Z-Man FattyZ

Getting the Most Out of the Z-Man FattyZ
For starters, as a form of stick-bait, the FattyZ falls into an incredibly effective soft-bait category, but it offers lots of extras.

Brian Latimer fishing the FattyZ

From Z-Man Pro Brian Latimer
from The Fishing Wire

About a year ago, I made a YouTube video titled “This is My Favorite Soft Plastic!!!” The piece showcased my love affair with the Z-Man FattyZ, how to fish it, and why I’ve found it so incredibly appealing in a variety of finesse situations. Over 26,000 views later, my take on the matter hasn’t changed; I can’t get enough of this bait.

Let’s start by investigating why this bait is my favorite from an analytic standpoint. For starters, as a form of stick-bait, the FattyZ falls into an incredibly effective soft-bait category. As we all know, it’s hard to beat that shape when the chips are down, for just about any species of bass. But, unlike other stick-baits, the FattyZ has a few unique characteristics.

First off, the body has a slight taper with a plump tail, rather than being perfectly straight, so the FattyZ has a little different fall than the rest. Being made from ElaZtech, it’s incredibly soft and subtle, but the FattyZ contains a good bit of salt – enough where the bait lies at a 45-degree angle on the bottom, rather than just resting straight up. Any rod movement gives the FattyZ a little “wag”.

Just as important – the FattyZ has a hook pocket. More about that in a minute.

I rig the FattyZ a variety of ways depending on the job at hand but do the bulk of my damage with a snag-free method; sort of a Texas-rigged shaky head. Here, I employ the Power Finesse ShroomZ jighead.

In my mind, the FattyZ / Power Finesse ShroomZ combination is a match made in heaven. They just seem to fit together. That head features a 3/0, forged hook – not a thin wire, so common in finesse-style jigs. That’s important, because I regularly put the bait in places where a lighter hook would fail.

As I mentioned, the FattyZ has a hook slot, which comes in handy for my hooking method. Just like standard Texas rigging, I pierce the tip of the bait on my hookpoint, come back out, and thread the lure up the shank of the ShroomZ. I spin the bait around and re-insert the hook into the slot. Now I’ve got a weedless shaky head and, because of that narrow hook slot, I can easily penetrate the bait without using a bulky, wide gap hook.

I choose a 1/5- or 1/6-ounce Power Finesse ShroomZ, depending on depth and wind. The jighead rests perfectly against the FattyZ and features a wire keeper to hold the bait up. A tiny drop of superglue ensures the bait will never slide down the hookshank. Ever.

The whole package is smooth and slender, so it slides through cover easily, and doesn’t get hung up. That’s a big key – especially around boat docks and cables; places where a normal worm rig just can’t make it through. Hence the need for that stout hook: if I hook a big fish, I need to move him away from the cover quick, before he can break my line. It’s important that my hook doesn’t flex.

After a bunch of trial and error, I’ve settled on one specific tackle combo for fishing this rig: a 7’1″ Favorite Sick Stick rod, twenty-pound test braid, and a ten-pound fluoro leader. Regardless of water depth or the type of bass I’m after, I use only one color FattyZ; Green Pumpkin Blue Flake. It’s that good.

Most of my fishing throughout the Carolinas takes place on lakes with fairly clear water and little heavy cover. It’s mainly boat docks, small stick-ups and laydowns, walkways, maybe seawalls, and stumps. Here, I can pick up a weedless-rigged FattyZ and never put it down. It catches every species and size of bass.

One more tip: to catch the highest percentage of bites, employ a “pull set” with this rig. Hammering the hook home will do no good – it’s better to lean into the fish and not give it any slack. That ensures the needle-point tip of the ShroomZ gets started into the fish’s mouth – his pulling back and struggling will drive it home. Just pull into the fish, and let it fight against the rod. You’ll quickly see why the FattyZ still lays claim to my title as favorite soft plastic.

Brian Latimer
Z-Man Pro-Staff

Stocking Young Atlantic Salmon

Stocking Young Atlantic Salmon Downstream Means Higher Survival Success
From NOAA Fisheries
from The Fishing Wire

When it comes to recovering endangered Atlantic salmon, it makes a difference where smolt stocking takes place along a river. A new model can help by evaluating estimated survival of smolts released at different stocking locations.

Stocking salmon downstream

Stocking Green Lake National Fish Hatchery smolts in Maine’s Narraguagus River. Photo: NOAA Fisheries

Young Atlantic salmon smolt released at lower-river stocking sites on the Penobscot River are more likely to survive and enter the ocean than those released higher in the river system. They encounter fewer barriers such as man-made dams during their migration to the estuary, and their migration path is shorter. NOAA Fisheries scientists built a model that can help select release locations to improve survival of stocked smolt as they head for the ocean.

The 2018 Northeast Fisheries Science Center study, published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, highlights the continuing challenge to conserve this endangered species.

“This model is an important tool to support decision-making for the recovery of wild, self-sustaining Atlantic salmon populations,” said Justin Stevens, a fishery biologist at the Center’s Maine Field Station in Orono and lead author of the study. “Hatchery smolt stocking is a common strategy used in the program, and now we have a way to effectively evaluate its success.”

Using Historic Salmon Survival Rates to Improve Prospects for the Future

The researchers built a model to simulate historic survival of migrating Atlantic salmon smolt at different locations along the Penobscot River from 1970 through 2012, using existing studies of smolt survival. The model assessed the relative survival risks posed by three factors: dams, discharge into the river, and the length of the migration route.

By far, the number of dams encountered during downstream migration had the biggest effect on survival. The more dams the smolts encountered, the lower the survival rate.

A number of dams have been removed from the Penobscot River in the past few years. However, more than 100 man-made dams remain. Most are relative small and used for water storage or are remnants from 19th century industrial activities.

This study focused on 18 dams commissioned to generate hydroelectric power during the study period, for which hatchery records were also available. These dams are situated along primary salmon migration paths in the five sub-basins of the river.

Model Results Can Guide Management Decisions

“The information learned from this study can be used by state and federal managers to better inform future stocking practices and to work with the hydroelectric industry to minimize the impact of dams,” said Stevens.

This study provides a quantitative way to evaluate the effect of dams on smolt survival during downstream migration in the largest U.S. Atlantic salmon river.

The model calculates marine survival, from post-smolt to adult salmon. It accounts for losses during both freshwater and estuarine migration, and is an important new tool for making decisions about habitat improvement, fishery management, and Atlantic salmon recovery activities.

A Bit More About Endangered Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic salmon smolt migrate from freshwater river habitat downstream to the ocean. Many do not survive the journey past multiple dams or their time at sea.

If they do survive, as adults they need to migrate from their time in the ocean back to the river. Adults then swim upstream past dams to spawn and complete their life cycle. Making multiple trips during their lifetime further reduces the likelihood of repeat spawners, and that negatively affects population growth.

Historically, Atlantic salmon in the United States ranged from the Housatonic River of Long Island Sound to the Aroostook River in eastern Maine. There were an estimated 500,000 adult fish in precolonial days.

Today, U.S. Atlantic salmon are limited to eastern Maine and the population numbers fewer than 2,000 adult fish. The Penobscot River supports the largest population, aided by a hatchery-smolt stocking program that produces about 75 percent of the annual adult returns.

This year has been designated as International Year of the Salmon. It is the kickoff for an international effort though 2022 to bring countries together to share knowledge, raise public awareness, and take action to conserve and recover both Pacific and Atlantic salmon.

How and Where to Catch June and July Bass at Woodruff Lake/Jones Bluff/The Alabama River

June and July Bass at Woodruff Lake
with Sam Russell

Bass fishermen know summertime fishing is tough. As the waters in our lakes gets hotter and hotter the bass get harder to catch. But summertime fishing does not have to mean dawn and twilight or night fishing only. Pick a river lake like Woodruff on the Alabama River and you can work the current and catch bass anytime it is moving.

R.E (Bob) Woodruff Lake, also known as Jones Bluff, is on the Alabama River at Prattville, near Montgomery. The dam backs water in the river up all the way to its headwaters where the Coosa and Tallapoosa join. It is a narrow river lake so any power generation at the dam quickly creates current that puts bass in a feeding mood and positions them on structure and cover the whole length of the lake.

As the uppermost of the Alabama River Lakes, Woodruff is the most river-like lake and winds its way for 80 miles and covers about 12,800 acres. There are 11 Corps of Engineers parks with various facilities like campgrounds and boat ramps as well as several other private and public facilities on the water, so the lake is readily accessible for all of its length. Last year there were over 2 million visitors to Woodruff.

There are some good largemouth in Woodruff but spotted bass will make up most of your catch. In the 2006 Bass Anglers Information Team (BAIT) report there were only seven club tournaments reported on Woodruff but the success rate was good at 69.44 percent. Although there were only two bass reported over five pounds, the average weight was 1.66 pounds, respectable for a lake with a 12 inch limit.

Sam Russell was born in Montgomery and lived all his life in Prattville. He works for the City of Prattville on a seven day on, seven day off shift so he gets lots of fishing time. His father loved bass fishing and fished some local tournaments in the 1970s as well as fishing with some local bass clubs. Sam fished with him and started club fishing, too.

After a break from bass fishing Sam started back to bass tournament fishing about ten years ago. He is currently in the Prattville Bass Anglers club and fishes some local pot and charity tournaments. Last year he fished a BFL as a co-angler and placed 12th in that tournament. He also fished the Federation trail last year and although he didn’t go to the championship tournament, he was in the top ten in point standings up to the championship.

Sam likes the river system lakes and loves to catch spots. His biggest spot from Woodruff was a six pounder that hit a topwater plug. He says he though it was a striper the way it hit and fought but when he finally saw it was a huge spot his knees got weak. He still managed to land that fish. Sam has also caught a seven pound largemouth from Woodruff.

In June and July Sam will fish points at the mouths of creeks, bluff banks with wood and rock cover and blowdown trees in the water. Those three kinds of places are all over the lake and hold fish all summer long. Although you can catch fish from all of them anytime, current will make them all better and mean you catch better quality fish.

On the points Sam will start with a topwater plug like a Zara Spook. After covering the point with it he will throw a Carolina rig or a jig head worm on it. The bluff banks are also hit with topwater then fished with a spinnerbait and a jig head worm. If those patterns fail, or if he is looking for a kicker fish, Sam will flip laydown trees and shady wood cover with a jig and pig or a big worm.

A fellow club member started the W-3 Tackle Company a few years ago and pours custom jig heads. He is one of Sam’s sponsors and Sam really likes the design of the Tip-Up jig head he makes. They are a modified mushroom head with the eye of the hook forward so the jig rolls up as you pull on it, making the trailing worm move with an action the bass love.

Sam fishes a 3/16 ounce jig head with a 5 inch Senko or a Trick worm trailer on 8 pound Fluorocarbon line with a spinning rod on points. He will throw the same jig and worm on 14 pound line on a casting outfit when fishing wood cover. The Gamakatsu and Owner hooks in the W-3 baits are sturdy enough to stand up to a lot of pressure.

A few weeks ago Sam showed me the following 11 spots to fish in June and July. We were a little early for this pattern and we hit a bluebird clear day after a storm front moved though at the end of April but we still caught about 15 keepers in a half day of fishing. All were spots and most hit on the jig head worm, with a couple hitting a Spook.

There was no current the day we fished so most of what we caught was in the one to two pound range, but bigger fish will hit on these spots with current. You can call 334-682-4896 to get the generation schedule at the dam so you can plan your trip when current is moving. Give them a try to see the pattern Sam fishes and you can find similar spots the whole length of the lake.

1. N 32 21.458 – W 86 42.154 – The mouth of House Creek is typical of the kinds of points Sam likes to fish this time of year. There is a sign showing House Creek on the downstream point and the creek mouth has a no-wake buoy in the middle of it.

Start fishing the upstream point, working a topwater lure around the small grassbed there. There is a little cypress tree on the point that is worth a cast and out from it and the grass a small flat extends out then drops off into the river channel. That makes the perfect kind of feeding area to fish.

Work into the mouth of the creek on the upstream side, fishing into the creek about 50 yards then jump across and work out to the downstream point. There are some trees in the water on the downstream side and the point has overhanging trees. Cast under them and around any wood in the water with topwater then run a spinnerbait through them. Follow that up with a jig head worm.
Before you leave jump across the mouth of the creek and work upstream, hitting the docks along this bank. Sam hooked what looked like a good keeper on this point but it pulled off his Spook. If you catch a fish keep working the area, they often stack up on these spots now.

2. N 32 21.273 – W 86 41.480 – A little ways upstream of House Creek on the same side there is a bluff bank that Sam likes. As you head upstream the channel will swing slightly to your left. Watch on your right for a broken off snag tree on the bank and start fishing there. Just past it a fallen tree has pulled its roots away from the bank, leaving a bare dirt bank. Fish that tree in the water.

Work on up this bluff and hit any wood and weeds along the edge. Fish at an angle here, casting upstream and working your bait back. Sam watches his depthfinder and swims his bait back at the depth he sees fish after hitting the bottom near the bank. The bottom drops off fast here. It is important to keep your bait moving with the current so cast upstream as you work along this bluff.

Fish past the steep gray clay bank, hitting the rocks along the edge of the water. If you catch a fish keep working this bank, there should be more along it. If the current is moving fish these places carefully. If there is no current fish faster and cover more water.

3. N 32 21.333 – W 86 40.639 – A little further upstream on the same side past the boat ramp at Holy Ground Battle Park the mouth of Cypress Creek is good. We took several spots off the downstream point, casting a jig head worm out past the log and grass on the point. There are some rocks on the bottom and a few big stumps here the spots like.

As on most of these creek mouth points the current will move baitfish across them and make them better. The current positions the bass on the point so you might have to fish around it some to locate how they relate to it. Since there was no current the day we fished the bass were not as active and we had to work the bait on the bottom on the rocks to get them to hit.

Fish into the creek a short distance then fish the upstream point, too. There is a big shallow flat in the mouth of the creek that bass sometimes run shad up on, so always keep and eye out for schooling fish and have a topwater bait ready to throw to them.

4. N 32 21.823 – W 86 40.222 – Molly Branch is on the other side of the lake and has a good sandbar that runs across the mouth of the creek from the downstream side. The sign for Molly Creek is on the downstream point. This is a real good point to work with topwater. There is also some gravel and a few scattered stumps to hold fish here, so fish it with worms, too. Sam says this is a good Carolina rig hole.

The long tapering sand point runs almost all the way across the mouth of the creek. Concentrate on it rather than the upstream point here. Probe for any irregular features in the point where it makes a little cut or dip. Those are the places the bass will hold. We caught a couple of keepers here when we fished and it should be even better now.

5. N 32 24.220 – W 86 38.115 – Going upriver the mouth of Swift Creek is on your left. The upstream point runs way out across the mouth of the creek and there is a no-wake buoy lying on its side in the mouth of the creek. There is a short no-wake zone at the mouth of the creek.

Fish the upstream point, working all around it. Fish it from the river channel side, casting up to the shallow top of the point, then fish all the way around the end and up the creek side. Cast across the point from several angles probing for anything on the bottom like rock or wood that will hold fish.

6. N 32 23.613 – W 86 36.747 – Going up river watch the left bank for a gap where the underbrush has been cleared. There are four big trees with nothing growing under them and a big dead tree on the downstream edge of this gap. That marks the start of a good bluff to fish. On the upstream end of the bluff is a double ditch entering the river and there is a big log lying on the downstream point of it.

The bluff bank is marked by a high yellow clay bank. Start fishing where the dead oak stands on the bank and fish upstream. This bank gets some shade during the day and is a good example of the kinds of bluffs Sam likes, with a steep drop, wood cover along it and some shade from shoreline trees and overhanging bushes.

Fish topwater in the shade then work a jig head worm or a spinnerbait through any wood cover. When you get to the ditch, fish the log on the point carefully as well as the drop on this downstream point. This is also the kind of bank that is good to flip a jig and pig or Zoom Ole Monster worm to wood cover, especially on bright sunny days.

7. N 32 22.544 – W 86 37.041 – Across the river, on your right going upstream there is a dock with four tall white poles. It marks the start of another good bluff bank to fish. Upstream of it is a steep yellow clay bank just past a ditch that enters the river. Start fishing upsteam of the ditch and work upstream, casting to any shade from overhanging bushes and trees in the water.

Along this bank there is usually a lot of water dripping in. This can help the fishing a little since it is cooler and has more oxygen than the lake water. Bass will move close to the bank under overhanging bushes and take advantage of the inflow. You can take advantage of them by casting under the bushes where they are holding.

8. N 32 22.014 – W 86 36.340 – Upstream on the same side is Tensaw Creek. There are ledge islands on both sides of it and the points on both sides are good. The sign marking Tensaw Creek is on the downstream point. The river channel runs in right by the mouth of the creek, offering good deep water to fish holding here.

Fish the upstream point working into the mouth of the creek. The island that makes the point has some grass on it that is worth a few casts if the water is high. Fish across the channel between the island and the bank. You will see the top of a buoy in the middle of it and there is a ledge that runs across it, dropping into the channel. Fish that drop.

The other side of the channel comes up on what looks like an old roadbed or pond dam. Fish all around it, work the tree lying in the water on the end of it and into the pocket behind it. Then jump across to the other side and work out, hitting both sides of the ditch on that side and out to the main river point.

Jump back across the mouth of the creek and fish the outside bank of the island going upstream. It drops fast and there is some wood cover along it. When you get to the upstream point fish it carefully. There are good rocks here and a big log was lying on the point when we fished it. Sam said he watched Kevin Van Dam fish this spot several times in the Bassmasters Elite Series tournament held here.

9. N 32 21.712 – W 86 35.701 – Just upstream of Tensaw Creek the river makes a bend back to the left and the outside of this bend is a good place to fish. There is a small flat running off the bank for about 20 feet then it drops straight off to 60 feet deep. Wood has washed in along this drop and flat and it holds bass.

Start fishing at the first dock you see on your right just downsteam of where the bend starts and fish up the bank, casting to the bank and working your bait across the flat to the boat. Keep your boat over the channel. Topwater works well here and a spinnerbait fished through the wood will draw strikes, too. Follow up with a Carolina rig or jig head worm.

10. N 32 22.123 – W 86 35.335 – Upstream and across the lake is Bear Creek. There is a sign for it and you will see two big standing snags in the middle of the creek. Just downstream of the creek mouth is a backout with a ridge across the mouth of it from the downstream point.

Start fishing on the point on the backout and work up it, keeping your boat out in the deeper water and casting across the point. Fish to the end of it then cut across to the downstream point of the mouth of Bear Creek. Fish it and the point across from it.

This is a complex creek mouth with several drops and some grass beds wood cover and rocks, too. All can hold fish so spend some time here checking out the different angles and drops. Fish it all before leaving.

11. N 32 20.391 – W 86 35.184 – Run up to the mouth of Tallawassee Creek on your right where the river bends back to the left. There is no sign here, you can see the pole for it on the downstream point, but there is a red striped channel marker on the back side of the point that runs off the downstream point and there are two poles marking stumps on the top of the point. There is a red river channel marker just downstream of this point, too.

As we idled up to this point in the middle of the day Sam said there had been a million bass caught here. We caught three, including one of the biggest of the day, so make that a million and three now.

This point runs way out across the mouth of the creek from the downstream side and there is wood and rock cover all along it. The channel swings right by the point and makes it a ledge coming out of the channel. Fish hold all along the point on top and along the drop.

Keep your boat out in the channel and cast up onto the point, working your jig head worm through the rocks. They are rough and you will get hung up, but you will hang up on fish, too. A topwater bait would work well here, especially early in the morning and as Carolina rig works off the end of the point. Fish it carefully since it is a big, long wide, sloping point.

These 11 spots are some of Sam’s favorites and give you an idea of the kids of places he fishes. There are many more all over the lake. Use his tips and tactics to fish them and learn how to catch fish off them then you can find others to fish.

Sam has decided to do some guiding on the Alabama River lakes like Woodruff and Miller’s Ferry. Call him at 334-301-0922 if you want him to show you first hand how he catches bass on those lakes.

How about a “contacts” box somewhere in the article – if you need more space used up:

Generation Schedule for Woodruff – 334-682-4896
Contact Sam Russell for Guide Trips – 334-301-0922
W-3 Tackle Company – 334–567-8486
Corps of Engineers Office – info and maps – 334-872-9554

Finesse Fishing for Bass

Finesse Fishing for Bass: Lighten Up for Bass

Shaw Grigsby on finesse fishing

Legendary bass pro Shaw Grigsby talks the why, how, and when of finesse bass techniques
from The Fishing Wire

Louisville, KY – Bass fishing isn’t always easy. Weather conditions like cold fronts and high-pressure systems, as well as probing the same waters as lots of other anglers can make fishing tough. But there are ways to up your odds in these and other difficult conditions. One of the best? Finesse fishing – fishing smaller baits on lighter line with a more deliberate and slower approach.

When it comes to finesse fishing, one of the greatest finesse bass anglers on the scene – legendary bass pro and tournament angler, Shaw Grigsby – has a wealth of critical information to share that can boost your game on the waters you fish.

“One of my favorite fishing techniques is finesse fishing – smaller baits, lighter line, a lot of fish and loads of fun! Why finesse fishing? There are so many times that big baits are just too big for the fish,” Grigsby says. “Bass see them but they just don’t want them; they see the lure too well or the conditions are difficult, like cold fronts, high blue skies, clear water or a lot of people around you fishing, and you just can’t catch them. So downsizing and going finesse can be the key. Just lay your bait out there and kind of jiggle it and really, what it does is all these smaller baits make it look like what’s natural for the bass to eat in their environment.”

In terms of specific techniques, some of Grigsby’s favorite presentations are drop-shot rigs, shaky head worms, wacky worms, tubes, and the legendary Ned Rig, all of which he typically presents in natural colors like green pumpkin and watermelon red.

“And when you present these techniques to them, it appears so real and it’s so small that they don’t have an issue with it,” Grigsby continues. “A lot of times a big bait may appear too bulky – and maybe you’ll catch a giant fish using a big bait at times – but when you get clear water and difficult conditions, then it’s pretty much time to downsize and go finesse. And I’ve caught giants on finesse tactics. Finesse techniques catch as many big fish as they do small and average-size ones.”

Grigsby keeps a half dozen spinning rods rigged up with finesse presentation in his boat at all times. He’s a fan of medium-light power, fast-action Skeet Reese Signature Series spinning rods, typically in the 7’3” range, and Skeet Reese size-30 Victory Pro Wright McGill spinning reels, which he favors for their large spools.

The linchpin to the system, though, is his choice in line. He spools his with Seaguar FINESSE Fluorocarbon, a line designed specifically for finesse bass fishing applications. “It’s really delicate yet strong stuff that excels for all my finesse fishing,” he offers. “I wouldn’t think of using anything else. And compared to other 8-pound line, Seaguar’s 8.4-pound is remarkably thin, supple, and strong, it’s typically my first choice in every finesse fishing application.”

Seaguar has a host of FINESSE 100% fluorocarbon lines for every finesse-fishing situation including 5.2-pound, 6.2-pound, 7.3-pound, and 8.4-pound sizes. These are double-structure fluorocarbon lines, which is an exclusive and superior Seaguar line technology that combines two different resins into one line. The high-density interior resin improves tensile strength and sensitivity while the softer exterior resin enhances knot strength. That means great sensitivity, knot strength, and the strength to handle any big fish you hook while remaining super supple.

“When you’re dealing with spinning tackle, that’s what counts – having a nice supple line that still has the hook-setting power and the strength to hold them,” Grigsby emphasizes. “Because when you’re finesse fishing you never know when that next hookset could be an 8-, 9-, or 10-pound bass. It could be the biggest fish of your life because they’re suckers for those little baits. So that’s why I always carry specific technique rods and reels and use line designed specifically for finesse fishing.”

One of Grigsby’s favorite finesse techniques is fishing a drop-shot rig, which essentially consists of a small plastic bait suspended above a short length of line terminated at the bottom with a weight. “With the drop-shot, you can literally float your baits above bottom and really catch ‘em,” he says. “For most of my drop-shot set-ups I’m using Seaguar 7.3- or 8.4-pound 100% FINESSE Fluorocarbon, which holds up really well and the fish can’t see, whether I’m fishing in clear, open water or around a lot of cover.”

That brings up another point Grigsby is adamant about, and that’s not limiting finesse fishing tactics to clear waters. “You might find flooded areas with a lot of cover where the instinct is to pound with a jig, but finesse tactics – even in heavy cover – can really produce,” Grigsby advises. “Don’t overlook finesse even though you’ve got a lot of cover. It’s simple – hook ‘em, play ‘em, and get them out. Always concentrate on getting the strike, don’t worry about landing them. Landing them generally happens.”

Grigsby is a big fan of fishing wacky worm rigs in heavy cover, typically a 5-inch Strike King Ocho on a Trokar hook with weed guard on Seaguar 7.3- or 8.4-pound 100% FINESSE Fluorocarbon line. “When you throw something really light like a wacky worm into heavy cover on a finesse rig, it can really produce. A lot of times you can catch ‘em when other methods fail to produce.”

Lastly, Grigsby also carries a rod or two in his boat for Ned Rig fishing, a finesse technique that has earned an almost magical reputation across the country.

“The Ned Rig has really come along to be one of the main finesse baits to just catch ‘em,” says Grigsby. “It’s awesome. I got introduced to it about three or four years ago with its flat head – like you took an Aspirin and put a hook in it – and using something like an Ocho worm that you cut in half. I didn’t have any of the right jigheads so I just took the Ochos I had, cut them in half, and started fishing them on a regular 3/16-oz. shaky head and just caught the fire out of the fish!” he recalls. “But once you get a Ned jighead and it stands up so perfectly it works even better. Something I found out that’s really interesting is that when you discover the bass are eating this little bait, a Ned worm also works wonders on a Trokar nose hook fished as a drop shot. I started fishing it on a drop shot and the fish I caught was ridiculous. So, I now combine the two techniques quite a bit.”

No matter where you fish bass, going finesse can definitely up your odds for more and bigger fish when the going gets tough. Take a few tips from legendary bass pro and finesse expert, Shaw Grigsby, and we promise you’ll put more bass in the boat, too.

For more information, call 502-883-6097, write Kureha America Inc., 4709 Allmond Ave., Suite 4C, Louisville, KY 40209, or visit us on the Web at www.seaguar.com or on Facebook.

About Seaguar Fishing Lines

As the inventor of fluorocarbon fishing lines in 1971, Seaguar has played a prominent role in the advancement of technologies to improve the performance of lines and leader material for both fresh and salt water anglers. Seaguar is the only manufacturer of fluorocarbon fishing lines that produces its own resins and controls the manufacturing process from start to finished product. Today, Seaguar is the #1 brand of fluorocarbon lines and offers a full spectrum of premium products including fluorocarbon mainlines and leader material, fly tippet and leaders, 8-strand and 16-strand braid and monofilament fishing lines.

I Am A Terrorists?

I am a terrorist?

In 1985 when I became a life member of the oldest civil rights organization in the US, I had no idea Orwellian speak so common now would label me a terrorist. Somehow, defending the Bill of Rights by peaceful, legal methods is now terrorism to some.

Regardless of what some gun ban fanatics say, I am proud to be a member of the NRA. Over five million fellow NRA members and I and will continue to support the 2nd Amendment.

I will never understand the illogic of those hating guns. I recently posted on “Fazebook” about the so-called universal background check, saying it would require a father to get a background check on his 12-year-old son or daughter before giving him or her a gun for Christmas. And that is true.

One response amazed me. I was told any father giving their 12-year-old child a gun should be locked up. That is so strange to be totally irrational to me. It is not rational in the world I grew up in and live in.

I got a BB gun at six, a .22 rifle at eight and a .410 at 10. I still have two of them, and not a single one of them has ever harmed anyone, and never will.

I have a .40 semiautomatic pistol I carry, and a pump 12-gauge shotgun loaded with #1 buck shot by my bed for self-defense if I ever need it. Those have never harmed anyone either. I hope they never do, but if threatened I would rather defend myself than being harmed.

Gun control is not about guns, it is about controlling those that don’t agree with your prejudices.

It seems the same folks that want to control us by taking our guns also want to control what we eat, where we spend our money, what kind of vehicle we can drive and every other aspect of our lives. And they demand we believe in everything they spout or want to censor us.

I was an ACLU member for a time because they defended all civil rights. But I dropped my membership when they abandoned the 2nd Amendment. How can a civil rights group claiming to support all civil rights not defend one of the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights?

Lake Guntersville Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Guntersville Fishing Report

Check out these weekly updated reports for selected lakes in Georgia and Alabama Lakes Fishing Report. If any guides or fishermen do weekly reports and would like them published on my site please contact me: ronnie@fishing-about.com

Captain Mike with nice Guntersville bass

Captain Mike with nice Guntersville bass

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 9/14/19

With the extreme heat during the mid-part of the day being on the water passed 11 am for
me was tough on the body. Catching fish early however was pretty good, size was down but
bites were good for the conditions, you just had to be persistent and cover water.

We spent most of the time on the water working Picasso buzz baits, SPRO frogs, Tight-Line
swim jigs and Missile bait “48” stick worms, they all caught fish and produced at different
times during the morning. We tried to stay over grass in 7 to 9 ft. of water most of the time.

Come fish with me no one will treat you better or work harder to see you have a great day on
the water. I have guides and days available to fish with you. Got some business partners you
want to take fishing we do corporate trips and love to help you entertain your customers. We
fish with great sponsor products, Lowrance Electronics, Mercury motors, Ranger Boats, Boat
Logix mounts, Vicious fishing, Duckett Fishing, Navionics mapping, Power pole and more.

The SPRO frog on tournament is 10/5 on Guntersville time is running out to register!

Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service

Email: bassguide@comcast.net
Phone: 256 759 2270
Captain Mike Gerry

Kayak Fishing

From Tarpon to Bass, Nothing is Off Limits when Kayak Fishing

Catch all species Kayak Fishing

Photo courtesy of Justin Ritchey
From the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

Kayak fishing is a growing sport and it’s easy to see why. Kayaks are nimble, less expensive than most motorized boats and provide access to places even the best casts from land just can’t reach.

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation confirms that kayaks are the most popular type of boat for Americans to own and that the number of people participating in kayak fishing has gone up in the past six years.

But those who love the sport say kayak fishing is more than just a quick and less expensive way to get on the water.

“You are more in tune with what is going on,” said avid kayak angler Tony Hart, who runs YakOutlaws.com, a website dedicated to all things kayak fishing and stand up paddleboard angling. “The slower approach gives you an opportunity to take in more. It’s almost as though you become a part of what’s around you.”

“Because you are so low in the water, there is this sense of vulnerability when you start fishing, but you also have this feeling of freedom and accomplishment, blood, sweat and tears,” said Justin Ritchey, who has been kayak fishing for 10-plus years and has competed across Florida and internationally, taking fourth place in the 2014 Hobie Fishing World Championship in Amsterdam. “I’m very passionate about it, it’s a huge part of my life.”

Interested in kayak fishing? Read on to learn more about why this sport is booming and how you can get in on the action.

Access for all

Like many kayak anglers, Hart and Ritchey got into kayak fishing for similar reasons: they loved fishing and didn’t have access to a boat.

Ritchey, a fishing manufacturer representative from Orlando, got his start in college renting a two-person kayak for the weekend and asking random classmates to foot the rental fee for time on the water. Ritchey would provide the car, fishing gear and knowledge.

Hart was fishing from a dock in Jacksonville when he noticed fish off a point too far for him to reach casting. “That’s when two young guys paddled by and I thought, that’s the smartest thing in world,” said Hart. “The next weekend I got two kayaks.”

What often gets people into kayak fishing is the ability to access places they just can’t reach from shore.

“You can go anywhere you want with no stress of a motor breaking down or electronic failure,” Ritchey said. “And because you are quiet, you can often get closer than boat anglers can get.” You also can often get in shallower waters than many motorized boats.

Some might be thinking, kayaks are great for seatrout and redfish, but what if I want to catch a monster tarpon or a sailfish?

While what you catch within paddling distance will vary according to where in Florida you are fishing, if you can catch it, your kayak can take it.

“Being able to catch every species from a kayak is personal goal of mine,” said Ritchey, who has personally caught sailfish, blackfin tuna, mutton snapper, kingfish and tarpon from his kayak. “In a boat, when a fish takes a lot of line, you have less control. In a kayak, you might be getting towed, but you are never too far away from the fish, which allows you to get the fish in much faster.”

Ready to get your line wet? Check out these expert tips.

Buying a ‘yak

Don’t be afraid to spend more for quality, safety and access. Ritchey says most kayaks will hold their value, so if you decide kayak fishing is not for you, you should at least be able to get some of your money back.

Safety is key. Invest in a personal floatation device you will actually wear, carry a whistle or other sound-making device, and establish a float plan or let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. “Buy a life jacket that fits and is comfortable,” said Hart. “To me that is the biggest thing. Spend the money. Get a PFD that’s going to take care of you.” Inflatable lifejackets are very comfortable and are gaining popularity as well.

Try one out. “A lot of outfitters offer demo days,” said Hart, who suggests getting a feel for different types of kayaks before making a purchase.

With any luck, your paddling hands will be busy reeling in a big one, so look for a kayak with foot propulsion pedals.

Start with a sit-on-top, which is easier for ocean going trips (and dealing with Florida’s hot summers).

Accessorize: kayak fishing may have started with nothing more than a pole and boat, but these days anglers can customize for whatever preference or need they have, and we are not just talking cup holders. One of Ritchey’s three kayaks has a livewell, depth finder and a downrigger. Consider having more than one kayak for different types of fishing.

Where to start

Learn from others. Attend seminars about kayak fishing, find others who kayak fish and ask lots of questions.

Get started in saltwater by sight-fishing in shallower water, two feet or less, or try bass fishing at a local pond or lake. The key is to look for places without a ton of current to contend with until you get used to the feel.

Concerned about tipping? Try to keep the fish off the front of your kayak, which is the best and most comfortable way to fight a fish.

Make it a lifetime sport

Have kayak, will travel. Florida is bountiful when it comes to different fishing experiences. Strap that kayak securely to the roof of your vehicle and take it with you. You never know what you might catch next.

Catch a Florida Memory. Add fish to your Saltwater Fish Life List, conquer a Grand Slam or land that Reel Big Fish, all while earning prizes and supporting marine fisheries conservation. Submit catches on com.

Bring the family. Kayaks come in all kinds of sizes and make for a great family outing. Take out those kayaks and build fishing memories that will last a lifetime. “My fondest memories are when my wife, kids and I all go out together,” Hart said, referring to his two young sons.

Need more inspiration? Check out these videos by Justin Ritchey:

Tarpon off the Beach (Cape Canaveral) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSE4WzoVmIo Adventure Fishing World Championship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xqCe4PDYYw
The quarterly Gone Coastal column is one of many ways that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Division of Marine Fisheries Management is helping recreational anglers understand complex saltwater regulations and learn more about saltwater fishing opportunities and issues in Florida. We are also available to answer questions by phone or email anytime, and we would love the opportunity to share information through in-person presentations with recreational or commercial fishing organizations. To contact the FWC’s Regulatory Outreach subsection, call 850-487-0554 or email Saltwater@MyFWC.com.

How and Where To Catch Seminole Bass In November

Seminole Bass In November with Steven Wells

All summer long the hydrilla beds at Seminole have been full of bass, but often the weeds are so thick you can’t fish it very effectively. In November the hydrilla begins to die back and open up, giving you access to those bass. And the cooler temperatures mean they feed even better.

Seminole is a one-of-a-kind lake in Georgia with its huge grass flats and stumpy water. So far south the dam is in Florida, it is like a Florida lake in many ways. The bass grow fat and spawn early in its warm waters. And every bit of the lake looks bassy, like you should be able to cast anywhere and hook a hog.

Unfortunately for the bass fisherman used to other lakes, looking good and being good are not always the same thing. The sheer size of the grass flats often make it difficult to locate bass unless you have an idea what they are doing and where to start. The bass are in the grass but you still have to find patterns within the grass to catch them.

Seminole is right in the corner of Georgia, Alabama and Florida on the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers. It covers 37,500 acres and has been famous for its bass fishing for many years. Jack Wingate and his Lunker Lodge are one of the reasons for that fame and many happy bass fishermen have passed through his restaurant and dock over the years.

Steven Wells grew up right on the lake in Faceville, and is kin to Jack. He loves to fish and was on the lake so much Jack talked him into guiding there. Jack told him “As much as you like to fish you might as well let somebody else pay for your gas.” Steven also manages Outland Plantation, a hunting preserve near the lake, so he gets to spend all his time outside studying nature.

His time fishing paid off in another way this year when he married Pam Martin, a top angler on the Women’s Bass Fishing Association professional trail. She guides on Seminole out of Wingates with Steven when she is not off on the national tournament trail. She and Steven share patterns, tips and fishing spots and help each other out on the lake.

“If you are not fishing the hydrilla you are not fishing where the bass live, they get in the hydrilla,” Steven told me. We were fishing on a hot early October day and he was showing me patterns and places that would be good in November when the water cooled down a little.

In November you should start with topwater, then switch to spinnerbaits and lizards as the sun gets up,” Steven told me. He likes to fish a topwater bait around the hydrilla early in the morning, varying his bait according to the wind. If it is dead calm he throws a Mirror Lure topwater bait but if there is some ripple he switches to a Pop-R.

“Throw the plug within inches of the grass mat,” Steven said. You have to get it close to the edge, especially early in November when the grass is still thick. Work it slowly in place, keeping it as close as possible to the grass while making it act like a hurt baitfish. The longer you can keep it close to the grass the better your chances of getting bit.

Steven chooses a silver plug and throws it using 12 pound Stren line. The lighter line helps the bait work better and will still bet most fish out of the grass if they head back into it after you hook them. You can also make longer casts which are needed if the water is real clear.

Later in the month when the grass mat on top is breaking up, Steven will throw a buzz bait since it can be worked better. He likes a white one and ties it on 14 to 17 pound Stren line. If the grass is thick under the water he uses the heavier line to horse big bass out of the cover. The lighter line allows longer casts.

As the sun gets up Steven will switch to a spinnerbait and work it through openings and channels in the grass. Some of his favorite places will have clumps of grass out from the main mat even early in November and he tries to run it right beside those clumps, too.

Steven always chooses willowleaf blades since they come through the grass better and he varies the color depending on the water color. White with silver blades is better in clear water and gold blades and chartreuse skirts are best in stained water. The spinnerbait is fished on 14 to 17 pound Stren like the buzzbaits and for the same reasons.

“Bring two packs of watermelon seed lizards and leave everything else at home and you won’t go too far wrong,” Steven said. His go-to bait and what he uses most of the day is a Texas rigged Zoom watermelon seed lizard. He uses a 1/8th ounce lead unless the current or wind forces him to go heavier since the slower fall seems more attractive to Seminole bass.

Tie your lizard on 12 or 14 pound Stren since you will be fishing right in the grass. If the water is heavily stained Steven will go to Junebug lizards and sometimes he dies the tails of both colors chartreuse. Lizard fishing is slow so he likes to start with topwater and spinnerbaits, but the lizard will produce all day long.

“Cast the lizard right on top of the hydrilla and slide it to the edge, letting it fall when it hits open water,” Steven said. You must watch your line carefully since bass hitting on the fall often don’t give much indication they have taken the bait. If you see your line tick or move at all, set the hook hard to pull them away from the grass.

Steven shared 8 of his favorite November spots with me and they will all produce fish this month. They are just a few of the hundreds of similar places but there are key things to look for. Most of these are within a few miles of Wingates and Steven says some of the best fishing on the lake is a couple of hundred yards either side of the channel going in there.

1. N 30 47.355 W 84 43.050 – Upriver from Wingates at channel markers 13.8 through 13.3 the Flint River makes a sweeping turn across the lake. Along the downstream edge of the channel the water is shallow and hydrilla grows in a thick mat all along it. People use a cut-through behind a small island to run down to Wingates so sometimes there is a channel in the grass there.

Start at the first red channel marker just downstream of the grass island and work the edge of the hydrilla all the way past the turn back up river to the third red marker. The grass drops off deep here so you must cast topwater baits right to the edge of it. Concentrate on any cuts or holes in the edge and try to work your topwater bait in it as long as possible.

After the sun gets up switch to a lizard. You may need a 3/16 or even a 1/4 ounce lead here if there is any current since you want the lizard to drop straight down the side of the grass. The bass will hold all along the vertical face of the grass and suck in food, and your lizard, as it falls.

Cast your lizard up on top of the grass and pull it off. That insures it is as close to the wall of grass as possible. Watch your line carefully. When it stops falling, make sure it is not a fish then twitch it to make if fall on down. If it is on the bottom twitch it a couple of more times then reel in for another cast.

If you start here early, it is worth a pass with topwater then another pass with the lizard, especially if you catch a few fish on the first pass. The fish may be scattered the whole length of the bed or concentrated in one place, so pay attention to where you get bites.

2. N 30 46.736 W 84 44.381 – Just upstream of the Wingate cut there is a rockpile out on the old river channel where the ferry used to cross. You can see the old road bed on most maps. The grass bed along this edge is another good place to fish. The fish hold in the grass and also hold on the rocks and move into the grass to feed.

Fish the outside edge of the grass here. There is a wide band of grass and there is some open water behind it, but the best fishing in November is usually on the outside edge. Work it with topwater first then come back with a lizard. The water is not as deep on the outside edge of the grass here and a light sinker is usually best.

3. N 30 46.397 W 84 45.351 – The poles marking the Wingate cut have grass around them out where they get to the river channel and this can be an excellent place to fish. If you start upstream of the marker poles you should work the outside edge of the grass. Below the cut there is a bed of grass on a ridge and it has water 9 feet deep on the back side of it. This is a good place to work both sides of the bed.

The outside edge has clumps of grass growing out from the main bed and a spinnerbait or buzz bait is good in that area. The inside edge drops to 9 feet and a lizard falling down that drop is an excellent way to get a bass to bite. You can fish down the outside edge then cut through and fish the inside edge going the other way to cover both sides. If you catch a fish, concentrate on that area since there should be others nearby.

4. N 30 46.143 W 84 45.710 – Further downstream out from a couple of docks and pontoon boats on the bank the grass bed continues in closer to the bank. The river channel is a long way away here and the big flat has some grass on it, but as you get closer to the bank you will find a thick ridge of hydrilla. There is standing timber out toward the channel but it will be well behind you when you are fishing the outside edge of the grass.

On the outside edge clumps grow up well out from the mat. This is a good area for spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. The inside edge has enough water to be worth fishing and the lizard should be better here. Work all around the ridges of grass and fish both sides. Again, if you catch a fish work that area carefully since there should be others nearby.

5. N 30 45.943 W 64 46.122 – Straight downstream from areas #4 you will see a red channel marker where the channel swings back across the lake. Where it turns and runs down the bank is another good ridge of grass to fish. It is right along the channel and drops off fast. Fish the outside edge of it, keeping your boat in the channel and casting to the edge of the hydrilla.

6. N 30 46.036 W 84 48.063 – The Tractor bank is a well known local fishing spot. It is called that because the DNR used to keep a tractor there to use in the management area. You can follow the channel downstream then cut across to the north bank just downstream of a tall dead tree standing in the water. Be careful, there are a lot of stumps in this area and you need to find the clear area before running it if you don’t know it.

You will see a point of land with a cove on the upstream side. In the mouth of the cove is a small grass island and you will see a yellow sign on a pole out in the water upstream of it. There are big grass beds all along this bank. Start fishing near the management area sign and work down the bank. You can fish all along here, concentrating on areas where you catch fish.

Watch here for scattered clumps of grass out from the main bed and fish them with spinnerbait, buzzbait and lizard. It often pays off to drop a lizard down beside one of these clumps after running a buzz bait or spinnerbait through the area to catch a bass that is attracted by the faster bait but will not hit it.

There are also scattered stumps near the bank here so watch for them and cast to them. You also need to keep your boat out in 10 feet of water or more when running this bank because of the stumps in closer to the bank.

7. N 30 45.550 W 84 47.903 – Back across the lake at red channel marker 7.3 a ridge runs out from the bank and hydrilla grows on it. Fish both sides of this grass bed. It runs down to channel marker 6.9 and there are several sand bars in the area.

This is a spawning area for bass and most of these grass beds are good in November because they are near spawning areas. At Seminole bass are often moving near spawning beds to hold until the water warms, which can happen in January here. When looking for similar places to fish keep in mind that you should look for fish near spawning areas.

8. N 30 44.134 W 84 51.837 – Down near the dam where the bank turns south, a huge area of grass runs all the way from the swimming area at Chattahoochee Municipal Park down to the Coast Guard station at the dam. There is an old road bed running parallel to the bank and some real shallow places on it are marked by danger poles. Grass grows all along the ridge the roadbed is on and also behind it.

You could easily fish this area all day. Work both the inside and outside areas of grass. This is a big spawning area full of sandbars so fish will be positioning themselves here in November. Concentrate on areas where you catch a fish and look for keys. Is the bottom a little deeper, are there cuts in the grass or is it a solid mat? All those keys can point to concentrations of bass in similar areas.

Seminole is a great place for a November trip. It will be much warmer and the bass more cooperative than in more northern lakes if we have a cold month. And just fishing legendary Seminole is a thrill. Check out these patterns and spots and you will be able to find many more like them.

Salmon, Steelhead and Trout Smoking Tips

Salmon/Steelhead/Trout Smoking Tips from Yakima Baits
By Yakima Baits Pro Buzz Ramsey
from The Fishing Wire

Smoking fish tips

For over 20 years, I spent a month or more at a time chasing winter steelhead on the Oregon Coast, taking outdoor writers, fishing tackle buyers and industry VIP’s fishing. Since I worked for a fishing tackle company that made smokers designed for fish and game, I went out of my way to have fresh smoked fish available during our fishing adventures. The method that enabled me to fish friends and business associates each and every day and share fresh smoked fish too was the following:

I’d fillet my catch at the end of the day and place the best cuts for smoking (the bellies and collars) in my favorite liquid brine and refrigerate until the end of the next fishing day.

It’s then that I would remove the fillets from the brine, rinse well, let them air dry for an hour or two before sprinkling them with spices and placing in my smoker and letting the heating element burn two pans full of wood smoke during the evening hours (before bed).

Given that most of the smoking process, after the smoke from a couple pans of wood is applied, is just drying the fish to the right consistency, I’d just let the smoker run all night, while I slept, and unplug it shortly after the alarm rang the next early AM. It was then that I’d let the fillets cool before placing them in a paper bag with several layers of paper towels in the bottom.

Having fresh smoked fish in the drift boat while chasing fish each day was a big hit with everyone and especially those whose job it was to keep retail stores supplied with smokehouse products.

The home made brine that I mixed then and continue to use includes (remember to stir well):

1/4 cup non-iodized salt (iodized salt is bitter)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup apple juice
1 cup sugar (brown sugar works too)
1 to 1-1/2 quart water (depending on amount of fish)
Immerse fish fillets in the above solution, refrigerate overnight (longer is OK), rinse thoroughly in fresh water, pat dry with paper towels, place on smokehouse racks (skin side down helps prevents sticking), sprinkle with ground garlic, onion and black pepper (or other favorite spices), and add a final sprinkling of sugar and let air dry of an hour or more before placing in you smokehouse.

Smoke until done, depending on quantity and desired texture– 6 to 12 hours usually works depending on outside temperature and the heat generated by your smoker.

Have You Ever Been To A Turkey Shoot?

Have you ever been to a turkey shoot? I remember attending them with my dad when I was a kid. We would drive to a field where paper targets with a big “X” on them were hung on a wire and a shooting line established away from the targets. Hay bales often offered backstops and places to sit near the firing line.

Each shooter put a dollar in a hat and got to fire one shell at his target. The one with a shot hitting closest to the center of the “X” won a turkey. There were often side bets between the men on who would win each round.

I will never forget one shoot. On one shot, the wad managed to hit the target, leaving a big hole near the “X” was vislible from the shooting line. There were quite a few bets that would win, but when the targets were checked, one tiny hole was right on the “X” and won.

Turkey shoots are still held, usually as a fun raiser. Check around for one and see if you can win a turkey!