Two Crocodiles were sitting at the side of the swamp near the lake. The smaller one turned to the bigger one and said, "I can't understand how you can be so much bigger than me. We're the same age; we were the same size as kids. I just don't get it."
"Well," said the big Croc, "what have you been eating?" "Politicians, same as you," replied the small Croc. "Hmm. Well, where do you catch them?" "Down the other side of the swamp near the parking lot by the Capitol." "Same here. Hmm. How do you catch them?" "Well, I crawl up under one of their Lexus cars and wait for one to unlock the car door. Then I jump out, grab them by the leg, shake the shit out of them and eat 'em!"
"Ah!" says the big Crocodile, "I think I see your problem. You're not getting any real nourishment. See, by the time you finish shaking the shit out of a Politician, there's nothing left but an asshole and a briefcase!
Have you ever noticed how bass seem to hit lures or bait different ways at different times? And that they act differently after taking the bait/lure? It's something that tends to slip my mind after catching bass the same way for awhile until, all of a sudden, they stop reacting the same way.
Then it dawns on me again ... it's either a change in season (their season, that is), a change in the weather, a change in the water. These are the usual things that will affect how the bass feed. But not how the bass strike. The way a bass strikes is determined upon why it strikes. Most people think that a bass strikes because it is hungry. That's one reason ... and usually the most aggressive reason. That is why it is best to fish at the times designated by the moon phases, since that is what triggers all of nature to feed.
But what about the other times. Why would bass strike if they are not hungry, or it is not their natural time to feed? There are numerous other reasons that cause bass to strike a lure or a bait. One is territorial. The bass is an extremely territorial fish, and it will strike at anything that enters its domain. Not necessarily to eat it, just to either kill it or deter it from sticking around.
Another is preparation. During the mating season, the bass, both male and female, will gorge themselves to stock up for the mating ritual, during which neither one feeds. First, the male prepares the bed. Then the female moves in and lays her eggs.
Thereafter, is replenishment. Once she is done laying her eggs she leaves and goes back to feeding. The male fertilizes the eggs and then stays to protect them from predators. During this protection phase, the male doesn't eat ... he just either kills the predators or spits them back out away from the nest. He goes so long without eating that once the fry hatch, he will begin foraging on the young.
During the Fall as the waters cool down, bass tend to go on feeding frenzies, striking anything that moves in the water. They will gorge until they regurgitate, and then feed some more. This is a particularly exciting time to fish, especially if you come upon an entire school of bass in a feeding frenzy. It can look as if the entire area of water has come to a rolling boil.
Yet another reason is predatorial instinct. If something comes by that is within the "strike zone," a bass just can't help him or her self from striking at it, whether hungry or not.
And another is competition. If one bass strikes at a lure, another one (sometimes larger), tries to take it away. Who knows ... maybe it's sibling rivalry! That is why you may sometimes catch two bass at the same time if your lure has more than one hook on it, such as a treble hook.
As you can see, there are numerous reasons, not all mentioned here, why a bass will strike. And each of those reasons will cause the bass to follow through differently after the strike. For instance, if a bass is just protecting the nest then they will most likely just pick up the intrusion, move it a ways off, and then spit it out. Many times, the bass will be holding the lure/bait in such a manner that even if you set the hook at the optimal moment, you still won't catch it because the hook is not in its mouth. A bass only turns a lure head first into its throat if it intends to swallow it. Otherwise, they will just hold it sideways or endwise in its mouth until killing or disposing of it.
This is one reason why people flock to Florida in the late Winter and early Spring. That is the time when the Florida Black Bass is spawning on both the full moon and the new moon. So just before and after are great times to find them feeding like crazy, which makes it easier to find those trophy-size females. Plus, it's a great excuse to get out of the cold of up North.
Look down the right side of my blog and you will see some of those trophies that have been caught this season ... and all returned back so they can complete their spawning ritual. Because remember ... big fish breed big fish.
I came across some neat quotes regarding kids and fishing, and I wanted to share them with you.
"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him/her the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." - Rachel Carson
"If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it.” David Sobel, Beyond Ecophobia
Angler Survey is conducting surveys about freshwater and saltwater buying and fishing habits. This is a good opportunity for fishermen and women to make an impact, so go to www.anglersurvey.com/signup and make yourself heard.
Results of this survey will be used by fishery agencies and sportsman's groups to protect and enhance fishing opportunities. Also, participation in this survey will help the industry develop new products and improve services. Your name, email address, or individual responses will NEVER be released to anyone for any purpose.
Each month you complete the survey, you will be entered in the monthly drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting good retailer of your choice and your name will be automatically entered into the drawing. Only one entry per month is permitted.
So make this website one of your favorites and visit monthly.
This has been one sweetheart of a month! Although I had the biggest scare of my guiding career a couple of days ago.
First, the bad part - I had a long-time customer (9 years) and her Dad out fishing for their first of three days scheduled. There was nothing unusual or different about the day, and there had not been any fronts recently to have affected the fish. It should have just been another average February day of fishing. Not so. I don't like to brag (well, I do but it just sounded good) but it is extremely rare for me to go fishing and not catch some fish ... or at least have several bites, even if we don't get them into the boat. But this day was going to be one for the record books! Now first you must know that this customer comes almost every year; she always books 3 days; she usually has just one off day; she always catches fish ... usually big ones. We got on the water around 7am and fished all day. When I say all day I mean until it was dark:30! We did not boat a fish ... in fact, we only had one bite ... ONE BITE!!!!! I was devastated, but she seemed to just take it in stride with teasing me all day. "Dick, where's the fish???" she would say.
I thought I would never get to sleep that night, and then I woke up at 1:30am and couldn't get back to sleep. I finally came to the conclusion that this was God's way of keeping me humble. So that morning I had them meet me earlier - at 6am and we went to a different location where I had caught fish a couple of weeks ago. It was a bit of a drive, hopefully it would be worth it.
Well, it was. I no longer got two shiners in the water and started to hook up another one when we heard a splash that sounded like someone had thrown the port-a-potty overboard! That was the beginning of a "chamber of commerce" day. She and her Dad missed quite a few fish, but they boated a lot of them, too. No fish that day was less than 4 pounds, I kid you not. I had redeemed myself!!!
The next, and last, day we went to the same location and it was an instant replay of the day before. Big fish ... BIG FISH! Again, nothing smaller than around 4 pounds. Like the old saying goes ... a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll shut up and let the pictures below speak for themselves.
Other than that one day, fishing this February has been like these pictures all month. Now that this "Sweetheart" month is over hopefully my wife's Irish eyes will be smiling on me for the month of March because about half of all the days are booked already.
I hope the rest of you have had as good a month as I have, minus the one humbling day. Although, almost every fisherman and woman that I know needs to be humbled once in a while, if for no other reason than to keep the fish tales within reason. I know mine are now ... and I try to always back them up with pictures!
This past season was yet another good one, although not as many people hiring guides to fish. The economy has taken a bite into the luxury of hiring a guide. Although I was able to take several of my yearly repeat customers on good producing trips this year.
As in last year, the swimbaits are still making a big splash: Bitter's Baits' Naked Swimmer, Reaction Innovation's Skinny Dipper, and Gambler's Big Easy. The frogs and toads have been running a close second. The multi-bait rigs have been going big this year, such as the Alabama rig, Mo-Rig and Mo-Bling. The only thing more fun than catching a bass, is catching more than one at a time! In the last month or so the bass have started schooling up, chasing bait fish up out of the cooler water and hitting them on top, making for some great top water action, when you can find them.
Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Life (& Fishing), I Could Have Learned From Noah's Ark...
One: Don't miss the boat. Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat. Three: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark. Four: Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big. Five: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done. Six: Build your future on high ground. Seven: For safety sake, travel in pairs. Eight: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs. Nine: When you're stressed, float a while. Ten: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals. Eleven: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.
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