found that it is not uncommon to catch 10 bass in an hour of fishing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

                               Be Careful With Ethanol During Boat Storage

This is the time of the year that boaters often put their boats into storage. Now more than ever there is a danger when storing boats. The E10 Ethanol additive put into fuel creates fuel separation when the fuel is not used for 60 days. The Ethanol attracts water vapor to your tank and when you try to run your motor in the spring, you will have water problems. Some additives will help if added while filling the tanks, but most additives contain alcohol and actually complicate the problem. The best way to prevent the problem from occurring is to completely fill the tank before storage.If there is no open space in the tank for moisture to accumulate, water vapor cannot be created. Tanks can also be completely drained but this is a much more difficult process. Your best bet is to use ethanol-free gasoline which is still available at a few stations and at some boating facilities.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Jigs Working Well Now

Bass are very active in Lake Norman

After a terrible late summer of fishing in July and August and on into early September, the fishing is finally getting better. The water temperature has dropped into the high 70.s and the bass seem to sense the oncoming fall and winter months. They are in all of the coves and channels, following the massive schools of shad and schools of small fry that come to the surface in late afternoon. Fish finding sonar equipment is exploding with image after image of large bass moving into these bait schools to gorge themselves on the small fish. When you hook one of these one to two pound spotted bass, they will spit up their latest meal as you retrieve them and often will mess your boat with partially digested bait fish. There is no better time to catch these nice fish than when they are in this pre-winter feeding frenzy. I have been regularly catching 15 to 20 nice bass in two hours with live medium golden shiners, chartreuse jigs and my favorite number 7 split shad rap crank bait lure. Shad schools that for many years contained between 2000 and 4000 fish are now much larger due to the disappearance of the Stripers. I am seeing shad schools with upwards of 8000 fish in each school. (these are my estimates). A typical shad school image on a sonar is almost always the same and they look like the one shown below.When you see a school of shas like this, circle the scholl and you will eventually catch fish.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fishing and The Water Temperature

Fish are cold blooded animals and as such their body temperature changes as the water surrounding them changes. Every species of fish has a  water temperature that they are most comfortable in, meaning that their body functions properly at around that temperature. The comfort range for every fish varies around this absolute temperature and is normally expressed as a range of temperatures spanning from 10 to 15 degrees.
The comfort zones or preferred temperature ranges for many pf the popular species of fish are shown on the chart above. If you are fishing and the water temperature is within these ranges for the fish that you are after, you can expect the fish to behave as they have in the past. If however the water temperature is significantly higher or lower than these boundaries, the fish will be more difficult to catch because they are going to be doing things hat they normally do not do to regain their comfort zone. In the summer months many fish that are normally found in shallow water will retreat to deeper water because that water is cooler there. Many species of fish like bass will move to shady areas where the water is a little cooler, like under docks, bridges of underwater structure like stumps and brush.

Remember that the temperature that boat equipment normally reads is the surface temperature and for every 10 feet of depth, there is a temperature drop of about 2 degrees.. If the weather continues to be hot, like it has been this year, the schools of bait fish that would normally hang around in small coves and channels, will also move into deep water because a couple degrees cooler water is very important to these small fish. If the bait schools go deep, the predator fish will follow. So on these hot days, fish deeper for more success.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Take A Child Fishing

I will be coordinating a Family Fishing Day on Aug 25 from 8am till 11:30 at Camp Dogwood on Lake Norman. The program is free and is sponsored by the Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists, The Harbour Fishing Club and the Southfork Bassmasters. Pre registration is required by calling 910-603-4929 or registering on line at All kids ages 6 to 15 can attend but must be accompanied by an adult. Prizes will be given based on size and number of fish caught. This will be a great family event so sign up today because registrations are limited on a first come basis.

Friday, June 29, 2012

How About 780 bass in 7 days

You probably don't believe the numbers but thats what a trip to Kishkutens Lake in Ontario Canada produced. My fishing partner Ron Jurcy and myself fished about 10 hours a day for seven days and boated 780 small mouth bass and 18 muskies.
This is one of the smaller Muskies that I boated. The thrill was increased by the fact that we were using small crank baits without wire since we were fishing for bass. I lost several cranks but also boated great fish.
This is one of the average smallmouth bass that we caught. They were not all this large, some larger and some smaller.The middle of the day still turned out to be the best fishing times as shown by the chart below which plots all of the fish by the time of day that they were caught.
I learned a couple of new things about the smallmouth bass. They seem to bite best where the shorelines are in the shade and they get a little excited when the wind blows waves up against the rocks. All the bass were caught with crank baits although I tried other lures. I have retired the lure shown below because by itself it caught more than 200 bass.
This is the third time I have fished Kishkutena Lake and every thime it has gotten better. I can't imagine that it can get much better than this.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Striper Absence Causing Lake Transition

I don't know if any of you have noticed lately, but the fish behavior in Lake Norman seems to have changed this spring. The bass are not located in the same places that they traditionally move into in the spring after the spawn, and they seem to be seeking different water depths than normal. Crappie are plentiful but again they seem to be in non traditional places. Catfish are plentiful but due to the sping spawn, the big ones are up river and the small ones are biting hard. During the months of April, May and June, I can normally depend on a bass catch rate of about 4 per hour, but this year its down to less than 2 per hour.

The only unusual occurances this year are the high water and the unusually warm winter, warming the water earlier than normal. I have a theory and it involves the Stripers, or absence of them. Stripers normally raise havoc with the bait fish during the colder fall and winter months, moving up and down the main and side channels on a regular basis each day. Nature has given the small bait fiah and other fish the capability to sense this movement and do whatever is necessary to avoid being caught and eaten. Over the years, these smaller fish have developed the habit of avoiding the Striper whenever possible.

Now, the war is over, there are no more striper schools moving throughout the lake in search of food and the small fish are sensing this and changing their behavior. Small bait fish can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures, but when being chased constantly, they worry more about their location than they do their comfort. Now with no stripers, they can move into the waters that give them the most comfort, so we are finding the bait fish a little deeper than we normally see them, where the water is slightly cooler. All of the predators, of course will follow the food chain and go to the deeper water.

I have also noticed that the bass are not quite as agressive as they have been on their bites. I believe that there is an over abundance of bait fish in the lake and all the other fish are eating at will without having to be very agressive. The fish that we are catching are bigger than usuall, but they seem more willing to avoid a good meal when presented to them with a hook attached.

The high spring water has also had an effect. Much more food has been washed into the lake with all of the associated nutrients that go along with that, and we have also had higher than normal rainfall.

Because of all of this I believe that the lake and all of the fish in it are in transition, waiting for the normal things to happen again. The stripers of course are gone and it will years before they return, Until then us fishermen will have to adjust our fishing techniques and perhaps our appetites, until the agressive fishing returnes again.

I always try to make comparisons to human behavior when studing the fish and there are similarities here. Think about the people who live in parts of the Middle East, Since they were born there has been war of one type or another. They live in that environment and they adjust their daily movements and life style based on what they have known all of their lives. If suddenly there was complete peace there, no more bombs, no more killing etc., don't you think the first thing that would happen would be confusion. Everyone would have to behave differently, they would adopt new habits and perhaps a new culture, but the transition would take time. Many would not be able to adjust and would continue their normal routines, but most, especially the young would start to change and over time a new "normal" would be established and a new daily life style would be created. The time frames might be different but I believe that this is what is happening in Lake Norman.In time we will begin to figure out how the fish behavior has changed and we will adjust to accomodate that change, just in time for the new crop of adult stripers to return. And the cycle of life goes on.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Whats Happening to Common Courtesy?

I spend a lot of time on the water, fishing and gathering information for my books. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't find myself getting irritated by other boaters or personal watercraft operators who seem to feel that when they are operating a craft, everyone else must give way to them. I have learned to tolerate this lack of consideration for others most of the time but on holidays like this one, the level of ignorance reaches dangerous heights. Add to the problem a hot summer day with bright sun and some alcohol and you have the formula for desaster.

What in the world has happened to intelligent people having common courtesy for their fellow man. Has the "me" generation really taken over our national culture? I understand that when I was young I was taught to open doors for women and people older than I was, and that has now dissappeared. Those habits that change with time are understandable to me because they have always been a sign of progress as the generations move forward. But a total lack of consideration for other people, in favor of doing whatever makes one happy, will never settle in my head.

I have had young people speed by my boat while I was fishing, and they actually cheered because they came so close to my boat that they cut my fishing lines. I had one man in a sailboat cut accross the rear of my boat, hooking my lines and pulling my rods overboard, and then claimed that he had the right to do that because he was not under power. Sail boats indeed do have the right of way when not under power, but that does not apply when the sail boat is to your rear.

I have on occasion blamed the problem on the youth of many of the boaters, but I have witnessed many times, a boat load of young people with an adult driving, doing very dangerous things. Showing a bad example in this way is part of the problem. If it's good for the adults then it's good for all the kids.

Unfortunately I do not have the solution to this problem. Requiring safety courses for all boat and watercraft operators would apear to be a partial solution, but then there is the problem of enforcement. On large water bodies, enforcement is nearly impossible. Unfortunately I believe that this is simply an example of the direction that our American society is moving and it is not a direction that I like. I have decided that the only thing that I can do is try to continue to set an example for the young people and try to find ways to make that example stand out so it is noticed. Perhaps if we all try we can make some progress toward a more compassionate future generation.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Advice For Beginner Fishermen and Women

There are a growing number of adults and youngsters alike that have never had any exposure to the excitement of freshwater fishing. Each month when I deliver my fishing lectures, someone always appears from the group in attendence, that has had no fishing experience and is lost for a direction to take getting started. "How do I get started" is always their first question.They are often surprised by my answer.

I start by telling them not to start by purchasing a lot of expensive equipment. Fishing can become an expensive sport, but it should not start out that way. My second piece of advice, offered in a joking manner but intended to be serious, buy one of my books and read it cover to cover and see if this is what you would like to try. The third piece of advice sometimes surpises people, invest a small amount of money to hire a fishing guide for a few hours of controlled fishing. This will offer the opportunity to try the various techniques offered by the guide, and also see first hand the type of equipment that he uses for the waters being fished.

If, after all of this, you still want to move forward, buy yourself a spinning rod and reel combination for less than $35. Get a few hooks and bobbers and some worms and try to find a small farm pond where you can sit on the bank and catch some sunfish or an occasional bass. Since these ponds are getting harder to find these days, you may have to go to a public access area of a local lake and try the same fishing technique. As you grow accustomed to this simple fishing technique, you will be in a better position to decide how far you want to dive into the sport of fishing. If you still like it, you can then buy another of my books to take you deeper into the different fishing techniques available to you.

Fishing is a great family participation sport.You don't have to be an athlete to participate, it includes a competitive element that brings fun to all participants, and it gets everyong outdoors and away from the computers and TV for a few hours of constructive fun. Try it you may like it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Alabama Rig--Good or Bad ?

There is a good deal of controversy about the emergence of the Alabama Rig for bass fishing. The configuration of this rig has actually been around for years and was called the Umbrella Rig, a name that still exists for that configuration. The Umbrella Rig was and still is used for deep water trolling and was designed to create an image to the fish, of a small school of bait fish swimming along in unison.The Alabama Rig is simply a smaller version of the Umbrella Rig with shorted rig arms and a resulting lighter weight. This smaller version permits the rig to be used as a casting rig, not just for trolling. One version of the Alabama Rig is shown below.
The controversy that has developed results from the existance of 5 different hooks that have been causing injuries to the fish as they tangle in the rig when attacking it. Some professional fishing organizations are also banning the use of this rig in tournaments because they feel it takes some of the sporting challenge away. Regardless of the controversy, this rig does indeed catch fish.

I have not been a big fan of the Alabama Rig for two main reasons. First, as a casting rig, it is heavy and requires heavier equipment for its use.Repeated use as a casting rig easily tires the fisherman. Also as a casting rig, its weight makes control of the rig difficult, especially in shallow water. My main complaint as a trolling rig is its cost and ease with which it is hooked up and lost. When completely outfitted with jigs and plastic bait attached, the cost is  close to $20, which is very expensive for most non-professional fishermen. To help reduce loss of this rig, I have done some testing and constructed a chart that shows the relationship between the boat speed when trolling, and the depth that the rig sinks at different boat speeds. This will help a fisherman keep the rig far enough off the bottom to prevent loss of the rig. There will of course be some variations in the numbers based on the size and type of jigs and plastic bait used. For my tests I used 1/8 ounce jig heads and three inch plastic minnows. The chart that I developed is shown below.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Couple of Favorite Stories

You would think that being a writer of four books, I would have a million stories to tell that would be of interest to everyone. The problem is that my books are not stories and usually do not contain stories unless they relate to the instruction that I am giving. A couple do however come to mind.

When Mac Byrum and I were researching for our latest book "The Catfish Hunters", we made a special trip to The James River in Virginia. This was to be a night fishing trip and we were after a big fish, hopefully a personal best for both of us.We used large bait because we didn't want to be bothered by the smaller catfish.We had flown to Richmond in my plane as we had many times before, and by the time we started fishing, Mac was getting a little sleepy. He decided to go up front on the deck of the boat to take a small nap.It was my turn to watch the rods and take the next fish that hit the lines.

Mac was sound asleep when the rod closest to his head suddenly went down hard with a big fish. The bite was so fierce that it woke Mac and he instinctively grabbed the rod and started to retrieve the monster fish.Having caught many big catfish before Mac knew that this was a big one, but the reel was jammng and it was nearly impossible to make an effecient retrieve. Using all of his skills, Mac managed to land the fish and it was indeed his personal best 56.5 pound blue catfish. After the fish was weighed and photografhed, Mac let the fish go and went back to sleep, but not before saying, "Jake you can have the next one"

The other fishing story that I have told many time is short. We had been fishing in a remote lake in Ontario Canada. The fishing was great all week and on the last day of a seven day trip, the fish suddenly stopped biting in both boats at exactly noon. We fished the rest of the day but neither boat got a bite after noon.

We talked about this strange phinominon at dinner that night but never could decide why the fish stopped biting after being active all week. We went to bed about 10pm and no sooner had we rested our heads, when there was a tremendous roar and our remote cabin was struck be a tornado. It all happened so fast that we hardly knew what was going on when about 10 minutes later, the same roar again and a second tornado struck, just a few feet away from the first one. Maybe we didn't understand why the fish stopped biting but the fish must have known something that we didn't know.

Thank God no one was hurt, but we did have a story that we have told over and over again. Nature does funny things.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Watching The Rods..A Guard Dog

I couldn't resist taking this picture the other day while fishing with a relative. The fish were biting and it wasn't long until this pup decided to do his part standing guard over the rods, waiting for a bite. The bite did come but the dogs owner just couldn't resist bringing it in himself.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Everyone can enjoy my books.

There is one characteristic of my books that helps broaden the reading audience: Each time I give a class or lecture, I take note of the questions that are asked during the session. When I write my books. I address all of these questions so that the material in my books covers a broad range of interest groups- from the young beginners to the experienced fishermen and women.

I find it interesting that attendance at my lectures always includes young folks and usually a mother or two. I have seen an increase in interest being shown by young girls and women of all ages. I think that my reading audience has broadened to include many women and children because the books are easy to read and even easier to understand.

Even though my books have a unique characteristic of blending the science of fishing with the sport of fishing, I try to present the science in a way that is not complicated and can be absorbed by the young folks. Women are finding  out that fishing is a great activity for family participation in these days when the family unit needs tightening. often the work schedules of the parents does not permit the husband or the wife to have the time to teach the young ones how to fish so, my local fishing club provides classes for the kids and their parents to bring the whole family into the activity.
This was Gianna's first attempt at fishing with me and doesn't that smile on her face tell it all! it wasn't a monster bass that she caught, but for her it meant memories. My books help people like Gianna how to understand aquatic life and how fishing fits into the overall scheme of natures plan..

Last year when I took Mary Lou and her sister out on the lake fishing, she caught this nice striper as her first fish even. There are many men who would like to have caught a fish like that.

One aspect of my books that makes them easier to read is that they are not written with a plot, so the reader does not have to read the book in sequence from the beginning to the end. The table of contents can be referenced and whatever area is of interest can be read without necessarily reading all the material that came before it.

All of my books can be used as a gift for fathers Day or even Mothers Day, but for the men, I would not suggest that you give one of my books to your wife as a Mothers Day gift.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Have you ever fished for Peacock Bass?

There is only one area in the United States that you can fish for Peacock Bass, that's in the Miami Florida area. I fished there two years ago and I got hooked on Peacock fishing. I thought that Smallmouth Bass were big fighters until I hooked my first Peacock, they fight like Smallmouth bass on steroids. That first experience didn't satisfy my hunger to fish that species because I wanted a trophy Peacock for my memories room, and it would take a 5 pounder to make that grade.

So I decided to give it a try again this year. Peacocks are very sensitive to the water temperature so I consulted with my friend and guide Chuck Westlake to pick a date when the water temperature would be just right to bring the big male Peacocks up to the surface.Chuck suggested the middle of April, so thats when I went down to Florida.

One of the interesting parts of fishing for peacocks is there location. They reside in the flood control canals in residential Miami. Fishing these canals is an experience in itself. You pass areas of beautiful floral surroundings such as the one shown below
I wasn't there however for the beauty, I wanted that 5 pounder. There were plenty of females lurking around the rocks along the banks. Peacock fishing is a combination of sight fishing and trolling. Chuch Westlake, with his polaroid glasses would spot the females along the bank, and if interested, I would flip a cast in their direction. Since I wanted a big male, I trolled most of the day, waiting for the males to come up to the shallow water, but they never did and that 5 pounder eluded me again this year. Got 17 smaller fish however, like this 3 pounder shown below.
Peacocks are beautiful fish, unlike any other freshwater species, but they are also very smart. They are not really bass, but since they look like bass and fight like bass, they have taken on the bass name over the years. Who knows, maybe I'll try again next year.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Latest magazine article

Active outdoors is a new internet magazine that attempts to get people off the couch and active in outdoor activity.Check out my latest article for this

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Best Fish in The Spring

The early days of April saw some beautiful weather on Lake Norman which caused many of the fish to start their spring spawn earlier than usual. As we know, the fish spawn at different times within the spring spawning period, so while some fish were already on the slawning beds, others of the same species were getting ready. That offers a great variety of opportunities for fishermen. The fish preparing for the spawn are
agressively feeding in the deeper waters of 10 to 15 feet deep, and those that have started the spawn are in the shallow water.
The most exciting aspects of this season are the bait fish that are now moving into the creeks and coves in large numbers. Shad schools, which all but disappeared during the winter months, are starting to show up on our Sonar screens. The shad school shown in the photo below is very typical of a spring pattern

The availability of Shad has activated both the Spotted bass and the Crappie. Wherever you find bottom structure you can find a few nice Crappie, like the one that I caught recently on a cool evening, shown below.

Catching a 14 to 16 inch Crappie on Lake norman looks like a fairly regular occurence this year. As usual, the Spotted bass are also in great supply. The "cookie cutter" type bass in the 1 to 2 pound range are all over the lake. if you look for the shad schools, you will find the bass and probably a big blue Catfish or two.Lou Mintzer and Rich Doering took home a few Spotted bass from my boat recently. (shown below). We were trolling in 15 feet of water using medium shiners as bait.

April and May start the really good fishing on Lake norman for just about everything except Stripers. The fish kill last year and in the previous two years has hurt the Striper population, but we are seeing a few being caught (although not on a regular basis). Hopefully the state will stock Hybrids this year and we will begin to build a good population of that species.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Why Catfish?

A friend recently asked me this question, but to put the question in context, there was more to it. He said,
 "you have fished in perhaps hundreds of lakes and rivers in your lifetime and you spend more than 200 days each year on the water fishing for all kinds of fish, why in the world did you get interested in catfish?"
The answer isn't really complicated. I like to catch big fish, and to do that in fresh water means going after catfish. In a typical year I may catch and release three or four thousand fish from freshwater fisheries both in the United States and Canada. Most of these fish are relatively small, ranging from one to two pounds each. Don't get me wrong, catching a boat load of bass on light fishing gear is great fun, but bringing in a 30 to 40 pound blue catfish, really makes my day. The only way that you can get the thrill of a huge fish in fresh water is to fish for catfish.

I can make my answer just a little bit more coplicated. The books that I write about freshwater fishing have a somewhat unique twist to them. Unlike most other fishing books, I use my scientific background to blend the science of fishing with the sport of fishing. There are more scientific twists and turns to catfish than any other freshwater species. Catfish have sensing devices all over their bodies which make them an excellent study for an inquisitive fisherman. Also, fishing for catfish is often a misunderstood series of myths. I enjoy busting those myths.

For years, as an example, fishermen have been fooled into believing that barometric pressure has an effect on fish behavior. In one of my recent books I proved mathematically that barometric pressure has absolutely no effect on fish behavior. Another example, people usually think of catfish as a species that you catch at night, not true, most catfish are caught furing daylight hours. The fun part of writing is that I need to do a whole lot of research to prove my points and researching means more hours of fishing. I know it's tough work but someone has to do it.

Another reason why catfishing has grown over the years is that the population of blue catfish has increased significantly in nearly all freshwater lakes and rivers throughout the country. In many states catfish are now being recognized as a legal game fish and are being regulated and in some cases stocked. If this is not enough reason for going catfishing, try eating a middle aged blue catfish and you'll find it one of the better tasting freshwater fish to eat.

Two of my favorite spots for fishing catfish are The James River near Richmond Virginia, where it is not uncommon to catch a 50 pound bue catfish. The best place for channel catfish is The Red River of the North, in North Dakota. This river produces channel catfish in excess of 20 pounds on a regular basis. For channel catfish, that's a big fish. (Thats the one shown in the title page of this blog.)

Perhaps to better explain the reason why catfish are becoming so popular we can look at a couple of recent photos. The first photo is of a nice bass that I cauht in Lake Norman. The second photo is of a catfish that I caught on the same lake a few days later. Now be honest, which one do you believe gave me the better fight.
Please don't get me wrong, I love fishing and I do it hundreds of hours each year, but when the catch gets boring I'll switch to catfish for some real exercise. try it, you may even get to write a book abut it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The End Of An Era

After more than 35 years of flying my Cessna 172, I finally decided to let this old friend go. Now someone else can enjoy its comforts. Using the airplane to travel about gathering data for my last book, and my recent fishing trip to Hatteras, put the final touches to a great flying story. I flew this airplane as a young man, all the way through a great career at Grumman and now well into my golden years. My pal Ron and I will never forget the great times that we had together in old 79241. Good Bye old friend.

This Time it Was Salt water

A few of us from the Harbour Fishing Club went to Hatteras for a few days this week and had a spendid time doing some off shore fishing for a change. I did manage to be lucky enough to be in the fighting chair to catch this certificate Wahoo. It was 55 inched long and weighed 40 pounds. Our thanks to Dr. Rich Goering for arranging the trip and doing most of the work. Now it's off to Miami next week to seek out my trophy Peacock Bass and some monster largemouth.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Don't laugh at garlic soaked baits

Since Mac Byrum and I published our new book "The Catfish Hunters", we have received many humorous comments about our garlic soaked chicken as a catfish bait. Folks, this is serious stuff. Garlic has been used as a flavor enhanser for years. Check the ingredients on many of the plastic baits used for bass fishing and you'll find that garlic is one of the main incredients. There are a lot of fishermen who actually inject garlic juice into their plastic worms to increase their catch rate for bass. Catfish have sensing devices all over their bodies, and when they get within smalling range, the odor of garlic really turns on the bite. Check the photo below for technique. Cut pieces of raw chicken into quarter size chunks. Put the pieces into a plastic bag and cover them with garlic powder. A little salt can also be added. Store this meat in the refrigerator overnight for use as a bait the next day.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The bait schools are moving in

This winters warm water has confused everything in the lake but the fish are finally getting their normal pattern established. The larger schools of shad are moving into the shallower water inside the coves and creeks.The bass and other predators will be close behind. The Blue Catfish are already starting to get more active in the shallower water of these coves and channels.This looks like the beginning of the real good fishing on Lake Norman

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Check out this book endorsement

Click on this link to go to an audio clip of Luke Clayton of Dallas Texas.Click on the link, then click on the 3 minute clip, then open the download.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fishing is still hot

Despite some reports that the fishing on Lake Norman is still lousy, I tested the water again on tuesday. I had a nice bass in the boat on my first cast and despite some trolling motor problems I got 11 bass and three crappie in a two hour period, including a nice 3 1/2 pound spotted bass.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The bass are shallow

Many of us have been wondering what has been happening to the Bass here at Lake Norman. for the past two weeks the bite has been erratic to say the least. Generally we consider late February or early March too early for the spawn to begin but this year we have had a very warm winter and the water temperatures are now just right for the spawn to begin. That's what has happened. The larger males are up in the shallow water working on the nests and they will soon work on forcing the females to move into the nests to deposit the eggs. While the fish are in this state of mind they don't do much eating so that's why the bite has been light. Keep in mind that not all bass spawn at the same time, so there are still many nice fish that have not yet entered the spawning pattern. Don't get discouraged, just keep fishing and when the spawn is over we will be back in to the feeding frenzy again.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sometimes The Fish Just Do Not Bite

This past week has been one of those times when for some unknown reason, the Bass just don't want to bite. For the past few weeks the bite has been great and it seems that the fish were everywhere, suddenly the rains came and the fish simply stopped biting and for the most part I couldn't even find them on my sonar. I have always believed that whern there is a significant change in any of the weather elements that surround the fish, it take three days to get everything settled down and the fish to start biting again. The water has warmed to nearly 55 degrees, we got a lot of rain last week and the winds have been strong for several days. All three of these elements cobined have turned the fish off. If my theory is correct, tomorrow (wednesday) should see the Bass start biting again. We'll see.

Mac Byrum is Still Hammering the Blue Cats

Mac Byrum is on the lake nearly every day searching for new honey holes for his guide clients. This sunday was no exception. This photo is only one of the big boys that Macs cient boated. Most of the fish were in the 15 to 20 pound range. The garlic soaked chicken is still working.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ken Spatz is Learning

Ken Spatz landed this three pound spotted bass today while fishing with me in Reeds Creek. Fishing was not great but this size fish helps reduce the pain.

Good Luck Howie

Last night was Howie's last stand fishing on Lake Norman. We sent Howie off by letting Lou Mintzer catch this 5 pound Striper and I brought in a nice crappie. The crappie were swarming all around but most evaded our bait although we did get a few. We all wish Howie the best of luck, shoot straight and fish often in Tennessee.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Peacock Bass Experience

If you would like to read about our Peacock Bass fishing experience you can read it at

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why mac is my co-author

In case you are wondering why I selected Mac Byrum as my co-author for The Catfish Hunters,

take a look at these photos of a portion of todays catch on Lake Norman. Mac put us on fish and in less than three hours we boated 100 pounds of Blue catfish. One at 21 pounds and several in the 15 to 17 pound range. One triple header and one double header. They don't come any better than Mac on Lake Norman.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Not bad for a couple of hours

Today wasn't the best day for fishing in terms of human comfort, cold raw and windy, with overcast skies, but indeed it was a fine day for catching. I had Dr. Rich Doering and Lou Mintzer on the boat and we caught 17 nice Spotted Bass. With the exception of these five fish, all were returned to the lake to be caught aother day. Nice fishinf guys.

Thinking about "Windrows"

In my first book "Jakes Take on The lake" I mentioned the effects of windrows which are caused by continuing winds that stir up the water along defined lines in the water. After windy and sometimes rainy days, you can see the color change in the water where these line are created. To the naked eye it looks like clear water on one side and murky water on the other. In theory predator fish will often gather in the clear water waiting for small bait fish to swim out of the murky water whare they are attacked and eaten. Fishing outside these windrows should produce nice fish.

I recently was fishing in a cove where they were dredging a new dock. I thought that this activity was going to ruin the fishing in that area of the cove.As I aproached the dredging site I began to see the murky water and it became obvious on my Sonar. A well defined line appeared on the surface and the Sonar was crowded with interference from the silt that was being disturbed. As I turned to leave the area I began to see many smaller fish in the silt area, and as I exited into clear water there were dozens of big fish lurking and clearly defined on the sonar. I took photos of my sonar screen but for the first time in many uears, these three photos were lost when transfering them to my computer. When the bait that I was trolling reached these fish I got a multiple hit and boated 3 nice Bass.

This situation in not exactly a "windrow" situation but it represents the same theory. The big predator fish hang out in the clear water outside these areas waiting for an easy meal. They know that the dredging is stirring up many new nutrients that are eatable and also attract bait fish. SO! don't be scared away when you see dredging being done, it could be a signal of a good fishing area. Also try to fish the "windrows" when you see them, it might improve your catch rate.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Not a bad day Mac!

Yesterday morning,all of the indicators were that fishing would be lousy. It had rained the night before, the moon was completely full, and the air temperature was bordering on uncomfortable. But Mac Byrum hit one of his favorite spots anyway and look what he got in a couple of hours. Nearly 100 pounds of Blue Catfish. Good going Mac, it looks like you really did read our book.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Who Said That Catfish Don't Bite In Cold Water

We may not be having a very cold winter here in North Carolina but whatever the temperature, Mac Byrum can make the big ones bite. This 35.5 pound monster Blue Catfish was pulled out of Lake Norman by Mac today, 2/2/2012 using his secret garlic chicken bait. It was caught in 14 feet of water, is 39 inches long with a 27 inch girth, Good job Mac, we won't ask you where you caught it. Plenty of this stuff in our new book. Check it out at

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fishing and the Solar flares.

Avid fishermen like myself are always looking for reasons to exlain unusual fish behavior. With my scientific curiousity, let me throw this one out. The gigantic solar flares that have been occuring for the last week or so have had an effect on the fish bite, and it has been a negative effect. I know, most of you will now certify me as crazy, but I want to be the first one to throw this one out there for consideration. 50 years from now when some scientist finds this to be true, it may make me famous.
I have been on the water nearly every day for the last two weeks doing some testing that you will hear about in the future.Fishing has been pretty good every day until this weekend when the bite suddenly stopped. I don't know why, all other normal things that bother the fish were OK and certainly there was nothing wrong with the fisherman. Then I read about the huge solar flares that are taking place. They started on friday and have been occuring each day since. Thats the same period of the light bite of the Bass.
We know that in 2012 the Sun will be approaching its peak on its 11 year cycle, called the Solar Maximum. Scientists expect higher than normal flares during this period. We know that the earth is protected from the energy emitted by the flares by  the earths gravity system, so flares are nothing unusual and certainly nothing to get excited about. Not unless the flares are effecting the fish bite. Neuro Scientists believe that solar flares have an effect on the moods of humans, sometimes expanding depression periods. Thats enough for me, I'm convinced. Perhaps its time to apply for a government grant to study this possibility. For those of you that have read my books you know that I believe that the Sun has more effect on fish behavior than any other single factor. I never thought about the aspect of solar flares. Think about it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Big Cold Water Bass

Once again, Lou Mintzer, fishing with me on a beautiful January day and 50 degree water, snagged this three pound plus Spotted Bass, trolling with medium shiners. More important that this fish, Lou was also trolling deep near the bottom when his rod hit the water like it was snagged. When he grebbed the rod he thought that he had hook a monster Catfish. The line was not snagged on the bottom so I grabbed the net and readied myself for a big fish. Much to Lou's amazement, what he hooked was a rod and $300 reel that he had lost over a year ago in this area. I don't know if Lou was more happy with the big Bass that he had caught or the $300 reel that he recovered. The reel and rod were both in fairly good shape.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cold Weather Catfish Catch

Mac Byrum and I weathered the 21 degrees temperatures this morning and using Mac's secret formula garlic soaked chicken meat as bait, and anchoring over one of his favorite humps on Lake Norman, he landed this 20 pound Blue Catfish shortly after we started fishing. Nice technique Mac.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Check my recent article in ODU magazine

ODU magazine is an internet magazine dedicated to the outdoor subjects. The winter issue has an article that I wrote about our North Dakota fishing experience using frogs as bait for the big Channel Catfish. Go to and leaf through the winter issue.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ethanol is Still Your Enemy

This is the time of the year that boat owners need to be more aware of the problem with ethanol fuel additives. Any gasline that has been blended with ethanol has a shelf life of about 60 days. This means that if you have an ethanol blend in your boat fuel tank, and you do not use the boat for two month, you will have a big problem when you try to use the boat again. The ethanol in the fuel absorbes water through the venting system on your boat. In some older fuel tanks, it will even begin to eat away at the resins that hold the fiberglass together, eventually ruining your tank. Since boats are normally on the water where moisture content in the air is at its highest, significant amounts of water can be absorbed in a relatively short time. The photo below shows fuel that I took from one of my tanks. You can clearly see that more than 20% of the liquid in the bottle has turned to a waste mixture. What is not so clear in this photo is the thick layer of gunk, between the water layer and the fuel. This is from the disolved resin on my fuel tank.
Since this material sinks to the bottom of the tank, your motor will simply quit when it begins to suck fuel from the bottom of the tank.
There is no solution for this problem, only preventive measures. Once water has gathered in your tank, there is no additive that will remove it. if you find that this has happened, you most drain the tank and get rid of the bad fuel. As a preventive measure you can still buy fuel without ethanol added in some marinas and at some gas stations. This is your best bet. If you use ethanol fuel, keep your tanks topped off at all times after every use. If you want to use an additive, make sure you use one that has no alcohol in it, there are very few of this type but there are some. Also make sure that you add the additive when you add fuel, if you add it afterwards, it will do no good.