September 23, 2004

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I realize Iím a far cry from Jimmy Houston or Roland Martin, but readers of the local newspaper may still appreciate a tested fishing tip or two. Sure, Iím no Bassmaster champion, but letís just say if I had been participating in a fishing tourney Sunday evening it would have taken a boatload of fish to beat me.
Granted, fall is near, and it doesnít take a rocket scientist to catch bass. These fish arenít stupid. They know cold weather isnít far away. So now is the time to fatten up for winter.
Logic would tell us that fish that are actively feeding are easier to catch. Still it canít hurt to be putting the right type of bait out in front of them. Food is food, but we all have our favorites.
Right now for bass, topwater lures are my choice for best results. I canít honestly say that other types of bait wonít catch as many fish, but they sure wonít do it in style like a smashing strike on the surface.
This type of fishing also plays right into my schedule, as it works best later in the evening. I stopped at the pond at around 6:00 p.m. and fished until dark.
I started the excursion using a trusty old Zarra Spook made by Heddon. The pattern that seemed to do best was the green, bullfrog color scheme. I also had some strikes on a yellow sunfish decoration. For those of you unfamiliar with this bait, the plug stays on top of the water. When retrieved with short jerks, it creates a zig-zag action called ďwalking the dog.Ē This motion mimmicks that of an injured baitfish. I like to make several quick runs with the motion before letting the lure sit motionless for a few seconds and then start the process all over until the lure is home. Youíll get an equal number of strikes while the bait is moving and while it is sitting, but Iím a believer that the motionless stop will trigger the strike from a semi-reluctant fish that may just follow a non-stop retrieve.
As darkness brings to a close the normal fishing outing, thatís when I switch to bait number two. Iíve had plenty of success with a buzz bait prior to sunset, but nothing beats this noisemaker when lighting is limited for the feeding fish.
I donít believe the lure truly imitates any real food. I guess the noise simply irritates the fish into striking. Maybe the bass thinks heís getting a meal or maybe heís just tired of that clatter the spinning blade makes as it crosses the pondís surface. The motive really doesnít matter as long as the fish keep taking the bait. And do they take it Ė nothing is quite as powerful as one of these fish attempting to snuff out the noisemaker. What amazes me even more than the power of the strike is the fact that the same fish will make two, three or even four attempts to silence the buzz.
One trick the continued attacks have taught me, is to use a trailer hook. These add-ons are available at most tackle dealers. They simply are a single hook with a small rubber insert that helps install the second hook. It slides on to the existing hook, with the insert keeping the eye of the trailer hook from slipping back off the first hook.. This trick definitely increases the number of strikes that result in fish.
Iíd offer a little more advice but itís getting late and I need to get to the pond. This great fishing wonít last forever, so we need to take advantage of it every chance we get.

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