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Fall fishing equipment changes

With the preponderance of specialized fishing gear and tackle these days, one might believe that hardcore anglers own specific tackle for every open-water season. My terminal tackle stays mostly the same after the hard-water disappears but techniques and presentations change. There are ways to match that gear to just about any species during open water. That said, I make some…

Fishing 101: How to catch big boss bluegills

’Round about late summer, I fall into big bluegill mode. Not every lake has them, so I first find information about a specific lake that will produce those big ’gills. Sometimes I’ll be fishing  walleyes and pick up a big bluegill. Most people might think “fluke,” and move on. Mark that spot! You may have discovered something no one else…

Top fishing tactics for any weather

Few topics drive more questions at my fishing seminars – open water and hard water alike – than weather. How does weather affect fishing? So many factors come into play, but I generally sum it up by saying that fish prefer stable weather. I find my best bites occur after three to four (or more) days of stable weather. Now,…

Have a fall fishing game plan before hitting the water

So often, guys at the boat landing or bait shop will tell me they’re fishing for “whatever bites.” They’ll drop a bobber with a worm and see what happens. It’s better to concentrate on one species, and have a game plan. I can’t emphasize enough the need for planning your fishing, then fishing your plan. This definitely comes into play…

Salmon are the symptom

Lake Michigan salmon fans are all abuzz with the recent announcement that beginning next spring 68 percent fewer king salmon will be stocked in Lake Michigan. Why? Because the best science says there are so many salmon in the lake they are going to eat all the alewives. (Alewives are the small baitfish king salmon depend on for food.) There…

Time to prepare for the fall kings

With the fall weather arriving, it is a sure sign that the king salmon will be making their fall runs into the harbors up and down the lakefront.  For these beasts there are a few tricks I have learned to increase your opportunities and hooking into one as well as keeping them on the line. 1. The first thing is…

DNR asks fishing tournament organizers to 'cut it short'

A month-long stretch of fish kills reported up and down that state has resulted in DNR asking fishing tournament organizers to implement "additional precautions regarding the catch and handling of fish during upcoming tournaments . . . due to continued hot weather and drought-related water conditions." Incidentally, a cool front is expected to hit a large portion of Illinois this…

The basic skill we don’t respect: boat control

Boat control is a major factor when fishing for any species of fish. It’s an important element for success on any body of water. If you can’t maneuver your machine in order to put the bait or lures exactly where the fish are at, you’re wasting your time. We often think fish will travel that distance, but they will not….

Reintroduce yourself to slip bobbers

I’m seeing renewed interest in slip-bobber fishing for walleyes, a technique that can be extremely productive along inside weedlines, rocks, and reefs – especially in wind-blown areas. A prime way to fish, for example – if you have wind coming into a rock pile, reef, or weed edge – is to drop a jig or hook with some live bait…

Surviving summer, and awaiting fall

I’m not wishing away the summer. Not really. Well, kind of. I look out the window at the lettuce in the garden… wilted, listing a little to the left, as if it can’t stand up against its own weight in the 90-degree heat. I empathize. I see the deer in the field down the road at night, venturing out only…

Once they're here, can we stop exotic species?

Eurasian watermilfoil. Hydrilla. Zebra mussels. Emerald ash borer. Asian carp. The list of exotic invasive species in the United States is long and growing. Every time a new one makes the list government organizations get blasted for their ineptness and these agencies scramble to come up with programs to quell the anxieties of the masses who are shouting for solutions….

Weird Catches, Revisited

Every few months, Offbeat Outdoors offers a heaping portion of wild angler catches, and with the dog days of summer approaching, we figured the timing was right for a fresh serving. Bon Appétit! Michigan Angler Snags Omni Michael Foor has fished Michigan’s Grand River for the better part of two decades, so when he felt the pull on his line…

It's Time For Plastics

There are all different styles of fishing, and one of my favorites is fishing with plastics.  Plastics offer an opportunity to fish cover that you might not be able to with any other baits.  They also allow you to fish much slower and work an area with much more precision.  These combined will mean more fish in the boat. Plastics…

Fishing plastics: the method

While fishing, I observe lots of angler behavior, and I can definitely say many people tend to fish plastics too fast – especially for bass – whether it’s a tube rigged wacky or Texas-rigged. We need to slow down and try new techniques for retrieving a lure. Most anglers simply work the lift-drop, lift-drop. There’s nothing wrong with casting out and…

Single or treble?

Some Great Lakes fishermen prefer lures with single hooks. Other prefer treble hooks. Which group is right? Obviously, if one kind was demonstrably better than the other, the argument would be finished. Almost all of us would be fishing with one style or the other. One could surmise treble hooks would be three times as effective in hooking and catching…

It’s always time for crankbaits

Crankbaits are one of my favorite multi-species lures, but they don’t perform unless you employ them properly. Set your crankbait at the correct depth, or in a tough bite or with less-aggressive fish, fish won’t chase it. Use your electronics to mark the location of fish, then put the crankbait in their zone. We need to match crankbaits with conditions….

"Fishing Getaway" has another successful Rend Lake visit

The United Special Sportsman Alliance recently rolled in to southern Illinois with a convoy of 12 families, 23 children and 18 anglers for its 7th annual “fishing getaway" at Rend Lake. The USSA is the largest "dream-wish-granting" fishing and hunting charity in the U.S., according to founder and C.E.O. Brigid O’Donoghue. The USSA, along with anglers from Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee…