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February’s Outdoor Column

The month of February brings on the hope for spring and warmer weather in the Midwest. As the angle of the suns becomes more direct with earth’s surface this will affect your ice fishing somewhat as the darker objects on a pond or lake will absorb more heat and radiate it out to the water.  Stay away from rocks, boat docks, or anything that might absorb heat and pass it along to the ice. February produces some nice fish, but caution is more important the later the month progresses.

Shop at your local Big R Store. Big R is receiving their spring fishing equipment and now is a great time to check out the new items they have on their shelves.  Now is a great time to not only stock up on fishing supplies but also to clean and organize your fishing tackle.  Now is the time because many times I’ve been fishing in late February and that’s just around the corner. Fishing line can go bad over the winter as well as during the summer.  I always replace line on my reels each spring just for peace of mind.  I just hate to hang a big bass only to have my line break because I didn’t change it.

When I was younger and had little available money, I would tie my line to a pole and walk until the spool was empty.  I would then tie that end down and go back and begin winding up the used end, making the part that was deeper in the spool than the top.  This will work if you are low on funds providing you have loaded up you spool, and the bottom part is kept away from the summer sun’s rays.

Fishing and Cleaning Tips: Fishing reels need to be cleaned and oiled simply because they get dirty, especially if you are bank fishing.  You can keep your reels clean by buying a reel sock or just placing an ordinary sock around them once your fishing trip is complete. Heavily caked grease can harden in your reels over the winter.  A good solvent will break it free.  There are some solvents that can be used indoors that have no odor, gasoline has nasty fumes and is simply too dangerous to use indoors. Get ready; spring is coming, and it will be here very soon.

Shop your local Big R Stores for all your spring fishing needs!

Don’t forget the 64th Annual Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show at the Indiana State Fairground in Indianapolis February 16th through February 25th.  Coinciding with this show is the Indiana Deer, Turkey, and Waterfowl Expo also held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds February 22nd through February 25th.  Purchase your tickets online to save a wait in line.

 

 

July’s Outdoor Column

 

Once July arrives the temperatures tend to get very warm and so does the water. This keeps a lot of people off the water as far as fishing is concerned. Sometimes during these hot periods, the fish slow down and bass, bluegill, crappie and walleye really shut down for a while.

I find this is a good time to fish for something else or to change my bass fishing tactics to something else. A good change of pace sends me after carp and catfish and many times I head for the rivers to get a little action. I have long been a fan of good fights with fish whether or not I land them doesn’t bother me. I encourage anglers to practice Catch & Release and not worry about how many you can put in your frying pan. Taking a big carp or catfish is just as exciting as landing a big bass or walleye and July is generally the month when the big river catfish can be caught, especially the flathead. Catfish have been known to tilt the scales at over fifty pounds in several of the rivers near where I live in east central Illinois.

Many of the big flatheads come during the month of July and you had better have some heavy-duty equipment if you want to land one of these big ones.
Shrimp, chicken liver, shad entrails, along with blood and cheese baits are all used for catfish but, the flathead has a different type of diet. The flathead feeds on clean live bait such as small bluegills and cut bait (fish that have been cut up and pieces put on the hook).

Of course, many big catfish are taken with bank lines, trot lines, nets and jugs but, to me, that doesn’t give me the thrill of the actual battle one can have with a rod and reel.
The same goes for carp; hang a big carp on a rod and reel and the fun begins. Catch that same carp on a light fishing outfit and you have won a battle lost by many.

Carp are generally caught on live night-crawlers in the early spring but in the hot summer, dough ball is considered the best bait. I make a great dough ball out of ½ cup of yellow corn meal, ½ cup of flour. Add enough water in a bowl to knead the two ingredients together to make a ball. Bring a pan of water to a boil and drop the ball in and let it boil for about twenty minutes. Be careful the pan doesn’t boil over. Find an old rag or towel and lift the ball from the water to the towel and let it cool. Wrap up the dough ball and head for the lake.

Of course you can add things like vanilla, licorice, or other ingredients to the boiling water if you wish but I prefer that dough ball just the way it is!

Your local Big R Stores have all the fishing equipment needed to land these big fish as well as pre-packaged baits so check out their selection and have fun trying to tame one of these big fish.