|What kind of fish
shall we fish for? There are many species
of fish, so it depends where you are fishing, either in salt or fresh
water. The basics
are essentially the same no matter where you are. The "science" of the sport gets
deep but it doesn't have to. The idea is that you get outside and spend
some time away from noise, traffic and worries of everyday
life. Take a kid, friend or spouse and get to know each other.
That way you'll have fun whether the fish are
biting or not. On this
page I choose to "talk" about bluegill but there are links on
crappie at the bottom of the page. The reason I like fishing for
bluegill is because it's
the easiest fish to catch. In the process of fishing for them you
will probably catch crappie, small mouth bass, or anything else. Bluegill are easiest to catch
during the warm part of the year. Fish have to eat in cold weather,
but they don't eat as much and they tend to go into deeper water where
they are harder to
find. During warm weather you'll find them in fresh water
between six inches and six feet. Often they form large groups when
they "bed". If you see round sandy spots of
something that looks like moon craters then you might have found
on the bed. Bedding is referring to the time when the fish
raise there eggs in the sand. The bigger fish will be in the
center of the patches. You can't lose when you find
|Let's think like a
fish! Have you ever noticed that when you are on the bank,
the best place to fish is out in the middle? Then when you are
in a boat the best place to fish is at the edge. When we set
out to match wits with a fish we are not starting out on a good
foot. Let's look at it from the other side for a moment as if
we are being humaned for by a fish and see what would work.
You are sitting on your sofa watching TV when something the size of
a hickory stump slams into the roof of your house. SLAM!
Now there is a big hole in the ceiling with a big rope hanging
through with a big weight and hook on it. On the hook is a big
ugly plastic Big Mac. What is the first thing that you do?
It might be your living room but you are not going back for a
while. Now let's say you are walking across a parking lot and you
see a twenty dollar bill. After you pick it up you see another
and then another. It will not be long before you are running
around excited and help is starting to come from everywhere.
Soon the National Guard is called in to control the crowd.
Then with little notice one of us is hooked and quickly pulled away.
Then another and yet another. Soon we will catch on and run
away. Now the fish has a stringer full of humans and is ready
to go home. I hope that they don't ever get that smart and I
hope we get just a little bit smarter than we are. The point
is that if you will think like a fish then you stand a better chance
of catching one. If you can get your bait to the fish without
the fish knowing it you will catch fish.
Bluegill and Crappie
I had a 30 gallon fish tank in the house one time with bluegill in
it. I learned a great deal about them just by watching
them. First I had five fish about 4" long each in
there. They were young and full of energy. They were willing
to take chances much like the young people in our society. When an
object (such as a rock) was dropped into the water the closest fish
would swim up, suck it up into his mouth and blow it back out.
They would do this sometimes two times tasting it to see if it was good
or bad. Before the rock hit the bottom it would have gone through
every fishes mouth the same way. Eventually they would learn
and do nothing when a rock was dropped. After they were used to rocks I would
drop little pieces of hamburger into the water. It looked different
so they would swim up, suck it in and blow it out but quickly suck it
back in and keep it. Then I dropped live crickets on top of the
water. A fish would swim up, suck it up and
after one time spitting it back out it stayed in its mouth. From there on,
when they sucked in a cricket, it stayed in and that was it. A half grown Bluegill could eat
12 full grown crickets. They will keep eating until they
burst. I never went that far but they were willing. Later I caught
two full grown bluegill and replaced the little ones with them. This
was a different experience. They were older, smarter and not at
all willing to take chances. They did not put any more effort in
eating than they had to. When they did they made it count.
Much like we are, the older we get the lazier we get. The two
large fish did all of the same test that the small ones did except that
they learned quickly. I could not afford to see how many crickets
they could eat. During that time I fished a lot and always had
minnows left over after the trip. Of course they went into the
tank. Once it became work for the big fish to eat
he would back up in a corner and wait. As a minnow would drift
into danger it would fall victim to the big fish. A large bluegill
only has to get within about 1-1/2 inches, and with one quick flex of
their gills the food was vacuumed in to the fishes mouth. When
that happens to a floating cricket, a bit of air was sucked down with the
cricket making a cracking sound much like a 22 caliber rifle in the
distance. If you hear that sound around a pond then there are
large Bluegill feeding. The bigger the sound the bigger the fish.
Fishing Basics Blu
fish. If you were outside and someone was after you, would you
go and stand in the middle of a field? I wouldn't. I would
get behind a tree or bush or in a hole. Fish are no different.
Their entire life they have to hide from the bigger fish. The
bigger fish have to hid to sneak up on the smaller fish. The water
changes temperature during different times of the year and they might go
to different depths but they will be next to something for safety.
|The five gallon
bucket verses the 20ft bass boat with the 225 horse power motor,
which on can you afford? So do you have a bucket? The bucket
has been around longer than the bass boat and I'm sure that it will be
around far longer. You can carry everything in it and then sit on
it when you get there. Then you can bring home your fish in
it. It is a good place to start even if later you decide to spend the big
|What kind of
pole do I need? Start off with what you have. If you
don't have anything let me suggest the Zebco 33 and about a 5-1/2 foot
pole. The real sells for about $20, and the pole for about $10. You can buy them as a combo for about $25.
The set will give you a lot of trouble free fishing and is capable of
holding what ever you catch. Cane poles are good but it is
hard to carry a fifteen foot pole around, however they make telescopic
ones that compact to less than 3 feet.
|Cane pole benefits.
First of all there is no real to stop working. No spool of
line to make a birds nest with. If you can place the bait into the
perfect spot in between the limbs of a fallen tree straight down from
the tip of your pole, you can lift the bait straight back up with out
getting hung up on the limb. The rod and real will have to drag
across it and get hung up. Many times I use a long pole with a
real so that I have the best of both worlds. I grab the line in
front of me and pull it to the side which shortens the line as if I am
reeling it in. Then I can cast it back out with a little
swing and letting go of the line. This gives me a longer cast than
the cane pole. In this way the real is just there for line
|Rod and real benefits.
With the rod and real you can fish farther away and use lures that
have to moved through the water like a minnow swimming. I like to
wind my fish up as they are fighting.
Setting up the
hook and stuff. There are many ways to do this. First
buy an assortment of lead split shots and carry a pair of needle nose pliers.
Don't use your teeth to crimp the shot. The pliers will also be
used to reach down into the fish's mouth to retrieve a hook. You
will have to experiment with the weight that works for the application. Use
#8 Aberdeen hook with a long shank so that you can get a better grasp on
the hook when in the fish's mouth. Short hooks get swallowed too
deep. Slick plastic lines are slippery so use a clinch knot to
attach the hook. Use crickets or red worms. You can dig
earth worms or place a few pieces of plywood on the
ground to attract black crickets. When you look under the
plywood you'll have to be fast to catch them. Take the time to
make sure you don't grab a black widow spider! I buy
everything at the store. Tie the hook on and add a split shot and
try letting it lay on the bottom. That way there is no bobber or
line or anything the scare the fish. Then there is the style of
fishing where you use a float. It could be called a float, bobber,
cork, etc. It will allow you to adjust the depth of your hook
wherever you want. Remember the smaller the better. Wind
is your enemy in this case. If the float is too light, the wind will blow it
back to you, too big and you will scare the fish off. Click
here to see more on the float setup.
- Pass the line through the eye of the hook, or swivel.
- Double back. make five turns around the line.
- Pass the end of the line through the first loop, above the
eye, and then through the large loop. Draw the knot into
- Slide the coils down tight against the eye.
|Crappie The difference
with crappie is that you will use minnows and you will not fish on
the bottom. They will be suspended in brush such as a fallen
tree. Also you will use a #2 wire hook with the minnow
hooked so that it can stay alive and swim around for as long as
possible. A float sets the depth.
Where can I find information so I can get
started? Try the links at the bottom
of the page and see what you can learn. If you're allergic
to the outdoors then try my section on "How to play
the five string banjo". If that doesn't appeal to you
then try "Learning to draw with
CAD." There is always something to do here, just