Category Archives: Tips

Customizing Your Crankbait to Catch More Bass

Tuning Your Crankbait by  Ben Team

The falling Autumn temperatures signal bass to gorge themselves on food in preparation for the long, hard winter, when food is scare and life difficult. Because most lakes and ponds are overflowing with bite-sized baitfish at this time, the resident bass become especially piscivorus in the Fall.

Shad are the primary staple of large-water lunkers, while bluegill are more important prey for bass inhabiting ponds and creeks. In either case, a crankbait is one of the most effective lures for exploiting this tendency, so anglers all across the country begin chucking them hither and yond as the days begin to shorten.

Because many of us will be throwing crankbaits for the next few weeks, it seems appropriate to discuss a few techniques for getting the most out of your lures. Specifically, we’re going to talk about three different ways to customize your crankbaits in order to alter their function and “behavior.”

Use Paint Markers to Alter the Color and Pattern

Sometimes a little extra flash is all that is necessary to turn a so-so day of fishing into one for the record books. Paint markers provide an easy (and relatively inexpensive) way to do this on an as-needed basis. For example, you can load up on crankbaits in all of the “standard” colors – silver, white, gold and chartreuse – and then experiment with different accents until you hit upon the magic recipe.

While I am personally skeptical that bass interpret these color accents as eyes or gills, as is so often hinted at on the packaging of these products, there is no doubt that subtle color and pattern changes can have an immense impact on your fishing success.

Add Weight to the Lure

Most anglers alter the presentation depth of a crankbait in either of two ways: They select a lure designed to run at a different depth or they alter their line size, which contributes to the depth of the lure as well (the less resistance created by the line, the deeper the bait will run). However, you can also alter the depth at which your crankbait swims by adding weight to the lure.

There are a variety of different ways to add weight to a crankbait. Some weights are designed to be clipped onto the hook-eyes, while others are akin to a weighted leader – these are simply tied in front of a crankbait. You can also use stick-on weights or add soft solder to the shank of the leading hook to increase the weight of the bait.

But depth isn’t the only reason you may wish to add weight to your lure. You may just need to be able to cast the lure farther. In this case, you’ll need to compensate for the additional weight by making adjustments to your line selection and crankbait choice.

Weight changes also affect the way in which the lure rises (or even sinks) when the retrieve is paused, so be sure to consider how this should alter your lure selection and fishing approach.

Swap the Hooks to Tweak the Action

You can change the hooks on your crankbait to alter its action or weight. For example, by swapping out the stock treble hooks on a crankbait for a pair that are one size larger, you can increase the weight of the lure. Alternatively, if you want a wider wobble out of your crankbait, you may be able to achieve this by downsizing the treble hooks.

You can also swap out the stock treble hooks on your crankbaits for weedless treble hooks to avoid dragging out eight pounds of weeds on each cast or snagging your newly customized lure on an underwater log.

Tuning Your Crankbait

While it is more of a maintenance technique than a customization, it is important to understand how to tune your crankbait to keep it from veering to the side during the retrieve. Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, bend the lure eye in the opposite direction to which the lure is pulling. For example, if your bait is swimming to its left during the retrieve, bend the eye a little bit to its right.

Try some of these ideas out for yourself as you carve up the Autumn water, and let us know how they work out for you. If you have any suggestions that we missed, let us know in the comments below.

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Use Fish WebCams for Better Fishing

How to Use Fish WebCams to Become a Better Fisherman

Use Fish WebCams By Debbie Kay

Fishcams are an incredibly fun way to discover local fish in their native habitat.  They can be found along manmade fish passages, in hatcheries, and along piers (like below the Seattle Aquarium).  The videos can be a calming backdrop in a room, a fun novelty to watch and even a way to learn more about fish behavior.  Knowledge like this allows you to test some theories and help you to become a better fisher as a result.  Here are some things to observe that can help up your fishing game: Continue reading Use Fish WebCams for Better Fishing

Fall Bass Fishing Techniques and Tips

Fall Bass Fishing by Sean Obrien

Along with the trout fishing in the fall, the bass fishing really begins to pick up as the season’s change.  There are a lot of factors involved in this, some of which include time of day, weather, water temperature, and perhaps most importantly, baitfish.  Bass fishing techniques change with the seasons, and we will detail some fall and colder water temperature tactics that can increase your fall bass fishing ability.

As the hot summer months begin to cool down, the water temperature begins to drop.  This creates a situation where the bass begin to come fish will begin to chase more, and they can use this to their advantage.  Another additionally factor the colder water temperature brings is the fish closer to the shore, as the shallow water is usually warmer.  The baitfish also congregate in the shallows, feasting on the algae that is ever present in most freshwater ponds and lakes. Baitfish school up in the fall, which makes it easier for the bass to grab mouthfuls of them, and allows the angler to follow the baitfish to  the bass.  Throw whatever you are fishing with into schools of baitfish, or where you think the baitfish are, and you will more often than not get hit. Another gauge of where the fish may be is the appearance of birds – they tend to congregate and feed on the baitfish as well.  Keep aware and hit the spots that appear to have these activities occurring and you will be well on your way to cleaning up with your fall bass fishing  catch.

It is more important than at any other point in any season that the angler learns to read the water of whatever area he is fishing.  In the afternoon, when the water is calm and glassy, topwater lures will attract action, as the more aggressive fish will come up to strike.  Not much better than to get a topwater strike of a big bass when the water is calm and clear.  You can still throw your worms out at structures and probably get a bite, as the more aggressive and active bass will be hitting everything. Another spot to look at is creek entries into the lake or pond, as this is where the baitfish will run, and the bass will follow.  These spots are perfect for experimenting with all kinds of different lures and really determining what works and what doesn’t.

Sometimes, what has worked in a particular spot in the spring will continue to work in the fall, but for the most part, switching it up will always be recommended.  By the fall, these fish have seen a ton of bait, and being a little different could get a hit when nothing else is working.  Throw everything you can and utilize the entire water column in your pursuit of fall bass.  As the days get shorter and colder, enjoy every second that you can outdoors and throwing lures, because when the snow piles up you will be wishing you had these opportunities.








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Master the Fly Fishing Basics

Fly Fishing Basics by Sean Obrien

Fly fishing is a lot like golf – real mastery only comes once you’ve developed strong fundamentals.  Without mastering the fly fishing basics, the flashier, more advanced techniques will be impossible.  It’s infinitely easier to learn the proper technique to start with than it is to break bad habits that have already formed.

Fly Fishing Basics

But “fundamentals” is a broad topic.  There are many tricks to help perfect your casting form, or tie the correct knots for each connection of your rod and reel combo.  But all of that is wasted if you can’t find the fish.  Ultimately, you’ll need all three of these skills  to start succeeding as a fly fisherman. With that said, here are some tips, tricks and techniques for mastering the basics of fly fishing. Continue reading Master the Fly Fishing Basics

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Fall Fly Fishing Rivals Spring

Fall Fly Fishing by Sean Obrien

Fall fly fishing rivals spring as a great time to go after those elusive trout. Trout fishing in the fall is my favorite time, as the air and water get colder, and the sun is still shining and offering up a little warmth.  As the rivers and streams get lower and lower, and the air gets colder and colder, make sure you have the opportunity to get out there a few times to close out the season.

Water temperatures are a big benefit to the fall fly fishing season, as sometimes cooler water results in lethargic trout.  This means morning and night might not be the best times to go fishing.  The best time to fish might be afternoon, when the water is warmer, and the sun is overhead, making it more comfortable for both you and the fish.  Remember to dress to impress, as clearer water and lower sun means fish can see you much better than when the water is higher and cloudier from particles and sediments.  Muted colors, nothing bright, and try to blend in with the background foliage as best as you can.  Overhead sun due to fishing in the afternoon also results in longer shadows that may spook fish, so the angler will need to take into account where they are in relation to the sun.

Trout spawn in fall,  which causes them to become more aggressive and, in the case of brown and brook trout, willing to eat more often than in spring.  Rainbows seem to be voracious no matter what, and all three types will eat any eggs that they may come into contact with, so egg patterns might be beneficial.  It is still a great idea to match the catch, as mayflies are still hatching, especially when the wind is calm and the temperature is higher.  Dry flies work well in all seasons, but in fall fly fishing, the water is clearer because the sediment is not getting churned up as much.  The problem is all the leaves and twigs and nuts and debris falling off the trees and into the water might make it tough for the fish to notice your fly.  Just putting a little twitch as you float could make the difference, and help the fly catch the eye of a fish.

Streamers are great in fall as well, because, as stated before, the water is clearer and the fish are more aggressive overall. Although this does not mean you will see or catch more trout in the fall than in the spring, the spawning fish make for some interesting excursions.  As the summer hatch winds down, small bugs, crickets and beetles become very large parts of a trout’s diet.  Try to maximize your fall fly fishing  chances by testing out not only different patterns, but different sizes and weights of flies.  And anytime you feel like you might have something to do and you won’t be able to get out there, just remember, in a few short months, you will be counting down until opening day 2017.