Bass Fishing For Beginners Launch Page

ANGLR’s Bass Fishing Resource Center is your one-stop place for the low down on your favorite fish. Everything a dedicated bass angler needs to teach you bass fishing tips and tricks, giving you little known pointers, and finding ways to tweak your favorite techniques. Endless articles, podcasts, and videos right at your fingertips . . . all on bass!

One of the featured highlights of the site is the Bass Fishing For Beginners Series, an all inclusive tutorial taking you through everything you need to know to get started bass fishing . . . and then some! Beginners and experts, alike will be able to gain knowledge from ANGLR Expert, Jonathan Dietz. He shares his extensive understanding of the freshwater Micropterus species, giving you the upper hand on the water.

The series is divided into seven portions, each a collection of multiple chapters, covering topics like where bass like to hang out and their feeding habits, different lures, types of casts, and more. You certainly won’t suffer from a lack of facts and know-how when you’ve finished this series.

It’s setup such that you can travel through at your own pace, stopping and starting as you wish. When you’ve finished a set, you can choose to move on to the next chapter, or return back to the main Bass Resource page. And it’s always there, so there’s no worry about it disappearing on you just when you finally get time to sit down.

We’ll give you a sneak peek into this series, but don’t worry – we’ll give you just enough to leave you wanting more!

Part 1: Understanding Bass

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Dietz takes you through everything you’ve ever wanted to know about bass behavior in Part 1 of the series. One of the peculiarities about these fish is that they are never the same, day-in and day-out. Learning to adapt to the fish is key to being a successful angler. Understanding fish behavior will help you adapt to the conditions and stay on top of the fish.

Key sections include:

How Bass Behave, where Dietz takes you through how and why the weather and water temperature affect bass through different times of the year. He discusses bass instincts and how that relates to what sort of choices you have to make out on the water: where to look and why you have different bait options.

What Bass Eat. We feel like this is a bit of a no-brainer. If we have to explain what can be found in this section, perhaps we have our work cut out for us. But seriously, this section goes beyond simply what sort of bait bass like to eat. Dietz explains why some jigs just seem to work anywhere you go.

Best Time of Day to Fish

It goes without saying that sometimes you have better “luck” than others. But is it really luck? There is more involved to catching fish than where the sun is sitting in relation to the horizon, and this section takes you through the how and why.

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Part 2: Bass Fishing Gear Basics

Part 2 walks you through the basics of everything you’ll need to have in your tackle box your first trip out on the water.

Key sections include:

Rod and Reel Setups

While these choices vary drastically between anglers, there are some basic principles you can apply to your early bassin’ days.

Line Setup

While there are tons of different line selections, Dietz explains the four basic varieties that will be your go-to choices starting out.

Terminal Tackle

Delving into detail on hook selection and care and choosing your weights before giving  you the rundown of the different types of heads and what they do, you’ll get the lowdown on what you need to know to get your leader set up and ready for business.

Part 3: Lures, Baits, and Rigs

In Part 3, there is a huge array of content on every type of bait you could possibly need on your line to get you started bassin’. This section is vast and takes you through seven different categories of baits, lures, and rigs, leaving you with a clear advantage over most anglers. It’s everything you need to know.

Key sections include:

Topwater

Rigs

Spinner/Chatterbaits

Hard Baits

Swim Baits

Soft Plastics

Part 4: Where to Fish For Bass

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In order to find the fish, Part 4 teaches you how to break down the water and find where the forage is, giving you the skills you need to fish in any water condition from ponds to challenging rivers. Dietz takes you through how to find the right location whether you’re out for a day on:

Ponds

Lakes

Rivers

Tidal Fisheries

He spends time going through the different challenges of each, making sure that you know right where to set yourself up for the biggest success.

Part 5: Flipping vs. Pitching

While often confused with each other, Part 5 details why both pitching and flipping should be a staple in every angler’s arsenal. Divided into two key sections, you’ll find out what gear works best for each technique, as well as pointers on how you can master each, and why you should! Each style has its merits, so neither should be discounted.

Part 6: Jigs

Thought you were missing something in Part 3? Jigs is such a huge section, it merited it’s own Part 6. Jigs aren’t just for largemouths, so every bass angler should have a familiarity with each of these, and have multiples in their tackle box.

Intro to Bass Fishing Jigs

You’ll get a little background on the most common five different types of jigs: flipping jigs, structure jigs, swim igs, skipping jigs, and finesse jigs, looking at what makes them unique, and in what situation you’ll want to reach for each.

Jig Trailers

Just as important as you jig selection is the trailer that you put on the back. Dietz makes sure you have the knowledge to decide what type of trailer is going to work best; not only with your jig selection, but for the type of forage you’ll be fishing in.

Jig Colors

There’s no need to complicate things, so KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) can be applied here. There really is only need for a few jig colors, especially when you’re first starting out. You’ll learn exactly what those are, and in which situations each will do the best job for you.

Part 7: Spawning and Activity

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The series is rounded out with Part 7, a lesson in bass activity throughout the year. The bass move from their wintering pattern into pre-spawn, but from there, a variety of things can happen, dictating the bass activity for the rest of the year.

Key sections include:

Pre-spawn

Spawn

Post-spawn

Summer

Fall

Winter

Whether you’re just getting into the realm of bass fishing, or are an avid angler looking to be sure you’re covering all of your bases, Bass Fishing for Beginners has everything you need to keep you holed up in your favorite structure – er, easychair – through the cold season, ready to hit the waters with success come spring.

Fishing Intelligence Podcast Ep. 14 | Kayak Fishing with Tim Perkins

On this episode of the Fishing Intelligence Podcast, I have the pleasure of hosting kayak fisherman Tim Perkins. Tim is a three time River Bassin National Champion as well as a two time National Team Champion and has found great success in the kayak fishing niche. He has been successful enough to even design and use his own spinnerbait, the FadeBlade River Series.

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We started off the podcast by first talking about how he got to kayak fishing in the first place. Tim was a creek fisherman as a child. From there, he became a bass boat guy, fishing tournaments and finding success until the industry took over and he had to give it a rest for a few years. From there, he picked up kayak fishing after seeing an add for a new tournament series and has been hooked from there. He started out in a Wilderness Systems boat and hasn’t left them since.

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All of his championships and high finishes have been out of his Wilderness yaks. We then began talking about how to go about getting into kayak fishing if you are new to the sport. He suggests not starting with the absolute base model kayaks but instead put a little more money into a basic fishing kayak and then build from there based on how much you enjoy your time on the water. We wrapped up by talking about how great the kayak community is and how willing they are to help others. Make sure to check out Tim and his sponsors as well as pick up one of his custom spinnerbaits!

Where To Listen!

Atlantic Red Snapper Fishing with Captain Josh Baker

Red Snapper aren’t always on the “allowable” list, but when they are, you should jump at the chance to be on Captain Josh Baker’s boat for a real treat.

This ANGLR Expert has been fishing for over 25 years and has been an avid tournament angler for over six. He’s a charter guide captain based out of the Cape Canaveral area in Central Florida and has plenty of experience landing these mules.

Red Snapper Controversy and Regulations!

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Red snapper is a pretty controversial thing in this area because of the fact that they are highly regulated by the government. They’re overseen by conservation laws put in place to help foster healthy fish populations, since numbers can be depleted if they’re caught faster than they can reproduce. There is no red snapper season whatsoever within the state waters of the coast of Florida. Anything further than three miles offshore is considered to be federal waters.

There’s very rarely red snapper season there, either. Fisherman have to hang on baited breath waiting to hear if they’re going to announce a season each year. We’ve gone multiple years with no season, whatsoever, and we never know for sure if there’s going to be one or not until we get to December, and they may decide it’s too late to have one.

Typically the season is only open on the weekends: three days Friday-Sunday, for just two or three weeks. This last year we got nine days. There’s also a limit on catches. You’re usually only allowed one or two (depending on the season) –  per person – per boat – per day.

Considering chartering someone like me to go offshore will cost between $100-150, that becomes a pretty expensive one or two fish trip! That’s not taking into account that charters will usually be more expensive during red snapper season, since the aggressive fighter is so sought after.

The season usually lands at the end of summer, right around when hurricane season starts and it’s a pretty sure bet we’re going to get a tropical storm the weekend red snapper season falls. A lot of guys want to go out in five or six foot rollers or eight foot seas to catch a red snapper. Being on the weekends, the boat ramps and docks and waters themselves, get pretty crazy. Some people will pull right up next to you to fish, with miles of ocean surrounding you!

I think the season should be open for two weeks. That would give us 14 days to go out when the weather permits, without risk, and the ramps and such wouldn’t be so crowded.

The Problem With Red Snapper Catch-and-Release

The numbers here off of the Ponce Inlet are so heavily populated that when we go out deep sea fishing, we’re almost guaranteed to catch a red snapper every time we drop a line in the water. We’ll sometimes catch 20-30 snappers before we get to the target species like grouper, amber jack, mutton snapper, or mangrove snapper. Anything we’re allowed to catch, keep, and eat is difficult to get to because the red snapper are sort of like the bully on the block.

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They love to eat, they’re very aggressive, and they’re always the first one to attack the bait. So we joke about catching “the elusive, endangered red snapper.

So, when my clients catch really nice, big, beautiful fish, and they want to keep them, I have to say “no.

The bigger issue is these fish have come up from maybe 80 to 100 feet in depth, and their swim bladder has inflated. That makes returning to the bottom a problem. Standard practice is to actually puncture the fish to deflate the swim bladder, a procedure called venting, so they can return back down again. As a fireman and EMT, I have a hard time with that concept. What we’re seeing is that a lot of them don’t make it back down to the bottom.

Venting isn’t the only option, but it may be the best. Recompression devices can return the fish to a specified depth, allowing it to equalize before being released. My issue with that is you’re basically hanging a piece of meat off of your boat for any shark, barracuda, or other predatory fish to snag a hold of.

I believe a lot of them are actually wasted, not really making it back down to the reefs. Where the regulations are involved, I fear we’re causing more harm than good. Instead of being able to harvest them responsibly and utilize them, we wind up returning them like we’re supposed to, and some of them wind up belly up, anyway, wasted.

Where Can You Find the “Elusive” Red Snapper?

Anywhere where you find a natural reef, shipwreck, man-made reef, or anything similar, you’re going to find red snapper hanging around. If they’re not already there, it’s only a matter of time before they find it and call it home. They love some kind of structure to hang out in.

There are a lot of man made reef systems here where organizations like the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) have gone out and dumped old bridge pilings, culverts, or crushed concrete in certain areas. Those coordinates are published, so everyone migrates to those numbers. I’ll start at one of those known areas, and then widen my search out to include the smaller, unknown areas close by.

As long as bait fish are present, red snapper will be there, too. The structures will hold the grunts, juvenile triggerfish, juvenile pinfish, and other baitfish that tend to start out small and like to live in a rocky or reef structure will be a prime meal for red snapper.

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Using the ANGLR App is a a great addition to trips. Once you’ve located red snapper, you can always drop a pin so you know right where you can locate them again when the season opens up. The Bullseye has been a real game changer for me. As captain, I don’t have the luxury of trying to log things as they’re happening. I have to stay on my game handling the boat and paying attention to the fishermen, so the Bullseye takes that pressure off of my shoulders.

They’re mostly off of the bottom, but I have seen them come up and eat chum literally right off the top of the water. If they’re doing that, I’ll start throwing bait on the top of the water and catch them that way.

Pursuing Red Snapper: Bait and Gear

I use anywhere from 80-100 pound mainline, since you could wind up with 30+ pounds of snapper, and a 60-80 pound leader. I use conventional rods most of the time. At that depth, it’s all about presentation. If he’s hungry, he’ll eat.

99% of my red snapper are caught on threadfins, cigar minnows, and grunts. They don’t tend to have a preference to live bait versus cut bait, but I prefer live bait because I can feel the little fish get really nervous when the snapper is close by.

My number one preference is live threadfin.

As much as these fish love to eat, we all had trouble getting them to take bait the first two days of the season last year because the season happened to fall right after we had two days of a full moon. The fish were full from feeding all night on shrimp and other things, so they weren’t hungry during the day.

Circle hooks guarantee a hook up, with less chance of gut-hooking the fish, making it easier to release. I have to laugh, as some of my northern clients have a hard time catching on to it, as they’re used to bass fishing and setting the hook.

Landing Red Snapper

The key is getting the fish up out of the structure, similar to grouper fishing. Where our red snapper are, there are a lot of large grouper and goliath grouper – they’re like Volkswagen Beetles swimming in the ocean, eating anything and everything, so I prefer to use heavier lines to avoid having them break off. I’ve had a 200 pound leader line broken off by some of these groupers.

They aren’t small. I normally average between 22-36 pounds. That’s where almost 85% of my fish fall. They’re monsters. I tell people, when you get a bite, you’ll know! As soon as that fish bites, you’d better start reeling him up off the bottom, otherwise, he’ll beat you. These red snappers are like little bulldogs. They want to go straight down to the bottom and hide in the rocks, fighting the entire time, making them really fun to catch. Fortunately, they don’t lodge themselves in a hole like grouper. Instead, they take you around the structure and try to break you off.

After a good sweat-breaking fight, you’ve got a great picture opportunity with a stunningly beautiful fish. And if it’s snapper season on my boat. . . .you’ve landed one hell of a good meal.

To book a trip with Captain Josh Baker, give him a call at 407-801-3474

How to Catch Gag Grouper

As the coastal water temperature drops through the fall and winter, the Florida fishing scene starts to wane a bit, but there’s still plenty of fish to be caught. You just need to alter where you’re looking.

Gag grouper can be a blast to catch, and learning how to catch gag grouper is easier than you’d think! Just because the cold weather is bearing down, there’s no need to take a break from setting the hook!.

Where Can You Find Gag Grouper?

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These large fish are typically caught in the two to 12 pound range, though they can be found up to 20-30 pounds. An occasional 50-pounder can be landed in the deeper waters, and the world record stands at over 80. You can find them along the East Coast of the Americas from Brazil through the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico to as far north as New England.

Juvenile fish take shelter on the inshore glass flats and shoals until they mature. During most of the year, mature gag grouper like to hide around any type of structure that can give them shelter.

They can be found in ledges and holes and love to populate offshore reefs and shipwrecks.

As winter approaches, a massive migration of gags head for the warmer protection of the inner shores, especially within the Gulf of Mexico, to spawn. Off the coast of the Carolinas, spawning takes place in February, and in the Gulf of Mexico, spawning lasts from January through March.

During the late fall and early winter, they’ll show up a few miles off the shoreline along with spanish mackerel, kingfish, speckled trout, blacktip and spinner sharks that are chasing the schools of bunker and herring close to the beaches.

They’ll still be looking for places to shelter, so searching for large man-made structures close to the coast are a good place to start. You’re looking for any piece of structure located with nearby access to deep water. You should be able to find reasonably sized gags there. Also, head for rocky ledges and patch reefs in 15-30 feet of water. A little trick is to find clusters of stone crab traps and you’re likely to find good grouper structure.

How to Catch Gag Grouper: Live Bait and Cut-Bait

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Many anglers catch lots of gags on spinning and plug tackle, but live bait tends to be the best option. They can be caught on fresh cut bait like mullet or pinfish. They’ll also go for cut bait like squid, octopus, and crabs, though live bait, by far, is the best option. You can use a live pinfish, small gray or lane snapper, or live cigar minnow to draw them in quickly. Pilchards, grunts, or sand perch are options, as well.

Attach your baitfish to the hook just above the anal fins since the supporting structure of the fins adds some security.

Chumming the water close to the boat can help to improve the bite by drawing fish right under your boat and maybe helping those fish that may not think they’re hungry to change their mind.

How to Catch Gag Grouper: Tackle and Gear

Standard grouper tackle usually works just fine. A six to seven foot conventional rod and reel equipped with 40lb test is a good place to start, but you’ll probably do fine on 20- to 30-pound test. In the warmer months, offshore anglers will lean towards stouter rods with 50- and 80-pound test lines, but that’s not necessary in the shallower waters during the colder months.

Use a four ounce egg sinker on a 2 ½ foot,  80lb fluorocarbon leader.

By law, you’re required to use a circle hook when bottom fishing in much of Florida’s cost, including the Gulf of Mexico. 6/0 will work here, though some tend to opt for a 4/0.

Be Prepared For a Fight When Pursuing Gag Grouper

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Gags are very aggressive strikers and will fight hard at all depths. When hooked, these are very powerful fish that want nothing more than to run back into a hole or ledge and take you with them. You’ll need to have heavy gear with you to prevent the fish from taking your line. Most anglers crank the drag on their reel down all the way to prevent the fish from reaching a hole.

They have a tendency to become “rocked up” if allowed.

This is where the grouper will run into a hole or under a ledge and spread its gills locking itself in place. To prevent that, keep the drag tightened so it’s almost impossible to pull line off of the spool. Lower your bait to the bottom, and then reel up a crank or two so that your sinker is elevated and the bait is swimming just off the structure. Keep your rod held low so you can immediately lift it as soon as the fish strikes, turning it away from the rocks. Lift up… reel down… repeat.  

If your fish is able to get rocked up, place your rod in a rod holder and release all pressure on the fish by giving it some slack. Wait five minutes, or watch to see when the line begins to move (whichever comes first). Start to cautiously reel in all slack to the point that your rod is low to the water and tight to the fish. Then use a quick, upward stroke. If you’ve got a fish pulling back, reel down and lift again to keep your fish headed in towards the boat. Though, you can also find a few other ingenious off-the-wall tricks out there, too.

When you’re looking for something different to try, cooler weather fishing for gag grouper can liven things up a bit and provide some fun fishing that requires a bit of finesse.

FLW College Series 2019 Changes: Tournaments During Weekdays?

FLW College Series Background

On Saturday January 17, 2009 down in Texas, Tarleton State’s John Anderson and Tanner Morgan weighed in a 6 bass limit for 29lbs, 13oz to claim the victory in the very first FLW College event. Since then, the FLW college series has grown and prospered into a massive resource for collegiate anglers around the country. Now, it is known as the Yeti FLW College Fishing Series.

Over the years, FLW has made many changes to the college series like no longer limiting the field size, changes in payouts, and the bag limits moving from six bass to five. For the 2019 season, just like FLW has done before, they applied changes to the college series. Some changes were praised, while other changes were met with push-back from the college anglers and the fishing community.

Praised Changes for 2019

The changes this year have some great additions like sending both anglers who win the National Championship to the Forrest Wood Cup where they will have a shot at winning $300,000. Sending multiple teams that come just short of winning the championship to the BFL All-American as Boaters and Co-Anglers where they will be provided Ranger Boats and have a shot at winning $100,000. They will also be implementing a new School of the Year Race which is a popular aspect of other college fishing circuits.

Controversial Changes for 2019

While there were some great additions to the rules, there were also some controversial changes that were met with push-back from some of the college anglers.

These changes were a new $75 per tournament entry fee… this is the first tournament series to implement a tournament entry fee for college events.

Even with these entry fees, the FLW will not be raising the payouts at the regional events. They have also decided to move the FLW High School series events to the day after the college events.

The final change that has received the most push back is that the tournaments were moved from Saturdays to weekday events.

Responses to These Controversial Changes

After the release of the information, many college anglers were confused by the changes FLW had made. A number of anglers from across the country contacted FLW High School and College tournament director, Kevin Hunt, to discuss their feelings about the shift to weekday events.

Fostering Growth and Camaraderie Between College and High School Anglers

One of those student-anglers, Ben Wiley, from The Ohio State University was told by Kevin Hunt, “The main reason for the changes in tournament dates from weekends to weekdays was to foster growth and camaraderie between college anglers and anglers at the High School level.”

“Our objective is to allow the high school anglers to be around our college anglers to see what kind of opportunities they have, ensuring the fact that they stay with fishing and attend college. They know if they go to a college they meet at one of these events, they’ll be able to grasp the true camaraderie surrounding the anglers in these events.” –  FLW Senior Director of Tournament Operations, Bill Taylor

Wiley feels that it’s great to try to foster growth between College and High School anglers, and even suggested a Saturday/Sunday College then High School format. Wiley also stated that he believed the biggest issue was the added need to miss classes for college student-anglers.

What About Having to Miss Class?

Upon asking the director of the FLW College Fishing Program about this, Kevin mentioned that they always try to take their event dates into consideration with the schools schedules. He used the Northern Division schedule as an example stating,

“If you’re in the Northern Division, you only have to miss one day in the spring, zero in the summer, unless you’re in summer school, and one day in the fall.” 

Most college fishing teams, like the one at Ohio State, are simply clubs at their universities. These clubs do not get excused absences for tournaments. With the growth of college expenses, and the fact that most universities have attendance requirements and policies that can directly affect student-angler’s grades when they miss class for an event, it’s putting the anglers in a tough spot.  

On a phone call with Kevin Hunt and FLW Senior Director of Tournament Operations Bill Taylor discussing the changes, Bill stated, “We take all concerns and ideas to the heart. Meaning that we listen to everybody. We look at what’s best for the sport, what’s best for our sponsors, and what is best for the college anglers.”

Around this time, ANGLR Expert Cameron Wilt, who is a member of the Bowling Green State University Fishing Team, created a petition to FLW to voice the opinions of collegiate student-anglers. The petition aimed at getting the college events returned to the weekends to minimize the burden of missing their classes and to allow teams that would normally be able to participate in the great opportunity of college fishing to continue participating.

If you agree with Cameron, sign the petition here!

Both Sides Are Focused on Growing the Sport

When Cameron released the petition, it quickly gained a lot of support and was signed by college anglers, their friends, families, members of the fishing community, and members of the general public. Cameron believes that FLW had it right before they changed things and that the Saturday events were closer, shorter, had a lower financial burden on the anglers, and required minimal missed classes to attend.

“The goal of the petition was not to attack the FLW about having weekday events but instead aimed at informing them that we, the student-anglers, believed the FLW had things right before and we wanted to give the FLW the opportunity to do right by the student-anglers and put the angler’s education before the tournaments. I mean, I believe I can speak for all of the college anglers when I say we stand behind High School fishing and want to see it grow and prosper because many of us fished when we were in High School. It’s a great opportunity to grow as an angler, but many of us won’t be able to recruit if we can’t miss class to attend the events.”

While it seems as though FLW is set in their ways on this topic, Kevin Hunt says there are good reason for these changes.

“We took this program 10 years ago and created it as the best college program out there. Now that we’ve had to make a few changes, we’ve also tried to make it even better. We’ve added spots to the Forrest Wood Cup for the two National Champions. Along with that, the second, third, forth, and fifth place teams from the National Championship go to the BFL All-American. This is how we can make sure that we have a great program and back it up with some substance.”

These changes are massive when compared to previous years. In the past, the winning team at the National Championship would fish against each other the next day to see who would claim the spot to fish in the Forrest Wood Cup. Now, the top five teams will have the opportunity to fish in tournaments that could change their lives! While these changes are great for the sport, taking into account the feelings of some anglers who may not be able to pursue the opportunity is a tough pill to swallow.

Hunt displayed empathy for those teams and anglers.

“We know and we understand that it might cause some heart aches, and it might cause some problems, and it might even cause some situations where students say, ‘No, I’m not coming on Friday and no, I’m not paying entry fees.’ And, I hate that, that’s not what we want. But, at this point in time, it’s the best thing for our company and for our program and that’s why we’ve had to make these decisions. We might look at this in a year or two years and say, ‘you know what, we may have made a bad choice.’ As of right now, we feel that it is the best choice under the circumstances.”

While this topic may remain controversial as the 2019 season approaches, there are plenty of anglers and fans looking forward to this “new and improved” feel to the college series. Many college anglers are chomping at the bit to get their shot at the National Championship to further their opportunity to fish at the next level. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding this topic, be sure to leave us a comment in the section below!

Fishing Lake Chickamauga to Help My Community Catch More Fish!

Hey guys, my name is Gene Jenson, but most people refer to me as Flukemaster. I run a fishing YouTube page devoted to helping people learn more about the sport of bass fishing and in turn, catch more fish! I recently went on a trip fishing Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee with my good buddy Alex Rudd and Jacob Jesionek from the team at ANGLR!

This trip meant a lot more to me than most. It was the first time I was going to be using the knowledge that the free ANGLR app provides to truly give insight into the conditions and locations I was fishing.

My goal?

My goal was to use this trip as a test for a whole new way to connect and educate my community of anglers. By allowing them to look into the water and weather conditions, baits I was using, and exact GPS routes I was taking, they were given a first-hand look at where, why, and how I was fishing Lake Chickamauga!

See the full report from all anglers on this trip here.

Fishing Lake Chickamauga in the Fall

The first day I was there was Monday, the 19th of November, and it was difficult. The fish were biting, but nothing was consistent. I was finding them in the backs of creeks and mouths of creeks… So, they were scattered out. However, by using the ANGLR app, I put together the pattern that the bigger fish were staging at the mouths of the creeks. With the water temperatures falling, the fish were beginning to feed on baitfish pretty exclusively. Once we hopped off the water and reviewed the data, we had a better idea of how we wanted to approach the lake.

The next day, I put the boat in and Jacob and I headed out to check the mouth of the creek we had caught a few in the day before. We were quite simply looking for baitfish. Once we got towards the back of the creek, I checked my graph and it was wild.

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From the bottom of the water column to top, it was loaded with baitfish.

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Finding the Baitfish Meant Finding the Bass

We fished directly around bait, but only caught one. It seemed as though the baitfish weren’t acting frantic or feeling threatened, and it was clear that the concentration of bass wasn’t as high as I had hoped. So, we slowly made our way down the bank and moved farther towards the mouth of the creek. When we got to the mouth of the creek, the baitfish activity seemed to explode. I could see them flickering on the surface and it was clear there was predatory bass lurking.

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Now, this should come as no surprise, I picked up a fluke.

I really wanted to imitate the fleeing baitfish I was seeing. After a few casts, I hooked into a solid fish. From that point on, we started catching em’. They wanted it fished fast, with sporadic twitches and pauses mixed into the retrieve.

We stayed there for about three and a half hours catching fish after fish. We ran a zig-zag pattern over a 200 yard stretch along the bank to vary our presentations and follow the more sporadic baitfish.

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About two and a half hours in, Jacob caught his personal best largemouth in that very stretch.

The craziest part? He caught it on a fluke while fishing with Flukemaster! It was meant to be!

Fishing Lake Chickamauga in Pre-Frontal Conditions

We were fishing in prefrontal conditions with the water temperatures in the low to mid 50’s. With the fall temperatures closing in, the water temperatures were dropping really hard and fast. Typically, I have noticed that the bass feed in backs of the creeks until late November into early December.

With the colder temperatures this year, it pushed the fish towards the middle and front of the creeks. Once we put the puzzle together, we were able to locate the fish under the different water conditions than I see in a normal year. By using the ANGLR platform and being able to go back and evaluate what I did on the lake and see it over a map, I was able to put the pieces of the puzzle together by looking at the whole picture.

Now, how did this help my community?

Well, I shared these trips on ANGLR. And I mean I shared waypoints, catch location, exact GPS trip route, tackle notes and more! You can look and see the difference between these two days.  

It’s a seasonal thing. They are moving out to the deeper water in the lake to stage for their winter patterns. Using that knowledge, you can narrow it down on your own lakes by doing the same thing I did. I am always focused on you can find the fish before you hit the water!

Locating Bass Ice Fishing Lake Arthur With Gus Glasgow

The ice season can be some of the most exciting times to get out there and go after your fish of choice. Sometimes, you may even stumble across a school of fish you weren’t expecting to find. That’s what happened to ANGLR Expert, Gus Glasgow up on Lake Arthur in Western Pennsylvania a few years back. He was out targeting crappies and ran into a school of smallmouth bass ice fishing. The best part? they seem to have taken up residence in that spot, year after year.

Glasgow has been fishing since he was a little kid. His uncle was a passionate fishermen, and got him hooked on ice fishing. He took Glasgow out for the first time around the age of six, and he loved it. His mom wasn’t so keen on the idea, since there wasn’t really any emphasis on safety back then.

“If you saw water squirting up, you just took a bigger step over the hole,” Glasgow shared.

The Premier Western PA Ice Fishing Destination

While Glasgow resides not too far from Presque Isle, Lake Erie, he favors the more popular Lake Arthur for ice fishing. “Presque Isle is so iffy on ice, more people go to Lake Arthur.” It’s like the ultimate ice fishing destination spot for all of Western PA.

Anglers make the trek up from Pittsburgh, Ohio, and even West Virginia to get some ice time. It’s usually the first lake with ice, the lake with the most ice, and the lake with the safest ice.

“Due to the geological location and the surrounding hills, it’s the best and safest place to go,” You can’t beat that!

How To Find the Fish You’re Not Looking For

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He ice fishes almost exclusively for panfish these days, but stumbled upon a little secret a few years back while going after crappie. “It’s a really rare thing to catch smallmouth bass ice fishing. The only reason I even came across them was because I happened upon a spot that apparently the bass wintered in.” He was on the upper end of Lake Arthur along one of the three main fingers where ice fishing is generally practiced: Muddy Creek, the Propagation Finger, and Shannon’s. That’s where the majority of anglers go after panfish, Muskie, and Pike.

Earlier in the season, you’re more likely to catch crappie in the shallower ends of the lake near brush piles, rock piles, and weed edges.. As the season goes on and more fish have been caught, their numbers start to dwindle and they head further out to deeper water. Glasgow thought he was following those crappie as they headed closer to the main body of water, looking at some brush piles and rock piles over open water near main lake points. He started finding groups of wintering smallmouth in about 10-12 feet of water in a brush pile near two rocks.

“It’s rare to catch smallmouth at Lake Arthur, period. It’s very rare to catch them through the ice, and extremely rare to have a spot that produces high numbers. It’s a real oddity, but they fight just as hard through the ice as they do through the summertime.”

Thinking this was just a fluke, he’s actually stumbled across another location on the same lake, finding similar groups of smallmouth. He’s able to catch them in these locations over and over again. Both locations are very similar in that they consist of a brush pile near rock structure over a hard bottom. “But it’s really only those two locations on Lake Arthur where I’ve found those conditions, but I can go out and consistently catch six to ten in a short period of time, which is an oddity when it comes to bass.”

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Smallmouth Bass Ice Fishing Gear

When he had happened upon the surprise bass, Glasgow had been using microplastics, Fiskas tungsten jigs tipped with a maggot, and a dead-stick minnow, all with 32” ice noodle rods with 2-3 pound Gamma fluorocarbon ice line, in his effort to chase panfish when he caught a surprise, instead.

“I caught them on a jig, and I wasn’t paying attention to my deadstick rod. I looked over, and it was sliding across the ice about to go down the hole,” he reminisced.

Smallmouth have a tremendous amount of fight when compared to largemouth bass.

“They fight extremely hard in the wintertime.” Once he noticed that he was consistently able to get into these bass ice fishing, he took a friend along. “I warned him, ‘do not leave your rod near the hole unattended because these smallmouth are nuts.’ He didn’t believe me. His rod took off within seconds and he lost it down the hole.” He jokes about the fish’s wintertime fight. “If they could jump, they would. A couple of times I’ve felt like they’ve probably jumped and smacked the ice.”

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Now that he knows he’s going to go for these smallmouth, Glasgow still uses the same rigging as he does for the panfish. Occasionally he’ll grab a Northland Forage Minnow spoon, though he’s still using his four and five millimeter Fiskas jigs.

Ice Fishing Technology

This seasoned angler laments the lack of technology that affordably pairs fish finding technology and tracking with GPS, making it difficult to readily track your catches, but he believes that the ANGLR Bullseye could easily bridge that gap in the future. Glasgow uses the Bullseye with the ANGLR App when ice fishing and likes the fact that you can easily share your catches, your story, and your map.

If you want to make your catches public, you can, but you can also keep all of your data completely private! You can share where you were, how you caught them. “Before you just had a pen and paper at home your wrote these things in like a diary,” he reminisces. “Most people don’t want to do that.”

Glasgow ponders on why he keeps finding the bass ice fishing where he does. “I think there’s an abundance of crawfish there, which they’re still feeding on in the wintertime. They’re also ambushing minnows when they have the option, so they’re relating near the brush, but the hard bottom is what keeps them there. He noticed that the second spot was almost exactly the same as the first. He happened upon it the same way, too. It was also an area he had historically had a lot of luck with crappie.

“They have almost the same structure; a rock shoreline with a lot of rock bottom with a brush pile on top of it. They just hang out in that brush pile on top of the rocks.”

So it seems it’s probably a good modus operandi to take a lesson from the Boy Scouts. Be Prepared. You never know what you’re going to run into and how much fun you’ll have on the ice!

Introducing the ANGLR Bass Fishing Resource Center

Everything you’ve needed to up your game and better your skills. Right here. In one place.

Whether you’re just getting started bass fishing and could use some tips to point you in the right direction, or are an accomplished tournament angler looking to take things to the next level, we’ve got the place for you!

ANGLR’s Bass Fishing Resource Center provides all the resources you need in one convenient place. They’ve put all the quality learning tools you need to expand your knowledge together, all in one place. You’ll find in-depth articles written by experts with advice you can’t find anywhere else. There’s definitely something for everyone here.

Bass Fishing For Beginners Series

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The highlight of the Resource Center is the Bass Fishing for Beginners Series. It’s a seven part collection comprised of everything you absolutely need to know to get started on the right foot, whether you’re completely new to fishing, or have spent your time angling for other catches. Everything you need to know to get going happens right here. These guys take you from assembling the right gear to putting together the right techniques to make your first trip out as successful as possible.

Part 1: Understanding Bass Behavior

ANGLR Expert Jonathan Dietz takes you through everything you’ve ever wanted to know about bass behavior. He dives into how they’re affected by the weather and what motivates them before getting into what types of food they eat, which can help you to choose which type of bait to throw. He finishes off with some notes on figuring out when the best time to hit the water may be.

Part 2: Bass Fishing Gear Basics

In this section, Dietz takes us into what a bass anglers tackle box should hold. He details how to choose your rods, reels, and configure your setups and talks about not only choosing your hooks, but how to keep them functional and effective for a long time to come. Dietz goes into detail about terminal tackle; from how to choose and care for your hooks through choosing bait heads.

Part 3: Basic Lures, Baits, and Rigs

This section contains a vast array of content on every type of bait you could possibly need on your line when getting started bassin’. This section is vast and takes you through seven categories of baits, lures, and rigs, giving you a huge advantage over most anglers. All you need to know about jigs, topwater, rigs, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits, hard baits, swim baits, and soft plastics.

Part 4: Where to Fish For Bass

No matter where you decide to fish, Dietz is able to take you through how to find the right location of those fish in ponds, lakes, rives, and tidal fisheries. He teaches you how to break down the water and find where the forage is. He even gives you the skills you need to fish in challenging rivers and the knowledge you need to find success.

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Part 5: Flipping vs. Pitching

These two techniques, though often confused with each other, should be a staple in every angler’s arsenal. Dietz dives into how you can master these two techniques.

Part 6: Bass Fishing Jigs

This is a section so massive, it needed its own space. Since jigs aren’t just for large mouths, every bass angler should have a familiarity with these jigs: flipping jigs, structure jigs, swim jigs, skipping jigs, and finesse jigs.

Part 7: Bass Spawning and Activity

We round out this series with Dietz giving you a lesson in bass activity throughout the year. He takes you through movement from the wintering pattern into pre-spawn, and then through a variety of spawns that may occur, dictating the bass activity for the rest of the year.

Bass Fishing Tips and Tactics Series Bass Fishing Resource Center(2)

Not to be outdone by the exhaustive beginner series, Bass Fishing Tips and Tactics Series is an ever-expanding section dedicated to the more serious angler. Here is where you can turn when you’re ready to get down-and-dirty, nitty-gritty, delving deep into specific aspects of bass fishing.

For instance, in the section on Chatterbait: Master the Vibrating Jig, ANGLR Expert, Shaye Baker dives deep into an expert tutorial on these bladed jigs, from choosing a jig to matching your gear to your needs. Landing big hawgs with these jigs can be really fun and may just wind up becoming one of your favorite lures in the box!

Being a brand new endeavor, a few sections are up and running, and more in the pipeline, so you’ll have to keep checking back regularly to see what gets added!

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There’s More!?

But wait!

There’s more!

By now, you should be familiar with ANGLR’s extensive library of podcasts, videos, and articles. They focus on a variety of topics and species that span across North America. It’s well-worth a look, as they’re imbibed with a ton of terrific information for every angler, whether seasoned or new.

The Bass Resource Center has created its own little reading corner just for you bass heads. Of all of the really helpful articles and episodes you love, they’ve weeded out those pertaining just to bass. Every episode and article combined into one place, easy for you to find and open.

We’ve really created the perfect compliment to the ANGLR App and Bullseye with the Bass Resource Center. Everything you need to develop your knowledge and hone your skills is all right here. When it’s time to head for the water, you may not want to leave!

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Fishing Intelligence Podcast Ep. 13 | Lake Trout Fishing with Ben Nowak

On this week’s episode of Fishing Intelligence Podcast, I am talking with YouTube fisherman Ben Nowak. Ben is primarily a Bass fisherman normally focusing on the Great Lake region and specializing in mondo smallies.

Lake Trout

Recently, Ben stumbled on a massive school of Lake Trout holding to a waypoint that he thought for sure were smallmouth. He told me that when they pulled up to the spot, they thought they were about to get into the most killer smallmouth bite they had had in awhile. However, when they cast out and hooked up, the massive slow head shakes from the fish turned out to be those of a Lake Trout!

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He told me that up to that day, he had only ever caught two lakers, but after that day, him and his buddy put over 60 in the boat!! Given that I have never caught a Laker hook and line, I couldn’t imagine how much fun it would be to have a 60 fish day with these mean giants.

While I was out in Yellowstone, we focused on gill netting for them so I have handled 10’s of thousands but never got the opportunity to fish for them. After talking about the Lake Trout bite, we dove into the upcoming 2019 season and what we had to look forward to from Ben’s channel.

We talked about his plans to utilize the new ANGLR Expert program to go on more fishing trips with ANGLR reps and broaden his bass fishing horizon. We finished up the podcast by talking about why we both think filming your fishing trips is not only important for better understanding your fishing spots but also gives you another way to enjoy your time on the water. Make sure you go check out Ben’s YouTube channel and let him know that the podcast sent you!

Want to see some of the action from Ben’s Lake Trout day of a lifetime? Check it out below!

Where To Listen!

Fishing for Steelhead with ANGLR Expert Nolan Minor

In the corner of northwest Pennsylvania lies the next best thing to a vast ocean: one of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie. With its almost tidal surf and vast, dark, deep waters, it’s an angler’s dream. From roaming schools of smallmouth, giant walleye, and the hard fighting steelhead, Lake Erie has a species for any angler!

We caught up with ANGLR Expert, Nolan Minor just as he was returning home from a trip to the outfitters. The Virginia native was gearing up for a trek from his home in Morgantown, West Virginia to travel three hours to Erie. He and his buddies were heading out fishing for steelhead.

What Makes Fishing for Steelhead in Erie so Unique?

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Steelhead is a rainbow trout, but what makes it unique is that it’s migratory, similar to salmon. They live out in the ocean, or Great Lakes in this case, for the first two to three years of their lives before they make their first trip back in the streams to spawn. Unlike trout, they don’t meet their demise in the rivers, but are able to return to the lake in the spring.

They live their lives out in the vast lake, only concerned about food, but then one day something clicks in their brain and they decide they need to go spawn, so they begin to head to the creeks sometime around the end of September, early October. They keep flooding up the creeks until December. That’s where they’ll remain until the spring, when they return back to the open waters. Their life cycle is similar to their cousins’ out in the Pacific Northwest: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, where the biggest difference is that those steelhead live most of their lives out in the open ocean.

There are two main creeks that harbor the majority of steelhead as they make their spawn run: Walnut Creek and Elk Creek.

An average Erie steelhead is usually around 21-22 inches and about three pounds, maybe a little less. Most of the fish we catch there are around that size. The largest one I’ve caught so far was 28 inches. That’s not that large of a fish, but it was really fat and weighed about seven and a half pounds. The smaller jacks are usually around 17-18 inches, but they’re less common.

When I Got That First Bite… I Was Hooked

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I didn’t know what to expect on my first trip. I had done a lot of trout fishing in rivers and streams down in Virginia. My skills transferred over pretty smoothly. Fishing for trout and steelhead is closely related. The two fish’s behaviors are very similar, the baits they each take are almost the same, so tackle is similar as well.

This is a huge fish that’s a very aggressive fighter. It’s sort of one of the coveted freshwater fish to pursue. Growing up in Virginia, I hadn’t had an opportunity to go fishing for steelhead before my college years. With Erie being so close [at three hours away], I had to try. My buddy goes regularly, so he took me up there for my first time during my freshman year. Three or four of us still get together and head up to Erie for a long weekend as often as we can. Being college students and members of the West Virginia Fishing Bass Team, it’s difficult but we still manage to make it up two to three times a year.

Because I’m still in school, I’m really only able to get up there about two to three times a year. I’d love to go more often if I was close enough to take a day trip through the weekdays. Fishing pressure is a big factor to your success. When it’s busy, for every 40 fish you see, you may catch one.

Usually about 90% of the fish are being caught by about 10% of the anglers.

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Gearing up when Fishing for Steelhead

Most anglers up in Erie fish with noodle rods. I’ve never used one because I was used to trout fishing on creeks in Virginia. I use a shorter 6’6″ light action rod, pretty light tackle. When we’re up there, we’re catching more fish than most people, so we must be doing something right. In the larger rivers like in the Pacific Northwest, a longer rod is necessary to keep your line off of the water, but these creeks are so little, so you don’t need that length. It’s such tight quarters in the trees and under bridges. The trees are actually covered in hooks, line, and bobbers. This is similar to fishing for stream trout; you have to cater your gear to the environment you’re fishing in.

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We fish our baits underneath a small split-shot float. We’ll use single eggs, and we’ll use spawn bags, it really depends on what the fish are telling us. Some people use minnows or worms. We use a light line and an 8-14 hook, depending on the bait and conditions. Typically, the clearer the water, the smaller the equipment. We’ll use small jigs, and will grab a trout magnet a lot. Another staple of ours is a three inch pink trout worm. It’s the ‘Wacky Senko’ of trout fishing. Since the water is so small, we typically use smaller stuff.

Some people tend to overcomplicate things, but fishing for steelhead is pretty simple. Unlike bass fishing, you only have a handful of different baits and 3 or 4 color choices for most situations.

The fishing changes from day to day, based on the conditions. That’ll determine the bait or technique that works best for the day. There’s no bait that’ll be any better day in and day out.

You’ve got to have a drag-free drift under your float. That’s the key to being successful. You need that bait to be floating in a natural way. That’s the biggest fundamental, and once you have that mastered, you’ve got it. You’ll have your bait underneath your float, then use small split-shot weights to balance things out. Starting with a larger one, tapering off to a smaller weight closest to your bait since you want your bait to drift a little in front of the bobber to get that drag-free drift; a more natural drift, which is the key to getting a bite.

Steelhead sit up off of the bottom a little bit, and you want that bait to be drifting so they don’t have to move very far to eat it. You almost want it to hit them on the nose, since food is not their main priority when they come into the creek. While you can typically see 30-40 fish in the water at a time, they’re not always taking the bait, so you have to be patient, and present it to them in such a way that they can’t say no.

While landing these fish is exciting, it’s the time spent in the crowds of people that flock to Erie during this time that really makes the outing unique. I will be talking about my experiences fishing off of Lake Erie in our next Steelhead Edition. Make sure to catch it!