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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Preparing for the 2017 fishing season

The holidays are over and it’s time to think about the 2017 fishing season and what you need to do to improve your catch over the 2016 season. Here is some advice for you to prepare for the season.
If you read all the articles that are out there about fishing you would never have time to actually get on the water. So let’s take a look at only the most important factors that play a part of being successful on the water. The first is reading the water and the second is bait selection based on reading the water.
When I say reading the water, I mean the water clarity, temperature, and wind/wave action. Each of these play a significant role in the proper selection of the baits you should use to catch that Bigun or that limit you’re looking for.
A lot of fishermen tie on what they think the fish will want before they ever leave the house and then arrive at the lake and throw only those few baits for the entire day. Not a wise move. Yes, I used to do that myself only to find out that it was a big mistake. Why? Because until you arrive at the lake, how can you read the water?
During last year’s Fishing for Freedom I had the opportunity to beach my boat beside one of the elite series pros that had come down to fish and support the efforts of the tournament. As soon as he beached his boat, the first thing he began to do was read the water clarity, wind speed and direction, and surface temp. The very next thing he did was to start cutting all the baits he had tied on to his rods off and retying what he felt would be the right lures based on his assessment of reading the water. Who was this guy? you ask. Well, it was Gary Klein and he has been doing the right things for many years.
Let’s get back to what you need to remember when you arrive at the lake and read the water yourself. Let’s first talk about water clarity and lure selection based on clarity. The water is either clear, dingy/stained or muddy. Clarity will determine the lure selection and color. Let’s work through each of these one at a time.
Let’s start with clear water. In clear water, the fish focus their strikes based primarily on sight. So your lure selection should be based on the lure, plastic, or spinnerbait being as close to the colors of the natural forage for that time of the year in that particular lake. For example, if it’s late winter through early spring, the primary forage will probably be shad. If it’s pre-spawn spring of the year, then it’s probably crawfish and shad. If it’s summer, then it’s probably shad with some crawfish. If it’s fall, then it’s primarily shad and if it’s winter then it’s definitely shad.
In cranks, you want to match your colors as closely as possible to the forage the fish are feeding on for that time of year. Use round bills, no rattles, and narrow profiles. In plastics use subtle colors like pumpkin, watermelon, translucent with flakes imbedded in the plastics. In jigs you want to use black and dark blue early and white and lighter colors when the sun gets higher.
Now let’s look at stained/dingy water. In cranks, go a bit brighter with square bills or elongated square bills that again match the forage based on the time of year. Use those with rattles and a wide wobble. These increase the amount of vibration and make it easier for the fish to locate the bait. In dingy or muddy water the bass are orienting on the bait based more on the use of their lateral lines than on sight. In plastics use dark colors, blue, black, Junebug with lots of appendages that will help in increasing the vibration in the bait.
Muddy water again changes what you should be using. In cranks for muddy water, again, you want the vibrations so square bills are the key with a fat wide body and rattles in the brightest colors you can find. In spinners use bright colors with Colorado blades to increase the thump and vibration of the blades. In jigs use bulkier profiles with trailers that have a lot more action. In plastics, black, blue, black neon, and Junebug, again, with as many appendages as you can find, like a brush hog or a creature bait.
We haven’t said anything about top water, have we? Well, that’s because top waters work a lot differently than those baits that go below the water level. Again, you have to read the water. If there is a 20 mile per hour wind, a top water will not be chosen because it’s almost impossible to make accurate cast to specific cover it that kind of wind. But if winds are ok, the water clarity is again your deciding factor.
In clear water with low winds, you want to use a top water bait with subtle action like a walking stick bait, spitting baits, or subtle wake baits.
In stained/muddy water, again, you need the noise to emit those vibrations that the bass key on. Use poppers, buzz baits with clackers, and loud double prop baits.
I hope this helps you think about the following:
a. Reading the water first.
b. Selecting the right style and color of the baits you are going to use based on reading the water.
c. The differences between clear, stained and Muddy water bait selection.
I would very much appreciate your feedback this coming year on every article that I send in to be published. Your feedback inspires me to do more research and respond to what you want to know or try. Please send your questions and comments to Hook_up66@yahoo.com. Now, take what you have learned and go catch a BIGUN!!!

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