There’s not much I like more than warm summer days. Feeling the sun on my face and cool water on my feet as I wade in a river or lake puts me in a great frame of mind. Unfortunately, the fish don’t often feel the same way. You’ve probably noticed that those hot, bright summer days can be very tough for fishing. You might be in a good mood, but the fish are not.
Don’t worry. There are ways to beat the hot summertime fishing blues. All you have to do is remember these tricks.
1) Early and late. Fish still have to eat to survive. The only thing that changes in the dog days of summer is that the fish do their eating earlier and later in the day. Fish as close to sunrise and sunset as you can, and your odds improve dramatically. Where it’s legal, you might even try fishing at night. You just might surprise yourself.
2) Get down. Another rule of thumb is that most fish (including baitfish) will be found in deeper water during hot summer days. In a lake situation, many fish will like to hang out right around the thermocline (the depth where water temperatures noticeably drop). In warmer months, that level is deeper. In rivers, fish tend to hang out in the bottoms of runs more in the summer.
3) Key in on changes. Some universal fishing rules still apply in the summer. One of the most important is understanding that fish like changes—changes in depth, changes in current, and changes in structure. If you are able to locate dropoffs, submerged rock piles, in-flows and out-flows, and things of that nature, you’ll be more likely to find fish in the first place.
4) Force the bite. Sometimes, when fish are in lethargic feeding mood the angler has to make them an offer they literally cannot refuse. I’m a big fan of “attractor” fishing in the summer. I use lures with bright colors and accents that grab attention (especially when I am fishing dark, deep water), and when I fly fish a river, I use gaudy dry flies that look like grasshoppers and other terrestrial insects.
Summer is for sure a great season for fishing, but it can be tricky when it comes to catching. Fish early, deep, and bright, and follow the food sources, and you’ll solve the riddles of summer, no problem.
Kirk Deeter is an editor-at-large with Field & Stream magazine, and the editor-in-chief of Angling Trade. He is the co-author of four books, most recently the Little Red Book of Fly Fishing. He also blogs at Takemefishing.org.
It is 10:00 p.m., do you know where your boat is at this exact moment? Nothing can ruin a day faster than having your boat stolen. Take a second and think about how much money you have invested in your boat, which is either sitting outside, in the garage or in the marina. And don’t just consider the boat itself. You also need to think about your fishing gear and equipment, skis, life jackets, electronics, outboard motor, and the list goes on.Unfortunately, many boat owners make boat theft too easy. Black market boat sales encourage crooks to quickly turn your boat into quick cash. Yes, your boat insurance may cover your boat for theft, but don’t forget about the downtime and inconvenience when your boat is taken. That’s why Markel Boat Insurance put together some easy tips and tricks on how to you can protect your boat (and yourself).
As easy as it is for you to move your boat from one lake to another, it’s just as easy for a thief to steal your boat (especially if you keep your boat on a trailer). Boats kept on trailers are tempting targets. To help make your boat less appealing, consider the following:
Once you have the boat and trailer secure, be sure to store your boat equipment in a secure place as well. If you have an outboard motor, lock it to the boat or store it in another safe spot. The same goes for electronics. The best thing to do is remove valuable and easily transportable electronics from the boat. If you want to keep these items on the boat, be sure to keep them out of sight and locked away.
Marking your boat electronics and any personal items you use regularly on the boat is one of the first things you should do. While most people use their name to identify these items, using the hull number (HIN) is another option. If you have a trailer, you will want to mark that as well (perhaps on the underside of the tongue or axle).
Consider taking a hull rubbing of your HIN. To do this, take a sheet of paper and tape it over the HIN number. Rub back and forth across the number lightly with a soft pencil until the number shows through. Keep a copy of your hull rubbing, boat registration and trailer registrations at home in a safe place. That way, if your boat is stolen, you still have your paperwork which can help in the recovery process.
In addition to your registration papers, be sure to keep track of all of your electronics, personal floatation devices (PFDs), fishing equipment and any other items that you keep stored aboard the boat. Create an inventory list that includes the item, the manufacturer and the serial number. (If something is stolen, the serial number can help you track down the missing item, especially if someone tries to sell it). You may also want to consider taking pictures of your boat equipment, as well as your boat and trailer, to help you document the items, their condition, etc. Keep your inventory list and pictures in a safe place where they are available if you need them.
Putting an alarm system on your boat is always a good idea. Alarms are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at most marine and electronics stores. Make sure that the alarm you purchase is specifically designed for marine use. These types of alarms are able to withstand the damp environment. Non-marine systems may report false alarms, have a higher tendency to malfunction, and have a shorter lifespan.
You may also want to consider purchasing an electronic GPS tracking device that is specifically designed to help you know where you (and your boat) are at all times. Prop locks, outdrive locks, and boat lift locks are other devices that can be installed to help prevent boat and equipment theft as well.
Boat insurance won’t protect your boat from being stolen, but it can help you recover quicker if it is. When deciding on boat insurance, there are a few things that you will want to look at before purchasing the policy.
As you can see, there are a number of different things to consider when looking at boat insurance policies. The cheapest insurance policy for your boat may not cover your boat and equipment as well as you may think. Be sure to talk to your insurance agent or a boat insurance specialist to make sure that you understand your policy before it’s too late. Boat not insured? Contact Markel Boat Insurance today at 1-800-236-2453 to get your boat covered.
If your boat (or some of your boating equipment) is stolen, immediately report the loss to the local police department and your insurance company. If you use a marina or storage facility to house your boat, you should also report the loss to them as well. Gather your inventory list and pictures and be ready to answer any questions they may have about the incident. Being able to identify your property with documentation is crucial to the recovery of your boat and equipment, and to the prosecution of the people involved.
Many people don’t make boat security a priority until it’s too late. Convenience tends to outweigh cautiousness more often than not. Too often we do things quickly because we are wet, hungry or entertaining others. But remember, the quicker you are, the easier it will be for someone else to step in and sail off with your boat into the sunset.
We hear a lot these days about threatened rivers—waters that are in peril as fisheries and recreational resources. No doubt, it is in every angler’s interest to support efforts to help conserve those rivers. But there are positive stories out there and examples of rivers that are realizing the beneficial effects from conservation and cleanup efforts. With that in mind, we've created this list of America’s Renewed Rivers:
What fish would lure a magazine writer, the host of a popular fishing television show, a dentist, a rock musician, an artist and a number of professional fishing guides to a mountain reservoir near San Diego for a hot summer weekend?
You read that correctly. My last notebook adventure (one of the more interesting fishing experiences I’ve had in years) unfolded at the Lake Henshaw Carp on the Fly Warm Water Throw Down, a fledgling fishing tournament that involved pros and amateurs, saltwater and freshwater aficionados. It wasn’t so much about the prizes as it was a shared fascination with the oft-maligned, underappreciated common carp.
What were we thinking? Well, there’s a growing interest within the fly fishing community to catch carp. There are two reasons: 1) Carp can be found just about anywhere in the country, so they offer ample opportunity, and 2) If you take the time to learn how to catch carp with flies, you will become a better angler, period.
Don’t believe me? Here’s what Conway Bowman, host of Fly Fishing the World, pioneer of mako shark fishing with flies, and a current IGFA world record holder for redfish on the fly had to say: “I don’t think there’s any fish that challenge the skills of an angler quite the way that carp do,” said Bowman. “My wheels are constantly turning when I fish for carp. I fish for them because they up my game in ways that apply to everything from ocean fish to trout.”
The good news when fly fishing for carp is that these fish are omnivores, meaning they’ll eat just about anything, from popcorn to berries to crayfish to minnows. The bad news when fly fishing for carp is, well, they’re omnivores and they’ll eat just about anything. Dialing into exactly what they are feeding on in any given place and time can be extremely challenging.
On that day at Lake Henshaw, guide John Hendrickson and his teammate, Dustin Sergent, figured out that the dry winds from the south end of the lake were blowing grasshoppers onto the water. The winning bugs were grasshopper flies. (The fish sipped hoppers from the surface of the lake in a way that rivaled anything I’ve ever seen dry fly fishing for trout.)
I know there are some people who will never be convinced that carp are anything but trash fish. But for those of you who wonder, I’d suggest you not knock it until you try it. Fly fishing for carp might just open up a world of opportunity and education probably close to home.
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