Bass fishing at the flats continues to be incredible this season. Following the spawn, large sacks of largemouth bass were being hooked in the grass beds. However this is often when carp start to spawn inside the grassy regions. Those carp trigger a serious uproar and lots of people believe that they scare these fish away from the grass , however this is not correct! The thrashing will produce a large amount of disturbance as well as muddy the water, nevertheless don’t allow that to move you from the grass. As a result of my personal experience I've discovered the breeding carp may actually assist the largemouth bass fishing. Just how can that come to be?
Understand that having success anytime you are bass fishing requires the ability to observe the food chain and influencing the food chain is precisely what these carp do. During the spawn a substantial amount of carp eggs basically adhere to the grass stalks and canopy. This is going to attract all forms of baitfish to feed on this large quantity of eggs, including perch, smaller sized catfish, crawfish and various other baitfish. Actually, if you're around water clear enough, you may observe groups of yellow perch following these spawning carp. They will feast upon the eggs as soon as they will be laid down.
This process of baitfish eating carp eggs sequentially lures in largemouth. Numerous bass enjoy it since they have got a smorgasbord of food; the baitfish. That is why, you see, the bass angling can be spectacular during this time. Learning the food chain should be the initial step to understand the bass. A successful fisherman must also check the tides, comprehend a variety of grass and recognize just what baits and methods match up to any particular situation. This is a challenge that you will be constantly piecing together, but once it comes together, you'll find some incredible largemouth bass fishing around the Chesapeake Bay."
I ventured up the Susquehanna on Thursday, January 12, with a good friend. In five hours or so we caught well over a 100 Yellow Perch. Fish ranged in size from 4" to 9". All small, which is not what we have experienced the last few years. This year the temperatures have been warmer than usual. Last year we were breaking ice to get out and this year, and as of yesterday the water temp was still at 41-42 degrees, air temp 62. I think this is still too warm and this means the bigger fish are still scattered in shallow water, possibly out on the Flats. Also there are too many commercial fish traps in the area to count. They were not present last year.
If there ever was a fishing winter wonderland it would be on the Upper Chesapeake Bay in Joppatowne, MD. At a time when most boats are all snuggled in the garage or living under the confines of their strapped down tarps for the winter, Jerry Sersen's boat has been seeing daylight on a regular basis. Of course it has been a mild winter (so far), but Jerry says that has been holding the perch bite back a bit. “The colder water is better when catching yellow perch”, says Jerry, “and this year it is taking a little longer to get things going with the warmer than normal temperatures. But the water temperatures are starting to settle down to where they normally are and I expect the Yellow Perch bite will be on fire real soon. In fact next week I'll be up at the Susquehanna River where I've had times of catching up to 200 perch in a single day.”
You don't need a big boat or lots of horsepower. In this cold weather you'll only use idle speeds. Just make sure you have good protection, especially on those windy days. Here is Jerry's latest report from Joppatowne:
Crappie are taking small plastics on a 1/16 oz. jig head suspended under a float. Mainly fish under the shady side of the docks and you must keep moving until you find them. There are a lot of docks for them to hide around, also fishing pressure and baitfish movement keep them on the move.
Yellow perch are schooling up in the deeper areas along the canals. I'm using a double jig rig to catch these tasty table fare. Tie a drop loop about 18" from the end of your line. Snip one side of the loop to create a 4 to 6" drop line. Tie a 1/32 oz jig head on this line and a 1/16 oz. on the other end of your line. Tip these jigs with Pan-Assassins (natural colors) seem to be best.
Bass are eating 3" grubs on 1/16 oz. Jig heads, of course with larger hooks. Charlie Brewer Slider Heads are what I use. Smoke and green-pumpkin colors are working best for me. I have caught several bass fishing the other methods mentioned above."
I installed a new Lowrance Elite DSI-5 on my boat a few days ago and I just had to put the boat into the water to check it out. Of course I had to take a rod or two with me, and boy I am glad I did. What a GREAT decision. I was able to boat 22 rockfish in 2 hours, and some fish were up to 20 inches on the Bush River. The fish were staged on every rock pile I pulled up on. I was using a Stillwater Lures Clatter Shad in the 1/2 oz size and color #31, and that was really doing the trick for me. I had to get the bait to bounce off the rocks and when the bait would jump erractically they would slam it. If there was no bounce in my bait, then there was no fish. The water temperature was still at 50 degrees, but I'm not sure how long that will last. The Striper fishing should be good until water temperature gets down to 45 degrees. Just remember you may have to slow down the retrieve as the water cools. Oh, by the way the new Lowrance unit works great. Down-Side-Imaging is unbelievable!!!!!!!
Talk to you soon.
Good Fishing and God's Blessings'
In this video SFT Pro-Staffer Pete Gluszek takes us through the basics of casting with a spinning rod to get better accuracy, less twist and thus a higher catch rate."
A question comes to us from Harold in Gouldsboro, who asks "Can you explain the difference in the various rods(topwater, crankbait, spinnerbait, worm, soft plastic stickbait etc etc)" This is a great question, in fact, we get questions such as this from customers on a regular basis. We start with this video of George explaining rod actions and powers in the general sense. This is the first part of more to come on this subject."
EXO - The Exoskeleton Design
Quantum releases the EXO PT baitcasting reel, where EXO stands for exoskeleton. One look and you will notice the skeleton type look of the reel. You'll see that the body of the reel is not solid, but instead has cut-outs at various points giving it a skeleton like appearance.
But the trick is to make sure the cut-outs are in areas that do not come under stress. What a concept and wow, does it ever work! By using a high-grade aluminum on the load bearing parts of the reel, and a composite material where as much strength isn't needed, and cut-outs in the rest of the areas, Quantum brings us a baitcasting reel that weighs in at just 5.9 oz.! But it is extremely durable. In fact a video on the Quantum web site show the reel put in a vice with over 1,000 lbs of force placed on it without breaking or damaging the reel. In a second video a 1/2 ton pickup truck runs over the reel without damaging it as well.
It doesn't stop at Lightweight and Strong
Other features of this reel include a super smooth ceramic drag. A little drag test you may want to try on one of your other reels is the Bill Dance test. Bill Dance sets the drag lightly and grabs the line on the reel. The reel, attached to a rod with the rod tip against the ground and the reel in the air, slowly falls to the ground in one steady smooth motion. No sticking or jerking as the line peels off the reel. This drag is exceptional and you will have no problems controlling or landing big fish with this drag system. The reel also comes with a quick release sideplate and and an easy to set centrifical cast control system. Simply rotate a dial to set this braking system. You will also get ultimate casting distance with this reel thanks to the high end bearings used in construction.
John from Baltimore Maryland recently submitted the following question: What is a "good" depth for the Juanita River to fish with a jet boat if you want to be able to run from Duncannon up the river? (if you have a question <click here> to submit it)
This is a great question John. In fact after we saw the question we thought it may be nice to put a little guide together that shows the safe running levels at various points of the river. But before we get into any details, it is important for everyone to know that these are the levels that we use when boating the river. The actual levels that any particular person may use to safely navigate, could be different, depending on the type of boat you have, your experience level, the weather conditions and your ability to read the water. Under no circumstance should you use this guide to make your final decisions. When in doubt, error on the side of caution, and most of all use common sense. If it looks dangerous, it most certainly is, and if it doesn't look dangerous, it probably still is.
Our chart starts at Sunbury and works it way down. There are basically two gauges that you want to go by, the gauge at Sunbury or the one at Harrisburg, depending on where you are fishing. We show dangerously high levels as well as dangerously low levels. There is an "easy to navigate" level which is the ideal depth for running a boat safely. This does not mean you can put down the hammer and close your eyes! You still need to look for rocks and low areas. Keep an eye on your depth finder as you navigate, read the water and constantly be looking for rocks, debris and other objects in the water.
All numbers below are to be read in feet. Use <this link> to see a quick glance at what the current river levels are on the Susquehanna.
|Navigating Sunbury down to Fiber Dam - Use Sunbury Gauge - NORTH BRANCH|
|below 7.5||7.5 to 9||9 to 13||13 to 15||15+|
|Navigating Sunbury down to Fiber Dam - Use Sunbury Gauge - WEST BRANCH|
|below 7.5||7.5 to 8.5||8.5 to 13||13 to 15||15+|
|Navigating Fiber Dam down to Duncannon Low Side - Use Harrisburg gauge|
|below 4.5||4.5 to 5||5 to 7.5||8 to 10||10+|
|Navigating Juniata- Susquehanna North to 1st ledge around Amity Hall - use Newport gauge|
|below 4.5||4.5 to 5||5 to 7||7 to 8||8+|
|Navigating Main Stem Duncannon to Harrisburg - use Harrisburg Gauge|
|below 3.6||3.5 to 4.3||4.3 to 8||8 to 10||10+|
|Navigating Main Stem Dock St to York Haven Dam low side - use Harrisburg Gauge|
|below 3.4||3.4 to 3.8||3.8 to 8||8 to 10||10+|
Rods tested: RC71MHXF and RC74HF
I was able to put some time together to enter the Everstart event on the Potomac River. It wasn’t a hard choice for me as this is one of my all time favorite destinations and the end of September generally finds fish gathered in bays near creek mouths and in the creeks themselves. Usually you’re in for a big catch and the big river lived up to expectations.
My plan included fishing grass with aggressive presentations such as spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and swim jigs. I put the RC71MHXF to work with a few different War Eagle spinnerbaits and the Revenge Viberator. I rigged this rod with a Shimano Chronarch and 50# Power Pro. The baits I was throwing ranged from 3/8oz. to 1/2oz. and with the braid I was able to cleanly pop them free from the milfoil. When St. Croix says extra fast action they mean it. The tip flexes in a very tight arc in a true extra fast taper. Very impressive. I also switched reels to a Curado spooled with #14 Gamma Fluorocarbon to see how the feel was with a less sensitive line. The feel was still there, maybe not as pronounced as an Avid but pretty close. I’d recommend this rod for the above applications as well as many more. I feel it’s a versatile stick. Check out the pic of the 25# Blue Cat that decided to eat my War Eagle on this rod!
The Rage series features Pac Bay Minima guides. Basically the guide insert is some type of metal. What I really like about this are no more chipped or cracked guides. What an expensive and time-consuming problem that eliminates. Also, the guide set is semi-micro. So you get a lot of guides without a lot of weight. The blank for the Rage series is the same graphite as the Avid series and I found them to be similar in sensitivity. The reel seat is split so you have hand to blank contact and the handle is very unique. The handle is machined from a dense resin then a very thin neoprene skin is applied. I found the handle to be comfortable and on the days is rained I didn’t notice any grip issues.
The RC74HF is what I fished my 3/8oz. D&L swim jig on. I had this jig rigged with a Zoom Horny Toad and the action was fast and furious. I paired the 7’4” rod with a Curado loaded with 50# Power Pro. This made a good swim jig combo but it also worked well flippin’ a jig. I highly recommend this stick for both of those applications and I feel it would make a great frog rod also.
So after 6 long days on the Potomac I would have to give both models the thumbs up. If your in the market for a good mid priced stick and you want to be a little cutting edge, give the Rage series a look, I think you’ll be glad you did.