In a world where naturally occurring trout are only found in the coolest, cleanest, and most untouched streams, where the hard core trout fishermen often pay dollars in the 6 digits and more for guided trip in Montana, one can wonder why members of the creek chub family, Semotilus, are so disliked by fly fisherman and others.
Nowadays in Maryland, to catch trout might mean making the drive to the Savage River during the stocking season. Someone without the transportation might not be able to do that. Someone without buying expensive fly fishing gear even can catch chub. Pound for pound, they provide just as much fight as trout, and even more, according to some. Chub are much hardier than trout, and are not as wary as a brown trout, which tolerates much warmer water than it's cousins. Whether it be a curly tailed grub, fly, live worm on a hook, or inline spinner, chub take them all.
They will take spoons, spinners, small soft plastics, streamers, dry flies, and small plastic worms. I have found that fishing with a Trout Magnet, pink color, works very well with them. Ultralight tackle is the key with this fish.
A common problem in Maryland waters is the diatom, Didymosphenia geminata. A serious pest in Australia, Argentina, Chile, and New Zealand, and is causing massive damage to Maryland streams and rivers.
The stalks of this diatom attaches to rocks, plants, or other submerged surfaces. At the time the diatom cell divides, through vegetative reproduction, the stalk divides too, eventually forming a mass of branching stalks. The nuisance build-up is not the cell itself, but their massive production of extracellular stalks. Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that form the stalks are made primarily of polysaccharides and protein, forming complex, multi-layered structures that are resistant to degradation.
First seen in the Gunpowder River in Maryland, it has now spread to the Save River and branching areas. By the massive build up of stalks, didymo smothers trout spawning beds, plant life, insects that are a food source, clogging up waterways, choking out sunlight and nutrients, and being very unsightly. The problem has even caused the authorities of New Zealand, one of the best trout waters in the world, to ban felt soled waders, which may spread the diatom. Now, didymo is coming closer to America's most pristine trout streams.
What can be done?
To prevent the spread of this serious pest, make sure to wash all waders, boats, and anything that touched the water with a salt - water mix. Make sure to tell other fisherman and swimmers about this threat. If it is not stopped, the government, which is already considering some things, may ban some of our equipment or make access much harder. Plus, you need to your gear after trips anyways. Just all some salt or bleach to the mix. Fish responsibly!
Just yesterday, I was fishing Centennial Park. I begun by casting a crayfish soft plastic lure near the rock pile at the end of the lake. Just as I was bouncing the bait along, the bait slowed in the water. It wasn't a bass when I reeled the lure in. It was tangle of used mono filament fishing line.
I have noticed, over the years, huge tangles of mono exist in any town lake. Usually a few rusted hooks, lead sinkers, and old soft plastic lures are in them. Clearly, they are a hazard. Mono doesn't degrade easily. Its not biodegradable, and nearly invisible. It stays in the water, possibly entangling birds and fishes. Animals can possibly ingest it. Since mono fishing lines and soft plastic baits are cheap, fisherman are quick to cut their lines, or they leave their used or damaged fishing line in the water. Out of sight, out of mind, right? I rarely see a fisherman with a lure retriever. It's common to collect $5 worth of equipment from a tangle of mono fishing line.
Put your used fishing line at collectors around Howard County Lakes. They are water tubes that you can coil out your line and put them in. Better yet, you can help make fishing sustainable and recycle the line by mailing it to Berkley Fishing. They will melt the line down into material for fishing lures, tackle boxes, spools, and other non fishing line materials as part of their conservation program. At least, you should take some of your damaged line home to dispose, or buy a lure retriever if you tangle your lures into weeds. Also, make sure your knots are strong and test them. Rig your soft plastic worms weedless next time you fish (Texas Rig) and buy jigheads and other lures with a weed guard. Spread the word!
I have done my share of catching big bass. When I return to the pier or weigh in, I often hear this:
"You've been lucky today!"
When someone passes by, they often say: "How's luck?" And it seems that is one of the misconceptions of fishing.
Rick Clunn once said: "There is no luck in fishing!" I think he is mostly right. After all, when someone complains of that "5 lber" running into some weeds during the fight, unhooking himself, and hooking your $15 crank bait couldn't better fish fighting skills prevented that to some degree? An old time once told me: "Fishing is 60% knowledge and skill, 30% knowledge, and 10% luck." I couldn't think of a truer statement.
Another guy told me: "Just give KVD (Kevin VanDam, a famous bass pro) a $20 spincast combo and he'd kick our butts!" True again. After all, while do the same old bass pros make it to the top of the leader boards each year? Why not anyone else?
Next time you gone home, "skunked," maybe it's because your presentation was not right. Or because you used highly visible fishing line. But in the end, your last guess should be "aliens abducting all the bass." Even still, wouldn't better casting knowledge allow you to throw a treble hook and get one of them by tail as he is floating towards the spaceship? Perhaps it is your lack of ability to read the barometer pressure. Or the dullness of the hooks. It even might be "plain olde luck."
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.