(Note: Some of you asked for articles about regional fishing. Since most of my readers live in Maryland, I decided to give it a shot. If you guys have any questions or comments, feel free to shoot me an email)
When most people in the Northeast think about trophy bass waters, they think of Texas, Florida, Louisiana, California, or Mexico. Maryland rarely, if ever, comes into the picture. And there's some truth in that. We don't have as many waterways or productive food sources as those areas. In Californian reservoirs, for example, those lunker bass feast on abundant stocker trout, a rich and nutritious food source which lets them grow to huge sizes.
There's an old saying: The grass is always greener on the other side. I can already hear some of you guys saying: "Ian, how does this apply to bass fishing? While some of those southern reservoirs do sometimes have more favorable conditions for bass growth. However, there still are big bass, 5s, 6s, 7s, even 10s, out there to be caught, especially in isolated or private water.
Above: There are trophy fish to be had in Maryland , even at your local farm pond.
There are some ponds and rivers that have favorable conditions surprisingly similar to those in California, or even down South, such as reservoirs stocked with trout, or nutrient rich ponds. In my experience, big bass are usually found in either three places: reservoirs, large rivers, and private ponds, and are in nutrient rich waters. Nutrient plenty water usually produces more and fatter baitfish, and it means that the bass don't have to expend much energy to hunt, but this doesn't always apply to large reservoirs, especially those supplemented with prime baitfish. Also, the current shouldn't be too strong; otherwise, the fish will be forced to use up precious calories to keep up with the current, which slows down weight gain and growth.
For catching big bass, you have to use bigger baits in most cases. Big bass aren't as frisky as smaller bass; they are much more cautious, and more conservative of their valuable energy. These strategies helped them get big to start with. They aren't going to go after small baits, such as a 3" grub, unless you place it right in their face. They would probably go after larger baits, such as 6", 7", 8" swimbaits, or 12" worms. You can also fish big jigs and large creature baits. Big bass are much more easily spooked than their smaller brethren. Learning how to flip and pitch, to enter the water stealthily, is essential. A large splash will scare them away.
As spring turns into summer, the threat of tick bites gets more and more common. The abundance of tall grass, combined with the natural lifecycle of the tick, causes the warmer months to time that bites are the most frequent. Due to this year's mild winter, the tick population is especially large. As outdoorsmen, we often wade or walk through tall vegetation and dense brush, where ticks latch to wait for unsuspecting victims, making us particularly at risk for bites. Not only are rashes and itching from tick bites annoying, but some ticks are carriers of diseases, some life threatening. So what can you do to avoid ticks?
Above: The specialized anatomy of a tick. wikipedia.org
The thing to do is to avoid dense vegetation. This especially applies to bank fishermen. No matter how good a spot looks, it's not worth potentially putting your life on the line. Avoid meadows, bushes, and hedgerows. By avoiding these areas, you are eliminating the bulk of all potential bites.
However, if you must go through areas of dense brush, wear long sleeves and pants made of thick fabric, such as quality cargo pants. After each trip, inspect your clothing for ticks. You also can apply tick repellents to your clothes and skin.
To remove a tick, first use fine tweezers to grasp the tick near the head, and pull it off steadily. After removing the tick, wash your hands and the bitten area with cleaning alcohol and water. Apply antiseptic to the area. If any unusually rashes appear, or a red "bull-eye" mark, notify a doctor immediately.
When most people think of flies, they think of tiny hooks with bits of stuff tied on. You know, that weird smelling fluff that looks like it came from the neighbor's cat. The problem with most fur tied flies is that they are quite expensive, being a dollar or so each, as each fly must be tied by hand. For many of my fly fishing friends, the costs steadily add up over time.
A great alternative is using weightless grubs on a fly rod. Grubs are inexpensive and have great action that seems especially effective on big bluegill. The tantalizing tail action of a grub on the fall has caught my personal best bluegill at 1.5 lbs. Ideally, the grub should be around 1-2" long. As far as colors go, I like white for clearer waters and watermelon for darker water.
Above: Nice "slab" bluegill caught on a green pumpkin grub.
The most crucial part of this rig is to have your grub weightless. A weightless grub would have more action than a weighted one, and more importantly would be easier to cast on a fly rod. I prefer to rig grubs on a thin wire aberdeen hook, rigged like you would with a jighead.
The most common way of fishing this rid is to slowly twitch the grub and bringing in line at the same time. This method works especially well on smaller, friskier fish, but I like to cast out the grub, let it sink, twitch, let it sink, etc. The tail action on the fall seems to bring out the bigger bluegills, who are more wary and less active than the smaller ones. Bigger bluegills are also more attracted to more natural shades of colors.
I hope that helps. For fun fishing or bluegill in general, the weightless grub can't be beat.
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.