Have you ever been fishing, or just walking by a pond or lake, enjoying the weather and minding your own business, when a goose pops out of a bush, quacking and screeching, and charges at you? As a fisherman, this has likely happened to you before, or will pretty soon.
Spring is here, and so is goose breeding season. A mated pair sets up camp around a pond, and stays there for 2-3 months. The female sits on the eggs and incubates them, while the male guards their territory, aggressively chasing off interlopers. Unfortunately for us fishermen, the time that these geese mate also happens to the time when bass fishing really starts to warm up. So how do you deal with these annoying buggers?
Above: An adult goose standing guard over his territory. There usually is only one goose pair per pond.
When a goose attacks you (and there is only one), it's always the male. The female is content sitting on her nest. Geese only attack when you are near their nest. When you are near a nesting goose, always keep at least fifteen feet away. That is the radius in which a male gets aggressive. The male usually warns you when you are getting in that radius. He arches his neck, hisses, and starts to spread his wings. When this happens, slowly back away. Make no sudden moves.
Fighting geese is not usually a good idea. Geese have powerful wings, and I have heard of instances in which bones where broken by geese. They will also try to stab you with their beaks. Trust me, fighting them is not worth it, unless a goose is already on top of you. In that case, use a pole or any hard object and try to swat them away, and run out of that fifteen feet radius.
Above: Female goose sitting on her nest.
The good thing is that there is usually one goose pair per pond. Find out where the female has made her nest, stay at least fifteen feet away from it, and you should be fine.
Spring is definitely here. The weather is warm, but not too hot. The trees are already covered with this year's growth, and the flowers are in full bloom. Spring is also a good time to take up bass fishing, and many people are doing so. The water is starting to warm up, and the fish are more actively feeding. However, many people are having trouble catching their first bass. It's a common problem that many beginner fishermen face, and even I ran into some hurdles as a new bass angler. I spent two months trying to catch a bass I caught panfish, catfish, and even some trout, but I just wasn't getting a bass. So what is a surefire way to catch your first bass?
Above: Playing a numbers game is easy: Use small baits.
There are many factors in why a person can't catch a bass, such as technique or rigging, the the thing I would look at most is my gear: are my baits too large? Is my line too thick? Are my hands covered with anything that may deter fish (gasoline, sunscreen, tanning lotion)? The most common mistake I see with many beginning bass anglers is using to wrong line - 50lb is not going to get you anywhere. The fish, especially if they are in a highly pressured public lake, will see your line and be suspicious. I would use line between 10-20lb test for mono or fluorocarbon in most situations, but anything above 17lb is pushing it; you would only use such thick line in very dense weeds. I recommend using 12lb to 14b for most situations. For braided line, though, things are different due to braid's extreme thinness. I would use 80lb braid at most for topwater applications, and would use 30-40lb braid for very dense weeds.
Larger baits, while good for catching larger fish, scare off the smaller fishes. Remember, a good majority of the bass in a given waterway are small or medium sized fish. The larger the fish you are after, the less of them there are in a lake or pond. It's just how the food chain works. If you want to catch fish, you should use smaller baits. A 2" grub on a 1/16th oz jighead is a surefire way to catch a lot of bass, although they may be small.
Lastly, I would make sure there are no noxious chemicals on my hands or tackle. Nothing causes a bass to develop lockjaw more than a coating a motor oil or cleaning solution on your hand. I often wash my hands before I go fishing.
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When most people think of fishing, they think of worms, bobbers, bank fishing, and tranquil evenings with their grandpas at farm ponds. I often see people trying to bass fish with live bait, or cut, preserved bait. Many local retailers, such as Walmart, offer preserved shiners or cut eels in their bass fishing sections, along with the crank baits and spinnerbaits, and many beginner bass fisherman buy them. The question about these baits is: do they work?
The short answer is: Yes and no. Yes, because some live baits, such as live shiners or minnows, work great for bass. In fact, they may be even more effective than soft plastics. No, because, cut bait doesn't attract bass. Bass are attracted to movement, and cut bait doesn't move. It stinks to high heaven though, and that's why is intended for catfish and other fishes that find food through smell. Also, nightcrawlers on a hook don't work for bass for the same reason; they just don't move.
Above: Small stream fishes, when hooked live, work great for bass. To keep them alive and moving, hook them near the air or near the spine.
Live bait works for those days when you just can't seem to catch anything, or when the bass are very cautious. I like to go to my nearest creek and net out 2-3 dozen creek chubs. Chubs work great as live bait, as they are soft finned yet hardy. Bass prefer them over bluegill, which are a bit hard to swallow and have sharp fins. You can also take your ultralight spinning setup with 4lb mono and some worms.
I like to keep my live bait in a large bucket with an aerator to keep them alive. I would recommend using your bait the same day you catch them, unless you have a larger tank. If one fish dies, remove it immediately; otherwise, it will pollute the water and kill the surviving fishes.
Hi. I am Ian, an extremely avid bass fisherman living in Howard County, MD. I like to bank fish and fish at local ponds and small creeks. I will explore budget friendly options for people to use in this blog. I hope I can teach you something.