Tag Archives: Crappie fishing

Braid to Mono Leaders

Braided line has revolutionized fishing in the last 15 years, Now you can have a 20-30 lb line on your reel, with a 8-10lb mono equivalent diameter and twice the yardage of line on your reel. But braided line can’t do everything, It is stronger and more durable, but it also stands out dramatically in stained and clear water. One way to get rid of this problem is by tying a mono leader to the end of your line. The mono leader not only gets rid of line visibility near your lures, it provides a shock leader and some level of stretch for the larger fish you catch.

One trick I do is that when I tie a leader a tie a 4-5 foot section of leader, this eliminates the need for me to re-tie leaders after I switch lure and cut into it as often on the water, and provides a larger section of line not as visible to the fish. This saves time in my kayak and therefore gives me more time to target the fish.

Here are the two easiest and in my opinion best  knots that you can tie to go form a braided line to a mono leader.

#1 Double Uni Knot- By far the easiest and best Braid to Mono Knot

uni_to_uni_knot-ask_a_captain-the_online_fisherman.jpg
Courtesy of The onlineisherman.com

 

#2 The Blood Knot- A more difficult knot to tie but a stronger knot than the double uni.

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Courtesy of FlyFisherman.com

Light Tackle Bass Fishing

Aside from throwing massive swim baits at west coast largemouth bass, people often overlook the aspect of light and ultralight tackle for bass fishing. I have noticed while fishing creeks and rivers that when the bass get lethargic and I target yellow perch, crappie, and chain pickerel, I usually end up catching good size bass. When I target these smaller fish I am using my Abu Garcia ultralight spinning setup and throwing small crank baits, plastics and sometimes the rare ultralight top waters.

These lures are tiny compared to the magnum trick worms and plastics that get thrown at bass on a daily basis, so why are they more aggressive towards the smaller lures? Well the answer to that sentence is within the question itself. Most of the bodies of water today are heavily fished and these bass have seen every color of worm, lizard,and fluke thrown at them. While ultralight and light tackle are used in these waters, they are not thrown nearly as often as the larger tackle, meaning there is a slight chance the fish haven’t been overfished using the lures you are throwing at them. I’m not trying to sell you on throwing light tackle at bass with this article alone, I will be filming multiple episodes for my YouTube channel dedicated to nothing but ultralight and light tackle fishing for big bass. follow us on Facebook, WordPress, or YouTube to view these episodes as they come out starting in March of this year.

While I have your attention I will show you the Light Tackle Box I carry on my kayak on every trip, you never know when the fish will have to be finessed of structure or cover with small lures.

lights.jpg

I hope you enjoyed this short read and I really look forward to showing you guys what light tackle setups can produce for you in the world of bass fishing. As always thanks for swinging by and don’t forget to check out KayakTournaments.com and TourneyX.com for online based CPR tournaments in your state.

My Top 3 Kayak Bass Fishing Techniques

Hey everyone, thanks for checking out my blog! Today I’m going to be covering short and simple my top 3 Kayak Fishing techniques and approaches to catching quality fish.

 

#1-  Use your kayak to throw top waters and frogs in areas larger boats can’t get to.

Backwater

One of my favorite and most used methods of fishing for bass in my kayak involves me paddling into very skinny backwaters or areas of heavy structure/vegetation that larger boats can’t access. This allows you to target larger and less overly fished areas with your frogs and top waters and it can really pay off in tournaments and short afternoon trips.

#2 Bridges, Bridges, and Bridges,

Bridge1

I love to use my kayak to go under low bridges and structure that boasts cannot access. While it can yield some good size bass this method mainly applies to crappie and perch fishing. I have found low bridges that once you get under them have produced large crappie on almost every cast because the area or side that I can fish with my kayak is inaccessible to boats. I mainly use this method by throwing very light weight curly tail grubs so they fall through the water column as slow as possible.

#3- Use you shallow water/heavy cover access to your advantage

brush

Whether you can paddle down a shallow creek or bump your kayak over a fallen tree, using your ability to access backwater, smaller creeks, and heavily structured flats. My primary methods to work areas like these and a carolina rigged large trick worm. My color of choice is normally a pumpkinseed with a lime chartreuse tail section. Remember to flip as close to the structure as you can and don’t be afraid to let the lure your using fall down in the limbs/structure, worst case you lose your lure best case you hook a monster.

This was a short post this week, but next week will be a detailed post covering how to target pre spawning bass and how to catch the monster females during this stage. Have a great weekend and stay safe!

 

Targeting fish on hot summer days

Hey everyone and thank for swinging by my blog. This weekend I fished some heat indexes of over 100 and figured this weeks blog would be about how I target fish in the heat. Below are my four keys to catching fish during the dog days of summer.

#1 Shadows are the key to bass

Bass will congregate along structure and overhangs that provide large shadows. The predatory fish use the shadows to stay a little cooler and also as an ambush point to feed on smaller baitfish and insects. A good technique to target these bass is with small crank baits or plastics.

Crappie also follow this habit and will concentrate around bridges and submerged structure in 5 to 10 feet of water. My main method for catching crappie in the summer is jigging light tackle curly tail grubs and minnow like plastics along the structure.

#2 Mid day fishing is sometimes crazy  good

You would think that mid day temperature periods during the summer would be dead, but my trip on Sunday showed my that even in 100 degrees and at high noon, the topwater frog bite was insane. I ran out of my Stanley Ribbit lures before I even got to the good fishing holes. After summer rains look to target bass as high up on the bank as the water rises, it always blows my mind how many bites I get in water that has flooded into standing grass and weed lines. I throw a weedless Stanley Ribbit in the watermelon red color to target the bass. Just remember if the water rises so do the fish.

#3 The good old fashioned Super Fluke

My favorite and most effective bass fishing method has and always will be the Super Fluke. My go to color is watermelon red flake but I have also had success with the Arkansas Shiner color as well as the Mardi Gras color. I usually fish the fluke with a weightless setup but sometimes a 1/8 ounce bullet weight gets it deep enough to work the structure the fish are holding on. 90 percent of your strikes will be as the fluke is falling through the water column so be patient with your lure action and let it sink.

#4 Finess fishing worms

A texas-rigged worm is the most widely used method for summer bass. When bass are lethargic and don’t want to chase fast moving or floating baits a slow moving worm dragged in front of their face is hard to resist, My main colors I use are pink, purple, june-bug and watermelon red. a 1/8 to 1/4 ounce bullet weight is all you will need in most situations. Once again, in the early morning and evening hours don’t be afraid to literally throw your lure onto the bank and work it into the water. My biggest bass the summer was in less than a foot of water when he hit my worm.

I hope this short post will help you catch some more bass this summer and remember, snakes also like shaded areas so be careful when you fish and always keep an eye out. Good luck and stay safe!

Fishing update

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of material, its been bad weather slow fishing and long days at work. I managed to sneak in a quick trip yesterday and unfortunately the fishing was depressingly slow. I had one good hook up on the fly rod that ended up breaking me off. The highlight of the day came with my only landed fish of the day, I was flipping a roadrunner style rig along a bridge and ended up dragging in a very nice crappie. It’s the biggest crappie for me in this river system so far. I didn’t get it on video but I got some photos of it before it went in the cooler. I avidly practice throwback fishing with bass and most freshwater fish, but catfish and crappie I put straight onto the ice. Right after that fish I turned on my GOPRO and caught on video a hard strike right as I reeled in my lure to move to another spot. Sadly, I didn’t land the fish but it still was fun to get it on video.

I’m  going for a good fishing trip tomorrow and will have plenty of new video and photos monday. My first tackle selection video is coming up tomorrow and will be represented in my trip tomorrow morning.

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Kayak fishing 101

Hey everybody and thanks again for checking out the blog, today’s post will be covering  Kayak Fishing 101, my 7 steps and tips to becoming a better kayak fisherman and also touching on some safety issues.

#1  Keep your rig simple,don’t do this…

Courtesy of www.tenthousandislandskayakfishing.com
Courtesy of http://www.tenthousandislandskayakfishing.com

A crowded kayak is no friend to a fisherman, snag hazards and frustration can set in quickly, and if there is one thing I have learned form kayak fishing over the last 8 years it’s that if something can catch your hooks, it will. If something can go wrong during your trip, it probably will.  I have hooked myself, bird-nested bait casters to the point of cutting all my line off, and broke rod tips by hooking my rod behind me. A simple less crowded kayak will result in less gear but pay off in the quality and enjoyment of your fishing trips.

#2 Have a float plan with a friend or family member-

A USCG float plan might sound stupid , but in my 7 years of serving the the Coast Guard performing search and rescue nothing helps in a speedy recovery more than properly filled out float plan. A float plan consists a complete description of your vessel/kayak, the equipment you have available to you, but mainly focuses on your planned route and stopping points. When you fill one out you leave it with a family member or friend and if you haven’t returned by a certain agreed upon time they call the coast guard with the information given on the float plan. Below I have filled out and example and there is a page on my main menu with a blank float plan you can save to your computer.

Scan 4

#3 Safety equipment-

The most important thing to have on your kayak is a handheld VHF marine radio set to CH 16 or 156.8 MHZ for distress signals. You might not be the person who needs help another kayaker could be close by and having an emergency and you could be his or her saving grace.  The safety equipment I have on my kayak at all times consists of the following. An Atlantis VHF handheld radio, a Orion marine emergency signaling kit, a Firefly strobe light, my PFD, emergency water and next month I will be purchasing a 406 MHZ personnel locator. A good trick I learned form watching Ty Southerland on his  30Milesout Youtube Channel is I use frozen water bottles as my ice , it cools my catch and also serves as my emergency water rations.

Courtesy of www.farmandfleet.com
Courtesy of http://www.farmandfleet.com

#4 If you’re new to kayak fishing, try to reach out and go on trips with more experienced yak fisherman.

A beautiful factor of today’s technological world is the availability of kayak fishing forums on the internet and group pages on Facebook. If you are new to the sport its best to learn and shadow other fisherman you can go fishing with or meet on kayaking forums. Make no mistake their experience will teach you everything they have learned not to do over the years, saving you from making some of the mistakes and learning hard lessons along the way. Plus you might be able to get a couple of spots to fall back on during slow days.

#5 Wear protective clothing-

Sometimes people look at me funny when its 80 degrees outside, and I’m wearing full fishing pants , a long sleeve fishing shirt, a hat that covers my neck, a buff that covers most of my face, and Buffusa.com’s performance gloves, but at the end of the day I’m more protected from the sun, not burnt, and have a less chance of developing skin cancer from my kayak fishing trips. Every male member of my family has had melanoma skin cancer from fishing ,so I take it very seriously.

Courtesy of www.Tackletour.com
Courtesy of http://www.Tackletour.com
Courtesy of  www.BuffUSA .com
Courtesy of
http://www.BuffUSA .com

#6 Be versatile in your species targeting- 

My love is saltwater fishing, whether I’m fishing the flats or paddling offshore for some larger species I love saltwater fish. But there are plenty of days where I can’t drive to the beach 45 minutes or I can’t dedicate a long period of time for a trip. If I can’t fish saltwater I will immediately target bass and panfish in the creeks and rivers by my house. My favorite way to target bass and panfish is with topwater or floating flies. I even fish large ponds in my kayak when I can’t make a big water trip. Be very adaptive and try new places and styles of fishing. There are many days where your primary target species isn’t going to bite and you have to adapt. There is nothing wrong in my book with spending a day catching large ladyfish and jack’s or false albacore. Although they are considered trash fish by most people, large Lady Fish are some of the best fighting fish you can catch inshore.

#7 Should I use a GPS/ Depth Finder?

A good GPS/Depth-finder is one of my favorite things about my kayak, I don’t have to guess the bottom features of my surrounding areas, I can easily target structure listed on navigational charts, and I can view the depth fish are active in when fishing structure or even drift fishing along in my kayak. My GPS unit is a Lowrance Mark 4 HDI, I used it in my aluminum boat for duck hunting and fishing before I sold it with the arrival of my daughter in November 2014. My favorite way to utilize my depth finder is when targeting fish around bridges and submerged structure, I can clearly see the bait suspending and can adjust my rigs and presentation accordingly to better target the predatory fish on structure.

Courtesy of www.Lowrance.com
Courtesy of http://www.Lowrance.com

I hope these tips better help you understand some basics on kayak fishing and I will have more posts on different types of gear and homemade items for kayak fishing in the future. Thanks for stopping by and good luck out there. Always remember to be safe, no fish is worth putting yourself in a dangerous situation or jeopardizing your safety.

Please leaves comments below to help me on my future posts.

Getting ready for a new season of fishing.

Hey everyone and welcome back to AptoOutdoors, Today’s blog is going to cover getting your gear ready for fishing after a winter of sitting in the garage.

#1 Check your line-

Braided line has a tendency to weaken and fade after a season of use. An easy trick to avoid 45 dollars of new line for each spool a rod using the braided line from another . You are essentially putting the old line at the base of the reel and utilizing all the perfectly good line that was buried the previous season.  For fly fishermen and mono users  go over your line very carefully, if you think it could be replaced it probably needs to.

#2 Re-Stock on tackle and gear-

Make sure your tackle box is stocked again with what you use the most. For me what I go through the most is saltwater hooks, bottom rigs and popping corks. Go over your lures and see if any treble hooks need to be replaced. A common practice that has been hitting big with saltwater fisherman is to replace the treble hooks on topwater lures and suspending lures with circle hooks, providing an easier hook removal and survival probability for under-sized fish.

#3 Buy some Fish Grips-

A set of Fish Grips is something I consider an essential item. It doesn’t matter if I am fishing Freshwater or Saltwater, Inshore Or Surf, I will always catch something I don’t feel like touching or putting my hand near its mouth. Fish that come to mind are Pickerel, Bowfin, Snakehead, Rays, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Sharks  and other species make you cringe and really wish there was a way to get your favorite lure back. Fish Grips make that happen by providing a great way to firmly grab the lip of a fish and remove the hook or lure with ease.

Courtesy of Yakoutlaws.com
Courtesy of Yakoutlaws.com

#4 Safety Items-

If you don’t own a good first aid kit buy one, if you don’t have a CPR Mask or device Buy one, if not for the safety of the people on your boat do it for the other boaters who you will find having a bad day. We are all out on the water together regardless if someone is in your spot or acting a fool when bad things happen its better to be prepared. I can’t count how many times we have pulled our boat to someone flagging us down to find a wade fisherman stung by a stingray , and old man who hooked himself, my dad even pulled up to a drifting boat to find a 70 year old man clinging to the other side of the boat’s rails. His anchor had broke free while he was wade fishing and by the time he grabbed hold of the rails he hit a drop off and his waders filled with water. Always be prepared to help out other  fisherman. if something on the water does’t look right it probably isn’t right and you should always go check it out.

In conclusion one of the most important things to do is get out and fish. New structure is waiting to be found, new honey holes ripe for the taking, and good memories are waiting to be made this summer. So go out have fun, catch fish, but most importantly remember to be safe. No fish is worth risking putting yourself in a sketchy situation. Thanks for reading and come back next week.

2015 Apto Outdoors Bucket List.

Hey everyone and thank you for swinging by. Today’s quick post is covering the yearly goals  or the “Bucket List” for the blog and youtube channel. As soon as i can start getting out on the water and getting videos there will be episodes on YouTube. below is the month by month Bucket List.

FRESHWATER BUCKET LIST

  • Crappie- catch a 1lb or larger crappie on the fly rod.
  • Bass- Catch a 5lb bass or larger on the fly rod
  • Chain Pickeral- Catch a 20 inch or longer Pickeral on the fly rod
  • Rainbow trout- catch my first rainbow trout on the fly rod *

SALTWATER BUCKET LIST

  • Pompano on the fly rod from surf
  • Bluefish on the fly rod from the surf
  • Spanish Mackerel on the fly rod from the surf
  • 20 inch or longer Red Drum on the fly rod
  • 18 inch or longer Speckled Trout on the fly rod
  • Flounder on the fly rod
  • Bonita on the fly rod from the surf
  • Atlantic Mackerel on the fly from the surf

HUNTING BUCKET LIST

   WATERFOWL

  • Green Winged Teal Drake
  • Blue Winged Teal Drake
  • Mallard Drake
  • Hooded Merganser
  • Bufflehead Drake
  • Bluebill  Drake
  • Redhead Drake
  • Canvasback Drake
  • Wood Duck Drake
  • Ringneck Drake
  • Canadian Goose
  • Snow Goose

A few new flies added to the flies page.

I have tied some new flies and have added them  to our hand tied flies page, feel free to leave comments if you like a particular fly or style of fly.

How weather affects fish behavior

Hey everybody and thanks for stopping by again, today we will be covering weather and how it affects activity below the water’s surface. There are many things about weather that influence fish ranging from approaching weather fronts, pressure systems, and temperature but the most important factor is by  far the atmospheric pressure.

Weather fronts & systems

Fish are extremely sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure, whether it’s caused by approaching fronts or pressure systems. The pressure variations just before a cold front or approaching system triggers fish to become more active and feed closer to the surface. Some of my best fishing action inland and in saltwater have been during some pretty nasty weather that we probably shouldn’t have been in. Trust me from experience when I say when you’re in a storm so bad your fishing rods are signing to you from static, its time to go. Once the system has passed through it can be like somebody flipped a switch instantly and all the fish have lockjaw. Once the pressure starts to rise it can be very hard to coax a fish to bite without finessing a lure directly in front or getting a reaction strike out of natural instinct, because most active feeding has stopped.

Rain

Fishing during a light to moderate rain is one of the experiences I love most about fishing, it can trigger feeding frenzies no matter what type of water you are fishing. Bass and panfish know rain brings things falling from the sky and topwater bites can be some of the best you will ever have in your life during a good rain. while fishing the flats for redfish and trout when the rain started you knew it was time to throw on Alameda Rattle Cork and start drifting over potholes or the rocks in Baffin Bay in south Texas, and there is nothing more exciting than seeing your red and green rattle cork disappear in between waves. Just remember to be careful, tropical squalls and summertime thunderstorms can pop up out of thin air on a bluebird day and put yourself in an unforgiving situation. Use sound judgment and when in doubt get the heck out.

The high pressure following the weather systems

When the pressure starts to rise and settle into the area you will get the dreaded “bluebird” days, where fishing is slow and hunting is slower. The fish will sulk and settle around bottom features, structure, and the schools become more scattered and clumpy than usual. Targeting fish in high pressure almost always consists of three things, finess fishing lures, fast moving baits to cause reaction strikes, or live bait. The fish become so lethargic that it becomes very hard to locate the concentrations. When you do find a fish on a fast-moving bait in high pressure you will become much more productive if once you catch a fish on fast movers, switch to a jig or soft plastic and work that area hard, the results will speak for themselves.

In conclusion there are many more weather features to discuss when it comes to fishing but they will be covered on upcoming posts much closer to when they happen such as how to fish the dog days of summer, fishing the spawning cycles of bass and crappie and so on. Thanks for reading and we hope to see you back for some more posts! Have a safe weekend!

The weather this week has kept me from any kind of fishing.

Ice Storm this week.
Ice Storm this week.