Barbs and Backlashes

Hopper Time by whitetips
August 1, 2010, 10:24 am
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , , , , ,

Nebraska is in the middle of the Great Plains.  The first European settlers in our state discovered that the Great Plains are full of grasshoppers.  We have grasshoppers every summer, some summers are worse than others, but I do not ever recall a summer when we did not have any grasshoppers.

If you are a trout angler, you know how important grasshoppers can be as a late summer and fall prey item for stream trout.  I will always tell you that one of the most important things for any angler to understand is what the fish are eating.  I believe that finding enough food to eat and grow is the primary “concern” that determines the day-to-day behavior of fish most of the time (spawn period and spawning behavior is the exception).  As anglers it is doubly important to understand the predator/prey relationships because to be successful we not only have to find the fish, we also have to get them to bite.  Fly anglers are very conscious of “matching the hatch” and on many streams the “hatch” in late summer and fall is grasshoppers.

A Montana brown trout caught on a hopper pattern last summer.

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Some observations, July 13, 2010 by whitetips
July 13, 2010, 2:22 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , ,

We are in the middle of summer, it has been hot, humid here in eastern Nebraska, and the fishing can get tough.  Of course we go through this every year; if you want here is a blog post from last year that you can refer to, .  Let me emphasize some things I said in that blog post by sharing a few observations from my time on the water last week.

I made a couple of short trips last week, early and late in the day.  My son and I saw some feeding activity both times, but nothing real intense, and we did not hammer the fish.  What I did see was scads and scads of young-of-the-year (YOY) fish.  The fish we pursue are always biting, fish have to feed to survive, and with the high water temperatures their metabolic rates are at their peak.  They have to feed to fuel that metabolism.  The reason fishing gets tough during the middle of the summer is because there is an abundance of natural prey available right now.  Our waters are literally teaming with life!  Throw in the high water levels we now have on many reservoirs that have created acres and acres of flooded, very productive habitats, and there is even more natural prey available for fish to eat.  That is what makes the fishing tough during the middle of the summer, it is not the uncomfortable heat and humidity, it is the fact that about all a fish has to do right now to get a meal is swim around with their mouth open.  It is hard for us anglers to compete with all that natural prey.

To further make my point, take a look at this . . .

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Hang time by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
February 1, 2010, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: , ,

I am old enough to remember when every jigging bait we used for ice fishing was called a “tear-drop”.  Many of those baits were tear-dropped shaped, but even “back in the day” there was a variety of those baits that were usually tipped with a wax worm, mousee or maggot and jigged vertically below an ice hole.  As with most fishing lures on the market “tear drops” have always come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.

Back in those days almost all of the ice fishing baits were baits that were presented in a vertical fashion.  Sure, we maybe used a small jig of some kind on occasion, but there used to be few, if any, ice-fishing jigs that were presented in a horizontal fashion.  Nowadays there are a host of both vertical and horizontal ice fishing jigs on the market and in fact, many anglers never even consider using some of the old-school “tear drops”.  Let me break those baits down a little bit and tell you why you should include both vertical and horizontal jigging baits in your “tool box”.

The "old style", "tear drop" on the left, and a home-made "horizontal" jig on the right.

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