My Latest New Book

My Latest New Book
Fishing Different

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.