Every living creature other than humans, move, from one spot to another for five reasons. Food, shelter, environment, escape and mating. Fish and worms are also subject to these five reasons to propel themselves into motion. Be it one millimeter or a few thousand miles as is case of whales and migratory birds.
The way they appear while in motion usually reflects the reason they are probably moving. A fast agitated movement usually means, escaping from becoming someone’s dinner or, making some poor unfortunate bloke dinner. A worm trying to escape from the jaws of a large fish will move very fast and bind itself over and over again to try and confuse the predator. That lands the word ‘predator’ in the menu for today.
All baits us fishermen use, PROPERLY USED, are designed to act like helpless victims of the predator, which in this case, is the fish we are trying to hook. All predators are looking for an easy meal, specially the weak and the wounded……………………….. yes… baits work best trying to act wounded and almost dying. A wounded victim is less likely to hurt the killer and is also easy food. Watch the Discovery Channel… lions and tigers also kill the weakest….same rules apply to our underwater friends.
Fishing does not mean throwing a bait in the water and just hauling it back in hoping for a bite on every cast. While this may work a few times, done right it will work many times over. For a long time a record Bass caught in Arizona was caught by a 8 year old girl using a pink Barbie rod. She, in turn had to call her grand dad to help her who in turn managed to fall in the water in the process of hauling the monster in. While this does happen, occurrences are few and far between. We need to catch fish, to keep fishing… period!! We don’t catch fish we hang our rods out of frustration…remember the golfer?
I am not asking you to become ‘fish brained’, but, one must understand two aspects. First, think like the predator, second like the bait, for that predator. What does that mean? Well, imagine this. You are fishing in a lake on a hot summer afternoon at 2:00pm. The water temperature is also warm and the sun is scorching. Where will Mr. Predator be and what will he be doing?
Well Mr. Predator will most likely be enjoying a siesta under a deck, log or cave, along with a couple of his girlfriends and basically suspended with his brains half switched off. You the big angler, can cast your spinner, crank, worm, or whatever else you have in your tackle box. All over the lake, wear your twelve pound line down to eight, loose four lures, rip a couple of muscles and swear your brains all the way to Australia. But, Mr. Predator will not bite! Why??
Most likely Mr. Predator has had his full in the morning. And you are just not presenting his meal the way he wants it, with his brains half switched off and besides, why chase a stupid worm when he has better company and a full belly!!!
To fish you need to make the fish bite. It is easier when there is a full bloodied frenzy feeding party going on, rock band and all. But, when the party is over, bellies are usually full. That brings us to the question, how do I make something under water eat a plastic bait? Here’s how.
I always make it a point to study the lake, wind, currents and the immediate vegetation on the shore. In a large lake you never fish in the middle. The shore is where the sun helps vegetation grow, this in turn helps the creatures which are on Mr. Big Fish’s menu grow, and thus the usual party area for Mr. Fish to eat, party, and spawn. So if you are that sorry bugger who does not have a boat, and wishes he had one to fish in the middle…. Hold your horses….the fish are around the shore and that’s where you need to be. Boat helps in moving from shore to shore quickly and easily. I fish from a boat, but always at the shore.
Next is the vegetation, although, you do not want your hooks to find each and every little piece of wood, shrub and bush underwater. It is also where the fish are. That is why we have what is known as a weed less hook. It works most of the time and even catches fish, sometimes, hemp, old rags, and almost always old fishing line. So look for where there is some vegetation. That usually helps. Another favorite is rock walls, dam walls, under bridges, all shrubs and logs are good too. If you see a bush sticking out of the water, Just, drop a worm in and wriggle it a bit, many a times you will be surprised what you will catch. If there is a natural cliff which juts out from the water, throw your worm at the cliff and let it drop straight down the wall. Count to three or four seconds and start working your worm back. Walls and cliff have that green algae growth which attracts small insects which the fish love.
Fish bite because of three reasons. They are actually feeding (early morning and late evening), an easy prey too attractive to give up is within range and, believe it or not agitated. That’s where accuracy of your casting comes to play. I cast at 45 to 60 degrees to the shore, and then cast six times at the same spot. The only thing I vary with each cast is the depth at which I let my bait drop before I do anything with it. I start out at two seconds after landing, next one is three, following one is four seconds and so on to a maximum of five, provided the lake is deep enough. When on a boat always cast parallel to the shore.
Now let’s go back to the big fella with his belly full and his harem around him. He is too full and lazy to even scratch his ass. We want him to take our bait and join our party on the shore or boat. First, here’s another one, fish are territorial. Yes sir you did read that right. Fish are amongst the most territorial creatures around. Now we have a bait which is popping in somewhere around his comfort zone, making that splashing sound, then it is whizzing right by him, usually making some other sound, and, on top of it all, that little ‘thing’ looks wounded and lost. He lets it go. A few seconds to a minute and ploppppp…… once again that little jerk has come in close, sound and all, and he sure is a jerk to be doing that injured as he is. Hey man you are a jerk.. go away, I am sleepy and my wife is also complaining now.
Ploppppppp… holy smokes, that was loud, my wife ran away, two more fish (read competitors) have now arrived on the scene to investigate. My sleep has been disturbed, dam you…you look good to be eaten anyway……. Gulppppp…….the bait is taken just like that!!! Usually a hard bite and that fish will usually not get off the hook. Goodbye wife!! Actually Mr. Fish goes more like…Gluppp… ohh shit!!
So what I am trying to do here is, tell you guys how important it is to know your bait, and use it like it was designed to be used. That is what catches most fish. A worm thrown in the water and hauled back in on a fast reel will do nothing except some underwater submarine practice. A worm thrown in, wriggled a little, thrown around the bushes will do more. The same way your lure, like a spoon, jig, crank or popper will no work if not made to look like a creature in distress…or at the very least.. looking for mama.
I know you are wondering why I have not addressed the temperature factor…… yes Mr. Thermometer, we will now talk temperatures. But, a quick line on water color vs. bait color. Always follow this rule as long as it holds true and you will find out for yourself how long it will hold true. Clear water sunny day use light colored bait, muddy water or clouded day use dark lures. Night fishing use dark baits with some shiny material on it.
While not always the rule but usually what holds true. Water temperature at:
12 degrees centigrade and below:. The fish are in deep water, usually 20 feet or below (if the lake is deep), use slow fishing method and use worms, deep water cranks. Slim chances, except cold water fishes. It is too cold anyway, stay home and have a Cuba libre!
13 degrees thru 16 degrees: Fish slow, use slow baits and mostly worms and maybe an odd crank will do also.
17 thru 25 degrees: The fish are active, use anything you have in your tackle. It will usually haul something in. This is the best temperature world wide.
26 thru 30 degrees: Fish are somewhat active, use fast moving baits, spinners, cranks, jigs, poppers early morning and late evening
31 degrees and up: Go home! Have a beer. Fish are deep below and will not feed until night or early morning. Just don’t manage to get a hang over as you have to be on the lake at 5:00am.
Once again, I thought I would start writing about worms, but, I think I first needed to talk about the bait itself and how to use it.
Until next time,