Monthly Archives: May 2014

Are Clams Good Bait for Spring Stripers?

Big Apple Stripers and the Manhattan Cup

New York City. Just the name conjures up images of the Empire State Building, Lincoln Center, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty– and great fishing for striped bass. Well, maybe the fishing reference is a little strange to some. The Big Apple might be the city that never sleeps, but it is also surrounded by water that comprises one of the major spawning and nursery areas for the equally iconic Atlantic striped bass. The Hudson River, East River, Harlem River, Western Long Island Sound, Raritan Bay, Jamaica Bay and the New York Bight make up a lot of water, and no one knows it better than Capt. Frank Crescitelli of Finchaser Charters, based out of Mansion Marina on Staten Island. We caught up with Crescitelli for a little early-season striped bass fishing in Raritan Bay aboard his Yamaha-powered 32-foot Regulator® in late April.



Menhaden are a favorite baitfish for New York stripers throughout warm weather, but this year exceptionally cold water has slowed the baitfish bite and made clams a better offering.

“It’s been a long, cold winter,” Crescitelli commented, “and the bay waters are still a bit cold so we’re going to be ready to do whatever it takes to catch a few bass. I’ve got fresh clams, and there are pods of menhaden right here in Great Kills Harbor. We’ll stop and catch some live bait before we go looking for stripers.”

In a more typical year, stripers would have already been in residence in big numbers because they come to this area to stage for a 75-mile run up the Hudson River to spawn in fresh water. Unfortunately, this has been anything but a typical year. The winter was very cold with lots of snow, and March and April have been much cooler and wetter than usual. Once the water temperature rises into the mid-50s, the bite will be on with good striper fishing straight through the end of June.

In the meantime, Crescitelli demonstrated some techniques that work well in the spring, and promised to share a little about the Fisherman’s Conservation Association, an organization he helped found and now helps run. He also told us about his pride and joy, the Manhattan Cup, a prestigious charity striper tournament now entering its sixteenth year.

We left Great Kills Harbor and headed west back toward the headwaters of Raritan Bay. “When the water is cold, shallow areas with dark mud bottom warm up quicker,” Crescitelli advised. “That’s if the sun decides to make an appearance. When you get a little outgoing tide after a sunny day and the water temperature jumps a degree or two, the fish turn on.”

He worked flats adjacent to channel edges where the tide creates rips, and also fished around some rock structure using the live menhaden as bait. He marked a few fish and had a couple of run offs on the big baitfish, but it became apparent the cold water had the fish playing with the bait, but not eating it.

“There’s a fine line between bass slurping down a live menhaden or just picking it up, running a little, maybe scaling it, and then dropping it,” Crescitelli said. “The deciding factor is usually water temperature. If it’s just a couple degrees too cold, you may want to take a shot with clams.”

Striper caught on a clam  bait

Striper caught on a clam bait

This striper grabbed a clam bait fished on bottom in the Raritan Reach area.

He moved to a different flat near the edge of Raritan Reach Channel and settled back on the anchor. Crescitelli recommended light outfits rigged with fish-finder rigs, sinkers and smaller circle hooks. We baited them with whole, fresh-shucked surf clams. He also started chumming, tossing cut up clams into the water to get a good scent trail going to lead the bass in to the baits. He said serious clam fishermen will put a bunch of broken up clams, shell and all, in a large chum pot and suspend it under the boat.

“Clam fishing isn’t my favorite,” he said. “I’d rather fish with live baits, plugs or fly rods, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to catch fish and when the water is cold, bass eat clams when pretty much all else fails.”

While we waited for the bass to make an appearance, Frank told us about the FCA (Fishermen’s Conservation Association), an organization he helped to start. It’s a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the “Conservation Triad” access, habitat, and smart fisheries management. Financial support provided by FCA directly benefits the marine waters of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, with a special emphasis on introducing inner city kids to fishing through a program called “Hooked for a Lifetime.” FCA is also working to attain gamefish status for striped bass in New York State waters.

22 pound Spring Striper

22 pound Spring Striper

This spring bass went about 22 pounds-and soon went back over the side to head for the spawning areas upriver.

“The FCA was started by a small group of former CCA members who wanted an organization that could take on local projects without having to deal with the national bureaucracy,” Crescitelli said. “The kind of stuff we could point at and say, ‘we did that.’ Besides purely conservation and fisheries-based initiatives, we take great pride in our ‘Hooked for a Lifetime’ program. Last year we took 200 kids out for a day of fishing. Each one was given a rod, reel and tackle box, plus a basic fishing instruction manual at the end of the day. We took them to local fishing piers that they can return to on their own, and hopefully instilled in them the wonder we have for the sport and the environment. Last year there were two groups, one comprised of low-income inner city kids. The other group was all kids with autism who have a harder time getting involved in sports that require a lot of interaction with other people. Fishing is something they can learn and enjoy in small groups or individually, and it seems to be quite beneficial for many of them.”

“FISH ON!” Crescitelli shouted as one of the rods bent over under the pull of a nice striper. His friend Tom was on it in a flash working the fish expertly as it took off a good bit of line on the first run. A few minutes later, Crescitelli was netting a fat 22-pound bass. He removed the circle hook from the corner of its mouth, held it up for a few quick pictures, held it in the water to revive, and away it swam. No doubt it would be heading up the Hudson in a few short weeks to spawn.

Misinformation About Guns

The all out assault on guns, gun owners and the 2nd Amendment continues at an unbelievable pace. One of the main reasons it is almost impossible to have a rational discussion on guns and what needs to be done to actually make a difference in violence is this concentration on guns as the problem, and the misinformation and outright lies pushed constantly.

Assault weapon is a term you hear all the time. What is an assault weapon? I guess anything used to assault anyone, from pencils to a piece of rope can be called an assault weapon. The true definition of an assault weapon is an automatic weapon that will fire steadily with one pull of the trigger, or fire in three round bursts. All those guns are already tightly regulated and almost impossible for citizens to purchase or own.

The liberal media and gun ban groups seem to classify any semiautomatic gun as an assault weapon, since they usually say “military style assault weapons.” They usually mean a gun that looks ugly and holds more than ten rounds. That can include anything from my Remington .22 to the now famous Bushmaster AR 15. To ban “assault weapons” can mean ban any gun you don’t like.

High capacity clips are one of the biggest evils if you listen to the media. But many guns hold more than ten rounds. And even if bigger clips are banned, you can change clips in seconds, with little difference in the number of bullets you can shoot quickly between a smaller clip and a bigger one.
The National Rifle Association is demonized daily. The NRA is a gun rights organization that supports hunting and shooting. They also have many training segments, with over 1100 certified police officer trainers. The NRA offers safety training programs for schools and other groups, and insists on safe and legal use of guns.

The NRA has 4.3 million members. Yet the media claim they are a shill group for gun manufacturers and sellers because those businesses support them. Any group that supports an activity will be supported by businesses that sell to those kind of activities. The bass tournament trails are supported by fishing equipment manufacturers but they are certainly not shills for them, any more than the NRA is a shill for gun businesses.

More than 100,000 people have joined the NRA in the past six weeks. The biggest gun ban organization, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, has 28,000 members. That alone should tell you who citizens support, regardless of the claims by the media and gun ban organizations.

Cop killer bullets and hollow point bullets are another evil that gun ban organizations claim only the military need. But the military uses full metal jacketed bullets. Hollow point bullets and soft tip bullets are used for hunting. In fact, bullets that expand are required for big game hunting. So banning them bans hunting bullets. And cop killer bullets are usually defined as any bullet that will penetrate a bullet proof vest, which means any high power rifle bullet suitable for deer and other big game hunting.

Big bullets is a term many gun banners use to define the .223 round used in the Bushmaster and many other rifles. But the .223 is almost the smallest center fire bullet available, and just barely legal for deer hunting. My old 30-30 fires a round almost half again as big around as the .223, and is more powerful since it has more powder. All higher caliber big game rifles fire a much bigger and more powerful bullet.

You will hear about the number of kids killed by guns each year, but the huge majority of those are 18 to 21 year olds, not young kids, and many of them are gang bangers that shoot each other with illegal guns. Any kid killed is a tragedy but no gun ban or bullet ban will affect the number.

The misinformation goes on and on and only leads people like me to work harder to stop misguided laws that only affect law-abiding citizens like me.

Does Plano Make A Solution for Tangled Spinnerbaits?

New Solution for Tangled Spinnerbaits
from The Fishing Wire

Plano, IL – If you read today’s fishing magazines, you’d think the spinnerbait was dead. Yet, while everybody’s throwing swim jigs in lieu of the old standby, blades are looking pretty new again to conditioned fish. Just ask KVD. He still carries dozens for running and gunning, burning over and through cover and commanding big aggression strikes.

And if bass anglers across the country were honest, they’d tell you the same thing: spinnerbaits rock.

The Plano 3505 Hydro-Flo is a great solution for storing spinnerbaits without tangling, keeping them rust free and easy to locate by size and color.
But storing them and other baits sporting treble hooks – crankbaits, chatterbaits and the like? Not so much.

Truth be known, the ubiquitous A-rig was actually inspired by a neglected chandelier of spinnerbaits found in the bottom of a flea market tackle box.

Sure, binders are an option but they’re a pain to access in the heat of the moment and also have a tendency to fatigue wire frames. And while most hard boxes designed for spinnerbait storage succeed at simple consolidation, they can’t vent moisture, resulting in rust and skirt damage.

Addressing these issues and more-Plano introduces the 3505 Hydro-Flo™ Hanging Bait StowAway, a storage solution that’s 100% easy access and common sense. For starters, you won’t find any fancy gadgetry for orienting heads, hooks and blade arms; instead, baits are easily placed and retrieved from generously spaced grooves that prevent baits from tangling. Plus, wire blade arms are kept in proper shape so that bait’s guaranteed to fish like it’s supposed to. And you’ll have plenty to choose from-the 3505 features three adjustable bait racks that will hold a maximum 72 baits at full occupancy! Group baits together by color, blade type, size or weight for easy visual assessments.

Spinnerbaits have long been a favorite tool among pro anglers for extracting big bass from difficult cover.
Originally concepted to manage spinnerbaits, the Hydro-Flo Hanging Bait StowAway effectively houses and keeps untangled casting and trolling spoons, chatterbaits, crankbaits, buzzbaits, in-line spinners and bucktails.

And now, for the first time ever in hanging bait organization history, Hydro-Flo™ ports allow wet baits to dry naturally, virtually eliminating rust and extending the life of synthetic skirt materials. That means no discovering at the worst possible moment-like when a school of bass bust bait off the bow-that your favorite bait is a lifeless heap of mangled, stuck-together rubber.

At roughly 10 inches wide by 8 inches deep and 6 inches high, the 3505’s footprint will store in larger boxes and bags, as well as nestling into various boat compartments. Plus, when it’s time to boogie with your collection of bug-out bag baits, a swivel carry handle makes transport easy. All that and construction that promises set-it-and-forget-it, like secure Plano’s renown Pro-Latch closure that promises your baits are tucked in and tidy … no chandeliers at the bottom of the box.

What Is Some Fishing Terminology?

Every sport seems to have its own terms and often someone not familiar will be lost when listening to two or more fanatics about the sport talking. Fishing is like that. A lot of the terms may have more than one meaning and not be related to real life.

When you hear someone say they lost the big one or the big one got away, they are talking about losing a big fish. In bass fishing it is common to hear something like “It woulda weighed at least eight pounds but it got off before I saw it.

What that means is they hooked a fish, no matter how briefly, and it pulled. If they say they saw it or it got off at the boat and still say it weighed eight pounds it probably was a bigger bass, and might have weighed three pounds. The big one always gets away!

If a fisherman says he hooked a big bass but it wrapped him up and broke him off it means a his lure hit a stump, he set the hook and thought the stump was pulling back, then realized he was hung. But he is sure it was a big bass.

Bragging about the speed of a bass boat is common. GPS devices have cut out some of that. In the past boat speedometers were notoriously inaccurate. I have passed boats and was told I was flying – the guy I passed says he was running 75 mph. But my GPS showed 55 when I went by him.

If someone tells you they brought home 100 crappie, they may have. But they were breaking the law if they did, and cleaning 20 crappie often seems like you cleaned 100.

Pictures never lie but they can be very misleading. If someone shows you a picture of a bass and says it weighed five pounds, look at their arm. If it is extended away from the body it makes the fish look much bigger. Perspective is an amazing thing. And check out their thumb in the mouth of the fish. If the thumb fills up the mouth of the fish either they are the Jolly Green Giant or the fish didn’t come close to the five pound mark.

I often hear the comment “remember that tournament when I got the ten pounder but three other people beat me for big fish,” or “I remember weighing in five bass weighing 22 pounds at Oconee back in 75.

Problem is, I have all the club tournament records going back to the early 1970s. Lake Oconee was not built in 1975. But in 1985 he had his best catch ever, ten bass weighing 12 pounds. And all those ten pounders turn into five pounders when I look back at the results. Written records are a such a downer.

One time my partner broke his rod setting the hook. He went on and on about a factory defect. But I had just seen him crack the rod against the side of the boat when working a topwater bait, and it broke exactly where his rod hit the boat.

In one tournament I was told the fisherman ran 70 miles up Little River to fish a hotspot. Problem is, Little River is only 30 miles from the dam to the upper end. Maybe he got lost and went in circles!

Bass get on “patterns” and if you can figure out what they are feeding on, the depth they are holding and the type cover they are on that day you can usually catch more doing the same thing. But I am always amazed when someone tells me, after catching one 11 inch bass, that they are all 10 feet deep on stumps feeding on morning glory colored worms.

Look at this rod I got at a yard sale for only $100 – what a deal. I had to bargain for it for 15 minutes. Its a $300 rod! OK, that company does make a $300 rod, but that series sells new for $80. Yep, a real steal.

Fishermen are always looking for an excuse. If one person in the boat is catching bass on a color of worm and his partner doesn’t have that exact color, he wants one. And often still doesn’t catch fish.

He didn’t notice the one catching the fish was using eight pound line while he was using 20, his sinker is three times as heavy as the one catching fish, and his cast are hitting 30 feet to the right of the brush pile. And the one catching fish is jiggling his rod tip to make the worm dance in one spot while the one not getting bites is dragging his worm, the same color sure, but moving it two feet with every pull.

But the worm color is what is different!

The comment “This line is no good, it broke again” is heard all too often. And some line seems to break too easily and does deteriorate over time. But if the fisherman says he hasn’t changed his line in two years, that is the problem, not the line.
All too often I look at the “broken” line and there is a little curl on the end. Guess what? Your knot slipped and camee out. The line didn’t break, it was operator error!

Take everything a fisherman says with a grain of salt. Or maybe a 50 pound bag of salt. We do tend to get carried away with what we think we know, even if the other person knows what we are talking about!

Why Does Terry Scoggins Always Have A Big Worm Rigged and Ready?

Yamaha Pro Terry Scroggins Always Has Big Plastic Worms Ready
from The Fishing Wire

Bass May Hit These Lures When They Won’t Touch Anything Else

Catch big bass on big worms

Catch big bass on big worms

Elite pro Terry Scroggins always keeps several rods rigged with giant plastic worms, which he says produce big fish almost year around.

Terry Scroggins has a rod box on his boat filled with more than a dozen different styles of fishing rods, just like every other tournament angler, but what sets him apart is that several of his rods are always rigged with big, oversized plastic worms. The Yamaha Pro fishes 10-inch plastic worms year-round, something few of the other pros do.

“I’ve been fishing big worms like this my entire professional career, and I know there are times bass will hit a big worm when they won’t touch anything else,” notes Scroggins, whose single best day with the lure included five bass weighing 44 pounds, four ounces.

“I think the best way to fish big worms is to work them very slowly, which may be the reason bass hit them so well. It’s probably also the reason more pros don’t fish them, because it’s hard to make yourself fish slow in tournament competition.”

Scroggins does the majority of his worm fishing on offshore structure, often 20 to 25 feet deep, where he finds ridges, humps, and even rockpiles and brush. The day he caught the 44-4, he was targeting an underwater roadbed in 23 feet of water.

Scroggins likes a ribbon-tail type worm that floats, typically about 10 inches long.
“I rig my 10-inch worms Texas style to make them weedless,” explains the Yamaha Pro, “and use slip sinkers ranging from 5/16 to 1/2 ounce, depending on the water depth. There are a lot of 10-inch worms on the market, but I prefer a ribbon tail style that floats.

“When I make a cast and let the worm sink to the bottom, the tail will not only stand up, it will also sway and even swim in the current. It really looks alive, and I can easily imagine bass swimming up to look at it.”

On his initial cast, Scroggins crawls the worm up to the edge of the cover he’s fishing, and when he feels the sinker touch it, he stops reeling and just lets the worm sit there motionless for as long as 30 seconds. Then he pops his rod once to make the worm jump, then lets it sit motionless 10 more seconds before reeling in for another cast.

“On more than one occasion, I have caught more than a hundred bass a day doing this,” he explains. “During a Bassmaster® Elite tournament on Lake Wheeler in Alabama several years ago, I actually caught about a hundred bass a day on three of the four days using a 10-inch plastic worm. I started the event fishing a jig because I could fish it faster, but after the bass stopped hitting it, I changed to the big worm, and it was as if the bass had never seen a lure like that before.”

Big bass like this one have no problem eating a 10-inch worm, or even larger.
The Yamaha Pro also likes to fish big worms in current, always casting upstream above his target and slightly across the current so the water can wash the lure down naturally. What’s important here is keeping a semi-tight line to maintain better control over the lure.
In standing timber, Scroggins will start his retrieve before the worm falls completely to the bottom, slowly swimming the lure through the trees. When the worm hits a tree limb, he lets it sink several feet in hopes of generating a reflex strike before resuming his retrieve.

“Most of the time, I actually use a Carolina rig with a shorter six-inch plastic worm to find bass,” continues the Yamaha Pro, “because I can fish it so much faster and cover more water. If I get two or three strikes with it, then I’ll start using the larger worm and slow down.

“There is a lot of difference between a six-inch worm and a 10-inch worm. The larger worm naturally has a larger profile in the water, and when it is standing up on the bottom with its tail waving in the current, it certainly is much more attractive to bass, especially bigger fish.

“I’ve been fishing these 10-inch worms for more than a decade now, and I don’t hesitate to throw them in the spring, summer, and autumn. Honestly, I’ve never been to a largemouth bass lake where they didn’t catch fish.”

Why Do So Many Hate Gun Owners Like Me?

Hate is an ugly thing. I have never hated anyone so much I wanted to kill them. But many seem to hate me so much they want to kill me, simply because I am a member of the National Rifle Association and support the 2nd Amendment.

Gun ban fanatics have come unhinged in the past month or so, with many calling for the murder of NRA leaders and members. A Texas state democrat party official, John Cobarruvias, labeled the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization” and called for the killing of NRA leaders and supporters with the twit ”can we now shoot the NRA and everyone who defends them?” That includes me.

Author Joyce Carol Oats twited “Another NRA sponsored massacre.” She accused politicians supporting the NRA of “felony homicide” and asked “If sizable numbers of NRA members become gun victims themselves, maybe hope for legislation of firearms?” Sounds like she wants me shot. In response, actress Marg Helgenberger twited “One can only hope, but sadly I don’t think anything would change.” So she hopes I will be shot?

A talking head on a big “news” cable channel has become so livid and anti gun he has had a petition sent to the White House asking he be deported back to his native England. He comes to the US, calls gun owners like me idiots, and demands we change our laws to suit him, and he is not even a citizen of our country. And he hires armed bodyguards. But such stupid behavior is expected of him, he was fired from his job as a judge on one of those competition shows on TV. He was so abrasive on that show he was fired.

Examples of such hate speech go on and on. From politicians and actors, it seems many hate me. There is even one silly ad running on TV that shows a bunch of actors demanding we get rid of guns. Strange thing, as a funny response shows, most of them make millions each year on very violent movies, showing them using guns to kill people. And all of them have armed guards. They want to be protected but demand laws that remove self protection from the little people like me.

The claims about guns have ranged from the stupid to outright lies. I don’t know whether the commentators are too dumb to find out facts or are lying on purpose. For example, all semiautomatic guns are called “assault weapons.” Their definition includes the Remington .22 I was given for Christmas when I was 12 years old since it is a semiautomatic and holds more than ten rounds. I have killed many squirrels with that gun and still shoot it at targets and varmints. But they want it banned.

It is a given liberal newspapers like the New York Times and the Atlanta Constitution are going to demand guns be banned. But an editorial in the Griffin Daily News by Gene Lyons caught my eye. He claims we “need” only some guns and justifies banning all weapons that are similar to military guns. His justification? He says the 2nd Amendment calls for a well regulated militia and that is the reason citizens gun rights “shall not be infringed,” then says citizens don’t need military styled weapons since they serve no legitimate civilian uses.”

OK, so the 2nd Amendment says citizens need to have guns since we are the militia, a military group, but he says we don’t need military style guns. Strange.
In another editorial in the Griffin Daily News, Cokie and Steve Roberts call for gun bans and claim police know the need for banning guns. But they quote big city police chiefs, politicians rather than real police, in their opinion piece. They include a call for banning guns by the Chicago police Superintendent. Interesting. Chicago has the highest murder rate of any place in the US and the strongest gun laws. That proves gun laws don‘t work, but this guy calls for more. I guess that is a lot easier than facing the real problems in his city.

None of the local police I have talked with think gun control laws work and many police nationwide are members of the NRA, supporting gun rights. I guess they don‘t count, although they are the ones facing the problem, not sitting in some big office telling others how to solve our problems.

You will see claims that no one is calling for banning all guns, just the ugly ones. Yet Bob Beckel, a talking head on TV and a democrat party operative, is honest. He is calling for banning the manufacture and sale of new handguns, and the confiscation of all existing handguns.

The governor of New York has admitted he wants to ban some kinds of guns and confiscate all similar guns that were bought legally by citizens in the US. So he wants the government to confiscate my private property that I purchased legally.

I wish I had a solution. The head of the NRA called for armed guards in schools and was condemned for it, especially by democrats that supported the same idea when Bill Clinton called for hiring 1000 new police officers and putting many of them in schools.

Many hate guns and NRA members so much they are not rational. Don’t take what I say, or what they say, as truth. Check it out! Find out facts before making up your mind.

Bassmaster Elite Series Anglers Unveil Secrets For Spring Bass Success

Bassmaster Elite Series Anglers Secrets For Spring Success

Rapala® Pro-staffers Share Tips On Go-to Baits, Tactics And More
from The Fishing Wire

MINNETONKA, Minn.- Anyone serious about fishing knows each season brings unique challenges. But only the best will take advantage of new opportunities this spring as waters warm and the spawning season kicks into high gear.

As mainstays of the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament circuit, Rapala® pro-staffers Ott DeFoe, Bernie Schultz and Mike “Ike” Iaconelli know what it takes to land monster fish year-round.

Now, DeFoe, Schultz and Ike have joined forces to unveil their tips to help anglers make the most out of the spring fishing season and catch more bass than ever before.

Ott DeFoe’s Go-to Spring Bait

Ott DeFoe

Ott DeFoe

Elite Pro Ott DeFoe likes a Terminator T-1 Original Titanium spinnerbait slow-rolled in early spring.

For Ott DeFoe, 2011 Bassmaster Rookie of the Year, spring means you’ll find him fishing the shallows, throwing Terminator® T-1 Original Titanium Spinnerbaits, a bait that helped him catch his biggest five-bass tournament limit to date – 30 pounds, 15 ounces – on Texas’ Lake Falcon in 2013.

“This time of year fish are more than likely going to be moving into the shallows near some type of cover off of points, and there’s no better tool for targeting these areas than spinnerbaits,” says DeFoe. “I almost always have a T-1 tied on during the spring. The key is to make sure you fish them at the right pace.”

Coming out of the colder months, a fish’s metabolism will still be slow, which means a moderate pace is best for triggering strikes, explains DeFoe.

“If you’re working spinners, take your time and don’t burn them,” advises DeFoe. “Try slowly rolling the bait around trees and rocks, making light contact. Keep it moving steady and don’t linger in one area too long. I usually make one or two casts to a piece of cover then go on to the next one to cover more water.”

In terms of presentation, he recommends a 1/2-ounce Terminator T-1 Spinnerbait with a small silver Colorado blade to add a little extra thump to the bait. Choose a skirt in a color pattern that matches the local hatch and the hawgs won’t know what hit ’em.

Schultz’s Secret for Fishing the Grass

Bernie Schutz

Bernie Schutz

Florida pro Bernie Schultz shows he knows how to catch ’em up north, too, with this whopper smallmouth.

All the greats know that when it comes to spring fishing, location is everything. In fact, it’s often the difference between a successful day on the water and going home empty handed.

Bernie Schultz, an eight-time Bassmaster Classic participant, honed his skills fishing the grass-heavy lakes in his home state of Florida. However, he’s a firm believer that the Sunshine State isn’t the only place where anglers can find monster fish lurking in the green stuff.

“If you’re looking for the perfect spring Bass spot, it doesn’t get much better than finding a thick grass bed near a busy spawning area,” says Schultz. “You can typically find fish gathered in shallow pockets with easy access to sunlight where they’ll stage in or above the vegetation.”

Schultz recommends casting lipless crankbaits like the Rapala Rippin’ Rap® or Clackin’ Rap® into the grass and ripping them out to trigger reactive bites.

“The key with these lures is to make irregular contact with strands of grass and then rip the bait free,” Schultz explains. “When you snag a strand for just a moment, that slight pause, combined with the lures’ loud rattle are sure to grab fish’s attention.”

Practice Patience in Cold Waters

Although novice anglers may look for the hot new spring fishing tactic each year, the best strategy is to not overthink things. By the peak of the season, the urge for fish to spawn will be irresistible, meaning anglers can usually turn to a tried-and-true approach that has produced for them in the past.

However, according to Schultz, in rare cases when the water is still very cold following a harsh winter – like the most recent one – anglers need to adjust their mind-set more than their bait selection to find elusive lunkers.

“Patience is absolutely a virtue with cold-water fishing. To have success you need to work slow and take time to detail where fish are settling in. Non-reflective jerkbaits will be some of the best tools in your tacklebox,” says Schultz. “The Rapala X-Rap® or new Scattter Rap® Minnow are two of my favorite lures for frigid days on the water. No matter which technique you use, you’ve got to be thorough and deliberate. The fish are there – you just need to make them bite!”

How Ike Finds Finicky Fish

Mike “Ike” Iaconelli, 2006 Bass Angler of the Year and 2003 Bassmaster Classic Champion, also says spring is one of his favorite seasons for catching trophy Bass. But as anglers look to spend more time outdoors after a long winter, the season can also bring the year’s most crowded waters.

According to Ike, anglers can set themselves apart from the crowd by targeting fish located on cover and structure that is not visible to the naked eye. Using a depth finder, Ike locates hard-to-find cover and subtle depth changes, then ties on baits that he can use to feel along the bottom, like the quick-diving cranks from the Rapala DT® (Dives-To) Series.

“I also like to use more finesse presentations in the springtime,” Ike says. “Sometimes baits with an in-your-face action don’t do the trick. If the fish just don’t seem to be interested, it’s time for a change. That’s when I switch to a silent, tight-crankin’ lure like the Rapala Shad Rap® to offer up what looks like an easier meal for finicky fish.”

With these tips from some of the world’s most successful Pro Bass Anglers, even the most inexperienced anglers can fish like the pros this spring. For more helpful tips for on-the-water success, connect with Rapala online at

About Rapala – The Most Trusted Name in Fishing

Rapala was unofficially founded in 1936 when Lauri Rapala invented the Rapala fishing lure. Rapala has grown from humble beginnings to become a market leader in the fishing tackle industry. The brand’s functionality and high quality are known by fishermen worldwide. Rapala maintains its strict standards of craftsmanship while delivering its fishing products to anglers in more than 130 countries. For more information on Rapala, please visit

Global Warming and Poor Fishing

I have heard claims that the early hurricanes and tropical storms this year are because of global warming. That has caused a lot more rain, and all our lakes are full. Seems I remember during our drought when all our lakes were low that the drought was cause by global warming, too.

In January, 2005 Linda and I went on a cruise in Antarctica. We met the ship in what is called “The Last City On Earth,” Ushuaia, Argentina, right on the tip of South America. While touring that city we noticed a hillside covered in grass and the tour guide told us it was their ski area. Since we were there in the middle of their summer we were not surprised it was not covered with snow, although most of the surrounding mountains were snow capped.

The tour guide explained that they were not getting as much snow as normal because of global warming and did not get to ski much, even in the winter. Then a couple of days later while on the ship in the Drake Passage it was snowing on us. One of the guides on the ship said snow was unusual there in the middle of summer, but because of global warming they got a lot more snow than they used to.

So, it is dryer and wetter here because of global warming. It snows more and less in South America because of global warming. That seems to be a great catch all to blame weather problems on.

I bet the reason I didn’t catch many fish in the Lanier tournament in May was due to global warming. From now on, if the fish don’t bite I have something to blame it on, global warming. I used to say it was too hot or too cold or too windy or too calm or too cloudy or too sunny when I could not catch bass. Now I can simplify things. No matter what is going on, I can blame not catching fish on global warming.

That should work for hunting, too. Not seeing deer today? Global warming. Doves not flying? Global warming. Doesn’t matter that other guys in the hunting club are killing deer and shooting doves on their fields, that is a great excuse.

Good luck fishing this weekend. Hope global warming doesn’t get you and ruin your trip!

Cuba Tarpon Fishing Report

Fishing Report for Cuba Tarpon Fly Fishing On the Run

Catch tarpon like this fly fishing in Cuba

Catch tarpon like this fly fishing in Cuba

Fishing Report, Cuba Tarpon 5/22/14


For all the fly fisher globetrotters is a quest every year to choose the right place and the exact moment. We are always looking for tides, moon phases, fish run and operations that can meet the expectation of a highly anticipated week, that we could schedule between family holidays, birthdays and others obligations. Finally we have the clue between high-end exclusive services and tarpon fishing that can blow your head off.

During the last week of April and the first days of May 2014 we booked the very first operation week with fishermen of the impressive Avalon 2 Yacht, that fish out from Jucaro Port, 350 miles south from Habana in Cuba to Gardens of the Queen. There, you’ll find a live aboard where you could stay days, weeks or months, with all the ammenities you could imagine, from the skyline jacuzzi in the last floor to the freestyle slide of the second floor. So, having the right place to stay inside an amazing marine park like Gardens of the Queen, we only have to peak the fishing zone of the area and the season.

After been working for several years at Cuba, we heard about the new fishing area at the end of the Gardens, near fifty marine miles south from Tortuga, yes sir, that far south. The Gardens are huge and you could fish a month without repeat the same area. Just two years ago they start fishing this southernmost point, where the tarpon run appears during the first full moon of April in an amazing run of “sabalos”, if you have already fished “boca grande” in the Gardens, this is even better, so well, just imagine. Been there, I can only say that this is one of the few places left in the world where you could fish schools of tarpon from one or two to hundreds of them, in sizes from 20 pounds to over 120 pounds and it is not uncommon to see female tarpons with ten males around her daisy chain, in strings or just moving in a spawning ritual. Just 1 mile away from these channels flats, you have runs of big size tarpon rolling just like Holbox and also other places in deep waters, but that´s another story. Just to give you a “screenshot”, one day our 5 skiffs where “in line” waiting for the daily “run”, moment after a big string of more that 60 tarpon roll in front of us, right away we were all jumping or hooking on tarpons, it was really awesome and I couldn’t believe it. You could see long strings at other locations but this tarpon eat flies with madness, in the same cast you could jump two or three tarpons just keep retrieving the line and you will see.

Long story short “Two Heavens in One Place”, this new area in Gardens of the Queen is a tarpon madness and Avalon 2 yacht is beyond any expectations, just try to be there in the exact moment, we can help you to be in ” heaven”, you´ll not be disappointed. If you want to come with us on 2015 Hosted Trips, send us a email BOOKING HERE or visit us on WWW.FLYFISHINGTHERUN.COM

Fly Fishing Chile
Season 2014-2015
Like you know, our agency is based in Santiago de Chile, so we can say with total confidence, that this are our home waters. If we constructed a worldwide network of the best destinations for travel and angling round the globe, imagine what to expect from our Country. So, if your looking for your next Patagonian Retreat, please drop us line. We´ll be here waiting for you with Pisco Sour and Chilean wine, once you arrive.

Travel & Angling
Profesor Porter #8 OF. 201, Santiago Centro
Santiago, Chile

“The right place, at the exact moment”

Great Lakes Cold Water Smallmouth

Icewater Bronze – Great Lakes Smallmouth

Great Lakes bite off to chilly start

By Dan Johnson
from The Fishing Wire

STURGEON BAY, WI–Lake Michigan’s Sturgeon Bay offers bass fans some of the finest smallmouth fishing on the planet. Routinely producing behemoths topping 6 pounds, the bay’s storied waters rank high-even atop-more than a few top fisheries lists.

Ice floes still dot sections of Sturgeon Bay.

The Great Lakes are still col

The Great Lakes are still col

But even paradise has a downside. And on Sturgeon Bay, that just might be the first few days of the open-water season. Anglers prepping to compete in a pair of high-profile early season tournaments are finding slow going, as a late spring and frigid water temps have the fish in a funk.

As of Wednesday, May 7, the main bay was a chilly 38 to 40 degrees, with surface temps in the backs of coves barely pushing into the upper 40s. Overcast skies and 45-degree air temps were doing little to warm the water.

“Everything is a little behind schedule this season,” said Scott Bonnema, a veteran competitor from Zimmerman, Minnesota, who is signed up to fish the Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit’s qualifier May 10, and the Sturgeon Bay Open May 16-18.

Dodging the occasional ice floe with his Ranger, Bonnema was on the hunt for the warmest water he could find. “The fishing is really slow,” he said. “The main thing is not to get frustrated and panic, but to keep your head down and focus on finding areas that have fish now, as well as spots that will hold fish once the water warms up.”

For Bonnema, that means scouting hard-bottom shallows featuring rocks averaging a foot in diameter. The backs of coves are prime targets, but he’s also checking the outer edges of points leading into such hot zones, knowing that inbound smallies will funnel along this structure first.

Once waters warm, smallies in Sturgeon Bay and elsewhere will hit a variety of presentations.

Big Smallmouth from Cold Water

Big Smallmouth from Cold Water

A few bass have already moved shallow, but they’re sluggish and playing hard to catch. “I’ve seen a few fish in three feet of water, but they’re really lethargic,” he noted. “I’m fishing a downsized 2½-inch tube on an 1/8-ounce jighead, dragging it s-l-o-w-l-y across the bottom. Bites are mushy, so I’m using low-stretch Sufix 832 superbraid for sensitivity.”

Given the bay’s gin-clear waters, which enable anglers to see the bottom in 25 feet of water, Bonnema said a 7-pound Sufix Invisiline fluorocarbon leader is critical to keep the fish from seeing the line.

Looking ahead, Bonnema predicted that Sturgeon Bay’s smallies wouldn’t stay dormant for long. “We’re supposed to get warmer weather this week, so more fish should move in and the bite should pick up,” he said. “Before you know it, everyone will be catching them.”

As the bite picks up, he expects reaction lures like Rapala X-Rap jerkbaits and Alabama rigs to come into play. “Even then, the fish will be pressured and spooky in the clear, shallow water,” he said, noting that he uses a Humminbird 1199ci HD SI sonar-chartplotter combo unit to locate and return to prime structure. “The 1-foot contours on its LakeMaster mapping program also make it easier to dial in specific depths everywhere in the system,” he added. “It also helps me keep the boat far enough from the fish so I don’t spook them.”

Once Bonnema finds a key area, he says a great strategy is locking the boat in place with a shallow-water anchor like the Minn Kota Talon and waiting for other boats to push fish to you. “It’s almost like deer hunting,” he laughed.

When the bay’s bass fishing does catch fire, it’s not unheard of for tournament anglers to weigh in 30 pounds with five bass. But such epic catches are still a few days or more away. For now, Bonnema’s biding his time, playing the finesse card as he patiently prepares for the upcoming NABC and Sturgeon Bay Open events.