September 23, 2004

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I realize Im 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, Im no Bassmaster champion, but lets 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 doesnt take a rocket scientist to catch bass. These fish arent stupid. They know cold weather isnt 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 cant 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 cant honestly say that other types of bait wont catch as many fish, but they sure wont 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 walking the dog. 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. Youll get an equal number of strikes while the bait is moving and while it is sitting, but Im 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, thats when I switch to bait number two. Ive 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 dont believe the lure truly imitates any real food. I guess the noise simply irritates the fish into striking. Maybe the bass thinks hes getting a meal or maybe hes just tired of that clatter the spinning blade makes as it crosses the ponds surface. The motive really doesnt matter as long as the fish keep taking the bait. And do they take it 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.
Id offer a little more advice but its getting late and I need to get to the pond. This great fishing wont last forever, so we need to take advantage of it every chance we get.

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