Some Fishing Tips
By Al Denninger © 2014

Every fishing season we learn new tricks to improve and increase our enjoyment and hopefully our catch. Talking to people at sports shows, at my seminars, and in the course of a fishing day, I hear many interesting and informative fishing tips. The following are just a few of the fishing tips I feel are worthy of passing along.

Keeping Night Crawlers Cool and Dry

Keeping a nightcrawler in good condition can be hard, especially in a boat during the heat of a summer day. To keep your crawlers cool and dry in a boat for an extended period of time, simply place in the crawlers in a double sided worm box and then put the worm box in a five quart ice cream bucket that has been set in a large cooler containing ice. The ice will keep the crawlers cool while the ice cream bucket will keep the crawlers dry as the ice melts. The crawlers remain fresh, cool and dry even during the hottest summer day.

Vertical Jigging

When vertical jigging, your line can become twisted. To prevent this twisting, tying a small barrel swivel about 1ft. up from the jig.

Locate New Weeds

This is one for the summer angler who plans on fishing walleye next May. Weed growth is at its peak in July and August. Locate weed beds on your favorite walleye lake for the following spring. Smart walleye fishermen realize that newly emerging weeds are prime early season walleye hot spots. Scout on a clear day. Put on your polarized sunglasses and cruise the shoreline and shallow bars, visually seeking cabbage and coon tail weed beds and mark them on your map. Deeper weeds are also much easier to spot on the electronics at this time of year.

For the River Fishermen

Rising dirty river conditions often mean a slow, tough bite. A trick that works well it is to go to a completely artificial lure presentation. Favorite lures for this technique include jigs with 2 inch twister tail, 2 inch double tails, or sassy shads. Apply a little fish sent and try fishing these plastic lowers against the current as much as possible. The current resistance against these plastic baits creates vibrations and presents a better target for the walleye.

Vertical jigging and river fishing go together like Fridays and fish fries. To increase your chances of catching your next fish fry from a river, try this trick when the fishing actions slows down. Change your presentation by dragging your jig. Occasionally, lift it slightly off the bottom. Veteran river rats have found this change will trigger some of the non-aggressive fish. However, have plenty of jigs because you tend to snag more using this method.

Summer Walleyes

Walleyes can be taken not only on crawlers and leeches during the summer months, but also on minnows. Minnows fall from favor with anglers not because they stop catching fish, but due to the fact that it is almost impossible to keep most species alive. Not so with the lowly "mud" minnow. Many fishermen know that mud minnows are dynamite for largemouth bass, but very few use them for walleyes. They are by far and away the best minnows for warm weather. Northern and Musky love them also. They stayed on a hook and remain a live much longer than any chub. A 3 inch "mud" tipped on a 1/16 ounce weedless jig worked through the weeds is tough to beat on certain lakes. A mud minnow will survive all day in the minnow bucket in 90į weather with no special handling. Try that with chubs and they are dead in an hour without ice and aeration.

Musky Tips.

Since most Musky strike a lure as it hits the water to within the first 3ft. of the retrieve, a shorter cast increases your odds of producing a strike. Make 1500 short casts of about 75 to 80ft. long. During an average day of a musky fishing, this will give you a 1/3 better chance of a strike then your partner who makes 1000 longer casts that day.

Follow Ups.

Many times when a musky follows your bucktail to the boat aggressively but does not strike...try casting out the same color pattern, only in a smaller overall size. Many times this will provoke a strike.

With catch and release fishing, many well meaning anglers keep their catch out of the water longer than necessary. If your boat is equipped with a live well, simply remove hooks from the Muskyís jaw while keeping the fish and the net in the water. Then place your hand along the gill plate, removing the fish from the net and placing it in the live well (pre-filled of course). This will give the fish time to regain its strength and allow you/or your fishing partner time to ready the camera. When all is set, hold the fish up supporting its weight with your other hand while your partner snaps a couple of quick pictures.

Now, put the Musky back into the lake while holding the fish just above the tail. With a gentle back and forth a motion, the fish will soon pull away from you ready to fight again another day. You will have pictures of your prize and a special feeling that comes only with seeing this great fish swim away, hopefully to spawn again next spring. The key here is to never a keep a fish you plan on releasing out of the water any longer than you can hold your breath underwater!

If your boat does not have a live well, simply keep the fish in the net alongside the boat. On bigger fish, this can get a little hairy, but itís better than having a trophy that you intend to release flopping on the floor of your boat.

Tight Lines