I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Off the Pier: Two Topwater Runts

Let's face it. I haven't posted anything in a while, review or report. I've been busy. I haven't been able to fish as often as I would've liked, so a few mornings ago, I had a chance to wet a line. I fished until about 10am. I mainly stuck to using a topwater frog, but I did swim a jig for a while. Weeds limited my presentation options off the pier, sadly.

The lure I used was a Big Bite Baits 3.5" Floatin' Toad in black/yellow. The floating part of this bait was what made all the difference. Both bass I caught that morning hit on the long pause where the frog just sat there on the surface.

The first hit along a weed line after a good pause. I didn't weigh it.

The second didn't hit until an hour or so later. Same deal. Hit on the pause. Didn't weigh that one either.

Then I hung up at the base of a cypress tree, so after I took the small boat out to retrieve my lure, I called it quits.

Hopefully better fish come back here, but with the summer heat setting in, I'm not sure what to expect. The hydrilla is only beginning to form and the duckweed hasn't filled in like in years past.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

• Why I Won't Attend the Classic Weigh-in

In 2009, the Bassmaster Classic came to Shreveport and anglers had their turn at the mighty Red River. Records were broken. Fun was had by all.

Well, not all of us had the best time.

I attended one takeoff at the Red River Marina, daily visits to the expo at the Shreveport Convention Center, and every day of the weigh in at the Century Tel. Most of these events were enjoyable, but all that went into trying to attend the weigh in left me angry and disappointed in both the organization of the event and the behavior of fellow fans. In light of these bad experiences, I probably won't be attending any of the weigh ins. As a bass fishing blogger, this might hinder what I can offer my readers, but my readers deserve to know why I am not going to be posting much about the weigh in.

Parking at the Century Tel was spacious and plentiful and because there was enough room for everyone to park, attendance records were broken. At the start of the weigh in, someone actually announced that fire codes would not allow any more spectators to cram into the seating inside the giant hall. However, if you attended the weigh in or watched the video coverage after the fact, you might remember a black helicopter flying over spectators waiting outside the Century Tel. While the coverage made things seem exciting, those of us on the ground were less than enthusiastic. In fact, we grew incredibly frustrated at having to wait longer than the scheduled time people would be allowed to enter. We were really nothing more than cattle waiting in our herd while Century Tel security wandered around with confused looks on their faces. The Dock Dogs entertainment which preceded the weigh in distracted most of us for a while, but once that all wrapped up, we were left to talk amongst ourselves. It was most definitely not fun and the added frustration almost resulted in a stampede of fans trying to squeeze their way beyond the barricade bottleneck. People did push and shove. People were not terribly patient.

Once inside, observing the actual weigh in on stage was easy for the most part. However, several spectators kept walking up to the rails from the outside hallways, standing in the way. As someone who was positioned to take photos for all of you, having someone stand in the line of sight between myself and the stage made capturing important dramatic moments next to impossible. While Century Tel security made an effort to nudge people away from the rails in the walkways between seating sections, those efforts were often inadequate.

After one of the weigh ins, I walked out to my vehicle to find a dent in my rear bumper. Someone had obviously backed into me and skipped leaving any kind of a note or apology. Once in my vehicle, getting out of the parking lot was something of a nightmare. Anyone who has ever attended a fireworks show or sporting event might be familiar with how everyone tries to get out of a parking lot all at once. Police presence was almost nonexistent, unlike many events I have attended elsewhere. Directing traffic is an essential part of dealing with crowds like this and that kind of support was lacking. The frustration also resulted in my overhearing racist remarks being directed at one of the hired bus drivers who chauffeured special guests, angler's family members, and those who were shuttled from the expo to the weigh in.

I also sat next to a pro angler on the bus and for whatever reason, he was rather calloused and cold when I tried briefly talking with him. He was having conversations with other people on the bus. It was a very strange interaction to have with someone I immediately admired sitting right next to me. I still can't explain his behavior to this day.

People did not really conduct themselves in an orderly and respectful fashion and because of that experience, I am less inclined to attend the actual weigh in. I will most definitely attend the expo and I might opt to take the bus to the weigh in instead of driving myself, however I think I can live without seeing each angler come on stage to present the catch to all of us.

Maybe Shreveport organizers and BASS have learned from the mistakes of the past, but I'm not at all optimistic about those kinds of changes. If you are attending the big show, make sure you take the Golden Rule with you because it was an awfully tense situation to endure. We were all there to have a good time, but obviously, several spectators had other plans.

If you come to Shreveport, enjoy the show. I might see you wandering around on the expo floor. If you have a table at the expo, I'm going to be walking around, checking out your gear, making mental notes and taking photos of things which interest me. Consider me a source of free publicity. Last time around, I wrote good things about specific exhibitors like Vicious Fishing, for example. That kind of endorsement is a priceless tool in the world of fishing. Let's all have a good time this year.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

• Cross Lake Report 1/31/2012 - Three Hogs

I intended on doing some fishing this past week end, but something came up and I had to disappear into monotony for the day. Saturday was traded for Tuesday, so today, I made up for all the fishing I haven't been able to do this year. It was an itch that needed to be scratched.

I hit the water around noon, armed with four reels. I ended up only using two of them, catching fish with only one rig. My ideal plan was to fish a minnow bait, the Rapala F11, but also to keep my Patriarch XT handy so I could get some use out of that new reel. My E7 became the jerkbait setup and the XT sported a finesse jig. Both baits tend to work this time of year, on into late spring.

The weather down here has been dry and over the past month or two, we've had significant amounts of rain help fill up our area lakes. We're far from normal levels, but at least things are better than they were a few weeks ago. That said, the most recent rain coupled with fluctuating temperatures left me curious about what the water would be like. Once I was near where I planned to fish, I checked the temps and water clarity. The stain was fairly moderate, as expected and the water temperatures measured 54 degrees. I had a feeling the lake was in that low to mid 50 degree state. The skies were overcast and we had a light wind coming out of the southwest.

When I fish the Rapala F11, I approach color selection two ways. First, it depends on what I'm fishing for. Crappie and white bass tend to like it when I switch between a silver minnow and a gold minnow. However, when I'm fishing for largemouth bass and the water has some stain, I go for the gold and leave the silver for cleaner water days. Either way, it's one of my confidence baits.

Knowing that bass might be heading up in preparation for the spawn, I hit up my usual haunts, spots where I've caught hefty bass before and also locations where specific structures like laydowns and clusters of cypress trees should hold fish.

I fished a run down boathouse for a little while, in addition to the cypress trees around it. No luck there. I went over to a laydown I've known about ever since I started fishing this lake and positioned my small boat near the log, but not too close, dropping anchor so I'd keep my distance. After the boat settled in its anchored spot, I thought for sure I had scared off any fish lurking around the log. I cast to the front side a few times first. Nothing. Then I worked the back edge, just like all the magazines and tv shows tell us. That's when she hit. She hammered it and proceeded to take me for a little ride, pulling me around with no intention of being caught. I netted her, snapped a photo, weighed her, and then let her go. This fat egg-filled bass weighed in at 5lbs 13oz.

Minutes later, I found myself near a cluster of cypress trees I've written about before. Some of my regular readers might remember when I lost a big fish that leaped out of the water upside down and backwards. Ever since, I've been aware of the little nook tucked away between a stand of trees. First cast, whammo! She nailed it, just like the first one. This bass, however, started putting my Curado's drag to work. I felt things slipping a little, so I actually played the fish a bit, tightening down to keep things under control. I scooped this one up in the net, too. This egg-filled gal weighed in at 6lbs 3oz. My personal best is above 7, but my best for Cross Lake was an even 6lb. This fish just slid into that spot, edging out the other, literally by only a few ounces.

I spent the next couple of hours hanging up in tree limbs, getting my line tangled up in myself and in tree limbs, and cursing at each little mishap. The wind picked up, so I had to contend with waves in addition to my accident prone self. Once it died down a bit more, I was able to comfortably fish, but my rhythm was completely off. I I fished lots of trees, but nothing was there to bite, so I went back towards the spots I had fished earlier, thinking maybe the shallower depths in the back of the pocket were the key to success.

I ended up fishing a few trees and one fallen cypress, but floated into one of my oldest favorite spots on Cross Lake, a flat that treated me well back in 2006 and 2007. Within a few casts, I hooked into my third fish. If the first two hammered my bait, then this fish just clobbered me. It was a hit and run. I rolled it upside down at one point and noticed I had foul hooked it with one set of trebles and only stuck the outside of its lip with another set. I wasted no time in getting the net in my hand and when I scooped this fish up, my F11 was already loose and stuck in the net about eight inches from the mouth of the fish. All I can say is, that was luck. Sheer luck. Weighed this one in at an even 4lbs. It had a bit of a gut, too, so I'm guessing all three fish today were female.

Those are my first three fish of 2012. I'm off to a great start, eh?