So, you’re thinking about buying a boat. It’s an exciting time! Believe it or not, winter is the prime season to get started. Whether you are making your first foray into boat ownership or thinking about trading in your current boat for another option, it’s always smart to do some homework. It’s also important to get a clear picture of what the total cost of ownership will be. Start your research by considering the following 10 questions and you’ll be ready to enjoy a new boat, and a whole lot more, this summer.
1. How will I use my boat?
Before you do anything, you need a clear understanding of how you plan to use the boat most often. If this is a family decision, you want to get consensus among the “crew.” Will this be a fishing boat? A cruising boat? How about a watersports workhorse? If you’re like most people, odds are the answer could be a little bit of everything. However, setting priorities is a great first step for deciding on the size and shape of the boat you need. Use this handy boat selector tool to help you hone in on the model type that’s right for you.
2. What is my budget?
Obviously, you need to decide how much you can comfortably spend. What isn’t always obvious, however, is the total cost of owning a boat. The boat itself will have a purchase price, but how much fuel does it use? What other equipment will it need? How will you transport and store it? Some of the questions that follow will help you figure out your total budget.
3. New or pre-owned?
As with cars, some people swear by new boats and others contend that a pre-owned boat that has been cared for well by its previous owner is the best way to find quality at a lower price. It’s all personal preference. However, there are a few questions anyone considering a pre-owned boat should ask: What’s the condition of the engine (how many hours has it run)? What is the condition of the hull (any blemishes, cuts, scrapes, etc.)? What’s the condition of the prop? Regardless of your answers to these questions, it’s always smart to hire a certified marine surveyor to conduct a thorough inspection of the vessel.
4. How much will I spend to maintain the boat?
Sure, everyone’s answer to this question is “as little as possible.” But the truth is, some boats need to be babied, and some boats are built specifically for the “hands-off” owner. In general, the more “high-performance” your engine is, the more maintenance it will require.
5. How am I going to move my boat from place to place?
Or perhaps, more appropriately, are you going to move the boat from one body of water to another, or are you going to use it in one place for the season? Also ask if your vehicle is capable of towing a boat and trailer. These questions are important because they dictate what type of trailer you need, and if you will be able to use it at all! Often, a trailer comes with a new boat, but be sure it is capable of handling the workload you intend to use it for.
6. Where am I going to dock/moor my boat?
Simple question, but it’s important to ask for three reasons. First, if you don’t have your own dock or mooring spot, you’ll have to pay a slip fee at a marina, and that’s an expense to factor in. Second, you’ll want to secure your investment from theft and the elements as much as possible. Third, how and where people will get in and out of your boat dictates what kind of lines, fenders, ladders, tender and other gear you may need. If you do plan to store your boat on a trailer during the season, you should price out marinas’ and storage facilities’ fees, and/or also be aware that local ordinances can limit how and where boats can be stored at a residence or business.
7. Where will I store my boat?
When you take the boat out of the water at season’s end, where will you store it for the winter? Are you going to winterize and store your boat yourself? Will you store it inside or outside? Will you pay to store it at a marina? Whatever your plan is, understand that winterizing and dry storing your boat properly is crucial for your boat’s longevity and protecting your investment.
8. What extra gear will I need?
If this is a fishing boat, will you need a trolling motor, a fish finder, a live well and a boat cooler? The answer is probably yes. The question is whether or not these items are included in your boat package or if they are added costs. The same is true for the cruising boat that might need advanced navigation electronics, the ski boat that needs specialized tow bars, etc.
9. Boat shows or dealers? Or both?
A good place to start is a boat show - hundreds are held around the country each year (usually in the winter). By comparing a variety of options in one place, you can get a feel for what boat will suit you best. Boat shows are typically one of the best places to shop, compare and save; however, it’s also important to develop a rapport with a local marina to help manage costs and maintain your boat over time.
10. Can I operate my boat safely? And do I understand local rules and regulations?
These are the most important questions of all, and they go hand-in-hand. Of course, you must have all the appropriate safety gear—life jackets, throw lines, fire extinguishers, etc.—factored into the purchase and maintenance costs of your boat. But your most important safety asset is your own mind. Educate yourself on the rules and regulations pertaining to the waters you plan to boat. Take an online boater’s safety course (boatus.org; boatingbasicsonline.com; boaterexam.com), either as a primer or a brush-up. They’re free, convenient, and they just make sense.
Boat covered, trailer hubs lubed and engine winterized. Now what? This is the time of year to take a long hard look at your most used and often most neglected gear... tackle.
Rods are easy to check out. Start at the rod tip. Get a magnifying glass and look for nicks, scratches and grooves in the guide tip. After that, check out the other guides. Replacing the tip is quick and easy. Heat the tip with a lighter, and ease if off. Get a glue stick and use your lighter to melt glue on the tip of the rod. Heat the new guide tip and put it on, carefully lining it up. Let harden and remove excess. Done! Replacing other guides could depend on your skill level and patience.
For reels, again, depending on your skill level, you might want to send these out to get serviced. Otherwise, remove the two bearings on either end of the spool, clean by soaking in lighter fluid, let dry and re-lubricate with good reel oil. Clean the exterior. Remove the old line so you won’t be tempted to use it when you start fishing again!
For lures, this is when you need to take a close look at your hooks. Treble hooks and a pair of split ring pliers make quick work of this. If you are thinking about sharpening your hooks, you might be better off replacing. Replace worn out feathered trebles on poppers too. Get some jig and vinyl paint and small brushes to touch up the finishes on your cranks.
For spinnerbaits and jigs, remove old melted or damaged skirts and replace. Try using nylon thread to tie a few wraps above the skirt collar to keep them in place after replacing. Sharpen hooks. Shine up spinnerbait blades and check out the swivels to ensure they are spinning…replace if they aren’t!
Hooks need to be sorted and organized. Toss out rusty, bent or damaged hooks. Organize your weights too! Sort through your soft plastics and consolidate them into single bags. Organize them into large heavy-duty baggies by size and shape…six-inch worms, four-inch worms, craws, soft jerkbaits, etc.
This is a good time not only to check out your lures, hooks, weights and plastics for restocking but to also see what you really need to have in the boat. By eliminating clutter, you will be able to find what you need faster! With the other stuff, either give it away or place it in storage.
Submission courtesy of BoatU.S.
Throughout the northern United States, people are starting to think about heading out on the ice. So here are some of the most popular species for ice fishers and the best places to find them.
While the crappie fishing in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan is legendary, a sleeper pick for ice fishers would be northern New England (specifically western Maine and northern New Hampshire), where the black crappie action is great on a variety of lakes. The key is to find a body of water with a good cover of rocks and weeds, and decent drop-offs. Although crappies aren’t monster fish, they are aggressive throughout the winter. Try using vertical jigs, mixing and matching different color combinations until you find a winning ticket.
Depending on whom you talk to, the perch bite is either a fraction of what it was or it is slowly making a rebound, especially in the Great Lakes states. But for reliable, steady action, it’s hard to argue against Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, specifically Big Bay and Lake Independence. In the early winter, the perch here will stay fairly close to rock ledges and drop-offs. By the time the lakes are well frozen, the perch move to deeper basins, usually just above the bottom. In either situation, try using minnow-shaped vertical jigs and bounce the rod tip briskly to attract a strike.
There are thousands of wonderful walleye lakes for ice fishers to enjoy throughout the northern states. So it’s hard to zero in on one spot for great action. But it’s not hard to zero in on Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota as a cultural icon in the ice fishing world. Here thousands of ice houses (some years more than 5,000) are set up through the dead of winter, and a plowed road system on the lake surface connects them. If you don’t have your own spot, don’t worry, you can rent a shed by the half-day, day or week. Remember, walleyes like to hang out near the bottom. Try drilling several holes and use lead-head swimming jigs from one spot to the next, until you find the concentration of fish.
While frozen water might shut down the fly-fishing action on Rocky Mountain lakes (if not the rivers), it certainly doesn’t spell the end of the rainbow trout season. In fact, many diehards will tell you that big bows are more easily fooled in the winter. Two of the best lakes to catch rainbows under ice are a short distance west of Denver, Colorado – Evergreen Lake – which is about a half hour’s drive from the Mile High City, and Georgetown Lake, a half hour further west on I-70. At both lakes, try using a weighted woolly bugger fly, tip the fly’s hook with a small worm, usually a mealworm, then work the bait at different depths until you find the bite.
Let’s be perfectly honest, the words “extreme” and “ice fishing” are seldom used in the same sentence, unless you’re talking about cold air temperatures. But for a pure adrenaline rush that will lift you off your bucket, head to the far north, as in Alaska or Canada’s Yukon or Northwest Territories, and try fighting a muscular, 20-pound lake trout through a hole in the ice. Try catching lakers under the ice at Alaska’s Lake Louise or Crosswind Lake. One method of choice: jigging with tube jigs or large jigging spoons tipped with whitefish. Because you’re dropping baits deep into dark water, a flasher is also a must.
Search TakeMeFishing.org’s hotspots map to find more places to boat and fish.
The Catch A Boat fishing game on TakeMeFishing.org is back by popular demand with all the fun, facts and fantastic prizes of the previous virtual tournaments, but with a new grand prize of a fishing boat. If you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?
Here’s how it works: Select a boat right for your day on the water then head to the baitshop to “shop” for equipment. You can unlock more equipment and new regions when you answer trivia questions correctly about boating, fishing and conservation. Then click “cast” to get your line in and “reel” to play the fish. If — errr when — you catch a fish, add it to your livewell and post your boast on Facebook.
And of course, there are the prizes. The grand prize is a boat, motor and trailer valued at $18,000. The fishing boat is provided by the North American Fishing Club, which is also offering players a free 30-day trial membership and an issue of North American Fisherman. Plus, tons of instant prizes are being given away by N’Gage, Rapala, West Marine, Plano, Gander Mountain and Ready2Fish. Each week one sponsor is awarding daily prizes (rods, reels, tackle, gift certificates and more) to those taking part in the game.
Every day you go “fishing” improves your chances of winning a prize, and you can play every day (so long as you’re at least 18 years old) until the tournament ends on January 10, 2011.
Check out the complete rules and eligibility information, and register now.
Play and enter to win now »
*You can also follow TakeMeFishing.org on Facebook and @Take_Me_Fishing on Twitter.
Being able to trailer your boat opens a wide range of water options for anglers. And even if your trailer experience is limited to transporting your boat to and from dry storage at the beginning and end of the season, it’s smart to focus on some basic rules to keep things as safe, streamlined and cost-effective as possible.
First, you want to ensure that the trailer you choose is designed to hold your boat. If your boat comes with a trailer, the manufacturers and/or dealer will match both appropriately. If you must buy a trailer separately, however, choosing the right size, with braces that fit snugly around your boat’s hull, is mandatory. For larger boats and larger trailers, a trailer brake system is often required.
Your towing vehicle should also be rated to pull the weight of your boat and trailer. The tongue weight (or the amount of mass the vehicle hitch can handle) is clearly outlined for most vehicles; exceeding tongue weight can compromise steering stability. Too little tongue weight can make a trailer sway as you drive. Your vehicle should have enough horsepower to haul your trailer up a boat ramp (4-wheel drive capability is often preferred). Be sure the size of your hitch ball matches exactly with your trailer.
One common mistake is to neglect checking the air pressure on your trailer’s tires as well as your tow vehicle. You’ll want to ensure those tires are pumped up within the proper pressure (psi) range, which is usually indicated on the walls of the tires. Do this before the trailer carries any loads. Low tire pressure can be dangerous and will cause you to burn more gas when hauling a boat. In addition to checking the air pressure in your tires, be sure to check the tightness of the lug nuts on your trailer wheels before loading and driving.
Most experienced boaters have a system for transporting their gear. It’s not a wise idea to fill the boat with too much heavy equipment on a trailer. Be sure your weight stays within all capacity limits (another fuel efficiency/safety concern). Check to ensure lighter items like fenders, cushions and life preservers are stored in lockers or cinched down; you don’t want loose items rattling around in a boat as you transport it. And of course, be sure all electrical connections and signals are working properly on your trailer.
Your final check should include cinching tie-downs tightly, checking the security of your coupler and safety chains, and locking everything in place. If you trailer your boat with a cover, be sure it is fastened snugly.
You want to make all your preparations and checks in a parking lot, away from a busy boat ramp. That said, taking time to practice loading and launching your boat (when the ramp isn’t busy), will also help you build a comfort level. By staying on top of your safety and efficiency checklist, you’ll be able to take your boat wherever your next adventure leads you.
Whether you’re a newcomer to saltwater fishing or a seasoned pro, the ICW offers some of the most accessible and enjoyable light tackle action in the country.
The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is comprised of various bays, inlets, saltwater rivers and other manmade water canals that offer boat passage and protection from the open sea. There are three separate ICW regions: the Gulf of Mexico ICW stretches from south Texas to the panhandle of Florida, the Florida Gulf Coast ICW connects Tarpon Springs to Ft. Myers, and the Atlantic ICW reaches from the Florida Keys all the way to Virginia.
ICW waters are typically calmer, and readily accessible to smaller recreational fishing boats. They’re also home to prolific schools of baitfish, as well as larger sport fish that migrate, feed, and breed there. Indeed, the ICW is the ultimate “inshore” fishery in America.
Here are some ICW fishing hotspots worth checking out with light tackle.
The number of species from striped bass to snapper, black drum to sheepshead (and everything else mentioned above) comprises only a fraction of a list longer than any angler can tackle in a lifetime. And the approaches and techniques you can use are only limited to your imagination. So what are you waiting for? Give it a try.
In the news these days, it’s seldom we hear about people committing good acts. Giving back. Helping others. Yet, even though we rarely hear about the good deeds people do, plenty of folks out there are doing just that in many different ways.
With this in mind, I wanted to find a way to acknowledge some of those who have made or are making a positive difference to saltwater recreational fishing. The result: Sport Fishing’s Making a Difference Awards.
There is no specific list of requirements one must meet to be considered. Very simply, as noted above, it’s about making a positive difference to our sport, somehow significantly impacting recreational fishing. Just a partial list of the many ways an individual might do this could include his or her impact on:
Again, keep in mind that this is by no means an inclusive list.
We want to show that good things are happening in saltwater fishing. Proving this is a primary goal of the Making a Difference Awards — as is rewarding and encouraging individuals and their programs or activities that benefit those of us involved in this sport and industry.
Toward that end, I encourage — and challenge — you to think of someone you know who has made a valuable contribution to saltwater angling, locally, regionally or nationally. Then visit www.sportfishingmag.com/makingadifference and take a few minutes to fill out the straightforward nomination form.
A panel of judges will choose five finalists next spring. These finalists will be announced in July at the 2011 ICAST tackle trade show in Las Vegas, in Sport Fishing magazine, on sportfishingmag.com, and no doubt, in other media. Each will receive a special King Sailfish Mounts desktop miniature mount with engraved plaque and an engraved, top-shelf Reactor watch.
We hope to post all nominees, with their permission, on the Making a Difference website. That way, you can see who’s been nominated and for doing what.
Please consider the appeal and challenge to nominate candidates you feel have been doing positive things for recreational fishing. The tag line for this awards campaign says it all: Help Sport Fishing make a difference by recognizing those who do!
-Doug Olander Editor in Chief Sport Fishing Magazine
Last newsletter we asked to see your best fishing works of art – paintings, sculptures or photographs. Here’s what some of you artsy anglers submitted. View more pictures on Fishington, The Fishing and Boating Capital of the Internet. Enjoy.
They say a fisherman goes through stages. First you just want to catch a fish, then you want to catch a lot of fish, then you want to catch a big fish, and eventually, you want to catch A LOT of big fish.
If you’re at stage three (or beyond), and have your heart truly set on “going large” you might want to try fishing for some of these behemoth monsters that lurk in America’s freshwater lakes and rivers.
Sturgeon Sturgeon are prehistoric beasts that once had a wide range across North America. Today, the best concentrations of sturgeon—and the most consistent sturgeon fishing—is found in the Pacific Northwest, most notably the Columbia River system. Sturgeon typically travel in groups and are found in troughs along the bottom of the river, often in water 20 feet or deeper. You’ll want to fish a small baitfish (herring) on a weighted line with a 7/0 or 6/0 hook, and use a heavy action rod with a sensitive tip section, because while sturgeon can reach a maximum size of more than 15 feet and 1,500 pounds, their take is surprisingly subtle.
Alligator Gar Another ancient predator — the alligator gar — lurks many southern waterways, especially the southern waters of the Mississippi River drainage, and throughout Texas, parts of Georgia, and Florida. They typically live in slow river channels and pools, or in lakes. As their name implies, alligator gar have a distinct elongated snout, powerful jaws and rows of sharp teeth. They can grow up to 10 feet long, and weigh 200 pounds or more. The best way to fish for them is to use a heavy slip sinker, and suspend a live bait, like shad, on a 2/0 hook, and then have a bobber riding the surface to indicate the take. You want a heavy action rod, and 50-pound test line. Most importantly, that last 2-3 feet of line connected to your hook should be a wire leader.
Muskellunge Another toothy critter that requires a wire leader is the muskellunge. Muskie can be found throughout many northern lakes and rivers, but there are some surprisingly good muskie fishing pockets in the East as well, including the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In the summertime, muskie typically move toward more open and deeper lake waters. In places like Green Bay in Wisconsin, one of the most popular approaches for catching warm weather muskie is trolling spinnerbaits. The angler should gear up with a 6- to 7-foot medium-fast, or fast action rod, with powerful-drag reel. Make sure you mix and match your trolling depths.
Northern Pike Northern Pike are also found throughout much of the country, especially the northern Great Lakes, and the pothole lakes of the northern Plains states. But perhaps the hottest pike fisheries in the country right now can be found in the Rocky Mountain States, especially Colorado. Many of the conventional tackle approaches you use for muskie can be applied to pike (wire leaders, heavy action spinning rod, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and deep-cut spoons). In Colorado, many anglers like to chase pike by sight-fishing for them with fly rods. Use a 9-foot, 9-weight rod, a floating line, clear leader with two feet of wire tippet at the end, and then a “Pike Bunny” fly… purple is often best.
Whenever you’re chasing big fish with mouths full of sharp teeth, caution is obviously the rule. Hooking up is half the battle. Unhooking is also an acquired art. If you can, it’s worth hiring a guide to learn the ropes about catching and handling big predatory fish. Even one or two times out with a pro can shorten your learning curve dramatically, and put you right in the big fish game. For more information on the sturgeon, muskellunge, or northern pike, as well as many other fish found throughout the U.S. check out the species explorer in the Fishopedia section of the site.
If you are looking for the best time to go fly fishing, June is the perfect month because many rivers and lakes are experiencing the most prolific insect hatches of the year, right now. You’ll see rivers come alive in ways you hadn’t imagined, and you might just catch your biggest fish of the season. In fact, the only problem with June and fly fishing is that it happens only once a year.
The West Take for example, the classic stonefly hatches on western rivers like Montana’s Big Hole, and Rock Creek, or the Gunnison River in Colorado. As the spring runoff subsides, trout are treated to a smorgasbord of swarming stoneflies, some more than an inch long. There isn’t much subtlety involved with this dry fly fishing—you’ll see the bugs skittering along the river, and the trout eagerly gulping them off the water’s surface. Watch for the rise, make your best cast with a big fly (like a Sofa Pillow), and hang on…
The Midwest The Midwest angler enjoys some late spring/early summer mayfly hatches, like Sulphur Duns, especially in places like the Driftless Area in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The epic Great Lakes region hatch event, however, has to be the Hexagnia fall in western Michigan, when giant butterfly-sized mayflies cascade over the river… usually starting right before nightfall, and lasting well after dark.
Of course great fly fishing isn’t necessarily limited to trout. June is prime time for throwing small popper flies at smallmouth bass in many Minnesota lakes, and especially on the streams that comprise the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
East Coast Moving further east to the Catskills, Adirondacks, and especially the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New York, the warming weather trends shut the windows on some of the most notable mayfly hatches (like Quills and Hendricksons), but the trout menu now includes large mayfly drakes… slate, green, and brown. The appeal of fishing drakes is that you use large (size #10 or bigger) dry flies, but you want to concentrate your efforts on overcast or rainy days, or in the late afternoons and evenings. It also pays to watch and wait for fish to rise, then pinpoint your casts… the trout are wary in this season.
The South In the south, fly fishing can also be productive in June, even as the weather heats up. On legendary rivers like the White River in Arkansas, watch for Sulphur hatches. It’s also a great idea to get out early in the day and try to turn one of the river’s legendary big brown trout on a streamer fly, like a white Zonker. On the many trout brooks in Smoky Mountains, yellow and cream colored flies are June staples. Among the best is a size #16 yellow Sally, especially in currents where the water is moving briskly.
Wherever you are, be willing to mix and match your flies. Think sub surface when days are brightest and hottest, and dry flies in the evenings. Do that, and you’ll find June to be among the most rewarding and informative months on the angling calendar.
Check out TakeMeFishing.org’s Hot Spots map to find a great spot for your next fly fishing trip.
For the majority of recreational boaters, the beginning of June marks the ‘unofficial’ kick-off to boating season across the country. Remember, boating safety laws can change annually, so it’s important to take a minute to ensure you meet all your state's boating safety requirements.
As of January 28, 2010, 47 states and territories have enacted some form of mandatory boater education. The following states have changing laws for 2010:
Florida The Florida bobber card is now required for anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 who operates a vessel powered by 10 hp or more. The boating safety course can be taken online, but don't wait! There are no temporary cards issued in Florida after you complete the online course. However, the permanent ‘bobber card’ typically arrives by mail in 3-5 days.
New Jersey As of June 1st of last year, all boat operators must be certified to operate a boat on state waters. You can take the bulk of the boater safety course online - you'll only have to show up to a proctored exam to get certified. Best of all – you pay only when you pass!
North Carolina Boating regulations have changed in North Carolina as of May 1st 2010. Anyone under the age of 26 must successfully complete a state-approved boating safety course before operating any vessel propelled by a motor of 10hp or greater. Boaters should carry their education certificate onboard while operating. The online exam is 60 multiple-choice questions, and you need a score of 80% to pass.
Oregon Oregon has been phasing in mandatory boater education for the past several years. As of 2010, ALL boaters must carry their Oregon boater education card (also mistakenly referred to as the Oregon boat license) when operating any powerboat (including PWC or any motorized watercraft) greater than 10hp.
Virginia As of July 1st 2010, all Personal Watercraft (PWC) operators 35 years of age and younger must pass a boat safety course and carry the Boating Safety Education Course Certificate when operating their PWC. Virginia is gradually phasing-in mandatory boating safety education. By July 1, 2016, all boaters in Virginia will need the certificate. Once its obtained – it is good for life and never needs to be renewed.
Washington State Washington is another state that is phasing-in mandatory boating safety education for the majority of boat operators. In 2010, any operator 30 years of age and younger must have the boater education card when operating a motorboat with 15 horsepower or greater. The online test consists of 75 multiple choice questions. Students need a score of 80% and pay only when they pass.
For a complete list of boater education requirements in your state visit BoaterExam.com. All online courses are state approved, recognized by the US Coast Guard and feature fully narrated study guides with more than 150 animated videos. Our goal is get more boaters out on the water having fun. Securely and safely.
Author: Kerry Moher – BoaterExam.com
Last newsletter we asked you to submit a monster fish caught with a tiny lure or a tiny fish with a monster lure. Here are some of our favorite big catches that bit small and little guys with big appetites.
View more pictures on Fishington, The Fishing and Boating Capital of the Internet.
You don’t have to go to the backcountry “hinterlands” to find great fishing. In fact, some of the best angling action to be found anywhere in the country can be had in the skyscraper-shaded waters of some of America’s largest cities, from Seattle (where you can catch salmon in Puget Sound) to Minnesota’s Twin Cities (some of the best walleye water on the Mississippi River is a stone’s throw downstream from St. Paul) to Miami (where you can hook tarpon in Governor’s Cut, within sight of South Beach).
One of the best examples of urban angling allure is the “Windy City” of Chicago, which could legitimately be ranked among the best all-around fishing-city destinations in the world. Ask any professional Lake Michigan salmon fisherman, and they’ll tell you the cohos gravitate toward the lake bottom structures around Chicago. From even a small boat, an angler can troll spoons from April through October, and land silvers within sight of the Hancock Building. A dedicated angler can also catch these salmon (and the occasional Chinook, lake trout, or hefty brown trout) from the beach or the piers throughout the Chicago area.
Bass enthusiasts can also enjoy fishing from Chicago’s shoreline, especially from the Navy Pier and around the Shedd Aquarium downtown (usually with crankbaits). Casting from these spots offers legitimate shots at hooking 3-5-pound smallmouth bass throughout the spring, summer and fall. There are largemouth bass and panfish in these near-shore waters also.
Find more great information about fishing in Illinois on TakeMeFishing.org.
Fishing in NYC
In New York City, the striped bass begin their annual migration out of the Hudson River in April. Anglers can catch stripers by surf-casting live baits and lures from the downtown Manhattan shoreline (Battery Park) through June.
Other hotspots include the Coney Island Rips, and with a boat, Raritan Bay, where the large population of bunker will attract more stripers. By the end of April, try using cut bait to land some of the larger striped bass that make their way into the bay.
Visit the New York boating and fishing section on TakeMeFishing.org for more information.
Largemouth Bass in San Diego
Spring in San Diego is the prime season to chase double-digit-weighing largemouth bass in many of the area’s water supply reservoirs. Lake Murray , near La Mesa, is one of the best bass fisheries in the nation - swimbaits and soft plastics will be your best bet to land a hog in the spring.
When in San Diego, be sure to take advantage of some of the best near-shore saltwater fishing for calico bass and halibut. The kelp patties off Mission Bay and La Jolla are legendary surfboard fishing spots.
To learn more about fishing in California, be sure to visit the California boating and fishing section on TakeMeFishing.org.
The lesson is this: Smart anglers go where the action is. And recently, more and more, that means finding fish right in town. Sure, it’s great to plan a backwoods fishing trip, but in the meantime, don’t be afraid to dabble in the waters closest to home. The fish you find there might just surprise you.
The forecast for saltwater fishing in New England this spring and summer looks good. While migratory habits of staple fish like striped bass and false albacore have been finicky at best in recent years (especially in the northern waters of the New England coast), anglers can take heart in knowing that the fishing action has traditionally been hot in summers following “El Nino” winters. Consider these options as you plan a New England fishing trip in the months ahead.
Bluefish from the Beach:
Blues might still be considered a “by-catch” species for many saltwater anglers in search of table fare, but the sport fisherman in the know has grown to respect these “choppers” and “gators” for what they really are—pound for pound, probably the toughest, scrappiest fighters on the Atlantic Coast. There is almost nothing as exciting for the surf-casting angler as throwing pencil-poppers from the beach (with a wire leader, of course) into a school of thrashing blues. You cast, rip the retrieve and wait for the attack…then hang on. Predicted hotspot for 2010: all along the shorelines of Cape Cod.
If you’re looking for some fast-action deep sea fishing, consider an offshore tuna trip. Follow the diving birds; they’ll tell you where the tuna are rolling and crashing through schools of bunker and other baitfish. To get lucky enough to find schools of bluefin tuna—the heaviest (up to 1,800 pounds), toughest-fighting (they swim 60 miles an hour), and best-tasting tuna species (Japanese sushi buyers wait at the docks during bluefin season)—you’ll likely have to fish well offshore. But there’s also something to be said for casting at “football” sized juvenile yellowfins (especially on the fly) a few miles from the beach. Predicted hotspot for 2010: off Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Stripers from the Jetty:
Striped bass typically don’t show up en masse in northern New England waters until June and July. But when they do, it’s usually a lights-out angling affair. Fishing from jetties and river inlets with live baits like eels will often produce stripers in the 15-pound-plus range. The trick is to concentrate on moving water and work the tides. Cast and let your live bait roll along the bottom with the current. Or you can throw swimbaits—even flies like Deceivers and Puglisi Peanut Butter patterns—to emulate the baitfish stripers chase near shore. Predicted hotspot for 2010: the mouth of Maine’s Kennebec River, near Popham Beach.
To find more great places to fish in the Northeast, be sure to check out TakeMeFishing.org’s hotspot map.
As warm spring weather arrives, we all want to get our boats out on the water as soon as possible. But it pays dividends (in terms of safety and the long-term maintenance of your boat) to take the time to properly prepare your vessel for the season ahead. Follow these eight easy steps, and you’ll have your boat shipshape and ready to go:
If you spend just one day doing these things, you’ll assure yourself of many good boating days in the season ahead. For more details, check out the spring checklist.
Frank P I reeled in this largemouth in Alabama, home to some of the best bass fishing in the country. With the outside temperatures getting warmer in February, I knew we would find the bass in shallower water because that is where the bass move to feed and spawn when the weather (and water) start to warm up. We moved our fishing boat to the perfect spot: close to the shoreline, in a spot where we could see a sunken log. The key to landing this fish was finding structure near the shore, like the sunken tree, because it helps warm up the water and attracts plenty of prey to the area. If you do that, you may land a big one.
Stephanie W I landed this beautiful dolphinfish (Mahi Mahi) in the Florida Keys, trolling with ballyhoo. While out fishing, we spotted a floating weedline, a popular spot for school of dolphinfish, so we decided to work our boat around that area. We also saw another sure sign of fish when we noticed a flock of frigate circling the weedline. When big predators, like the dolphinfish, are around, smaller fish tend to swim closer to the surface and attract a variety of sea birds looking for an easy meal. >>Find me on Fishington, you never know when I'll post some more saltwater fishing tips. Helena B I caught this striped bass while fishing in the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland last summer. I was fishing with a favorite food of the striped bass, cut bait (spot in this case). Since we were fishing in the summer, we knew the stripers would be in deeper waters, so we positioned our boat near drop-offs. The season/temperature is a great starting point when looking for stripers, just remember, fish in shallower water in the fall and spring. Find me on Fishington and you may just pick up some more helpful fishing h
©2013 RBFF. All Rights Reserved