It is no secret that the water in the Susquehanna River rises and when that happens, fish pull into creeks and away from their usual hangout spots. This raises the troubling question: How are you supposed to catch the fish now if they have pulled back so much? Continue reading to learn two tactics that will help you find those sneaky fish.
Adjust Your Bait
Sometimes you have to match the hatch of the bait by downsizing your jerk bait to a Lucky Craft Pointer 78. If downsizing isn’t the answer, you might have to cast out a little color like the Strike King KVD Slash Bait Jerkbait in Strobe Shad to get the fish to start biting.
I ended up catching a ton of fish in the creeks by using the downsizing technique and duplicating the pattern. I cannot stress the importance of fishing the Z-Man TT Lures NedlockZ HD Jighead rig. I had to modify it a little bit and use a weedless head. This allowed me to fish it closer to the cover with less snags. I also used the TRD HogZ in Green Pumpkin to present something different to the fish. The HogZ bait is a great lure to use in the rotation with your favorite tube to introduce a little variety. Don’t forget to include the exclusive SFT Weedless "Mikey" Tube Head.
Where to Find the Fish
When the waters rise, the fish school up on every log jam in the creeks. When hitting areas of the water with logs, use the Z-Man Power Finesse Jig.
When you approach them, you might find that they won’t want to eat fast moving reaction baits. To accompany the jig, I paired it with the Z-Man Boar HogZ, casted it out, and held on. When flipping it into the logjams and debris piles of the river, the smallmouth bass started annihilating it. This jig was the ticket.
In order to catch the biggest fish in high pressured creeks, you need to do something different than your usual bait and hook. Play around with a few different kind of jigs and know where to look. At this time of year, there are tons of fish in the water, but you have to be willing to try different techniques in order to find them!
Last weekend we had rising water and a full moon. Water temperatures ranged from 41 to 46 degrees over the weekend. During this time, we caught a bunch of fish, but had some slow periods throughout the day. While out on the water, we noticed that there were two patterns you want to be aware of when you are fishing in this kind of weather.
1st Pattern - Finding the Current Breaks
We fished anywhere there was slower water near current breaks. Fish were moving to the banks and particularly loaded on the west banks due to higher water, and cleaner water feeding in from creek mouths. Recognize those current breaks and you will find the fish.
Best Bait to Use in Slow Water
We caught fish on Z-man TRD, TRD Hogz, TRD TubeZ in The Deal, Green Pumpkin, and Black Blue. We also caught fish on Mizmo Bass Teasers 2.75 inch tubes with the SFT weedless head by throwing this up to the bank and brush. Black Red Neon was our best color.
2nd Pattern - Hitting the Clean Creeks and Creek Mouths
Fish were caught in the cleaner water and creek mouths with similar baits as the first pattern, but the cleaner water presented a better opportunity to catch fish on jerkbaits.
Best Jerkbait to Use in Clear Waters
Lastly, I used the new G Loomis E6X rod the entire day this past weekend. This rod is incredible for the price range. Clients loved it, and it really made the difference in getting the fish in the boat and driving the hook into the fish's mouth in the nasty cover with 8 lb Seaguar InvisX Flourocarbon fishing line.
The bite on the river is hot during these conditions. Keep in mind that we have plenty of openings for guide trips left this spring season! Contact us to book your trip today.
Corbin Gotwalt has had a summer cabin on the Susquehanna River since he was born. This local knowledge has pushed him into the guiding business. Corbin is always fishing the latest and greatest techniques and is constantly catching big fish. By targeting big fish, it has allowed him to perfect the
details of many techniques resulting in increased quantity and quality of fish. In addition to being a guide, Corbin also participates in local fishing tournaments.
It’s hard to imagine fishing in these conditions. Your hands are numb, nose is running, toes are cold and you are feeling downright miserable, then you set the hook on a big ole bass and it all goes away in an instant. Fishing during the winter is not for everyone but if you know when, where, and what to do it can be a very successful time. Here are a few winter time fishing tips that will get you feeling the rush of a big catch.
The Best Time for Fishing in the Winter
The when is the key to winter time fishing. When you go will put the odds in you favor. Try to look for a warming trend in the forecast. It does not have to be a huge swing in temperature, but looking for a warming few couple of days will do the trick. If you notice that the sun has been beating down on the water for two days, make sure to get out then or the following day. The warming trend will bring the bait up and the bass will follow.
The Best Places to Cast
This brings us to where you should look to cast. Look to cast in deep water close to the bank where you can see a current break and/or a rocky shoreline on the western side of the body of water. This is where the sun beats on the water the longest, causing the rocks to warm. Bass will move up and down the steep bank to feed, not necessarily all the way up to the shallows, but somewhere along the drop. Good electronics are needed to pinpoint the bait so you can concentrate on that area. You may have to move around to a few of these wintering type holes to find the right combination for that day. Just remember to look for the warmest water. A few degrees change in temperature is huge and will narrow down your search to find the big fish.
Many times, the fish will suck it off the bottom and if you do not let it lay, the bait won’t get bitten. There is a vast amount of baits that will catch the fish, but we have the best bait choices for your methods.
Best Baits to Use
What kind of bait to use can be of a variety or very simple depending on how much you like to experiment. Here are a few of the tried and true methods.
First, is the hair jig. Years ago, this is all that would be used and even without a trailer if you preferred. Tied on six pound line and a six foot, eight inches medium extra fast rod, one could throw this all-day long. Nowadays, you can still use this combo a lot, but not exclusively. The Kalin's Marabou Jig in either 1/8 ounce or 1/4 ounce. The hair is a little longer, but not too bulky.
In the last couple of years, the introduction of the Z-Man Ned Rig TRD worm has really changed the game. It is a very buoyant plastic two ¾ inch long that with the Z-Man Ned HD lure stands straight up off the bottom which is very enticing to winter fish. Since then they added the Ned TRD Tube which does the same thing and is two ½ inches long, both catch cold water fish really well and offers more color choices. All of these baits are critical to fish on the six pound Hi-Seas Fluorocarbon line and the most sensitive rod you can buy. The bite is what we call a pressure bite, you don’t really feel any type of tap but more just a change in weight or pressure of the lure, so the line rod combination is critical in detecting that. Another great cold-water bait is the Silver Buddy or blade bait. I use the 1/2oz size the majority of the time but there has been times the 1/4oz is all they would eat. Color is real simple for me Silver or gold. The colder the water the slower the action of the bait. I will let it lay on the bottom a few seconds before the next jig.
Remember these tips, rigs, and to always dress warm. Try to take your fishing buddy along, and always wear your life jacket. It can be very dangerous out there and being mindful of what is going on around you can save your life. Winter fishing can be great just remember the when, where, and what baits to use. For more tips, stop into our store, or give us a call!
Whether you fish lakes or rivers, these late fall and winter techniques and baits will work for you. These fishing techniques work best when water temps are between 33 and 45 degrees. When it gets cold, fish move to their wintering spots where it is easy to feed. Usually the most common winter hideouts are channel bends and points on main lakes. If you are fishing in the river, look out for deep water holes. Now, let’s talk about a few of the best techniques for these kind of conditions.
We will put this out there, be ready to catch some fish because this rig is deadly. Match your jig heads for the depth of water you are fishing. In the Susquehanna River we use mostly 5- 1/8 oz. heads. In local lakes, we do use up to 3/8 oz. For the river we like the War Eagle Shaky head. It has a good hook and fits almost any bait. For lakes, I like the Revenge Swimbait Hedz. It comes in a regular and XL hook for any kind of bait. In really cold water, it is hard to beat the Keitech Swimbaits. They have a little slower action that fish really relate to. For the river we use 4” Swing Impact and use the Swing Impact Fat for your lake fishing. As far as the rig itself we like the Picasso School- E-Rig both with and without blades. We use 50lb Power Pro Braid on a 7’6” MH flipping stick when throwing these rigs. After you choose your weapon of choice, you will want to slow down and slow roll the rig very close to the bottom to reach the big fish.
This type of jig is deadly on cold bass. Here again, we feel like less is best in the cold and the hair jig has a very subtle sleek action and look in the water. The bass can’t resist it! If you are interested in making your own, we have customers that tie their own jigs using just about any kind of road kill out there. If you are looking to buy, we like the Kailins Bucktail jigs. We also use Kailins Marabou jigs. Marabou has a real needle look in the water and sometimes makes all the difference. Fish these on the most sensitive rod you own. We prefer the G.Loomis Glx SJR Series. Also, use 6lb line when fishing these. It will allow the bait to fall correctly and if fishing the river, there will be less drag on the line. We use Hi Seas Fluorocarbon fishing line.
Jigging Spoons/ Blade Baits
Most people do not like to fish these for the obvious reason of hanging up and losing them. But if you can channel your inner patience and slow down you will see what these baits are all about. In the cold water, we use a slow jigging cadence often letting the spoon lay on the bottom for several seconds before continuing the retrieve. We have had bass suck them off the bottom while just lying there as the bait drags by them. We recommend the Silver Buddy, but also like the Vibe E and the Blitz Blade. A great spoon is the War Eagle Super Spoon. Most of the time silver will produce but gold is a must have. Now they are offered in many colors and each has that certain time to throw. We use 12lb to15lb Hi Seas Fluorocarbon line when fishing the jigging spoon and blade bait. Some largemouth like as high as 20lb, but that kind of line is more for tidewater down at the bay or while on the Potomac.
When the cold weather comes, we hope this helps give you some confidence fishing under fall and winter conditions. Try these techniques and take your time learning them. They just might be your favorite way to catch ‘em during the cold season! If you have questions, feel free to contact us or pop into our store in Columbia, PA!
Every angler needs a good selection of tools in his or her tackle box. Make sure that you are ready for whatever the water will bring you by having the right tools on hand.
1. Needle Nose Pliers
A good pair of needle nose pliers will help you with any task you might be faced with on the water. Whether you are taking out trebble hooks from a hard bait or helping your fishing buddy get out a deep hooked fish. If you ever had a trebble stuck in your hand from a bass shaking wildly, you will know the importance of what it means to have a good pair of needle nose pliers. We recommend the Shimano Brutus Line of pliers and the Rapala Fisherman’s Pliers. These pliers will perform under all the conditions you could face while out on the water.
2. Weighing Scale
When you make a nice catch, it sure is great to know exactly what that lunker weighs in at. To do that, we recommend the Berkley Tournament Scale or any of the Rapala scales. We prefer the Rapala Mechanical Scale or the Rapala High Contrast Digital Scale. Starting at $27.99 there is a perfect scale for every liar.
3. Culling Buoys
We all hope to have to use them. To make the culling job easy we recommend the Cal Coast Clip-N-Cull and the TH Marine G-Force Conservation Cull System. These are great for the states where you cannot pierce the fish.
You might be thinking, what? Why and how is having something like scissors in my tackle box important. Well let me tell you, I use my pair of Culprit Braid Blades almost as much as I do the needle nose pliers, if not more. A good pair of braid cutting scissors will make your day. We also like the Mustad Braid Scissors. Both recommendations will cut braid with ease.
5. Split Ring Pryers
You may be the guy or gal who fishes with stock hooks and then has a hissy fit when bubba gets away. Changing out the hook is a must do task. You might be whacking the bass on a crank bait and over time your hooks become bent or may have even broken off. What do you need to do? Change out your hooks. To do so, you will want to grab the Texas Tackle SSplit-Ring Pryers. These pryers will assist and keep you from fumbling around with your hook like you have all thumbs for fingers.
6. Fish Gripper
The Rapala Floating Fish Gripper will help keep you safe. When trying to get a hook out of a fish’s lip, you take out the fish gripper, attach it to the mouth, and keep your fingers out of the way. At the very least, when dealing with a fish with trebbles flying everywhere, this tool will keep you safe. Another plus is it can be used with tool number two and makes weighing your fish a breeze.
There you have it. With all of these tackle box tools, you will surely have everything you need to make your fishing trip fun and successful. Whether it’s a gift for him, her, or yourself, these tools will not disappoint. Check out our current specials from time to time and see what products you can snag up!
August can really bring the heat, and if you are out there on the water, you know that catching a fish during this time of year can be hard. Good news for you is that we have three tactics and baits to help you catch the big bass you’ve been waiting to snag all summer long.
Tip #1 – Carolina Rigging
Ahh, Carolina rigging. Carolina rigging is a technique that all anglers should be aware of and one that is specific for finding fish that are hiding deep down in the water. Watch this instructional rigging video to see exactly how to set up your Rig. Once you have your rig, you will want to make sure that your leader is somewhere between 24 to 36 inches long. This will allow your bait to swim freely with a finesse look. Some cover like rocks will want a shorter leader and other structure like grass or brush piles may like a longer leader.
Recommendation: For your Carolina rig, just about any creature bait or plastic bait is okay to attach to the hook. With that said though, our favorite baits are the Zoom Brush Hog and the Zoom Centipede (similar to what is featured in the instructional video).
Tip #2 – Drop Shotting
Another great technique for getting your bait down into the deep parts of the water is drop shotting. With this technique, you are setting your hook on the line somewhere between 8 to 36 inches above the weight that is attached to your main line. This rig keeps your bait up off the bottom and in the fishes face. This rig is a more of a finesse technique and a spinning rod with light line is key.
Tip #3 – Where to Cast
When the sun is blazing hot outside, the fish want to take cover and go as far away from it as possible. What you want to do is capitalize on their position and get your bait as deep into the water as you can. The best way to do this is to use a deep diving crankbait. With a deep diving crankbait you can get 10 to 20 feet or more under the water.
Your bait and rigs mean nothing if you aren’t throwing your line into the right areas. When you hit the water, look for areas that show a deep edge along the grass line also search for rocks that may be piled up on the bottom because fish are likely to take cover in the crevices or shade to stay cool. Brush piles and ledges also create a cool haven for fish on hot summer days by adding an extra level of protection from the sun. Fish love to migrate to these areas and hide out during the extreme heat of the day as the sun makes its way across the sky. One major key find the bait and you will find the fish.
Recommendation: Once you find an area similar to any of the ones described above, use one of the aforementioned rigs you tied up or hook up the Strike King Series Five Crankbait. Make long casts and crank the series 5 or 6 down and vary speeds until you start getting bites.
Now that you have all the insight needed, prepare to catch some big bass! For great deals on the baits mentioned above, check out our upcoming Labor Day Sale. The sale will be online and in stores over the Labor Day weekend. More details will be coming to the store events page soon.
Summer is here and the water is heating up. This means the big bass are heading deep down into the cooler water and away from the warmer surfaces. Below you will find five of the top lures to use in this summer heat and the tactics you need for a big catch.
Tackle Tactics to Catch a Big Bass
Tactic 1 – Think like a fish
It is no secret that with the increasing temperatures, bass begin to look for a cool area to relax while the water heats up. When you head out to your favorite fishing spot, think like a fish. If you were a fish, where would you go to find cool water? Are there clusters of trees shading the water or sections with brush and weeds? These cool areas can be described as heavy cover. Look for summer weed beds, riverbanks, rock coverings, and any other areas of water shaded by the sun. If you see an area of water with this description, there will most likely be some big bass hanging out there.
Tactic 2 – Choose the right bait
To get into these thick and deep areas, you will want the right bait. This is where the bait suggestions that are mentioned above should be taken for a spin. These baits and lures can be fished through thick weed beds and with heavy weights sink low into the cooler water where the big hogs reside. Having the right set up is key to reaching deep into the water to find the bigger bass. Heavy grass equals heavy weights.
Tactic 3 – Fish meticulously
When it is hot, bass are inactive and sedentary. Big bass will not be seen gallivanting around the warm water and this means you must go to them. Make sure you are combing the waters and fishing all the possible shaded areas very thoroughly. You don’t know what is lurking deep down in the water and it us up to you to find out.
For extremely helpful in-person tips for catching big bass, come and visit us on August 12th and meet Ish Monroe as he leads a free seminar where he discusses his best fishing tips and techniques. For more details on this event, visit our store events page. If you have any questions, contact us.
Summer fishing is a must, but fishing in the heat can be down right miserable. When the temperature and humidity are both in the 90s, it can be extra tough to even be on the water. Luckily there are a few important steps that you can take to make sure that you're properly prepared for it and can find those bigger fish!
The first precaution that you must take to prepare for the heat is the sun. Not only will you get a nasty sunburn if you're not protected, but you'll also find yourself exhausted. Having the proper sun apparel will help you stay much cooler throughout the day and provide you with maximum protection from the sun.
Proper Sun Apparel
Also known as a neck gator, is a great way to keep from having to apply sunscreen to your face. But it’s also a great way to keep yourself cool. Dump some cold water on the buff to lower your body temperature. Most, if not all of them, have a minimum SPF rating of 30, and are made with moisture-wicking material that is designed to be worn on hot days.
Your eyes also need to be protected. If you’re on open water you’ll need a pair of blue mirror sunglasses. The blue mirror is designed to cut maximum glare off the water, and deliver the clearest vision in your area.
Wearing a hat helps to amplify this by adding a layer of shade for your eyes in addition to your lenses. Like it or not, a flat brim hat might not be your style, but it will add more shade to your site than any other hat on the market. Even if it’s not your thing, it’ll really help you on the water. And you don’t have to wear it to the family BBQ.
Sun shirts give you full protection on your arms without making you overheated or causing you to bother with the pesky hassle of sunscreen application. All of the pros wear long sleeve shirts during competition because they understand what a huge advantage this new SPF material offers. With many different options to choose from, it’s easy to find one that fits your budget and your style.
Gloves that protect your hands from the sun are becoming a necessity. They offer both luxuries of coverage and open areas. This will help you manage to keep your hands out of the sun’s harmful rays while they hold fast to your rod too.
Only someone insane would say that. But sunscreen has many negatives so why risk it? You can replace sunscreen with the proper sun apparel for protection as previously suggested. Sunscreen contains scents and oils that can make fish avoid your baits, especially in heavily pressured waters where the fish can associate the scent of sunscreen with an unpleasant experience. Skip the sunscreen and the reapplication process, and protect your skin with clothing. It will make for a much smoother day on the water.
Get An Early Start
This is the most underrated aspect of fishing in high heat. You really need to start as early as possible each day. Once the sun is high and the temps are over 90, finding good fish becomes very difficult. First thing in the morning the fish will be shallow and looking to eat. You can find success with topwater baits, lipless cranks, and even jerkbaits (yes that’s right, even when the water temps are over 90 degrees).
After the sun is high and temps have risen your best bet is to either switch to live bait, or to find the thermocline. The thermocline is the area in the lake where the warm water meets the cooler water. This is where the bigger fish will position themselves for the day. Even big dock fish are not normally there for the entire day. They come in from that area to eat on smaller fish, then they return to their deeper grounds until they decide to feed again, or in some cases until nightfall.
Want to learn more about fishing in other weather conditions like the rain? We have the best tips on how to handle wet weather and still catch a big hog. If have any questions about fishing gear, feel free to contact us or stop into our store.
Father’s Day is right around the corner and chances are, you still haven’t gotten the dad in your life his gift yet. If he is the outdoorsy, fish loving type, we have a lineup of the best gifts you can buy him, all listed at different price points.
1. Daiwa Yamamoto Neko Straight Worm – $7.49
First up, is the Daiwa Yamamoto Neko Straight Worm bait. Give the gift of a big catch this Father’s Day and better yet, at a very affordable price. This Neko straight worm bait is the combination of Daiwa and Yamamoto, giving any fisherman the perfect bait for deep water bass fishing.
2. Megabass Vision 110 +1 – $24.99
Another bait that will not disappoint any fishermen is the Megabass Vision 110 +1. A revised version of the Megabass Vision 110, this bait can go three feet deeper and is great for those days when they need to fish deep because the fish just won’t rise to the top.
3. Simms Solarflex Sungloves - $29.99
Keep his hands protected from the sun with these fishing gloves. The lightweight stretch fabric provides optimal dexterity and movement with its half finger design. With these gloves, your angler’s hands are out of the hot sun and protected from the harmful rays.
4. Simms SunGaiter - $29.99
The SunGaiter is a great shield to prevent a fisherman from getting burnt. Choose from eight different colors and keep his ears, face, and neck protected from the sun. The SunGaiter can stay cool too. All he has to do is wet it with cold water and put it back on.
5. Strike King S11 Sunglasses - $39.99
With 29 different styles and colors to choose from, you can easily find the pair of sunglasses he wants and needs to have out there on the water. Strike King’s high contrast lenses provide clarity for any outdoor conditions and will dramatically improve an angler’s vision to see through the water.
6. Cocoon Sunglasses - $49.99
If the Strike King sunglasses aren’t the type of eye protection your angler needs, try out the cocoon style sunglasses. These frames provide a snug fit and go over top of your existing glasses. Give your fisherman the availability to see through the water as clear as day during any weather.
7. Shimano Evair Marine/Fishing Shoes - $49.99
One of our more popular products being sold in the store right now is the Shimano Evair Marine/Fishing Shoes. These shoes come in camo, grey, and khaki and are sure to fit any angler’s style. This ultra lightweight shoe will keep any foot cool on a hot summer’s day.
8. Simms Solarflex Sun Shirt - $59.99
A UPF 50 sun protection shirt is just about the best thing you can buy your angler to wear in the summer. Sunscreen is not ideal for any fisherman because the smell can deter the fish. Reapplying is also a hassle. The moisture wicking, quick drying, and anti-odor material this shirt is made of means your fisherman can keep dry and protected from the sun all day.
9. G Loomis E6x Crankbait Rod - $179.99
One of the top selling rods in our store right now is the G Loomis Crankbait Rod. Made from graphite, this rod provides the flex your angler needs to have an accurate and long cast. This rod will give him the quality and expertise of a G Loomis product, but at a very affordable price.
10. Simms Challenger Pro Jacket - $199.95
With summer, comes those pesky summer storms, which can be perfect for fishing in. The Simms Challenger Pro Jacket is made of 100% waterproof material and has fleece lined pockets to keep a fisherman’s hands warm, along with an adjustable storm hood. Give your angler the opportunity to fish out in the rain and stay dry through any storm.
We hope these suggestions allow you to find the right gift for your angler this Father’s Day. If you have any questions about the products mentioned, please feel free to call us during our store hours or if you’re local, stop on by the shop!
With the fishing season in full swing, you may be wanting to try out some new fishing locations. The good news is you can still visit some of the best fishing spots which are found right here in the great state, of PA. If you are looking for some new places to fish, we have a list of the top 5 locations you will want to check out over the summer months.
1. Susquehanna River
One of the best and most well-known places in Pennsylvania is the Susquehanna River. If you are a local, don’t pass up this opportunity to take advantage of some of the best fishing in PA. The specific area that you will want to focus on is from Columbia travelling north to Harrisburg. This area is known for world class smallmouth bass fishing, but you may also catch walleye, catfish, pickerel, northern pike, or some smaller panfish. The Susquehanna is full of surprises and you never know what you are going to catch.
2. Allegheny River
If you are in the western part of the state, you will want to head over to the Allegheny River. Around the northern section of the river you can find game fish such as walleye and some rainbow trout. Here, the Fish and Boat Commission have been focusing on keeping the river clean and the fish thriving, which is great news for us fishermen.
3. Raystown Lake
Raystown is a great place for the whole family and also some really great fishing! Head out to Raystown Lake to enjoy fun in the sun and a few catches on the water. Any fisherman will find a large population of lake trout, catfish, carp, and striped bass here. This place is perfect to fish all year round, but be mindful of their summer peak season and the increase of lake traffic that comes with it.
4. Lake Wallenpaupack
Whether you are on land or in a boat, Lake Wallenpaupack gives you every chance to cast out your line and catch a fish. This lake covers over 5,700 acres and accepts fishermen of all ages. Wallenpaupack is filled with walleye, striped bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, largemouth bass, calico, and perch. Finding a great spot to catch any of these fish is easy and will ensure a day of fun.
5. Lake Erie
Trek out to western Pennsylvania and visit the humongous Lake Erie. Covering 9,910 square miles on the surface, Lake Erie is the thirteenth largest lake in the world. Best fishing is done out on the water of the Presque Isle Bay where you will find walleye, perch, smallmouth bass, steelhead, and salmon. The best fishing to be had at Lake Erie is in late May. Enjoy more than some good fishing. Stick around until dusk to catch the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen.
If you can get to these locations, give them a go. All of these places are great to make a day out of. No doubt you will be able to come home with a great fishing story or better yet, a big catch! If you have any questions about what types of bait or line to fish for when you go out there, make sure to contact us with your questions.