Thursday, May 31, 2012

Controlling Depth and Speed

In the last post I said that, There are two things that will make you 10-times the fisherman you are right now...first is understanding "speed and depth control" and the other is "pattern" fishing.

That post was intended as an introduction to the importance of Patterning the fish you are after.  This post is an introduction to understanding the importance of Speed and Depth Control.
Here is the deal…regardless of how good you may be at something…sometimes you have to ask for help.  You have to bury your ego…get on bended knee…and be humble.  Not exactly my personality.   Such was the case when I visited K-96 Lake (south east corner of 135 & 96 Hwy.).

Here is the scene.  The wind is gusting well over 40mph and it is blowing consistently over 30mph.  Only a fool would go fishing.  So…since everyone I know says I qualify…I went fishing.   For the record, I don’t believe that “A good day to go fishing is any day you can go”.  However, I do believe that a “Bad day fishing is better than a good day at work”.  (I may be a fool but I’m not stupid!)  That said, sometimes you are better off staying home watching T.V.     
Such was this day.  I cannot tell you how hard the wind was blowing and how difficult it was to just make a cast.  The video will give you some idea but, believe me, it was a LOT worse than the video shows.  However, to keep on schedule for my “project” I needed to get to the lake.  So, I did what any fool would do…I went fishing! 

The way the lake lays it’s easy to get out of a south wind by fishing the east side of the lake.  The problem was the water was down and you could practically walk across the lake.  Thus, there were no fish.  So off to the west side I go.  After all, what’s the big deal with some wind anyway?  Hey, I’m the great fisherman right?  I have fished in a lot worse conditions and caught fish (and I have!) so this “pro” should have no problem keeping his “streak” alive today.  Right?

More than 3-hours later not only was the “streak” in danger of ending but soon my male “ego” was about to end as well.  Here is how it happened.
As I approached the west side of the lake (nearest I-135) I met a nice couple and she had just caught a very nice catfish.   This was great as it gave me some confidence.  I had also watched a lady further down the lake who had caught what appeared to be a crappie.  As I approached her she presented to me a whole stringer of great crappie that she had caught.   I thought GREAT…if she can do it…certainly the “Kansas Fisherman” could do it too!
What made this more difficult was that after more than an hour of fishing, as I was going back to the truck and passed her again, she told me she had caught her two biggest fish after I had left her!  In the meantime, I had not had one single bite.  I was thinking of pulling my hair out (unlike my golfing buddies Jack and Dan I actually have hair to pull out!) 
Then comes the UNTHINKABLE.  She volunteers to show me…METhe Kansas Fisherman…how to catch a crappie so I could keep my “streak” alive.  Are you kidding me! Me!  The ex-pro fisherman…the TWO TIME member of the Kansas pro bass team…the guy with the instructional blog and web site…the guy that is supposed to be teaching her.  WHAT!

She proceeds to give me one of her bobbers, shows me what lure she is using, where she is casting her lure and then lets me fish beside her in her “honey hole”.  Later as she is leaving (and I’m still trying to land my first fish of the day) she gives me a handful of chartreuse crappie “Powerbaits” to attach to my hook…and then…as if to say “You can do it”…she tells me to keep her bobber.  Says she has plenty more at home.  Plenty more at home?

My mother raised one fool and that was my sister…so…I accepted her offer and continued to fish after she left…caught some great crappie too…and kept my “streak” alive.
The key was the ability to control both "depth and speed" at the same time. While I have briefly mentioned this important concept in a prior posting, we will actually see it in action in this posting and cover it in more detail in the "Lesson for Today" segment.

I learned something that day that is so true that it is actually a “Law” that cannot ever be broken.

That “LAW” says, “If a nice lady that goes by the name Kasi agrees to help you catch fish…LISTEN TO HER!  She is without a doubt the KANSAS CRAPPIE QUEEN.”

Special thanks to Kasi…you saved the day and kept the “streak” alive.  Make no mistake about it, YOU are the Kansas Crappie Queen and if anyone ever doubts that, all they have to do is watch the video.  What you did that day (a day where conditions were virtually impossible) was an amazing fishing feat. Nothing was more amazing than seeing you catch all those fish in such extreme conditions. I would be proud to fish with you anytime! (And, yes, ask for help!)

Special message to Kasi’s husband.   Forget it…don’t even think about it…you can’t out fish her!  I know you tried the other day and failed…AGAIN!   How do I know you can’t out fish her? 

Because…after all…she is clearly the KANSAS CRAPPIE QUEEN for a reason…!

Until next time…go fishing…keep some to eat…turn back the rest…check back in soon.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

It’s all in the "Pattern”

If you want to up your fishing game…PAY ATTENTION…because the following information will take you’re fishing to an entirely new level of success. 

There are two things that will make you 10-times the fisherman you are right now...first is understanding "speed and depth control" and the other is "pattern" fishing.  This posting is the first of many to follow that will begin to help you understand "pattern" fishing. 

I learned this concept while fishing professional tournaments for 7-years. In fact, it is so important that no one can compete successfully at the highest levels of professional angling without understanding and practicing this important concept and you cannot pick up a fishing magazine or watch a fishing show that doesn’t contain this concept...even if the author doesn't speicifically point it out. 
And yet…most amateurs have never heard of it…and most weekend “pros” don’t understand it.

One of the least understood concepts of being a successful fisherman is called “Pattern Fishing”.  Regardless of what type of fish you are trying to catch (bass, crappie, walleye, catfish, etc.) this “system” will help you not only catch more fish but be more consistent as well.
“THE CONCEPT”:  At any given time in any body of water a lot (not all…but a LOT!) of the species of fish you are trying to catch are all doing the same thing at the same time.  (READ THAT AGAIN!)
Here is the key.  Once you catch 1-2 fish under a specific set of circumstances you can continue to catch more fish by duplicating that same set of circumstances in other areas of the lake.  Here is an example: During practice for a tournament I discovered that bass were holding on structure where a creek channel would swing into and hit the bank (“upstream” side).   I never caught a fish along the actual channel bank or where the creek channel left the bank on the “downstream” side and swung back out into the cove.

Once I determined that fish were holding on the “upstream” side (where the creek channel first hits the bank) I could then ignore all the water along the channel bank it’s self, as well as the downstream area where it left the bank.  This allowed me to literally run my boat from one channel bank to another, fishing only where it first hit the bank and ignoring everything else in between.  The more such areas I could find on the lake…the more fish I caught…and the less time I wasted fishing non-productive spots.  
Another example: During “pre-spawn” (just before actual spawning) all fish become the easiest to catch and all fish have a preferred area (bottom content) that is best for spawning.  If you know what that is you can key in on just those types of spots containing that specific bottom content and ignore all the rest of the lake.  I can’t tell you how many times I have simply started the motor and ran all over the lake just looking for the right type of bottom content with the right water temperature with the right depth of water without actually fishing.  By finding enough spots containing the correct combination of conditions I could catch a lot of fish.

Another example: More times than not a bass will “stage” on a certain part of a “fall-down” (trees that have either fallen or grow out into and/or over the water).  They might be on the first branch closest to the bank, or on the very end of the tree or anyplace in between.  The key is that once you have caught a fish from such structure…pay attention to where that fish came from.  Once you have caught 2-3 fish you can usually establish a “pattern” and simply fish ONLY that area of the tree that the fish are staging on and ignore the rest…!

This concept applies to your favorite body of water as well.  Once you catch a fish ask yourself a few questions.  (How deep was the fish, how fast was my retrieve, what is the bottom content, what is the water temperature, why is this fish here, are there other such places like this on this body of water?)

Don’t just catch a fish and move on down the bank.  You will never get better doing that.  That fish was there for a reason and he took your lure or bait for a reason and you need to try and determine why!  If you can…and then you can duplicate those same circumstances somewhere on the lake…you WILL CATCH more fish!  Yes you will!  I promise! 

This is true regardless of what fish you are trying to catch.  If you are a bass fisherman or walleye fisherman or crappie fisherman or catfisherman you will catch 10x as many fish by learning to “pattern” what those fish are doing on that lake at that given time.  

Patterns change by season which is why you may catch fish in the spring but you have little to no success in the summer! (READ THAT AGAIN!).  The fish changed but you didn’t! Patterns can change by the hour.  The more stable the weather conditions and the deeper the fish, the more stable the “pattern” so once you determine what the “pattern” is for the fish you are catching you can continue to fish that same pattern day after day as long as there are no major external forces like a major weather change. 

On a large reservoir you can have multiply patterns at the same time because conditions can be completely different from one end of the lake to the other.  For example…on a large reservoir you can catch bass during the “pre-spawn” period on “pea gravel” (small size rocks) banks for up to 2-months!  How?  By starting in early spring in the upper part of the lake which warms much sooner than the deeper water near the dam.  Water in the creeks in the upper part of the lake may be 60 degrees while only 40 degrees near the dam.  So by “following the water temperature changes along with the correct bottom content” (starting in the upper sections of the reservoir) you can fish pre-spawning fish for up to 2 months as you gradually move closer and closer to the dam area. 
The following video is a great example of “patterning” the fish.  Not only do I find two exact types of situations and catch fish in both of them…I actually “called” it before I ever made the first cast!

Until next time…go fishing…keep some to eat…turn back the rest…and check back in soon.

Web Site:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Catching "Spots" in Kansas?

Okay, this is not my normally funny, extremely entertaining and highly insightful blog posting that you have all become accustomed to. 

Yes it is…I was just kidding.   Sometimes I feel like the “Hemmingway” of fishing blogs.

On a serious note (the Hemmingway part was serious!) today was going to be a real challenge.  Naturally I had to do everything to keep my “streak” alive.  This would be the 9th consecutive lake I have fished in this project and I have yet to be “skunked”.  I have not only caught at least one fish on every lake…I have caught multiple fish on every lake. (It’s hard to be humble when you are that lucky good.)

Note to the uneducated.  This may not seem like a big deal…I encourage you to try it.  I have fished in the rain, in sun, in extreme heat, in 40-mile an hour winds, in the spring, in the summer and after frontal systems.  I have fished from the bank, from a small boat and in the water from my belly boat.  I have caught crappie, bass, catfish, bluegill, sunfish, saugeye and even a shad…! 

But this would be different.  I was taking my good friend (had to say that “good” part because he actually reads this blog…and that my friends should tell you all you need to know about him!) golfing buddy and fishing buddy Jack Vance with me.  We were going to Chase State Fishing Lake located just 3.5 miles west of Cottonwood Falls, Kansas and that’s why this trip has so much more self-imposed pressure than normal.  (No…not because that means I will have a witness.  What’s the matter with you people?)

There are “spots” in this lake.  A “spot” is a sub-species of bass that are very rare in Kansas.  I grew up calling them “Kentucky” bass…it’s just another name for this incredible fish.  They require deeper, clearer and rock filled water to survive.  Clear rocky streams and small rivers are their normal habitat but they have successfully been transplanted to certain types of reservoirs.  They can be found in abundance in Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas as well as many other states.  But Kansas?  

From an “ecology” perspective they fill a niche between the smallmouth and the largemouth.  In the aging of a river system or lake system they survive in conditions where the smallmouth dies out and yet the largemouth isn’t able to become king. 

I am one of the few people alive that can say (with a straight face) that they have floated the entire Gasconade River in Missouri.  That’s the largest “self contained” river system in the state at approximately 245-miles long.  It flows south to north because it flows through a fault line in the earth.  It starts below a bridge in southern Missouri and eventually empties into the Missouri river about half way between Columbia, MO. and St. Louis.

Why do I tell you this?  So you would be impressed…!  Just kidding.  The early part of that river is extremely clear with a white sandy bottom and white sand bars.  It’s also very shallow and required hours and hours of portaging.  We caught nothing but smallmouth…BIG smallmouth.  The fishing was better than anything people experience up “north” like Canada or Minnesota!  It’s a great “secret” so don’t tell anyone else. 

As the river “aged” (caused by silting, drainage, etc.) we no longer caught smallmouth because they simply couldn’t survive in an “older” river system.  The water became less clear,

We then caught largemouth bass.  However, a small section of the river was a “transition” point between when smallmouth bass could no longer effectively survive but the conditions were not yet “aged” enough to support large numbers of largemouth bass.  Guess what we caught?  Spots/Kentucky bass!  They filled the “niche” between where the smallmouth died out and the largemouth took over.

In a large lake or reservoir they are born, live, breed and die in the same area.  So…once you find a school…you can fish them virtually forever.  They do not move long distances like a largemouth bass.  Virtually all of their daily feeding patterns involve “vertical” movements up and down from deep water…usually on a bluff or river channel bank.  Thus, when you find them, you can catch them day after day on that same bluff or river channel bank.  The only variable is what depth they are at on that particular day given the conditions at the time. 

I have caught hundreds and hundreds of them over the years…but Jack (?)…well, he has never caught one.  He has caught plenty of largemouth (well, “plenty” might be a stretch.) and even smallmouth during his annual fishing trip to Minnesota with his friends. (Note: A trip I might add in which he has never ever bothered to invite me along!)  So the pressure was to not only keep my “streak” alive…but to help Jack catch his first “spot”. 

Well, 2-hours later…forget the “streak”…forget Jack catching a “spot”…we just wanted to get a bite…either one of us…just so we knew there was at least one fish in the lake. 

Then it happened… 

Jack caught the first fish…and it was a “spot”.  YEAH!  I think I was happier for him than he was for himself.  Goal one accomplished. 

What about goal two? You know the one.   Me keeping the “streak” alive.   Believe me…the pressure was building!!!  I’ll let you watch the video to see what happens.  I will tell you this…the ending is really, really, really (okay you get the point) cool. 

Footnote: There is this guy that Jack and I play golf with (not because we really want to).  He so desperately wants to be my friend (That part I get!) that he text messages me constantly.  So much so that I had to increase my text message capability to 300 a month to handle it.  He was upset because we went fishing instead of playing golf with him.  So…he text messages us all day long.  At the end of the video (you know, the part that is really, really …yeah, that part.) you will hear a phone ring.  Yep…it’s ole’ what’s his name…Chuck calling. 

Listen, I try to be nice to everyone…even people that are annoying.  In his case I don’t so much feel sorry for him as I have pity for him.  He lives in a “double wide” on a golf course and has no friends.  He always wants us to give him strokes when we play golf, buy him drinks before, during and after we play (That should tell you something huh!) and be his pals.  I try to be nice but…did I mention annoying!

Besides being a world-class angler I am known in certain circles as a great Philosopher…most usually when conducting “controlled experiments” with certain types of liquids.  Seems the more of this liquid I drink the more of a “philosopher” I become.  So, I will now share with you…my adoring fans…one of Clay’s “100-Life Philosophies.”

Life Philosophy #27:  I sincerely believe that (if you stop to think about it)…

“Everyone has one dumb friend”…and…you got it…

He’s mine…! 

Don’t worry…he won’t ever read this…come to think about it, I’m not sure he can read.  I know from playing golf with him he can’t count!  Why do I bring this up?  Because, he almost ruined the incredible ending (to another blockbuster fishing video) by calling at the wrong time.  Come to think about it…that’s no different than normal…anytime he calls it’s the “wrong” time!

Pay attention (Don’t know why I said that…how could anyone not be paying attention?)   Kentucky bass are NOT the same fish as a largemouth so they don’t react the same to their environment.  Therefore, you have to fish for them differently.

My “Today’s Lesson” video (Another masterpiece of instruction I might add!) covers those differences and how you need to adjust to catch these amazing fish.   Personally, I really like catching “spots” and I think you will too.  I did make one error on the “Today’s Lesson” video. 

In my excitement I accidently called the way I was rigging the small worm a “shaky head” when it’s actually called a “wacky worm” rig.  Note that the term “shaky head” refers to a type of hook and at times a certain type of “rig”…and “wacky worm” refers to a method of rigging a worm to the “shaky head” not a specific type of worm  You can use any worm on a “shaky head” hook and rig it “wacky worm” style.  Get it?  If so can you please explain it to me so I get it?

If you want to catch a “spot”, Chase State Fishing Lake is the place to do it…just be sure to leave your cell phone on vibrate!

Until next time…go fishing…keep some to eat…turn back the rest…check back in soon.

Web Site:


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Watch the Wind

Let me say upfront that you need to be prepared to hear a lot of wind on the video.  Sorry, but I didn’t have an option, so we just have to put up with it.  However, there is a VERY valuable and IMPORTANT fishing lesson to be learned from this particular trip!

Fishing the Valley Center – McLaughlin Pond brought back memories.  It’s the only body of water I will fish doing this “project” that I have actually fished before other than the major reservoirs.  It was a couple of years ago and I was asked to give a fishing demo and class to a group of kids from church and tie it into a “Sunday School” lesson for them.   That day I gave a brief talk…made one cast…and caught a 12” bass.  First cast!  I stopped…told them it was their turn and I never made another cast that day.  (No need to risk my reputation!)
Today I made a cast to the same spot and…you guessed it…got a strike, but I didn’t land the fish.  What is interesting is that today’s lesson is a very important one and is the EXACT same fishing lesson I gave the class that day two years ago…“Watch the Wind”!
However, today wasn’t so much about fishing as it was “experiencing”.  The conditions were tough with high winds making the small 3-acre pond difficult to fish.  But the “experience” was GREAT!
You will understand when you watch the video.  It’s simply BEAUTIFUL!  It has a waterfall, walking trail (some might call it a jogging trail…not me…jogging and trail don’t go together in my vocabulary!) basketball courts and other park amenities.  It is a GREAT place to take a book, take a walk or take a child.
While there, two things happened.  First, I kept my “streak” alive by catching a fish…actually more than one…in spite of the conditions.   Second, a high school biology class showed up for some “hands-on” schooling.  While that ended the fishing it didn’t end the “experience”. 

The teacher was happy to do a short interview and it’s very educational…and even helpful from a fishing perspective.  Hope you enjoy it.
The lesson we learned today is “Watch the wind”.  It can be your friend or your enemy…it all depends if you understand how it can help you.  Video-taping was certainly an issue…always is with the wind.  But there is a very valuable lesson that you can apply every time you go fishing as it relates to effectively fishing in the wind.
Hope this lesson helps you catch more fish on your favorite body of water.

Until next time…go fishing…keep some to eat…turn back the rest…and check back in soon.


Size Matters

If I have noticed one thing that seems consistently true while fishing and documenting the various local lakes it’s that most people are using bait, lures and/or equipment that is considerably too big for what they are trying to catch. 

Let's be honest...these smaller bodies of water may contain some big fish...but the AVERAGE size is what is important when you go fishing.  I've watched people fishing with "saltwater" rigs for catfish when the average fish they will catch (assuming they will actually catch anything!) is 1-3lbs.  no wonder they seldom catch anything and no wonder they complain about the fishing being no good.  I watched one guy catch a catfish that put a huge bend in his rod only to see him reel in a fish that weighted 1 ½ lbs.  His weight looked like it weighed more than the fish...! 

That's just plain crazy.  The people I have seen catching fish are "matching the hatch" with their equipment.  That is, they are using lures, bait and equipment that are equal to the AVERAGE fish they expect to catch.  I wouldn't go saltwater fishing with a crappie ultra-light rod and reel for the same reason I wouldn't be using saltwater equipment to catch a 2lb catfish.  Matching all parts of your equipment for what you are GOING to catch...not what you MIGHT key...!

For example…of all of those people I see catfishing, 90% are using too heavy equipment.  They would catch a LOT more fish if they used a 6.6ft medium to medium heavy action rod with 10-12lb test line.  In most cases a small ¼ to ½ oz weight is plenty.  Sometimes you can use something smaller…even just a spit-shot (like Lester was using on the KDOT East Lake...posting "It's in the Details"). 

Weight size is determined by wind, current and water depth.  In Kansas wind conditions are usually the most important consideration.  You must have enough weight to cast your bait and still maintain “feel” while the bait is on the bottom.  The stronger the wind the heavier the weight needed to reduce the “bow” in your line caused by strong winds. 
I’ve watched people using weights of 1 to 2 ounces!  Except in extreme conditions these weights are too much.  (NOTE: Your weight can chance on the same day on the same lake depending on weather conditions and where you are fishing at the time.  Weights will differ if you are fishing “down wind” versus “cross wind” for example.)  If you change positions on the lake…chances are you will need to chance the size of your weight!

While fishing the KDOT West Lake I missed considerably more fish than I caught…at least at first.  I carry a small tackle box around my waist with various lures, along with a small batch of crappie lures.  Problem was that my “normal” bass lures were too big and I had left my crappie rod in the truck.  Duh!  By the time I had fished ½ way around the lake I knew I needed to make a change.  I had caught some bass on “normal” size lures but had lost many, many more.  I fished my way around the rest of the lake…went to my truck…got my crappie rod…tied on a small crappie size crankbait…and caught fish after fish as I worked my way around the lake again.
When you go fishing ask yourself two questions.  First, what am I fishing for and second what size of fish do I ACTUALLY expect to catch (not WANT to catch!) given the AVERAGE size of fish in the lake?  Match your equipment, lures or bait, and weight size accordingly.  Use the LIGHTEST weight possible that still allows you to cast the bait, keep the “bow” out of your line and feel the strike.  

The KDOT West Lake literally has hundreds (if not thousands) of small 10-13” bass.  Yes, it has bigger fish as well…but the AVERAGE fish is less than 14”.  So if you go fishing there (and I strongly recommend you do!) take an ultra-light with small crappie size lures.  NOTE: This lake is FULL of crappie as well.  While I didn’t manage to catch any several others that day were!

Until next time…go fishing…keep some to eat…turn back the rest…check back in soon.


It's in the "Details"

I was having some problems uploading my videos but…the good news…we figured out the problem.  Okay…that’s not exactly true.  Jackie figured it out.  She discovered that by reducing the resolution (quality) of the video it would load just fine and no one could tell the difference anyway.  (She said she got the idea of a lower quality video after reading my blog postings?  Glad I could be of help…I think?)   

A few years ago (okay…it was a l-o-n-g time ago) I was fishing my first ever B.A.S.S Federation bass tournament.  It was a two-day event being held on Melvern Reservoir.  In those days the tournament limit was whatever the state limit was.  At the time it was a 10-fish daily limit and a 15” length limit.  (Today most tournaments limit fisherman to 5-fish a day.) 
The first day I had 11-keepers and was required to release one to get to my 10-fish limit.  I led the Kansas B.A.S.S. Federation tournament the first day weighing in the only 10-fish limit of the day.  The reason I share this story is because the guy that I shared a boat with that day never caught a keeper fish all day!

How is that possible? How could I catch so many keeper fish and he catch none…fishing from the same boat in the same places with the same lures? 
If you have fished much at all I know this has happened to you.  Hopefully you were the one doing the catching. 

There are several things that go into being a successful fisherman.  Most important is understanding the biological needs of the fish you are trying to catch and how those needs are being met in the body of water you happen to be fishing that day.  All fish have their own unique needs and those change based on time of year, water temperature, water conditions, weather conditions and available/preferred food sources.  
Too often we place too much emphasis on the color or action of our lures, some special “twitch” we impart to the lure or bait, scent or the sound it might make.  Usually these are the least important.  After all, the best lure in the world will catch no fish if fished where there are no fish!  In a future posting we will talk in detail about the two most important things to consideration when trying to catch your favorite fish…“Speed and Depth”.
Back to why I caught so many fish and he didn’t.  The answer was simple.  Because of weather conditions the fish had literally buried themselves deep into the available cover.  So lures either presented on the “edge” of the cover or on “top” of the cover would draw no strikes.  The lure had to be presented such that it was allowed to sink deep into the middle of the cover. 
Most fish were being caught in less than 3-feet of water but literally down in the middle of the brush.  I was using a 5/8oz slip sinker with my plastic worm…normally considered way to heavy for such shallow water.  He was using a ¼ oz sinker…normally considered the “correct” weight for such shallow water.  We were fishing the same color and size of worm. 

The difference?  My sinker was heavy enough to “force” my plastic worm deep into the middle of the brush without “settling” in the top of the brush.  His smaller sinker was simply not heavy enough to get his worm through the brush to where the fish were.  Yes, I suggested he make the change (several times!) but he just wouldn’t do it.  The result?  I qualified for the Kansas B.A.S.S Federation team…and he did not!  (Hope he isn’t reading this right now!)
Recently I made a trip to the KDOT East Lake (east corner of 96 & 135 in Wichita).  The goal wasn’t to fish…it was to interview and film others fishing.  Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect, but did I luck out.  I met a group of really great people and they gave me permission to shoot some video. 

The result is funny, entertaining and educational.  The two guys fishing are brothers and one is catching channel catfish on every cast while the other is being “skunked”…using the same bait… nightcrawlers.  Sound familiar? 
Join me as we discover why one was catching fish and the other wasn’t.  There is a great lesson to be learned that will help us all catch more fish. 
What lesson?  The next time you are not catching fish…and your fishing partner (or others around you) is…pay attention to the details. 
Until next time…go fishing…keep some to eat…turn back the rest…and check back in soon.


If this blog is to be successful (Success is defined as “helpful to you”!) then it’s important to understand exactly what we are trying to accomplish…and…to that end we need to set some guidelines to help us accomplish that.

This blog exists ONLY for one purpose…to help you catch more fish in your local waters regardless what part of the state you may live in.  That’s it…nothing more.  It’s all about YOU…and improving your fishing experience.
Since this blog has only one purpose…to help you catch more fish…let’s set some “guidelines” to help make that possible.
1.      It is impossible to discuss how to catch every fish species in every type of water under every type of condition possible.  However, by understanding how to catch a bass we can easily adapt that information to any fish species.  So in my postings I will ALWAYS be talking about largemouth bass except where otherwise noted.  However, with a little modification you can then use this information to catch catfish, crappie, stripers, white bass, etc.   

2.      We will fish for (and post on) species other than bass. (Catfish, crappie, trout, etc.)

3.      While most game fish spend most of their time in deep water there are always (except in     the winter months) at least some fish in shallow water.

4.      Shallow water is defined as water less than 10-feet deep.

5.      Fish in shallow water are much easier to catch because they are usually more active and it is a LOT easier for you, the fisherman, to present a lure or bait to them.

6.      Most fisherman are not equipped to catch fish in water deeper than 10-feet so our primary goal in this blog is to focus on fishing shallow water (less than 10-feet deep).  Water you can access even from the bank! 

7.      We will attempt to always explain the “why” behind what we are doing…not just the “how”.  Understanding the “why” will help you not only grow in your fishing skills but will help you adapt to changing conditions as they occur no matter where you fish.  Understanding the “why” is more important to your success than understanding the “how”.

8.      Most postings (and videos) will focus on just one or two key points or concepts that we faced when fishing that particular day that hopefully will help you when you are faced with similar situations.  Every posting will contain at least one “key point or concept”. 

9.      All fishing will be done in such a way that anyone can do it.  We will be fishing either from the bank, a “belly boat” or a small boat.  Nothing fancy…no bass boats (been there done that!).  Only using methods and techniques that anyone can use.

10.  It’s important to have fun!

That’s it.  It’s all about catching fish using tools and techniques that are available to everyone.

I almost forgot.  We also have plans to do an occasional posting (and videos) on items of “special” interest to you including stocking programs, issues related to the invasion of the zebra mussel and perch, shocking projects, interviews with KDWP personnel, etc.

YOU COULD BE FEATURED ON A VIDEO!  From time to time I will be doing a “candid camera” post.  (If you don’t know what “candid camera” is…go ask an old person like me.)  In fact, I have already filmed one with a group of great people I met at the KDOT East Lake (east corner of 96 and interstate 135 in Wichita) last week that I will soon be posting.  It’s all live, entertaining and educational.  So if you want to be on a “candid camera” video posting look me up.
In short, it’s all about education involving all aspects of catching fish, protecting our environment and utilizing all our great natural Kansas resources.

Until next time…go fishing…keep some to eat…turn back the rest…and check back in soon.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why Another Blog?

In my college Psychology class (a 100-years ago!) the final exam only had one question on it, “Why”.   I got an “A” on that final…not because I was smart…I wasn’t…I’m not!   

I was already mad at wasting an entire semester in a class just because I had to…only to be asked such a stupid question.   So, my answer reflected my attitude at that moment


That final exam took me less than 2-minutes instead of the allotted 4-hours.  I got up…turned in my one word answer as everyone stared in disbelief…got my “A”…and never looked back.

With all the available blogs to follow, something tells me “Because” isn’t the right answer this time. 

It was January 12, 2011 and it was cold outside.  Too cold to fish, but not too cold to be thinking about it.  I hate this time of the year.   You know it’s going to get warmer but it doesn’t seem to be in any big hurry.  So…it’s back to organizing my tackle (3rd time this winter) and watching fishing shows on cable (even re-runs seemed exciting).   I’m slowly going crazy.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I get this “brilliant” (okay, maybe not so “brilliant”!) idea.  I call my golfing/fishing buddy.  I tell him, “Jack, I’m going to fish every body of water in Region 4 this year and my goal is to catch at least one fish from every one of them”.   Little did I know just how many there are.  Over 30 if you count everything that’s got water in it! 

The next day I shot off an email to the KDWP telling them of my plans and that (if they were “brilliant” like me) they would have me writing a blog about my experiences on the State web site.  I told them I was really smart, highly credible, an outstanding writer, extremely good looking and most of all a great fisherman.  I know…I probably shouldn’t have held back so much huh?

I never expected to hear back…ever.  WRONG!  Not only did I hear back but it was a 45-minute conversation with a great guy, Tom Lang, Fisheries Programs Specialist Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism…!  Over the next 4-months I had several conversations with key people at the KDWP, conferences calls and planning meetings. 

In 90-days that Blog became the most followed Blog (except for “fishing reports”) on the State web site.  Ultimately the Blog was closed and has now be converted to this…my own personal Blog  

The goals have changed some…but the overall purpose is the same.  Help you catch more fish in local waters close to your home (no matter where you live or what state you live in) so you (and your family) can have as great an outdoor experience as possible. 

Here is what you can expect from this blog…

1.      A report on every body of water I fish (even when I don’t catch anything) including both private and public waters for the purpose of helping you catch more fish.  With an occasional exception all fishing will be on public waters accessible to everyone.

2.      Fishing instruction designed to help you catch more fish.  Every posting will contain “tips” and instruction…not just a “report”…which is one big reason this blog will be different.
3.      Videos shot “live” as it happens…the good, the bad and the ugly.  My wife gave me permission to buy a camera which records in HD.  That’s why I married her…besides loving me (I think?) she wants me out of the house (a LOT!) and…she is willing to spend money to make sure that happens.  (Forget it…she is already taken…go find your own!)

4.      Access to my personal web site ( where I will be posting even more fishing information, in-depth instruction and tips for all levels of fisherman from beginner to tournament anglers. 
5.      Incredible wit and humor.  (Okay…maybe that’s a stretch!)

 Here is the thing…it’s all FREE! 

We aren’t selling anything…except the idea that we all need to take advantage of what the KDWP has done for us in the way of fishing opportunities and that you (regardless of your fishing experience!) can learn to catch more fish and have more fun than you thought possible.   

That’s it!  Oh…one more thing we are selling…that you can catch more fish this year, do it closer to home than ever before, and do it without investing a lot of money in rods, reels, tackle and boats. 
One last thing.  Why am I qualified to write this blog, do instructional articles and videos and try to help you catch more fish?

I spent 7-consecutive years fishing 35-weekends a year in professional bass fishing tournaments throughout the Midwest including Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.  I have twice represented Kansas as a member of the Kansas B.A.S.S. Federation State Team that included a top 10 finish in the world team championship against other 6-man teams representing 36-states and 3-foriegn countries.  I also qualified for the Tournament of Champions for the first ever "Florida Freshwater Fishing Championship". 

Impressed?  Me neither.  Maybe the best reason I am qualified is because I care about you… I care about what our KDWP is doing to help each and every one of us expand our fishing opportunities…and…

I care that you catch more fish than ever before.

That’s why I volunteered in the first place. 

For the record:  My time and expenses are all out of my own pocket!  I’m already out $1,400 dollars of my own money before even writing this first blog.  (Told you Jackie wanted me out of the house a LOT even if she had to pay for it!)   (Note: I am certainly open to “sponsors” and “advertisers” of all types to help them be successful and help me defray some costs.  Just thought I would throw that out!)

Okay…that’s “Why another blog” and that’s why I hope you regularly “tune in”. . 

So if you think those are good enough reasons to qualified me for a little of your valuable time, then won’t you please join with me…join BOTH this blog AND join my web site  …check it out daily/weekly…look for me out on the water…and let’s go catch some fish together.