Hey guys. Ian's column has been getting a lot of viewers, a lot more than I thought we would ever since I started writing on this column. I am constantly looking for ways to imrpve this column, and I have decided to make a survey to determine the interests of my readers, and improve this column. Please take some time to do this, and make this column great. Thanks!
Whenever you go into your local tackle shop, or the fishing section of Walmart, you will see shelves upon shelves of lures. You may know the model and the size of the bait you would be using, as well as how to fish that bait. However, you may wonder, what color do I need? Many lures have dozens of colors for each model, sometimes even more. However, we can't buy all of them. Which one should I buy? Here's a quick guide on how to properly pick out lure colors.
Above: Black and blue works very well in dark, murky water, even if the color doesn't match that of the forage.
Go dark for dark water
In dark water or dirty, darker colors, such as Junebug and Black and blue, work well. They provide a contrast or silhouette to the dark, unclear waters. For muddy ponds and green colored lakes (in the summer, algae and plankton blooms turn many lakes green), this is a staple color, especially if you live in the South. The bass are usually sight feeders, and need to be able to see your lure. I have had many fish-less days in the past when I was using a clear color in dark water. The fish just can't see the lure, folks. Make sure you have some packs of black and blue/w blue flake lures in your arsenal.
Natural Colors for clear waters
In clear water, natural colors are the way to go (Green pumpkin, watermelon, or shad). These colors resemble forage fish, such as bluegill, and look quite natural in clear water situations. Many northern lakes, moving rivers and creeks, and reservoirs, have clear water, especially in the late fall, winter, and early spring. Dark colors look very unnatural , and won't get you the same number of bites. Get some green pumkpin in your tackle box.
The color of the forage
Sometimes, the fish are just too picky. You need to, as fly fishermen say, "match the hatch". Sometimes, the bass are just feeding on one thing, and your lure looks quite unnatural to them. Look for what the bass would be feeding. In most ponds and lakes, it's bluegill, so make sure you have some green pumpkin colored baits at hand, but sometimes it shad (shad colored cranks and silver/whitish lures come in handy), crawfish (craw pattern crankbaits or orange/reddish baits), or even trout (trout pattern swimbaits, jerkbaits and other hardbaits are needed, but trout forage waters are rare, unless you live out west). I make I have green pumpkin, and shad and craw colored lures in my box at all times.
Hi, this is Bill Tong, the president of Youth Fisheries Sciences. "Ian's column has grown a lot since it's humble beginnings last August. It's great seeing all the support that this column is seeing, and all of your questions. I would like to thank Ian for his great work in maintaining this column, and you guys for reading supporting this column.
I have gotten a lot of questions recently regarding our tournaments. Everyone's heard about them, and knows a rumor or two surrounding them. There's a picture on our homepage that helps spark some of this controversy. I've decided to answer all hese questions in this article.
Above: This is the picture on our homepage that everyone keeps asking me about. BTW, there is a famous Youtuber to the right of the banner....
We have held three types of tournaments: The educational derbies, the club tourneys, and one open-to-the-public tournament.
We've held a lot of educational derbies, to educate kids about fishing and to introduce and promote the sport. The kids mostly caught bluegill and small bass, and it was more of a fun event than a tourney. The fish were not weighed, and there reall wasn't a time limit. They mostly involve local children and young YFS members.
We've had club tourney to celebrate the first birthday of the YFS (the YFS is a year old). We've met up at a pond, and fished. YFS club members only. We had a pre-fish, a time limit, and the fish were weighted. The prizes were a few lures.
This August, I and another YFS member by the name of David decided to create an open-to-the-public fundraising tournament, to raise money for conservationist causes (it was sucessful, we got several hundred). We have gotten good feedback from other tourneys, and decided to create one open to the public.
Above: The pre-fish before the club tournament. It was held after our 4th of July Parade.
It was a bit of a challenge, because many of of key members were away, and some resources were tied up, but we pulled it through. We got WSSC, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, to allow us to use Triadelphia Reservoir for the tourney. They were very generous in doing so. We also found a sponsor in Angers Express. We got a turnout of about 30-40 people, including fishing Youtuber 1Rod1Reelfishing (Michael Hsiao), and some nice prizes (A casting rod, more than a few baits, and gift cards). 1Rod also donated some MTB boxes to the prizes.
Despite hard fishing conditions (only three bass were caught), and the heat, we got some very positive feedback. A lot of people were asking for another tournament before summer ended, and I got to meet 1Rod.
Are there going to be more?
Educational derbies? Definately. YFS Club tourneys? For sure. We are going to really improve our club tourneys and educational derbies and have more and better prizes, with more volunteers and attendants. I'm entertaining the idea of a potluck at next years club tourney, but no guarantees.
Open-to-the-public tourneys? It depends. The hardest thing, by far, was finding a good location. I've got good prizes, and good management laid out. I'm looking at using a private pond for the next tourney, but no luck so far. I'd love to make one, but finding a location is just too hard. If you would like to make a suggestion, please shoot me an email at the Contact Us page.
Creek fishing is one of the disputed joys in life. It is undoubtably fun, catchingfish after fish while admiring the picturesque scenary many of these creeks are set in. It's fun to climb over rocks, hike through the woods, and lose yourself in outdoors. The options are diverse, too: while most people think of trout when they think of creek fishing, you can catch smallmouth, panfish, and even the rare catfish and largemouth bass (be warned; creek largies can be feisty!) There are also fish who less well known, but putting up a good fight nevertheless, such as chub, sucker, and various large minnows.
Above: Large creek minnows can be easily caught late in the year with 1/16th jigs.
Many park creeks see a lot of visitors in the spring and summer. Rows of men and boys, some very experienced, others just learning to wet a line, line the banks of popular creeks in the summer. Many tackle shops near popular destinations stock up overtime on live bait and flies in preparation for the warm-weather traffic. But when the leaves start turning red, and the frosts set in, the once-common crowds are now gone. The shores are bare. The parking lots are no longer packed. The cold weather, and the subsequent lower feeding activity of fish, discouraged most fishermen.
Above: When approaching a large pool in a stream, walk quietly. You never know what kind of fish you just might spook!
However, that's a mistake. Creek fishing is still very much alive in the fall. All fish will feed if a good opportunity, and the right conditions, are in place. The challenge is getting them. That's when stealth and finesse tactics set in. Whenever and wherever the water is getting cold, these two tactics work.
When most of us think of fishing, stealth isn't something we think of. But in small, or clear creeks, especially in the cold weather, the fish are jumpy. They are easily disturbed, and the sound of pebbles skidding down the shore, or the vibrations created by your heavy boots hitting the ground scares them. And when fish are scared, the bite's off. They hide, and don't feed. It's crucial in these situations to:
A: Walk slowly and quietly. Don't talk. You don't want the fish to sense your presence and get scared by your approach.
B: Make a silent cast into the water. The sound of your lure hitting the water may scare them. Try to "slip" your bait into the water. Make as few ripples as possible.
Being spooken into not feeding, especially during cold or post-frontal conditions, is universal fish behavior. Some fish, such as panfish, are easier to coax back in feeding again, but others, such as brown trout, will stop feeding altogether. Your best bet is to move down to the next pool and come back later when you scare the fish.
Above: Fish like to crowd around inlets for the flow of food.
Finesse tactics are something we are all familiar with. Fish small, unintrusive baits, and fish them slow. In the creeks and streams during the cold months, I recommend using tiny hooks with a bit of worm or cricket on them, 1/16th oz marabou jigs, or fly-fishing wet flies. Ice fishing jigs (1/64th oz) can work as well. Make a silent cast into the pool, and start to work you bait. I like to fish my jig with a twitch (small!), twitch, pause retreive. Remember, in the cold, the fish are inactive, and won't be frisky and chasing after fast prey.
I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any article requests; this article was resquested by a reader and I was more than happy to write it.
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.