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April’s Outdoor Column

Spring is finally here. There will be a lot of outdoor activity starting up as the weather finally breaks. Mushroom hunting, turkey hunting, fishing and trout fishing begin in April check to make sure you have the proper licenses.
 
Let’s talk about fishing. Many boats have been heading up and down the road for well over a month now as anglers head for the warm water power lakes in search of a place to fish during the cold weather. Some of the best fish I have ever taken as far as bass is concerned come during the early part of spring on days when most people wouldn’t even think of going out.
 
Here are a few of my secrets: Bass fishing, or for that matter, fishing for most anything. The more times you go fishing the more likely you are to be in the right place at the right time when a big bass is going to feed. You won’t catch them sitting on your sofa watching the pro’s fish a tournament. A big bass doesn’t feed often and being there when she is ready is the key to putting her in the boat. I live with the jig and pig during the spring of the year. I like a jig trailed by a split-tail eel and I use black almost all the time. I make my own jigs with a very soft weed guard and work the brush of the lake.
 
Another bait. Crankbaits, look for the lead hook on the front treble and cut it off leaving me with five hooks instead of six. look at how your bait would be traveling on your retrieve, observe the lead hook and cut it off with a pair of side cuts. This allows me to fish the crankbait around and in the brush without hanging it up. If you can bounce your crankbaits off the brush and not hang it up it will increase your number of strikes. Remember, if you’re not in the brush, you are not in the fish! This is an old saying that has been around for a long time.
 
Another old saying. That ten percent of the fishermen catch ninety percent of the fish. This is because they know how, when and where the good fish are going to bite.
 
Your local Big R Stores supply all your fishing needs so come in and see what is new for this spring and stock your tackle box, so you are ready to go!

October’s Outdoor Column

October, the most beautiful month in the minds of many as leaves change their color and the entire landscape takes on a different view. Waters cool down, hunting season comes in as temperatures begin to fall. Not only do the changing colors make this a great month but the fact that crappie move up into the brush ready for that last meal before winter and the row crop gets harvested leaving the big bucks with less cover to hide.
October has always been good to me when it comes to fall fishing; there are fewer anglers on the lakes and the fish are less stressed. Slipping into an area of prime cover allows me to take the big crappie that begin to stir.
I have never been a minnow fisherman instead I like the tube jig tipped with a bee moth. I find the bee moth to have the most tantalizing effect on both crappie and bluegill over anything I have ever used.
Many anglers don’t slow their baits down in the fall like I do. I’ve always said, “Fish your baits as slow as you can and then slow down some more!” Working your baits slow will get you a lot of snags but will also get you some monster crappie that you may have missed by moving your bait too fast.
I start the day with 25 tube jigs already rigged with a metal jig head and sitting right on the boat where I can reach them when I lose one of these baits. There are days when 25 baits are not enough for even a two-hour trip! Many times, I’m working my bait in the depths ever so slow and it just seems to stop as though I have hooked into a big strand of algae; then it begins to move. From October 10th on it is many times a big black crappie at that time of the year.
Let’s move on to another subject involving deer hunters. October is a prime month for tree stand accidents; many of these accidents could and should be avoided.
I know hunters that go into a stand that they’ve set up last season never checking it first. Steps going up and down from the stand can become loose and break bringing a hunter to the ground. The stand itself may have worked its way loose over the past year making it unsafe to shift your weight in.
Many tree stand accidents happen on the way up or down from the stand, the most vulnerable time when weight shifts especially if you are in a hurry after downing a deer.
Don’t become a deer hunting statistic, check your stand well prior to the season and make whatever adjustments and repairs that you need to make. Have a safe hunting season this year. I know a lot of hunters in my area that did not follow this good advice and are paying the price now; one was even a fatality!
Shop your local Big R Store for all your fall hunting and fishing needs.