Archive for Bass Fishing
Bass fishing catching on as high school sport
Students getting hooked as Illinois is 1st state to adopt angling as a secondary school activity By Emma Graves Fitzsimmons | Chicago Tribune reporter
September 27, 2008
Brian McDonald understands why people snicker at the mention of Vernon Hills High School’s new bass fishing team.
Even McDonald, the school’s athletic director, has trouble promoting the coming Cougar Bass Fishing Classic tournament without cracking a smile.
“I’m still trying to say it with a straight face,” he said. “To put bass fishing out there as a sport, it makes people chuckle a little.”
But students across the state are casting out lines in search of a big catch now that Illinois has become the first state in the country to adopt bass fishing as a high school sport. Teams have formed at more than 60 schools, and a state championship will be held this spring.
Coaches acknowledge bass fishing is viewed more as a low-key hobby for older men in khaki vests and floppy hats than as a competitive sport for teenagers. They too have been surprised by the enthusiasm among students. At Oak Lawn Community High School, an after-school meeting to gauge interest last spring drew 50 students.
Bass fishing attracts some students who might not otherwise be involved in athletics and teaches them about conservation, coaches say. It also provides opportunities for parents and children to spend time together, lots of time—say, 8 hours in a boat.That’s the major appeal of fishing for Sarah Warner, a Vernon Hills senior, who will join her team in its first tournament Wednesday against Libertyville High School at Independence Grove Forest Preserve near Libertyville.
“It’s a good time for us to talk and bond,” she said of fishing trips with her dad. “We go up to my uncle’s lake house in Wisconsin and bring food and music.”
The high schools are catching on to a larger trend. Bass fishing has become a multibillion-dollar industry with magazines, television shows and clubs dedicated to the sport. A collegiate championship has been around since 2006, and professional tournaments dole out prizes of up to $1 million.
The Illinois High School Association voted last year to add bass fishing to its official list of 35 sanctioned sports and activities. Officials expect at least 100 schools will join the spring tournament. Teams can sign up until Nov. 1.
“We were looking for some other activities that could get kids involved,” said Dave Gannaway, IHSA assistant executive director. “We thought we could get at a whole different group of kids with this.”
At the two-day bass fishing state championship in May, students will be on the water for at least 5 hours each day. The winner will be determined by the total weight of their five best fish.
In the winter when students can’t fish, they will study the contour, water temperature and clarity of lakes to determine the best places to fish. “This fits in with other curriculum areas: the sciences, math, ecology,” Gannaway said.
Oak Lawn Community High School athletic director Pat Keeley doesn’t fish, but he has been learning about the sport since his school started a team. He never knew there were so many fishing spots nearby, such as forest preserve lakes and the Des Plaines and Cal-Sag waterways. The club will do cleanup projects and build fish cribs in the forest preserves.
“Fishers take the conservation aspect pretty seriously,” Keeley said. “Otherwise, their sport goes away.”
The Oak Lawn school board voted last week to add a bass fishing club mostly in order to recruit more students to after-school programs. Research shows involvement can boost academic performance, school officials noted.
“The bottom line is, it’s an opportunity to reach out to students who are not involved in traditional sports,” Keeley said. “We’re interested in anything that gets kids involved.”
Craig Warner, whose daughter, Sarah, joined the Vernon Hills team, is thrilled he can now root for her at a school event.
“Everybody else gets to watch their kid at football games,” he said. “Finally this is something she can do, and of course, dad will be sitting right there.”
On Thursday, students practiced shoreline fishing during a regular physical education class at a pond on the Vernon Hills campus. Coaches incorporate fishing into class periodically to build interest and recruit students while giving team members a chance to practice.
The teenagers were catching only water plants until 17-year-old Sarah Manning squealed with delight. She pulled a small fish from the water before it quickly dropped back into the pond.
“It’s OK, I’ll get another one,” she yelled to the coach before casting her line again.
Coach Jerry Miceli drove a golf cart around the pond passing out live worms and fake maggots for bait. He said they want to reach students such as Dan O’Roark, a 16-year-old who isn’t involved in other athletic teams this fall.
“Fishing is for everyone,” O’Roark said. “It’s nice to be out by yourself—no cities, no cars. It’s just peaceful.”
Miceli tells students fishing is something women and men can do their whole lives. Meanwhile, like everyone else, he defends the decision to start a team.
“All my buddies are busting my chops,” Miceli said. “They say, ‘you’re coaching fishing?’ I still can’t believe how many kids want to get involved.”
Fox Lake Fishermen Excited Due To High Water
Now that the Fox Lake Chain has reopened for boating, many businesses are breathing heavy sighs of relief.
And yet some anglers still haven’t realized the potential for some excellent fishing on Fox Lake and the surrounding Chain O Lakes.
I learned a long time ago that high water levels on a river or lake act like a green light for the various species of game and pan fish to migrate close to shorelines.
Take the Fox River as one example. Many years ago I got serious about bank fishing the Fox for smallmouth bass right after an extended period of heavy rainfall. Read More→
It all started on June 2, 1932 by a man named George W. Perry on Montgomery Lake, in Georgia. Using a shared rod (because they only had one) it was his turn to cast the $1.35 lure and with some 25lbs test silk line he made his cast from the row boat built from .75 cents of scrap lumber.
The Largemouth Bass weighed in at 22 lbs 4 oz and it took Perry and his family 2 days to eat the giant. The rest is history.
Know for its explosive strikes and amazing aerial displays, largemouth bass are by far the most pursued freshwater game fish in the United States. They are located through out most of the continental United States, all over Mexico, and even in some parts of Canada.
Largemouth Bass Facts
Scientific Name – Micropterus salmoides Current World Record – 22.4 lbs Preferred water temp – 77 to 86 degrees Common names – Bass, Florida Bass, Black or Green Bass, Bucket mouth, Largemouth
Where to find Largemouth Bass
Originally found south of the great lakes and east of the Mississippi, they have spread throughout the United States, Hawaii, Southern Canada, and most of Mexico. They have also been introduced into Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia. Largemouths occupy most freshwater rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, pits & quarries, and even some drainage ditches in neighborhoods. If you know of some freshwater nearby, there is a good chance that there is a Largemouth Bass in it.
One of the hardest things about fishing for Largemouth is finding them. Everything from water temperature, air temperature, weather season, the wind, angle of the sun’s rays, time of day, and even the moon phase play important roles in the location of Largemouth. Then when you think you have located some fish getting them to bite can be another challenge.
Your best bet is to start very early in the day or late in the afternoon. Largemouth Bass tend to avoid direct bright sunlight and most fish are caught when the light is low or when the sky is overcast. Look for man-made or natural structure. Look for a dock, a tree, a branch, a rock, a point of land on a mostly straight bank. Anything that stands out as something different will usually hold fish. If you are fishing a cow pasture look for the place where the cows come down to drink or get in the water. A lot of times that area will hold a few fish. Docks are also a great place to find bass. Just look for anything that will give small baitfish a place to hide or that will provide some shade for the bass to rest in and you will be off to a good start.
If you are fishing from a boat out in the open water look for submerged structure with your fishfinder. Watch for stumps, ledges, submerged rock piles, quick drop off’s, or even schools of baitfish. Watch the surface for bass chasing minnows or shad, watch for birds diving into the water, this could mean that there is some bait around and the bass might be underneath the bait chasing them up to the surface. If you fishfinder has a temperature gauge look for changes in the normal water temp (a thermo cline). This can also produce some fish at certain times. Bridge pilings are usually a good place to check for a few bass also.
How to catch Largemouth Bass
Patterns – When you hear the term pattern used by bass fishermen they are not talking about the design of the lure that they are using. They are referring to the set of conditions that is putting fish in the boat. This is usually 2 things; the location of the bass and the technique used to get them to bite. The pattern will change from day to day and sometimes several times during a single day. If you have good luck on a stretch of bank that has lily pads and tree branches sticking up through them and the fish suddenly stop biting, chances are good that if you find some similar conditions else where you will find active fish again. This is a pattern.
When looking for feeding bass most anglers use some type of fast moving lure like a crankbait or a spinnerbait. Work the bait thoroughly but keep moving till you find some feeding fish. When you get a bass to hit slow down and keep as quiet as possible. Bass are pretty sensitive to noise and you don’t want to spook them before you have some fun catching a few.
If the bite stops after you get a few fish to the boat change lures according to the situation and give them something else to look at. If the bite is over, note the exact location and the structure conditions in that area. Then try to find another area with similar conditions and chances are good that the fish will be there also. It is not a foolproof way of finding bass, but it does work quite often. Also remember that the pattern will probably work the following day around the same time if the weather has not changed too much.
Some last minute tips
If you have more that one rod – rig up a few different baits on extra rods. That way you don’t have to keep retying when the action is on.
Keep a logbook of your fishing. Note the season, times, weather, location, bait used, water temp and height. Then repeat your successful pattern next year and see if you get the same good results…I bet you will.
Be courteous to other fishermen. If you see someone in a boat working a bank, don’t pull your boat in front of them and start fishing. Pull in where they have already been and start your fishing there and follow them at a polite distance. You would want the same done to you.
Please practice catch and release whenever possible and remember the large fish don’t taste any better than an average medium or small one. Take a picture and let the trophies live to catch and enjoy again later. Be safe and have fun!
Source: Scott Perry at The Fishing Fool.com
A good bass fishing guide is the ultimate companion. No matter how experienced you are, you could always learn something from another individual that has experience in the hobby, whether he or she is a professional or simply goes to the local lake when they have a spare day.
Everyone’s bass fishing experience is different and we all learn different things that can help to improve our style and/or technique. Contributing to our individual knowledge of fishing can always help us to catch more bass!
Before looking for a good guide, you should initially determine what level of fisherman or woman you are. This does not really matter in the case of an expert, but it does matter if you are just starting out or have been fishing recreationally for less than a year because expert guides will be too complex if you do not have a mastery of the basics just yet. This will limit the range of good bass fishing guides that you can go for, but an expert can choose from any and all bass fishing guides out there today!
You should then decide where you are to get your book from. You will find many different guides on the Internet and in bookstores. The former can be regular books or ebook, whilst the latter is just limited to regular books. It largely depends on the nature of the book that you want.
If you want it in a more easy to read form then you should probably take a look at ebooks, but if you prefer having something bound to hold in your hand then a regular book it is. This choice is largely down to personal preference. However, you may want to take a look on the Internet regardless of what type of book you actually want. The Internet has a much wider range of material available because Internet stores can obviously carry much larger volumes of books than regular bookstores. Read More→