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Jim Porter fishing articles


DRY LURES CATCH FEW FISH


by Jim Porter


(Author's note!! -- A very significant 'truism' of fishing is that the lure must be kept in the water in order to be successful.)

The majority of us have precious little fishing time, being confined to available weekends and an occasional holiday on the water. Surely, one would think, we would strive to make the most of those too-short hours. But, the chances are good that we, unknowindly, waste a good percentage of them. I am guildy and chances are that, after reading this piece, you will realize that possibly you are, too.

We kept a log book during ten weekend fishing trips and recorded what we call 'fishing time' and 'fooling around'. The results were rather startling and, in fact, downright humbling. Take a good look at TABLE 1 of this article. It is a detailed breakout of the trip during which a good deal of fishing time was lost. While having fiddled away nearly half the potentially productive day may seem a bit extreme, it might surprise you to know (as it certainly did me!) that the average time lost to miscellaneous functions on the other nine trips was slightly over one-third of the total. Two-and-a-half precious hours of each eight went down the drain. Of course, some of the so-called wasted time is unavoidable and comes with the territory. But, once we recognize the situation, we can do something about minimizing it.

WEATHER: Clear, 65 degrees, SW winds at 8-10.
WATER CONDITIONS: Slightly dingy, two feet low, 62 degrees
CATCH: Seven bass to four pounds; 12 crappie.
TIME: 8 AM - 4 PM (8 hours)

SUMMATION OF EVENTS:
Fishing time - 4 hours 8 min.
Other - 3 hours 52 min

reposition items in boat before leafing dock 10 minutes
combustion engine operation 2 hrs. 35 minutes
lure change (9 @ 3 min. avg.) 27 minutes
repair depth finder mount 15 minutes
clean corroded battey terminals 10 minutes
miscellaneous functions 15 minutes
------------
TOTAL TIME 3 hours 52 minutes
TABLE 1

PLAN YOUR DAY - From the data in the table, it is obvious that my partner and I covered a lot of water that day. It is very 'difficult' to fish a spinner bait while moving under power, so the lures were dry for a good while. What we had failed to do was generate a 'game plan' in advance of our trip. Reducing this mistake down to the basics, we should have done a bit of research as to where the fish had recently been the most active and limited ourselves to that general sextion of the lake. As strange as it seems, we always seen to think that the best fishing is as far from the launch site as we can go. If the fishing is so much better on the North end of the lake, why launch on the South? Beats me. But, I do it, too.

One point a professional guide relayed during an interview was that he did not mind fishing 'used water' behind another boat, because most anglers tend to fish too fast and bypass the majority of the bass. His point is well taken and we would be advised to thouroughly cover the water we are fishing before moving on to greener pastures. Most waters that have deep areas close by and possess a reasonable amount of structure will hold bass. It simply becomes a matter of us taking the time to locate them properly.

PLAN YOUR EQUIPMENT - There was a time when the angler with five or six rods draped about his boat was laughed at. However, we now know that he was simply ahead of the rest of us. Today's knowledgeable fisherman has llearned that there are certain appropriate lure groupings, and that color is not a major factor in their selection. According, he may rig up a specific selection of rods with a specific selection of lures and not be bothered with changing the configurations during an entire fishing day. While one may assume that simply changing a lure is not a time-consuming act, it becomes a significant process when coupled with rummaging through the tackle box and dry storage lockers and the repositioning the boat. Each change may, in fact, result in a delay of some minutes. When added up over the course of the day, the invested time can be significant.

Equipment readiness can be expanded a bit farther to include the layout and stowage of gear in the boat. If everything has a place and is kept there, it goes a long way towards not forgetting something on the next outing.

SELECT THE PROPER LURES(s) - If we can accept that lure color is not all that important in the decision selection process, we are able to limit our decision-making requirements to the ultimate criteria: DEPTH. It has been said many times before, but it is a cardinal rule of fishing-we must get the lure to the bass if we are to be successful. It does little good to fish a shallow crank plug if our intended structure target is a submerged creek channel edge in 12 feet of water. Accordingly, the first and foremost criteria in selecting the proper lure for a given fishing location is the DEPTH at which we want it to operate.

Proper lure selection is, therefore, the systematic 'tailoring' of our baits to the types of structure or cover we intend to fish. In doing this, we should take into account the basic categories of lures, as derived from the depth they run:
  1. SHALLOW - This grouping operates in a range of 2 - 5 feet. Any shallower and they would have to be classified as surface lures. The vast majority of the time, we would apply shallow lures in and around cover objects that we can see, such as stumps, grass, boathouses, etc. As a rule, bass in shallow water are active, feeding fish and do not require much tempting to invoke a strike. Accordingly, a slow retrieve is usually best and you will find that lures appropriate for this depth range are generally designed to be worked slowly.
  2. MEDIUM - The definition of this depth zone is 6 - 12 feet and it is where the majoruty of our bass are taken. In this area, cover is not a prerequisite for holding bass and a simple drop-off or clean, hard spot on the bottom may be all that is necessary. Here, a bit faster retrieve is in order, in that the fish may not be on an active feed and may require some stimulation to invoke a strike. In this depth range, the lure should ALWAYS be in a position very near the bottom, or right at the top of the cover feature.
  3. DEEP - In bass fishing, anything below 15 feet is considered deep. Fish at, or below, this depth are usually schooled and holding tight to some structure feature and are probably dormant. The two extreme ends of the lure spectrum must be applied in order to determine what will cause them to feed. If they are dormant, a fast moving crank plug is about our only hope in stimulating the instinct to strike. If the school is on the move or preparing to feed, a bottom-bumping plastic worm or jig may be the ticket.
EQUIPMENT READINESS - Probably the most frustrating thin for the bass angler is to have problems with his or her equipment. While normal failures are to be expected, most problems with fishing gear are the fault of the angler. There are two primary rules which, if followed religiously, will preclude most of these irritants:
  • Adhere to a program of regular equipment checks and services
  • Gas the boat and service/correct all malfunctions and faults immediately upon returning from the water; be ready to go for the next time.
My personal philosophy in applying these rules is to give all my equipment, including the vehicle and boat trailer, an inspection before each trip. Although I am not on the water an average of four times a week, this has kept me out of trouble for as long as I can recall. Another thing is that I never even clean my catch until I have fixed any equipment problem that came up during the fishing day. It works for me and it will for you, too.

TABLE 2 accompanying this article is a preventive maintenance checklist, with suggested time intervals. I have this list in a waterproof acetate cover and keep it clipped to the trailer hitch when the boat is not in use. It serves as a constant reminder that I do not want to be up the creek with a dead battery, or on some dark, lonely road with a burned wheel bearing.

Electrical problems, so often experienced by anglers, can usually be traced to one of two factors: battery terminal corrosion or fuses. Battery terminals can corrode in two ways. One, the yellowish-green or white powder, is easy to detect and remedy before it interrupts the electrical flow. The other, a black film (lead oxide) on the terminals and leads, is not so noticeable unless we know to look for it. Not nly does corrosion stop the flow of power from the battery to the boat accessories, it can block the flow from a low amperage charger into the battery. This is why we often charge overnight, but find the battery still down in the morning. Isolating a bad fuse is simple, if the fuse has blown. However, we often overlook corrosion or rust on the fuse holder connections. This is a recognized problem by saltwater anglers, but freshwater folks tend to overlook it.

Trailer faults usually come in boxes marked 'tail-lights' and 'whell bearings'. Unless the lights are fully waterproof, they will corrode and rust, breaking the circuit. A touch of fine grit sand paper on the contacts of the fixture and the bulbs will fix this one. Bearings are the most overlooked of all the compnents of the trailer. Highway speeds and the resultant heat causes the grease in them to liquefy and leak from any small opening. Backing the trailer into the water will also allow water to enter and mix with grease if any leaks are present. Cold water Hitting hot bearings relly stresses the materials. Regular lubrication and annual grease seal replacements are mandatory actions.

So remember, prior planning helps us get more out of the fishing day and keeps the lures in the water longer. DRY lures catch darn few fish!

'KEEP ME OUTTA TROUBLE' LIST
 
SUBJECT
BOAT
  Hull
   STEERING
   TIE POINTS
   BILGE PUMP
   AERATOR
   GUAGES
   KILL SWITCH
   WIRING
   FUSES
   LIGHTS
   LIFE JACKETS
TRAILER
   LUG NUTS
   WHEEL  BEARINGS
   GREASE SEALS
   LIGHTS
   WIRING
   HITCH
   SAFETY CHAINS
   WINCH
   WINCH ROPE
   BOAT STRAP/TIES
   RUST
MOTOR
   LOWER UNIT OIL
   FUEL/OIL LEAKS
   FUEL LINES
   PROP NUT
   WIRING
   LINKAGES
   SPARK PLUGS
   WATER PUMP
   OIL INJECTION
TROLLING MOTOR
   RUST
   WIRING
   FUSES
   REMOTE CONTROL
BATTERIES
   TIE DOWNS
   FLUID LEVELS
   WIRING
   CORROSION
LEGEND:
C = CHECK
S = SERVICE (lub/change/fill/clean)
!! = SAFETY (NO EXCUSES)
T = PER TRIP
M = MONTHLY
SA = SEMI-ANNUALLY
A = ANNUALLY
WHEN
M
T
T
T
T
T
T
M
SA
T
T
M
M
M
M
T
M
T
T
T
T
T
M
A
T
T
M
M
T
SA
A
T
M
M
SA
T
T
M
M
M
WHAT
C
C!!
C!!
C!!
C
C
C!!
C
C/S
C!!
C!!
C
C
C
C
C!!
C!!
C!!
C!!
C!!
C!!
C!!
C/S
C/S
C!!
C!!
C
C
C!!
C/S
S
C/S
C/S
C
C/S
C
C!!
C/S
C
C/S
TABLE 2


TACKLE AND LURES FINDING FISH
PLACES TO FISH STORIES



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Pete and Tina Heinz / 9 South Mulberry St. / Fellsmere, FL 32948 / 772-571-9855




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