Monday, January 30, 2012

Should the Alabama Rig Be Legal

Ever since the Alabama rig has been introduced there has been a great deal of discussion about how it has changed the world of fishing. Many anglers wonder if it is a fair way to catch fish, some even feel it should be illegal either at the state level or at the tournament level. With the Bassmaster classic coming up, some are questioning how they should treat the Alabama rig.

One of the problems with the Alabama rig is the number of fish hooks, which is zero. The rig itself is merely a shell of structure that allows every angler to set up the rig the way they desire. Because of this, a rig may have 1-20 hooks depending upon the angler. It is possible that fishing regulations could be written to control the number of hooks without making it totally illegal.

The number of hooks allowed could vary for different species. Bass fishing and trout fishing are very different so the regulation on the number of hooks can also be different.

Tennessee has a regulation that was originally designed for the umbrella lure, a lure that came out a few years ago designed for trolling. These lures could also have many hooks. Tennessee, after considering the lure decided to allow it, but regulating the number of hooks that an angler can place on the lure.

The same type of regulation can be made for the Alabama rig. Since the rig can hold five commercial lures, it could allow each lure to have only one hook. That could be a single hook, or one treble hook depending on how restrictive the state wants to be.

The over all concept of the Alabama rig is great. A school of fish instead of just a single fish is a great concept. It should not be illegal but maybe the number of hooks should just be regulated out of fairness and the concern about fowl hooking fish.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tips on Ice Fishing

During the cold winter months where there is too much snow and cold weather to do very much, most people just stay inside and keep warm. However, if you are an avid angler you wont be sitting in front of the TV but you’ll be out on the ice doing what austere anglers do, ice fishing. Here are few tips to make ice fishing fun.

Fishing through a hole in the ice limits your scope and range. To give yourself a little wiggle room, when you first arrive on the ice, use your power ice auger to drill 10 or 12 holes spread out over several yards. This will allow you to move around and fish different areas. However, in some areas, fishing regulations limit the number of holes you can have so be sure and read the fishing regulations before you drill your holes.

Carry your gear from the car to the ice is a lot of work. It is easier to pull a sled to carry your gear. A sled is easy to fashion using a sheet of plywood, rope, and a couple of fir strips. Attach the fir strips to the bottom of the plywood using screws to act like two inch runners. Two runners are plenty. Then drill two holes in the front of the plywood making a harness with rope.

Now you’re ready to carry all of your gear out with you. Your gear should include a power ice auger, 2 or 3 fishing rods, and reels, a tackle box of bait and lures and jibs, a lawn chair, a gas stove and fuel, water, a coffee cup, and coffee pot, coffee grounds, hot choc mix, snacks, extra socks and gloves, and your smart phone so you can watch bassmasters classic and wish you were warm.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Walleye Fishing Essentials

If you can’t get down to the warm waters of the bassmaster classic then the next best thing is to go ice fishing for walleye. Winter walleye fishing can be fun and challenging. Here are few essentials that will help make your fishing a productive experience.

The three most important things for walleye in fishing, just like for real estate, are location, location, location. Fishing for walleye in an under water structure that has drastic contour changes is the best. The structure should provide a change of at least 20 feet and preferable 30-40 feet. These are usually sunken islands or large stair steps near the shore. A good set of fishing maps will help you locate these structures under the ice.

The type of structure usually doesn’t make any difference until late winter. In the late winter or early spring the walleyes’ start looking for spawning ground. When this happens stay away from the muddy weedy structure and fish the rocks and pebbles.

Walleye will form aging areas in these distinct parts of the structure. At the tip of the structure the hungry fish will be looking for a meal of bait fish. These fish are the most active. Then there will be walleye in the middle of the structure that are getting ready to move up into feeding position. Then there are the fish at the bottom. These fish have already eaten and are sitting still conserving energy. They will not usually bite.

One you have identified the structure, if local fishing regulations permit drill 5 or 6 holes in the ice so you can access different parts of the structure. This will allow you to use one or two fishing rods to see where the fish are biting best. If you fish one hole for 10-15 minutes and don’t have a bite, move to another hole.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fly Fishing: How to Use Wet Flies

When most people think of fly fishing, they picture a man on a river casting dry flies to a rising river. But the reality is only a small portion of fly fishing uses dry flies. The majority of fly fishing is done using wet flies. Here are some suggestions on fishing with wet flies.

Wet flies are ties that try to imitate aquatic bugs. Depending on your location and the time of year, these bugs may be very small or quite large. Whatever size they are you need your fly tied to the same size fish hooks. The goal is to present the fish a bug they are used to eating.

One of the best ways to use wet flies is to use a weighted fly line. This is a fly line that is filled with weight for the last few feet so the line sinks to the bottom of the water. Then use a split shot weight to hold the leader and tippet on the bottom.

When you cast out your fishing cast, wait for the line and fly to sink to the bottom before you strip in the line. As you strip in the line use various speeds as well as directions. Change directions of the line by holding the tip of the rod to the far left and then to the far right.

Another way to use a wet fly is to tie it with a bead head. The bead head is shiny and weighted, but will bounce up and sink. These flies act like non aquatic bugs that have fallen into the water and are struggling. Ants are a good example of this. When trout fishing take a bead head ant pattern and cast it towards the shore of a stream and let it float down the current.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tips on Setting the Hook

Picture yourself in a boat on a reservoir with a fishing rod in one hand and the line in the other, when suddenly there is a quick sharp jerk, the nibble of a fish. At this crucial moment choices you make and the action you take will have a direct effect on the outcome of landing the fish or losing it. It will be the difference between fishing and catching.

This is the setup that fishing games try to emulate, the elation of the bite followed by the setting of the hook. If you have ever lost a fish due to faulty fish hook, here are some tips to prevent this from happening again.

Setting a hook is different depending upon what you are fishing for. If you're trout fishing the fish will bite gently. In fact, many time bites go undetected when fishing with salmon eggs because some trout just like to suck out the inside of the egg. When this happens you will feel a little quick tap the best thing to do is lightly move the line an inch and then wait. The next bite should be a little stronger but the response should be the same, move the line about an inch. The third bite should be a solid hard bite to which you respond by pulling back the line about 4 inches. This should set the hook and you'll feel the fight of the fish.

If you’re bass fishing, especially with a lure, the fish will strike at the lure. Most of the time when a bass strikes a lure they have their entire mouth around the lure. Best response is to continue reeling and just give a small sharp jerk on the rod tip. This should set at least one of the treble hooks into the basses mouth.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Winter Deep-sea Fishing

Deep sea fishing in the winter is extremely exciting because you never know for sure what you will catch or how big it will be. The thrill of the unknown also requires being prepared with an assortment of lures to meet different fishing demands.

The initial cruise out to the prime fishing areas can be long or short, depending on where you are fishing. Playing online fishing games or any kind of fishing games will help pass the time, but the sooner you get a line in the water, the happier you will be.

When using live bait be sure the fish hooks are very sharp. The marlin mouth is tough and sharp fish hooks ensure a strong hookup.

The world record permit was also caught off of the coast of Brazil in December of 2002. It weighed 60 lbs so if you are permit fishing in the flats this time of year, make sure you are using heavy tackle. If you’re using fly fishing tackle, it is very important that you have a 15 weight rod.

Winter fishing also requires the use of a fish finder. A good fish finder will help you locate big fish and show you not only the location but the proper depth to fish. A fish finder will also tell you if there is a school of fish or if there is only one or two. A good fish finder will also have fishing maps to show the location of under water structures where fish may be hiding. Black grouper like to hide in underwater structures and the world record black grouper was caught in the Gulf of Mexico off the Texas coast during the month of January. Fish finders are not only useful, but they are fun to use as well.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fly Fishing: How to Tie a Fly

Once an angler begins going fishing the next logical step is to tie flies. Fly tying involves several different skills because it is both an art and a science. For some angers tying their own fly is one of the greatest fishing games, wining the fishing contest using your own fly is the greatest of all fishing games. Here are some suggestions on how to get started tying your own flies.

First thing that must be determined is what type of fly you tie. This depends on what you needed last time you went fishing and what type of fly you think you’ll need the next time you go fishgig. After determining what type of fly you need you must acquire a pattern for the fly. If you are very artistic you may be able to create your own pattern. Some patterns are extremely simple. A San Juan worm is just a piece of red yarn tied to the hook. A salmon egg pattern is merely an orange pompom glued to a hook. As simple as these patterns are, they are extremely effective.

Once you have your pattern you must collect your materials and hooks. The size of hook will be determined by the size of the bug as it occurs where you are fishing. You should try to make flies as comparable as possible. Sometimes you will need two or three sizes of the same fly so you will have the exact size you need.

The next item necessary are vice and thread feeder. The vice holds the hook so you can work on it. A good vice will turn in all directions and then clamp solid so you can make every type of fly you can imagine. The thread feeder holds the spool of thread and allows you to bring it out on the hook and wrap it tightly.

The other two important tools are scissors and tweezers or hemostats. The scissors should be very small and fine with a very sharp blade. You will need them to cut the smallest piece of thread and material. The tweezers or hemostats also need to be small and fine, but with a fairly big handle.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Winter Saltwater Angling Tips

Wintertime saltwater fishing can be very challenging. The seas in the northern region are rough and cold. But it can be fun if you are prepared and know what you are doing. Here are a few tips to make winter saltwater angling fun.

One of the best pieces of advice is to go someplace warm. Florida saltwater fishing in the winter is wonderful, as is fishing in the Bahamas. Winter fishing in the lower latitudes is always more enjoyable than fishing in the higher latitudes.

Another angling tip is to make sure the fish you are after will be in the water you are fishing in. In the winter, saltwater follow their food. The fish may head for warm southern waters or warmer deep water. Fishing in the north Atlantic in the winter is very cold, but cod and other fish do fine because they go very deep into the ocean where the water temperatures are warm enough to sustain them and their food.

Because the fish in the north are living in deeper water it is harder to use lures. It is much better to use live bait. The fish are able to hear and smell live bait and locate them in the deep dark water.

It is also a good idea to use a fish finder to help locate the fish you are after. A good fish finder will have fishing maps so you can look for the fish in the ground and valleys where they stay out of the strong water current. Then, once you’re in the right area, the fish finder will locate the fish you are after. A good fish finder will tell you the size of the fish as well as how many there are. Using a fish finder is very similar to playing fishing games.