Note by Ian: Azi is a new columnist here at Ian's column. He is an experienced bass fishing instructor and river fishing guide. This is his first article on this column.
When taking trips to exotic places, you should always be prepared. I traveled to an exotic location over the weekend to go fishing when I found myself in a tough spot. I just got on my boat and started sailing out into the lake. Just before I threw my first cast, I noticed something quite frightening. I saw an alligator about 30 meters away, slightly submerged underwater.
Above: Picture from http://weknowyourdreams.com
Before I go any further, unless you are adamant about going fishing on that particular day in that particular lake, just leave the lake and go somewhere else. But for those avid fishermen, here’s what you want to do.
It’s most likely won’t try to attack you as long as you give it space. If you hear it hissing, then it’s agitated and might lash out if you do not move away. If it is moving directly towards you, then you want to leave the area immediately, as it has most likely decided you to be its next prey. Leave the area immediately.
Most importantly, you need to know that at times you should forgo your bravery and call the police. If the alligator’s pestering behavior persists, you should contact the police immediately and they will take care of it for you.
Above: Croc moms are especially easy to agitate.
Hopefully, the next time you encounter one of these creatures you will know what to do!
When most people think of baitcasting rods and reels, they think about heavy gear, heavy baits, and heavy fish. After all, the baitcast reel is designed with a spool that responds best to heavy baits. In the US, people use baitcasting gear for fish the size of bass and bigger, such as catfish. However, in Asia, people use baitcasting rods and reels for a different application; fishing ultralight.
Above: Fishing for trout on baitcasting gear. Picture from Chris at finesse-fishing.com
In Japan and other countries, access to fishing waters is heavy limited as a result of urbanization and transportation access. They are forced to compete fiercely to fish in the few public waters available. The fish in those lakes are very wary, easily spooked, and frightened by big, awkward, or unnatural baits. As we discussed in earlier articles, this kind of environment ensures that innovations are made in finesse fishing. The Japanese, being perfectionists, have perfected their finesse baits and equipment to such an extent that Japanese fishing tackle, otherwise known as "JDM" (Japanese domestic market), is heavily coveted in America. Shimano, Daiwa, Okuma are well known rod and reel brands founded in Japan. Jackal, Lucky Craft, Megabass are some popular and high end baits that originate in Japan.
Baitcasting gear has several advantages over spinning tackle, such as increased accuracy. However, the limitations of using baitcasting gear ensure that smaller baits, such as inline spinners and weightless worms, can't be used.
Above: The Kuying Teton is a finesse baitcasting reel commonly offered in Asia. It is usually used for small snakeheads, which are found in city creeks and tiny ditches. Note that the spool is heavily milled, with many holes to reduce weight, allowing for tiny baits to be casted. Note: I do not own this picture.
The Japanese found that by optimizing the number of bearings and gears in the baitcast reel, and creating ultralight spools, they could cast some very small baits. They could cast 1/8th oz baits, and even 1/16oz baits, a feat previously unheard of in the fishing world. They combined the accuracy and efficiency of the bait caster with the ability to cast light weights.
Above: Finesse is often needed for wary river smallmouth. Picture from Chris at finesse-fishing.com
Some Japanese anglers wanted to use baitcasters for trout. In a small trout stream, there are many overhanding trees (which is why you see so much fly fishing line on branches over a creek). These finesse baitcasters had the accuracy to cast into tight spots, unlike spinning reels. They paired up ultralight baitcasters with ultralight action casting rods and used inline spinners, small jigs, and spoons.
The spring and summer are magical times for bass fishing. The warm waters speed up the fish's metabolism, which in turn heats up their appetite. Fish that wouldn't eat even the most enticing finesse baits in the winter will bite crudely presented baits attached to 60lb bright yellow mono. In the summer preceding the cold months, this feeding frenzy becomes even more heated; the fish need to stock up on fat reserves to outlast the barren winter months, when the prey becomes sparse and their metabolism becomes very slow. Cold blooded animals, such as fish and their prey, rely on the water temperature to control their metabolism, which in turns controls their movement and appetite for food.
Above: A more subtle style of fishing is needed in the fall. Don't jack up your motor and speed around the lack if you have a boat. Pic from FINSnTALES.com
The early days of fall are usually very productive, as the water is still warm but more importantly, the fish sense that winter is just ahead and they need to stock up on food. In those days, anything you would use in the summer would work. 5 inch senkos are still very productive (keep in mind that senkos, especially when wacky rigged, are mostly a warm water bait). However, when those cold snaps start to begin, and you start to see frost on the ground in the mornings, it is a good time to change your strategy.
Above: Many other species of fish, such as trout and salmon, are more receptive in the colder waters. In fact, they prefer colder waters. Many bass fishermen switch to trout fishing in the fall. Pic from www.state.nj.u
Start with smaller baits. Downsize everything. If you fish 10 inch worms, fish 6 or 7 inch worms. If those baits have frills, get baits with less frills. The coldwater bass want smaller but easier to catch food items. Due to their slow metabolism and the need to conserve precious energy, they aren't in the mood to chase or tussle with large and frisky food items. Your big and frilly baits appear that way.
However, you would also make your bait appear less frisky. Fish slower, as slow as you would need to get a reliable bite. If you twitched your bait every 6 seconds in the fall make it 12 secs in the winter, or experiment to find the best action. If you fish with weights make those weights smaller as well. And you would also need thinner and more invisible line. Fall water is usually clearer, and the fish are more easily spooked. But there are also less weeds to nick your line, so lighter lines may be a better idea.
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.