Showing posts with label fishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fishing. Show all posts

New Work Hours Might Mean More Time For The Outdoors

It has been a while since I have posted to my blog.  However, I am hoping this will change for the better as I have new hours at work.  These new work hours might mean more time for the outdoors if my body is able to adjust appropriately.  I guess as with anything else.....time will tell.  I now work from 3:30 AM until about noon which should allow ample opportunity to get out and enjoy the great outdoors as the weather begins to warm up this spring.

Knowing that prime crappie season is right around the corner and I am planning to make many trips to the lake in an effort to stock the freezer with some delightful meat.  On a typical crappie fishing outing I will throw at least one line in the water in an effort to take home some catfish as well.  If you have followed this blog for long or even read many of my fishing journal posts you have probably seen that catching fish is not usually a problem.  

We've had a mild winter here in Missouri and it has me aching to wet a line!

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Build A Compact Fishing Kit

If you have ever been somewhere and found yourself wishing you had a way to fish, one solution is to build a compact fishing kit that can be stored in your vehicle and will take up very little room.  For this project you will need a sharp knife, scissors, two sports drink bottles,  an expired credit/debit/gift card, super glue and of course hooks, fishing line and sinkers.

The video below shows the process to build a compact fishing kit.

The steps involved are quite simple.
  • Cut the tops off of both bottles just underneath the rim that sticks out below the cap and ring.
  • Cut the ring off one of the bottle tops.
  • Trace around one of the tops onto the old gift/credit/debit card.
  • Cut a circle out of the card following the line that was traced.
  • Glue both bottle tops to the plastic circle that was cut from the card (one on each side)
  • Place hooks in one side and replace the cap.
  • Place sinkers in the opposite side and replace the cap. (Placing the sinkers in the side that the ring was removed from in step two works out best.)
  • Wrap fishing line around the open space where the ring was removed.  (Wrap the line in a clockwise direction.)
  • Attach a sinker to the end of the fishing line, remove the cap and place the sinker and the end of the line inside.
  • Screw the cap back on. (The sinker on the end of the line will prevent the fishing line from escaping and unraveling.)
  • Your compact fishing kit is complete.

Please feel free to leave your questions and remarks in the comments section below.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Weather & Work Delays

As much as I would like to be out there fishing and/or hunting right now I have been experiencing both weather and work delays.  Working long days in combination with more nasty weather has really put a damper on what was turning out to be a great year so far.  Oh well, I guess this too shall pass.  When these things happen you just have to catch yourself before you become too disappointed by the circumstances and regain control of your mindset.  This situation can't possibly last forever, and believe me when it finally lets up I will be right back at it.  Up to this point it has been a really great year for filling the freezer.

Fireworks Pictures, Fireworks, Fireworks Display
The Family Fireworks Display

We did have a fish fry with the family on the 4th of July shooting clays and blowing off fireworks.  I must say I was a bit surprised with myself having shot about 100 shells through my Mossberg 500 12 gauge without experiencing any soreness whatsoever. My wife on the other hand did bruise her arm where it meets with her shoulder and asked me "you think I held my gun in the wrong spot a couple of times?"  She then laughed the matter off and said "guess I learned my lesson.  Keep the butt of the gun in the pocket where it belongs."

Shooting Clays, Target Practice, Shooting Shotguns
Shooting Clays With The Family

Over all we had a really good time visiting with family and friends although mom and dad weren't able to be there this year as mom wasn't feeling well.  I'm pretty sure she has been pushing herself too hard since the cancer surgery.  She just doesn't know how to take it easy when she needs to.  I guess some people may never learn that lesson.

I hope you all had a fun, safe and exciting Independence day too.  Until next time, remember......

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing - An Unlikely Catch

While fishing below the Truman Dam on the Osage Arm of Lake of the Ozarks, I had one line in the water specifically for catfish.  I wasn't fishing with any special bait.  I simply placed a medium sized minnow on the line and sent it to the bottom of the lake.

After half-an-hour or so I noticed the familiar sign of a fish on the end of the line as my pole began dancing about.  I knew I had one, but as I began to reel in the line there seemed to be no resistance. "I guess I missed it" I told my wife.  However, as I continued reeling in the empty hook, a fight broke out that would end in the biggest catch of my life so far (I'd love to think there may be more giants like this one at some point).

Paddlefish, Big Spoonbill, Huge Paddlefish
The "first glance" at a big spoonbill
The above picture shows the spoonbill as it first reached the surface and decided to begin swimming away from me.
Spoonbill, Paddlefish, Big Spoonbill
Almost have it landed
Shown above is the point at which I began to regain the control in this battle
Spoonbill, Paddlefish, Giant Spoonbill
"The Big One"
In the picture above I had the spoonbill almost all the way in to the dock.
Spoonbill, Paddlefish, Huge Spoonbill
Right up to the dock
The final picture shows this large spoonbill just before I released it.

The spoonbill was scarred and its "bill" was broken.  It seemed to have had a hard life. I'm sure it had been snagged a time or two in the past and I felt as though I should release it without removing it from the water.  I carefully set the giant free without adding to its timeline of scars leaving it to continue swimming somewhere below the Truman Dam in Lake of the Ozarks waiting for the next person to come along and surprisingly catch the biggest fish of their life.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing Journal Entry 10

June 18th 2006

Today I took the family on a fishing trip to Warsaw, Missouri.  We fished below Truman Lake on the Osage Arm of Lake of the Ozarks.

The weather was a bit on the hot side, but in my book that is perfect fishing weather.  The sky was mostly sunny with a easterly wind of five to ten miles per hour.  The barometric pressure was 30.10 and holding steady.  

Fishing, Lake, Below Truman Dam
A beautiful day at Lake of the Ozarks

We fished with minnows the entire time we were out there and caught enough fish that I lost count of the total.  I did however catch the biggest fish I've ever caught in my life.  

Giant Spoonbill, LOZ Spoonbill, Paddlefish
Huge Spoonbill
The spoonbill pictured above was about four feet long and a very conservative guess on the weight is about 50 - 60 pounds.  It was an old fish and I didn't remove it from the water to release it.  I simply knelt down on the dock and let it go.  I didn't want to injure it as it looked like this thing had lived a rough life.  There were scars on it's body (probably from having been snagged at some point in the past) and it's paddle was broken.  No sense in taking a chance on adding any more wounds.

Little Fish, Perch, Tiny Fish
Cody having a blast
Small Bass, Cody's little bass, Little Bass
A tiny bass
Crappie, Tiny Crappie, Small Crappie
A little crappie
Cody and the rest of the family had a ball catching and releasing fish all day!

Blue Cat, Blue Catfish, Catfish
Blue Catfish
Channel Cat, Small Channel Catfish, Channel Catfish
Channel Catfish
Tiny Channel Catfish, Tiny Channel Cat, Tiny Catfish
Tiny Channel Catfish
Above are some pictures of a few of the catfish we had the privilege of catching on this outing.

Small Crappie, Crappie Fishing, Crappie
One of several crappie
Small Crappie, Crappie Fishing, Crappie
Another Crappie
Tiny Crappie, Small Crappie, Crappie Fishing
A small crappie
Above are a few pictures of some of the crappie we caught throughout the day.

We even had the opportunity to observe some deer while fishing.  Below is a video of them running back into the woods after being spooked by a passing car.

Overall we had a great day of fishing as a family.  This post is a little late being posted as we didn't arrive back home until a bit after midnight.  Needless to say I was a bit too tired to write a post....But it was worth it!

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Who Is The Average Midwest Outdoorsman

I guess it is about time I let you know a little about myself.  

I am a freedom loving, gun toting, family man who is proud to be an American!  I guess I'm probably one of those people who is referred to as a bitter clinger and I'm sure there are many more average outdoorsmen just like myself out there.  Although the name callers and those who want to take our rights away may think they know what is best for themselves, they couldn't begin to know what is best for myself, my family and my friends.  Ok....Ok.....Enough with the political talk.

I was born to a loving family with a father who was a Sargent First Class in the Army as well as being a preacher.  His wife - my mother was a stay-at-home mom, I grew up in small town U.S.A.  The atmosphere around these small towns definitely played a huge roll in developing my love for the outdoors.  I was taught from an early age that family is extremely important. I was also taught that hard work and dedication are the two qualities that will enable a person to succeed in any area of their life.  

As a grown man with a family of my own, I do my best to instill these same values in my children.  I have also found out that raising children really doesn't come with an instruction manual.  As you have probably noticed, many of my posts include pictures of my family members and close friends.  This is because I want them to be as much a part of this endeavor as myself.  I love hunting and fishing with my family and friends. To me there is nothing better than sharing the good times and the memories  that each of those outings provide with the people I am closest to.

I love to share my knowledge about the outdoors (what little I have) with anyone who is willing to listen.  I hope that as I continue learning through my outdoor adventures I will be able to pass along some useful information to those who read this blog.

Always remember:
- Any day in the outdoors is a good day! 

Gone Fishing

This is the time of year when I try to stay ahead of the everyday chores around the house and get out to my favorite fishing holes as often as possible.  Sometimes the fish are biting like there's no tomorrow, sometimes they aren't biting at all.  Either way I enjoy every minute I get in the outdoors and realize that I am truly blessed with the experiences of each adventure. Whether sitting on a dock or trolling along in a boat, fishing is a great way to build relationships and enjoy the company of those who are near and dear to you. 

Fishing shouldn't always be about bringing home the biggest or the most fish.  Instead, it should be a time to relax and let the worries of the everyday world slip away for a while.  Fishing is about making memories that will last a lifetime.  The memories made may be those of catching that trophy bass or the biggest catfish you will ever lay your hands on, but when your luck seems to be running on empty there's nothing wrong with kicking back with your friends and just having a good time.

If you seem to think I'm missing,
You can bet that I've gone fishing.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

The Advantages Of Kayak Fishing

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The popularity of kayaks continues to grow as anglers learn about the benefits of fishing from them.  These canoe cousins make excellent fishing vessels and can be decked out with a lot of useful equipment.  Kayaks offer many advantages over fishing from a motor powered boat.

Kayaking For Fish, Kayak Fishing, Kayak
Ascend FS12 Sit In Angler Kayak

Some of the advantages kayaks offer include:

  • Kayaks do not require fuel.  The power that moves these watercraft around is the angler using an oar or paddle.
  • In many states a kayak doesn't have to be registered before hitting the water as long as the sole method of propelling it is an oar or a paddle.
  • Kayaks allow anglers to get into places that boats can't go.  Shallow water can be a real challenge or even impossible to explore in a boat with a motor hanging off the back.
  • When care is taken in propelling the kayak, it can allow the fisherman/woman to sneak into their desired fishing location without scaring the fish.
  • A kayak can be transported atop a car or SUV thus eliminating the need for a trailer.
  • When using a kayak you can position yourself right at the edge of the moss in the shallow water and cast your lure in any number of directions.
  • A kayak allows you to gain access to ponds and streams that would be impossible to get a boat into.
  • A kayak doesn't have to be insured.
  • A kayak can be launched from virtually anywhere there is a shoreline eliminating the need for a boat ramp.  (No more waiting in line to launch or trailer your boat!)
  • By using a kayak you will not have to pay a rental fee for a boat slip at the marina.
  • Operating a kayak will provide you with exercise while you enjoy one of your favorite sports.
From saving money to near silent navigation, a kayak offers benefits that no motor powered boat can provide.  Who knows the act of simply navigating the water in a kayak may become one of your favorite pastimes.  

If you liked this post, check out Kayaking For Fish.

-Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing With Limb Lines

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Fishing with limb lines is one of many techniques that can bring excellent results.  This is a good way to put some fish in the freezer without the need to constantly monitor your line.  Limb lines open up the opportunity to do other important things while you are fishing (like hunting - nothing like killing two birds with one stone).

When making my limb lines I prefer to use a high strength braided nylon twine in combination with circle hooks.  The heavy duty twine will give your limb line the strength it needs to hold up to the biggest fish while the circle hook will help ensure the fish gets hooked.

To use a limb line, find a stout tree limb that overhangs the water in the area you want to fish.  Because a dead limb may break under pressure, be sure to select one that is alive and has some flexibility.  Attach your line so that the bait you select sits just below the surface of the water.

Limb lines work particularly well when live bait is used.  This is because the baitfish will make a lot of commotion near the surface of the water as it attempts to escape from your hook.  I prefer shad or goldfish for limb lines, but you can use any live bait that will splash around in the water.

Check with your state for the local requirements.  Typically you must include your name, address and phone number on a tag attached to the line, and most states also require that your lines be checked at least once every 24 hours.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Why You Need Fishing Lures In An Assortment Of Colors

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Growing up in the midwest my brother and I spent a lot of our time fishing the ponds that provided our small town with its drinking water.  I couldn't begin to tell you how many hours we spent fishing or the number of fish we brought to shore.  However, of all the times we were out there trying new lures and learning from our experiences there is one day that stands apart from the rest.

We had been fishing along the east dam of the smaller pond for an hour or so and just slaying the crappie when the city mayor and police chief decided to come down and fish with us for a while.  It seemed as though my brother and I couldn't cast our crappie jigs into the water without reeling in another fish.  The mayor and chief of police stood there watching in amazement for a couple of minutes before finally casting their own lines in.  Cast after cast they would retrieve their lures without so much as a bite.  My brother and I would cast our lines and reel in another fish.  This pattern continued on for at least a half an hour before the mayor broke down and decided he wanted to have a look at the bait we were using.

Johnson Beetle Bou Marabou Crappie Jigs - Yellow/Black/Yellow - 1/16 oz.
Having A lure with the right color
combination can be the difference
between catching a lot of fish and
being skunked.

After looking our jigs over and deciding he had nothing that resembled it he asked if he could purchase one of ours.  Of course we said "sure you can," and made a little money while participating in one of our favorite sports.  Who can beat making money while doing what you love?  Upon the two of them replacing their lures with the crappie jigs they had received from us things really heated up.  By now there were several people down at our end of the pond trying everything they could to get in on the action, but only four of us had the magic bait!  If you weren't using the exact lure we had, you weren't catching anything.

That day I learned a lesson I would never forget, and if you read my blog regularly you may already know what that lesson was as I tend to repeat it in many of my fishing posts.  Always make sure you keep a vast array of lures in as many colors and color combinations as you can.  This one simple act can make the difference between catching a lot of fish and going home empty handed.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing With Jug Lines

Fishing for catfish with jug lines is a great way to spend a day on the water  This method of fishing allows you to fish a vast area on the lake.  You simply set your baited jugs out and watch them for any sign of unnatural movement.  You can use pretty much any jug as long as it doesn't have any holes in it and you have the lid.

Add a drop line to each jug by using a piece of high strength twisted or braided nylon line.  I will typically use a piece between four and six feet long.  After cutting it, fold the piece of line in half and tie the two loose ends together.  Next you will run one end through the handle of your jug as shown below.

Adding a drop line to a jug, jug line, fishing
Adding the drop line to your jug
Next you  will run one end of the drop line through the opposite end and pull it tight in order to fasten it to the jug.

fishing with a jug line, fishing, drop line for jugs
Pull one end of the line through the
opposite end and pull it tight
To attach a swivel, slide the doubled up line through the eye of the swivel leaving a loop below it.

How To Make A Jug Line, Jug Fishing, Jug Line Fishing
Slide the line through the swivel eye
 Next you will pull the swivel through the loop and pull it tightly to attach it to your drop line.

Jug Line Fishing, Attaching A Swivel To A Jug Line, Fishing Techniques
Pull the swivel through the loop.
 Be sure to pull the line tight so that the swivel is secure.

Jug Fishing, Jug Line Fishing, Fishing Techniques
Pull the line tight to secure your swivel
After completing the above steps, you now have a complete jug line that is ready for fishing.

The Completed Jug Line

The drop line can be stored by wrapping it around the jug and clipping the swivel to the twine to keep it in place.  The hooks can be stored by pushing them into a piece of styrofoam until you are ready to use them the next time.

When you are ready to fish set your jugs out and watch them closely for any movement that isn't being caused by the water.  If you haven't caught any fish within about a half an hour collect them and move to a new location.

When using jugs for fishing make sure you get the lid on tight in order to keep it from taking on water as this will cause it to lose buoyancy  making it harder to notice when a fish has taken the bait.  Any bait that would be used on a trotline will work for jug line fishing.

As with other forms of fishing, be sure you check your local laws to make sure this is a legal method in your area and what the requirements are if it is legal.

If you like this post you may enjoy Trotline Fishing For Catfish.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Trotline Fishing For Catfish

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One of the fishing methods many anglers use when fishing for catfish is a trotline.
Before I go any farther, I will answer the question....  What is a trotline?

A trotline is a length of high strength line called the mainline with multiple lines submerged below it.  The lines that hang below the mainline are called drop lines. Each drop line has a heavy duty swivel and a hook attached to the end.  The trotline is stretched out over the water, secured at each end and marked so that it can easily be found when it is time to check for fish.

The mainline and drop lines are typically made from twisted nylon twine or braided nylon twine.  I suggest using a line with a strength of at least 150 pound test.  This will ensure that your trophy catfish is not able to break the drop line and escape.

High Strength Nylon Twine, Nylon Twine, Heavy Nylon Twine
High Strength Twisted Nylon Twine

When adding drop lines you can either attach swivels and individual lines to the mainline, or you can use the method I prefer which is to construct your drop lines right into the main line.  I like to double up the mainline and tie a simple knot leaving two to three feet hanging below the mainline.  This method can be seen in the picture below.  Be sure that your drop lines are spaced far enough apart that they can't become tangled by the fish that you catch.

Simple Knot Used To Construct Drop Lines, Drop Line, How To Make A Drop Line
Simple Knot Used To Construct The Drop lines

Once you have prepared your drop lines, it is time to attach a heavy duty swivel to the bottom end.  The first step for attaching your swivels is to pinch both sides of the drop line together and slide the eye at the top of the swivel over the drop line as pictured below.

Attaching A Swivel To A Drop Line, Swivel, Drop Line Swivel
Run The Drop Line Through The Swivel Eye

The next step is to slip the swivel through the loop that is below it and pull it tight as pictured below.

How To Attach A Swivel To A Drop Line, Putting Swivels On Drop Lines, Swivel
Slip The Swivel Through The Loop

Now, make sure the bottom of the loop is pulled over the top of the swivel ring as seen in the next picture.  Your swivel is now connected securely to the drop line.

Swivel Attached To A Drop Line, Attaching A Swivel To A Drop Line, Drop Line Swivel
Make Sure The End Of The Loop Is On Top And Pulled Tight

When fishing with trotlines, I prefer to use circle hooks like the one in the next picture.  

Catfish Hook, Catfishing Hooks, Circle Hooks
Circle Hook

There are several trotline techniques that work really well, but the two methods I prefer are as follows.
  1. Attach one end of the mainline to a tree or stationary object on the shore and run it out into the water securing the opposite end with a weight that will keep it in place such as a cinder block.  With this method, begin by attaching your mainline to the anchor point on shore and work your way to the end attaching your hooks and baiting as you go. 
  2. The other method is to attach a weight to each end of the mainline and a flotation device such as a buoy in the center leaving each end in the water.     This method can be done by attaching the float to the middle of the mainline and working your way to either end attaching your hooks and baiting as you go.
When you arrive at the end of your mainline, attach the weight and carefully lower it into the water as far as you can before gently letting it go.  You do not want to just throw the weight into the water as this can cause a lot of bait to tear off of your hooks.  Be sure that your mainline is taught before allowing the anchor to slip gently into the water.

Trotline fishing can get a little dangerous especially when "running" the line (checking the line for fish).  While checking the line, be extremely careful that you do not end up with a hood embedded in your flesh as a result of a slipping line or a frisky catfish.  Ending the fishing adventure early because of an injury would not be the ideal situation.

As far as bait is concerned, the best trotline bait I have found to make that catfish connection is either small live bluegill or cut bait.  However crawdads (crayfish), goldfish or large shiners seem to work pretty good too.  I do not add weight to the drop lines as this allows cut bait to hang and move with the motion of the water.  This also allows live bait to swim around freely causing a commotion in the water which has a tendency to attract more fish.

Catfishing with trotlines can be a lot of fun, even addictive; however, regulations vary from state to state, be sure to check the rules for your local area.  

The next time someone asks you how to catch catfish just tell them a trotline works great and have them check out this post!

If you like this post, you may also enjoy Catfishing In Lakes.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Bumping Crank Baits For Bass

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Most every angler knows what a crank bait is; however, for those who don't know, a crank bait is a fishing lure with a bill to which the fishing line is attached.  Various lures will have differing sized bills.  The depth to which the crank bait will dive is determined by the length of the bill.  When preformed properly, using crank baits can produce excellent results.

Bass Pro Shops XTS Mini Minnow Crank Bait, Crank bait, XTS Mini Minnow
Bass Pro Shops XTS Mini Minnow

A crank bait should be fished in and around sources of cover such as sunken trees, brush piles, rocky bottoms and even dock pilings.  Cast your lure out and retrieve it in such a manner that it will come into contact with the cover debris.  When the lure contacts an obstacle the bill on the front is designed to deflect it off of whatever it hits.  As this happens, it will appear to be making an evasive move attempting to avoid being eaten.  It is possible to catch fish while simply reeling your line in, but this action that will usually initiate a strike by triggering the predator instinct of a bass.

Rapala Ultra Light Crank, Rapala, Rapala crank bait
Rapala Ultra Light Crank Bait

fishing can be fast and exciting when you are fishing at the correct depth. You will find that the line weight will affect the depth to which your lure will travel.  As a general rule your bait will dive deeper with a lighter weight line and will run more shallow with a heavier weight line.  You should also consider the type of rod that will be in use.

Using a medium action fishing rod will assist you in casting and setting the hook.  The starting point for bending on a medium action rod is typically near the half way point between the handle and the tip.  This will help launch your fishing lure much farther than a heavy action rod as you will get more "whip" out of it.  It will also enable you to set the hook on that next monster much better than you would be able to with a light action rod. 

As with any other lure, you will want to be sure you have numerous color and size combinations to ensure that you are able to find one that will entice the bass into biting in a variety of water conditions on any given day.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Kayaking For Fish

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Kayaking For Fish, Kayak Fishing, Kayak
Ascend FS12 Sit In Angler Kayak
If you have been wanting to get on the water in pursuit of your favorite fish, but can't afford a traditional boat, a kayak is an excellent alternative.  There are two types of kayaks designed for fishing.  One is the sit in type as pictured above, the other is the sit on type.  The sit in kayak features an opening in which the angler places their legs below the top surface of the vessel.  The sit on version allows the angler to sit on the surface of the kayak rather than placing their legs inside of it.

Today's fishing kayaks are designed with the angler in mind and include many features such as:
  • Adjustable seat height - This allows the angler to raise the seat up for more comfort while anchored or float fishing, yet offers the option of lowering the seat for increased stability when it's time to move on to a new fishing location.
  • Adjustable backrest - This option allows the user to find that perfect angle to rest their back for a relaxing sit while fishing.
  • Adjustable foot braces - These allow the braces to be set to the most comfortable position for the person using the boat. 
  • Paddle holders are self explanatory giving the user a place to keep their oar while not in use.
  • High weight capacities allow the angler to pack more gear for their fishing trip enabling them to stay on the water for longer periods of time.
  • Fish-finder mounts make it easy to incorporate the use of fish finders without worrying about losing them overboard.
  • Fishing Rod holders give the kayak user the option of setting their pole down allowing them to do other things while waiting on the fish to bite.
  • Dry storage compartments give the angler space to place items they want to keep dry while on the water.  Note:  The dry storage compartments on many kayaks will allow some water to invade the space so it is a good idea to place anything that shouldn't get wet in a .
A fishing kayak is an awesome choice for the sportsman or woman who is looking to enjoy a relaxing day on the water without spending thousands of dollars to get there.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing For Channel Catfish

fish, channel cat, catfish
Channel Catfish
The "channel cat" is one of the most popular gamefish in the midwest and throughout much of the U.S. They can be found readily in many bodies of water ranging from the small farm pond to the Mississippi River.

Any links to merchants in this post are affiliate links.  If you click on a link and purchase a product mentioned in this post I may earn a commission.  This will not add to the price you pay for that product.

Fishing Methods:
Channel catfish can be caught using a rod and reel, bank lines, jug lines, trot lines and limb lines.

Live baits:
Night crawlers, minnows, shad, drum, small bluegill, and crickets are all great live bait choices.  However, I have found one of the best live baits for channel catfish is grasshoppers.

Cut baits:
Channel cats will bite on just about any cut bait that is presented to them including shad, carp, shrimp, chicken livers and even hotdogs and spam.

Artificial baits:
Because channel catfish have a superb sense of smell, many "stink baits" are very effective when pursuing them.  There is an enormous variety of stink baits available including On occasion they have even been known to bite on crank baits.  When using a dough bait it is best to use a treble hook.  I prefer using spring hooks.  These are treble hooks with a spring wrapped around the shank.  The spring allows you to press the dough into it and helps to prevent throwing the bait off of the hook while casting your line.

If you prefer, you can easily make your own dough baits.  One simple recipe can be found here.

By experimenting with different methods and bait combinations, you will be able to learn what works best in the area you will be fishing.  In turn you will become more successful in your pursuit of the channel catfish.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Smallmouth Bass

Fish, Bass, Smallmouth
Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation
Smallmouth bass are a popular gamefish which are typically brownish or greenish in color with dark colored bands that run from the top of the fish to the belly along both sides.  The smallmouth bass has an upper jaw that reaches back to just below the middle of its eyes red colored eyes.

Smallmouth bass thrive in streams, rivers and other bodies of water that are relatively clear.  They prefer to hang out around cover areas such as sunken trees and brush as well as large rocks. 

As with largemouth bass, smallmouth bass will eat just about anything they can get in their mouths including other gamefish, minnows/shiners, crawdads, frogs, snakes and water dwelling insects.

Smallmouth bass will bite on an array of artificial lures including plastic grubs and worms, topwater lures, jigs, spoons, spinnerbaits, plastic tube baits and buzz baits. While spawning these fish will attack nearly anything you flash in front of them in an effort to protect their nesting areas.

One of the biggest reasons for their popularity is the fact that the smallmouth bass will put up a tremendous fight making them extremely fun to catch.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Largemouth Bass Fishing

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The largemouth bass is a variant of black bass and is one of America's most popular game fish.  It is typically olive-green in color with a white underbelly and black splotches that form a line along both sides.  The largemouth bass is referred to as such because the upper jaw extends beyond its eyes making it noticeably larger than the mouth of a smallmouth.

When feeding, the largemouth bass will use all of its senses in order to locate prey.  They are excellent at detecting food by sensing the vibration it makes as it moves through the water.  There are many great lure choices when fishing for bass including jigs, spoons, spinnerbaits, crank baits and topwater lures.  Plastic grubs and worms are also excellent choices.

Some of the live baits that will entice largemouth bass include minnows/shiners, shrimp, crayfish (crawdads) and frogs.  Bass will also bite on many larger insects and have even been observed consuming other gamefish, snakes and lizards.  If a largemouth bass can fit something in its mouth, it's fair game.

Largemouth bass can be found in shallow water during the spring spawn and will readily snatch up anything that invades their territory.  When spawning is over smaller bass will remain in shallower water while the larger fish will make their way into deeper areas of the reservoir.   Preferring to remain hidden, these bass will often congregate near brush and other sunken objects as well as around and under docks.

If you like this post, you may enjoy Summertime Crappie.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Night Fishing For Catfish

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You've probably heard that catfishing is better at night.  This rumor is not necessarily true, but night fishing can be a lot of fun.  In order to enjoy the experience be sure that you arrive fully prepared with the gear you will need.

Make sure you take:
  • - Flashlights come in handy when you have to leave the light provided by a lantern for some reason or other.  Just make sure you load it with good batteries before heading to the water.  There's almost nothing more aggravating when night fishing than having your flashlight batteries go dead.  On that note....pack a few extra batteries so you don't have to worry about a worthless flashlight. are another excellent option.
  • A lantern - You will definitely want to take a lantern and some extra fuel so that everyone will be able to see what they are doing.  Tripping over obstacles in the dark is never fun.
  • Fire starter - Unless it's the middle of the summer, you may want to think about having a fire to help keep you warm while your are waiting on that rod to start bouncing.
  • Bobber with a light - If you are planning to use a bobber the best ones I've found for this purpose are the floats that have a battery operated LED light in them.  These usually come in red or green and are easily seen when floating on the surface of the water.  You can also get bobbers that illuminate by using light sticks.
  • ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent - As the sun sets on the water the bugs (especially mosquitos) come out with a vengeance.  Make sure you are ready for them.  The ThermaCell is my go-to insect repellent.  By using ThermaCell, you will no longer need to spray that nasty smelling liquid insect repellent all over your body.  There is a review on this product here
  • Snacks - Everyone gets hungry.  Don't forget to pack some food for the trip.....You don't want to have to end the adventure early because of hunger.
  • Water - Staying hydrated is important so be sure to bring along some cold water to quench your thirst after hauling in that monster catfish.
Along with the list above you will obviously need to take all or your usual fishing gear like the appropriate fishing rod, hooks, sinkers and whatever else you want to have in your arsenal.  Now that you have what you need, go have fun and catch a big one!

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing Journal Entry 2


Friday evening finally arrived allowing for an opportunity to go fishing without worrying about the alarm clock going off so early in the morning that I would feel like I didn't get any sleep the night before.

Weather Conditions:  It had been raining overnight but the rain ended in the early morning hours giving way to partly cloudy to mostly sunny skies the rest of the day.

Temperature:  70 degrees

Wind:   Blowing from the Northwest 5 - 8  MPH

Water:  Murky

Ponds about 4 acres in size

Live Bait:  Minnows

Lures:  1/8 ounce Rooster Tails

Depth: Tried varying depths finally locating the reluctantly biting fish at about fifteen inches deep


The fish were biting very slow today.  I caught one crappie with a few nibbles from fish that refused to commit.  Emilee caught one tiny small mouth bass about nine inches long and one bluegill about eight inches long.  My brother and his wife were fishing with us having about the same results.  It was overall a beautiful day to be in the outdoors; however, the air cooled off quite fast as the sun began sinking below the horizon.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day

Fishing With Crappie Jigs

Bass Pro Shops Marabou Crappie Jig - Black - 1/8 oz
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Although referred to as crappie jigs, many species of fish will often bite on these lures.  There are many different methods that can be used to successful catch fish with a jig.  We'll cover a few of these in this post giving you an array of techniques to help improve your crappie fishing success.

Bass Pro Shops Marabou Crappie Jig - Yellow - 1/32 oz
One method used when fishing with crappie jigs is to "count down" to the desired depth and steadily retrieve your lure to keep it at that depth.  Jigs of differing weights will sink at different paces.  The heavier it is the faster it will fall.  Although you can find all kinds of data about how fast a jig will sink depending on the weight and water temperature, I have found that it is not necessary to worry so much about the depth in feet. Try counting to five seconds before retrieving your bait.  If you don't get a bite, try seven seconds.  Repeat this process varying the number of seconds you count before retrieval until you start getting bites.  Once you find the correct count continue using this count with each consecutive cast.  With practice you will be able to achieve consistency using this method.
Bass Pro Shops Marabou Crappie Jig - Gray - 1/8 oz
Another method that has been used by many anglers effectively is to place a bobber on your fishing line above your jig so that it will sit suspended in the water at the desired depth.  If you are fishing at a depth that is lower than the length of your fishing pole, you can use a normal float.  However, if you wish to hang your lure lower in the water it can be achieved by using a slip float with a bobber stop attached to your line in the desired position.  When using this method try fishing two jigs on your line about eighteen inches apart.  While fishing with a bobber you can slowly and steadily retrieve your lure recasting when it reaches the shore, or you can reel in a few feet of line quickly, stop and allow the crappie jig to settle below the bobber for a bit before once again repeating this procedure.

Jigs may also be fished from a boat or dock by dropping them straight down to the depth you want and bouncing them by using a quick but slight upward motion with the tip of your pole.  Many times fish can be caught by repeating the process of dancing your bait in the water for a bit followed by allowing it to settle for a few moments.

- Any day in the outdoors is a good day