My Favorite Time Of Year

April has always been my favorite time of the year to go fishing. The water is slowly warming up and the fish are starting to hit more consistently. What I really love about this time of year is that the fish are hitting different patterns every day. I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of figuring out what the fish are hitting on every time I go out. During the summer it is easy to get in the rut of tossing the same lures over and over again at the same spot that you caught a fish at last. But in the spring the fish will hit a lure one day and then be in a completely different part of the lake and honed in on a different pattern before you know it.

This is the time of year that I like to take out new baits and test out new tactics for Largemouth Bass. I have had days where I will fish a lake and get top water hits for hours, then come back the next day to find that none of the fish are in the shallows and then proceed to fish tube jigs and find quality fish all day. It is amazing how quickly the fish change how they are feeding, and what color they prefer. So far this year I have focused on a few lures: frogs, tube jigs, flukes, worms and crankbaits. With these five lures it is hard to find a situation where you can’t entice a few fish to strike. The pictures below show a few of the fish that I have been finding while exploring some new lakes with these tactics.

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The other nice part of this time of year is how easy it is to find Crappie. There are many lakes in my town that are strictly bank fishing, and unless the Crappie go shallow it is extremely hard to catch them. But with the fish being in the middle of spawn it is easy to find them; just find structure and slowly drag a small tube jig across it and before you know it a Crappie will attack it. I haven’t found the size Crappie I’m looking for yet, but I am finding the numbers each time I’m out.

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My last trip out I started to see the Bluegill and Redear Sunfish bedding up in the shallows, it is about time to break out the fly rod and start throwing some top water flies at these fish again. May is just starting and this is always when the fishing really starts to pick up in Indiana.

I hope your spring is treating you with just as many fish

-Isaac

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Spring Has Sprung: Shallow Fish

It has been all sorts of busy since I’ve last update you all last. Spring has sprung and the fish are shallow and hungry. I can easily say this has been the most productive start to spring I have ever had.  Since the last update, I caught this monster of 5 lb 9oz largemouth bass. This may not be huge in most parts of the country, but for southern Indiana that is a respectable fish. Oddly enough I caught him while crappie jigging, he bit on a gulp alive white minnow.big bass

Another exciting thing that has happened is that the fish have started to bite topwater lures. I’ve perfected some small foam poppers and the little bass have just been tearing them up.

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The crappie have also started staging on shelves transitioning from deep to shallow water. My search for them has resulted in some nice crappie and I even managed to pull a few largemouth and striped bass out of the mix (I actually couldn’t decided if they were striped bass or white bass, any ideas?).

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I’ve also been playing around with my ultra light rod a lot more lately, mostly I’ve been using small jigs and inline spinners with it. I will freely admit that I am a huge sucker for inline spinners, during early spring and summer they can catch a ridiculous number of fish. Granted these fish tend to be smaller, but I can usually justify it by the short wait between catches. A week ago I fished a spinner in a small public pond and managed to catch 34 bass in an hour. They were all caught with in 5 feet of the bank directly off rip rap.

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My final location I have been focusing on has been Bluegrass FWA. For some reason this location has a reputation for being one of the hardest places to fish in the area. I find this statement to be absurd. It has been too windy to take the kayak out, so I have been focusing on improving my bank fishing. This property has numerous lakes that all offer different conditions to fish, I’ve started catching crappie and largemouth from the bank with great consistency. The crappie are still a little deeper, but are still with in the far reach of casting distance. I’ve discovered Bobby Garland crappie soft plastics and I can honestly say I have been incredibly impressed. I’ve been close to limiting out on numerous occasions this season already. The rest of my time has been spent on bass fishing, jigs and worms have been the most effective method so far. Another great lure I’ve discovered is the Walleye Angler Ring Worm made by Bass Pro in the Hot Orange/Chartreuse Belly color. This has become my go to lure for muddy/stained water.

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I hope march is treating you all well, tight lines

-Isaac

Some Fun Little Projects

I will happily fish in the winter, but I have found the line that I will not cross this time of the year: Once it is dark I am done fishing. By the time I finished work and accomplished the errands I needed to run it was pitch black. I was still feeling very fishy, so I settled down to make some fishing gear.

The first project was tying a fly called ‘La Bomba’. Instead of following the suggested materials on the fly pattern, I followed my cheap tendencies and made the materials I currently own work. The beads were from a bracelet making kit I was given, the tails were made from yarn, the legs from silicon bracelet string and the body made from either ostrich herl or some rabbit dubbing. I was proud of how the flies turned out and I can’t wait for the water to be warm enough to get into some bluegill and bass on this pattern.

The next 2 projects brought me over to my 3d printer. I found a design by timebeestudio on thingiverse.com called ‘The Minnow’ that I thought had some fish catching potential. I printed it out and used heavy fishing line to run the hooks through the body of the lure. I haven’t taken this lure on a swimming test yet, but the design does seem to be very sturdy and the body design looks like it should work. I was too lazy to go hunt down treble hooks so I used some size 8 hooks. I then demonstrated my fine art skills and colored in the lure with sharpies.   IMG_9881

The next design was made by lew597 on thingiverse.com called ‘Inline Method Feeder’. I’ve designed and made many method feeders out of wire mesh, wood and plastic over the last year, but this design seemed to be much cleaner than those I have previously made. This design prints fairly well with out support and if printed with PLA it won’t require much weight to settle correctly.  The design has a hollow space on the bottom for you to attach your weight of choice. I coiled up fencing wire and glued it in place, I am assuming that this is a safer alternative than lead, but I haven’t researched to see if that is true yet. I plan to test these out with the carp bait I made recently.

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The final project was inspired by Paul Adams’ videos on youtube. I do not have the materials or the technical ability to create the high quality creations like he does, but his projects always make me want to try for myself. I took the inside container from a kinder egg and sketched out a minion pattern on it. Then I attached a screw eyelet into the bottom and cut craft foam to match the design. The foam was then attached to the container with hot glue and the float tested in a cup of water. I’m happy to report that it floats perfectly and looks just as ridiculous in water as you would expect.

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Last Fishing Trip of 2015

The year is winding to an end and the temperatures are ever slowly dropping. This is typically the time of year where my fishing companions stop going out with me and my fishing adventures tend to get shorter and shorter. Luckily the weather hasn’t really dipped under freezing yet, keeping the fish very active and easy to catch.

With half an hour to spare, I set out on my last fishing trip of the year, the temperature was sitting right at 40 degrees and wind was only blowing at 2 MPH making conditions fairly enjoyable. I set out to fish Evansville State Hospital Park to fish my favorite holes in hopes of catching as many species as I could. I only had a half hour to spend, so I focused on the spots that have historically been the most productive for me: the drainage ditch pipe between the two lakes and the rocks around the edge of the dock.

I started out at the drainage ditch, and as expected, there was a nice bass sitting in it. These bass see a good amount of pressure so I stuck with a natural bluegill pattern and since the drainage ditch is so shallow I fished a squarebill crankbait. On the first cast, this beauty engulfed the lure.

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Sadly, this appeared to be the only fish sitting in the pipe so I moved over to the dock. The water isn’t too deep and there are a large amount of rocks surrounding the dock so I kept fishing the squarebill. With the temperatures being higher than usual I expected the crappie to be suspended in the water column still. This lake has a notoriously small crappie population, so anytime I catch one it is a special day. But this was one of those special days where the crappie were biting, landing me this little guy on a squarebill.

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Nothing compared to the size crappie you would expect to find in most places, but a welcome sight to see any day. With time running short, I still wanted to try out the ice fishing rod I was given for Christmas so I moved to the end of the dock hoping for a bluegill. I tied on one of my Lazy Man Woolly Bugger Jigs and started jigging away! Luckily it didn’t take long for a hungry fish to grab hold of it. I was rewarded with a little bluegill, and with that fish I called it a day.

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I was happy to say the last trip of the year was a success and for only having a half hour I was happy to have caught 3 species of fish. 2015 had some amazing fishing adventures and I can’t wait to see where 2016 brings. Tight lines and a happy New Year!

A Secret For Windy Days

Conventionally when people think of bass fishing on very windy days they will say something along the lines that you should fish the down wind side because the wind will push all the shad to that side of the lake. I’m not saying that’s wrong, but there is definitely a time to ignore that notion; and today was one of those days.

The hours I was out fishing the wind was blowing around 15 mph, this high wind level gave me an idea of where to fish. I drove out to Bluegrass FWA and found the wind to be blowing from the South, so I set up on the Northwest end of Loon Pit. The reeds that line the edges of the lake creates about 50 yards of water that are untouched by the gusts of wind. The other advantage to this location is the overflow drain from Bluegrass pit flows into the Northwest end of Loon Pit giving you a favorable current.

I initially set up on an area that still had some aquatic plants, they appeared to be dying off and were all 2-3 feet below the water’s surface. I choose to work a squarebill crankbait in a bluegill pattern above this weed line. I know this is an unconventional choice for a lure, but in a lake as heavily pressured as this is combining a natural looking lure with a large amount of vibration and noise tends to give the best results. This method quickly paid of with a small largemouth that rose out of the weeds and hammered the squarebill.1113151406After I landed this fish the spot I came to fish opened up so moved locations. On the very western edge the overflow pipe flows in, whenever water flows quickly this creates a deep cut in the bottom of the lake bed (making more or less a creek channel in the lake). This makes one of my favorite features to fish, this harsh transition from deep water to shallow margins tends to hold bait fish and a good number of largemouth bass consistently. I choose to attack this feature with a deep diving crankbait in a sexy shad color. The bite was not as fast as I had expected, but I seemed to catch a fish every half hour or so. I caught three more fish out of this spot before calling it a day. The first measuring in at 14 inches, the second at 16 inches and the final bass at 13.5 inches.

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The secret I have found is this cover from wind protects the fish that stay closer to the top from drifting down lake, and the bass know this. Bass cruising this area were causing minnows to scatter all day. The combination of high wind, the bait fish being channeled into this small shallow area and the deep ‘creek channel’ all combine to make the perfect bank fishing location.

Crankbaits and Inline Spinners

It had rained for last few days and the lake levels were up a little and that always seems to make them easier to fish. I had some time to kill so I went to the State Hospital Park again in search of catching a decent number of fish.

Because the water was higher the rocks around the borders of the lake were submerged so I started with a squarebill to try to get a few reaction strikes. Which worked out surprising well, I caught a good number of small fish and one very nice fish (I’m guessing 4-5 pounds, I’m not sure my scale is definitely broken).

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After I caught the bigger bass I decided I was tired of fishing a squarebill and just wanted to catch some fish regardless of size. With the fish so active I thought a inline spinner would be a good choice. I caught a good number of small bass, a bluegill and a crappie. I’m always excited to catch a crappie from this lake, I seem to catch one every year or two. I’ve seen people pulling them out one after another during the crappie spawn, but I have yet to see a crappie over 7 inches out of this lake.

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I was really happy with how the day turned out, ended with three species and one very nice bass for this size lake. The crappie made me want to go out and do some serious crappie fishing. I’m still searching for a decent crappie hole that isn’t out at Bluegrass FWA.

Cranking up a 3.5 pounder

Enjoyed two hours out at the State Hospital Park this evening. The water has turned a dark green brown color, mostly due to the lower than average rainfall for this time of year. The bite was much slower today, the weather was reasonable: Temperatures between 67-63 F and pressure of 30.32 in. But to be honest, I don’t really buy into the pressure making a huge difference in fishing.

I only caught 2 largemouth bass today on crankbaits, but the largest fish I caught was on my favorite squarebill, a bluegill pattern xpress crankbait (2-4 ft). The first fish weighed in at 3.5 pounds, this astonished me that this fish was that healthy even though she was blind in one eye. But due to my stupidity I lost my squarebill right after this fish. The fish was right where you’d expect, in front of a pipe connecting two lakes.

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The only other bass I caught was a small 15 incher on a deep diving crankbait (gizzard shad xpress 6-8 ft). This fish was out by the end of the dock, which makes sense due to the large schools of bluegill that people feed there.With the stained water I choose the gizzard shad color to really show up, plus working a deep diving crankbait in shallow water gives of tons of vibration and pausing it to let it float up higher in the water column tends to cause those finicky fish to strike.

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Far from my best trip, but both fish were over the 14 inch minimum size, which is always an accomplishment from this lake. Both fish were released to fight another day, I figure it’ll make some young anglers day to catch one of these healthy fish.