Sunday, October 31, 2010

Keep Your Hooks Fresh! (SFM, Oct/Nov 2010)

From the Oct/Nov 2010 Hints & Tips Issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine. Download this and other back issues free online:

By John “Toast” Oast

Do you ever have rusty or oxidized hooks? It doesn’t take much for a little moisture to ruin a whole tackle box full of hooks. Start saving the small packets you find in packaging after you go shopping. The same way these “freshness” packs keep food, shoes, and medications from being damaged by moisture, they also can help in your tackle box. Place them in your gun boxes, too! Just remember to replace them from time to time, since they will eventually reach their maximum absorbency.

John “Toast” Oast is the publisher of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine and a member of the Johnson Outdoors Pro Staff and Ocean Kayak Fishing Team. His kayak rigging videos have received thousands of views, and been linked to websites around the world. For more information, visit and his Youtube page at

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Five Knots You Need to Know! (SFM, Oct/Nov 2010)

From the Oct/Nov 2010 Hints & Tips Issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine. Download this and other back issues free online:

By Nathan Follmer

One of the most overwhelming aspects of fishing is choosing the right knot. Think about it for a minute – there are hundreds of different knots being used today, so how do you know which one is right for which situation? The short answer to this question is that there really isn’t a correct answer. It all comes down to personal preference and even your own ability to tie some of these complicated knots. I’ll show you some of my favorite knots. I chose most of these because they are simple, strong and very easy to tie – especially in mid-winter when you’re freezing and can’t seem to get your hands to work.

San Diego Jam Knot -

I haven’t used this first knot very long, but I wish I had found out about this one sooner. Anytime you feel the need to use an ‘Improved Clinch’ knot, give this one a try – “The San Diego Jam”.

I started using this knot when I tied my lures on straight to braid. ‘Improved Clinch’ knots just do not hold well enough with braid. I eventually started using this knot on most of my lure-to-line applications. This knot has not slipped or broken on me yet and that’s more than I can say for the ‘Improved Clinch’!

Rapala Knot -

The next knot is another lure-to-0line knot. This knot is fairly popular, but I still do not see people using this as much as they should. The ‘Rapala Knot’ is a great knot to use on any hard bait. It can also be used on nymphs while fly fishing. This knot frees the lure and allows for a more natural presentation.

This knot looks difficult, but it really is easy after a few practice runs. Keep this one simple, just tie an overhand knot, bring the tag end through the overhand knot, and then finish just like you’re tying an ‘Improved Clinch’. This knot really excels on suspending jerkbaits and nymphs, but can also be used on crankbaits and topwater lures.

World’s Fair Knot -

Another great knot that I have just recently started using is the ‘World’s Fair’ Knot. This knot is a great knot to use when you’re dropshotting. It’s fast, easy to tie and very strong. I have used this on braid, mono, and fluorocarbon with no issues.

I also use this to tie on dry flies when I need them to sit perfectly on top of the water. This is a lightweight knot that will keep your knot from pulling the fly into the water.

Alberto Knot -

Ok, we covered knots that connect lure to line, now let’s move on to some knots I use to attach leaders onto my main line. The one knot that I use almost all the time with leaders is the ‘Alberto Knot’. This knot is a modified version of the ‘Albright Knot’ and is actually easier to tie.

This knot is very strong – I have actually broken 65 lb. braid with the knot being unaffected. Some people like to add a drop of super glue or nail polish to this knot, but I change leaders so often that I don’t see the need to do this. This is the slimmest knot I have seen and it has no problem traveling through guides.

Nail-less Nail Knot -

Here is one for all you fly anglers out there – ‘The Nail-less Nail Knot’. I’ll be the first to admit that I hate tying a nail knot. I still cannot tie one without having to start over multiple times, so this knot is perfect for me.

I’ve seen a few different ways to tie this knot, but I find this is the easiest way to tie it when using those very small leaders.

The last thing I will say about tying these knots is to practice. I’ve tied most of these knots so many times that I can do them in the dark. These may feel awkward at first, but soon you will develop a muscle memory and will be able to tie these as fast as you can tie your shoes! Remember, knots are very important to landing those big fish, so make sure they are tied properly, look neat and are lubricated before tightened.

Nathan Follmer is the owner and creator of ‘Fishing In Pa’, a website dedicated to all things fishing in Pennsylvania. Nathan is an avid bass and trout angler, but will fish for any species. Some of his favorite places to fish are the Juniata River, Raystown Lake and Penn’s Creek. Feel free to contact him with any questions at

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recycle Your Soft Plastics! (SFM, Oct/Nov 2010)

From the Oct/Nov 2010 Hints & Tips Issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine. Download this and other back issues free online:

By John “Toast” Oast

If you have a little time on your hands, and some old soft plastics, try this one…

Next time you’re at the store, pick up an aluminum disposable bread pan and some silicone caulk. Next, fill the bread pan full with the caulk. Grab a favorite soft plastic bait (Stick baits are easiest). Then place the bait gently in the top of the silicone, leaving it there for the duration of the drying process to create an impression. Make sure it is not totally submerged and covered up under the silicone. Be sure the silicone is totally cured before continuing (This may take several days). Once cured, remove the imbedded bait.

Then take your old and worn out soft plastics and melt them into an old pan. To maintain specific colors heat similar colors at the same time. Make sure you don’t heat the melted plastic too hot, or it will burn. Carefully pour the melted plastic into the mold impressions. Allow the plastic to fully cool and harden. Then simply remove the new baits and hit the water.

Just be sure of the following…

1. Be careful, the plastic is VERY hot and thick, therefore it REALLY hurts if it gets on your skin!

2. Don’t use your wife’s pan to melt the plastic, unless you have a really comfortable couch!

John “Toast” Oast is the publisher of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine and a member of the Johnson Outdoors Pro Staff and Ocean Kayak Fishing Team. His kayak rigging videos have received thousands of views, and been linked to websites around the world. For more information, visit and his Youtube page at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Susquehanna River Fly and Spin Guide Service Fishing Report, Week of October 25, 2010

The fall fishing bite is well, "On like Donkey Kong" as they say. My anglers this week have been catching chunky smallies on a variety of lure presentations. Believe it or not, we even picked up a few on fly, one of my favorite ways to catch 'em. It was my angler's first smallie on fly. These fish will continue to feed through the fall and should only get better as the days go on. Give me a call To Get Bent and sling some string this fall!

Your Susquehanna River fishing guide, Steve Hancock!------<*)}}}}}><

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Koinonia Guide Service Susquehanna Fishing Report, 10/23/10


Hi Gang,

The river was at 4.4 with 21,900CF of flow and 56 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.1 with 16,200CF of flow and 46 degrees. The BP was 30.45 and steady.

1. Trip #1 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Monday evening and we fished from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM and we boated 7 Bass. The largest was 17” and we caught it on a Rattle Bait. We caught them on Stick Baits, Rattle Baits and Jigs. We had 4.2 – Stained – Rising – 18,900 CF and 55 degrees. It was cloudy and we had a BP of 30.20 and steady.

2. Trip #2 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Monday evening and we fished from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM and we boated 50 Sunfish. The largest was 9.25” long. We caught them all on worms. We had 4.2 – Rising - Stained – 18,900 CF and 55 degrees. It was cloudy skies and we had a BP of 30.20 & falling. This was on a Lake.

3. Trip #3 – Guide Trip – This was a Tuesday AM half day trip and we boated 14 Bass. The largest was 16.5” and we caught it on a YUM Craw Papi. We caught them all on jigs. We had 4.6 – Steady - Stained – 24,300CF and 55 degrees. It was clear skies and we had a BP of 30.20 and falling.

4. Trip #4 Guide Trip – This was a half day Tuesday PM Trip and we boated 16 Flatheads and the largest was 29.01 pounds. We had several citation size fish and we caught them on live and cut bait. We had 4.6 – Rising – Stained - 24,300CF and 55 degrees. It was calm and sunny and we had a BP of 30.20 and falling.

5. Trip #5 – Guide Fun Trip – This was a full day trip and we boated 60+ Smallmouth and the largest was 19” & 4.4#. We had numerous fish over 4 # and we had many over 18”. We caught them on soft plastics and stickbaits. We had 4.1 – Steady – Clear – 16,200 CF and 48 degrees. It was breezy and clear with a BP of 30.45 and steady.

6. Trip #6 – Guide Trip – This was a full day guide trip on a lake and we boated 40 White Perch and 25 Blue Gill. It was clear and breezy with a BP of 30.45 and steady.

7. We had several extremely windy conditions again this week and the full moon shut down the catfish bite from what we were told.

8. The cooling water temperature is making the bass fishing better and the Walleye fishing should continue to build as well.

9. Please write the Fish and Boat Commission and express your concerns to them. We can provide you with email addresses if you need them.

10. Last Tuesday we had PAFB Commission Executive Director, John Arway, out on the river with us and we got to express our thanks and concerns to him. I would like to see a slot limit on the Flatheads to protect the big fish. I would like to see them add the tributaries to the catch and release regulations for Bass. I would like to see them cut the creel limit on Walleyes to 3 per day and only one over 22”.

11. I have been invited and have accepted to shoot a half hour TV Show with Alex Zidock covering what is happening with the Susquehanna River. This is a local show that runs in the Pocono Area. On Tuesday, November 9th my wife, Linda, and I will be traveling to Mt. Pocono to shoot this show.

12. I understand there was a special meeting held this past Thursday evening at Susquehanna Fishing Tackle to discuss how to get the catch and release regulation repealed. Please let them know at the store your opinion on this issue. I can provide contact information for you if you like.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

What’s the Deal with Soft Stickbaits? (SFM; June 2010)

From the June 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By Juan Veruete (

I'm a tough nut to crack when it comes to new baits. Years ago I can remember seeing my first soft stickworm. It was a Yamamato Senko. I also remember thinking to myself, "what's the big deal?" It was soon after that I began experimenting with the bait and catching fish. A lot of fish! Well, years later stickworms are still catching fish for anglers across the country and we can be rest assured that this bait is more than a passing fad. It has become a mainstay for many largemouth and smallmouth bass anglers. I know stickworms have certainly gained my respect and a permanent place in my fishing arsenal.

Like any bait, it does have some limitations. That being said, I'm always trying to extend the use of a good bait by finding new ways to rig and present it. The stickworm is no exception. Most fisherman think of this bait as a shallow, open water bait. Through some creative rigging and ingenuity, a stickworm can be utilized across many different cover types and depths. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Fishing shallow sparse cover or rock

When fishing shallow water or sparse cover, your best rigging option is often an exposed hook. I prefer exposed hook rigging when possible for two reasons. First, the exposed hook helps increase your hook up ratio. Second, the hooks used in this rigging technique are smaller and lighter and, therefore, will not hinder the vertical slow fall that makes a soft stickworm such a great bait for river smallmouth bass. My two favorite rigging options for a stickworm in sparse cover are "Nose Hooking" and "Wacky Rigging."

Nose Hooking

Nose hooking a soft stickbait is fairly simple. Just as the name implies, you find the nose of the bait and hook it. There are several types of hooks you can use when nose hooking a soft stickbait. A few of my favorites are circle hooks, Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hooks and Gamakatsu split shot/drop shot hook. For example, if I'm rigging a 3" soft stickbait I'll most often use a 1/0 Gamakatsu drop shot hook.

There are several advantages to nose hooking a soft stickbait. I've already mentioned that the exposed hook increases your hook up ratio. A second important advantage is that you have the hook in the place where the fish is most likely to attack the bait. Smallmouth have an uncanny ability to know where the "head" of an artificial lure or natural prey is and hit it. If you've ever observed a smallmouth attacking a soft plastic bait in clear water, you know what I mean. In a smallmouth’s world, the skinny part is the tail and the fat part is the head of a bait.

Wacky Rig

I like "wacky rigging" a bait mainly because I think the name is funny. Of course you know I'm kidding… right? Wacky rigging is one of my mainstay rigging techniques in sparse cover and around rocky areas. I will typically wacky rig my soft stickbaits with a circle hook of some type or even a size 1 or 2 Kamakatsu offset extra wide gap worm hook. Circle hooks are great because they can significantly reduce gut hooking and take very little work to set the hook. Just reel up on the line, sweep the rod, and you’re hooked up!

To wacky rig, just find the center point of the bait and stick the hook straight through. It's important that you find the center point at which the bait balances on the hook evenly. The head end of soft stickbaits is usually a little bigger than the tapered tail end so the "mid point" to balance out the bait is often a little toward the head of actual center.

I'll switch over to an offset worm hook when I'm getting bit but still have trouble getting hooked up on fish. Many times fisherman think they are missing smallmouth because the fish are small. I've found that this is not always the case. The bigger offset wide-gapped hook has helped me connect on fish when the bite is very subtle. I think the bigger wide-gapped hook gets sucked in momentarily and when the smallmouth tries to spit the bait, the hook gets hung up on it's mouth, resulting in a hookup when normally you'd feel a subtle tap… tap… then nothing more.

In general, the wacky rig is great for smallmouth in a negative to neutral mood. Typically under those conditions smallmouth move up on a bait and "mouth" or "taste" it. When a smallmouth does this it is not necessarily attacking the bait at the head. It most often is picking the bait up at the mid point. I've observed this behavior quite often. A good general rule of thumb is to start with the nose hook then move to the wacky rig if you are getting bites but not able to convert them to catches.

Fishing Vegetation and Wood

In the summer, fishing message boards are full of fisherman trying to solve the "weed" problem on the Susquehanna River and other flows that see a fair amount of summer growth. Most often their looking for advice on presentations that will allow them to fish in the weed beds where the smallmouth are seeking refuge during sunny summer days. Fishing cover with a soft stickworm is where we start "weeding out" (pun intended) fisherman who think this is difficult to impossible. Contrary to popular belief, this bait can be extremely effective in wood, weeds, and pads. Two very simple rigging techniques will get you in the thick of things.

Texposed Rig

Texposed rigging is great for sliding the bait through submerged weeds and wood. You can slide it through the cover and when you feel it hit an open pocket of water let it fall. That's typically when smallmouth will hit the bait. When fishing weeds in current, I'll position myself downstream of the weeds, cast up, then slide the bait through the weeds as it moves downstream. This will also help reduce snags significantly. You can also use a similar technique when fishing a downed tree. Position yourself near the crown of the tree and pull the bait through the limbs.

My hook of choice for texposing soft stickbaits is a Gamakatsu extra wide gap offset worm hook. It's a long name for a darn good hook. Size of the hooks will range from to 5/0 depending on the size of the soft stickworm. For example, if I'm rigging a 3" stickworm I'll often use a size 2 offset worm hook. If I'm rigging a 6 inch or large bait the size of the hook will be 3/0 or possibly 4/0. The primary factor that determines hook size is the length and thickness of the bait. I try to use a hook that will allow the body of the stickworm to move out of the way when the bait is taken in and chomped down on by the fish.

Texposing is fairly simple. Insert the point of the hook about 1/4 inch into the nose of the bait and punch it out the side. Flip the point of the hook toward the worm and pull the hook thought until it reaches the bend of the offset hook. Then punch the hook point straight up through the worm and out the other side. The worm should be rigged perfectly straight on the hook. If not, most likely you punched the hook point through the worm at an angle or in the wrong spot. Try backing it out and punching though again.

Wacky Rig with weed guarded hook

Emergent weeds on surface of the river? No problem. This is an excellent situation to wacky rig your soft stickbait with a weed guarded hook. My favorite hook is a Gamakatsu finesse wide gap weedless hook. It has a nice little flexible weed guard that you can drag through some serious slop without getting hung up. Typically when I'm tossing soft stickbaits into emergent weeds, I'll throw bait that are 5" or larger. I find that a size 1/0 hook does the job nicely with this size bait.

The bait can be presented two ways. First, you can just drag it across the weed slop and let it sit on top of it. This is more of a "top water" presentation and it is very effective in early morning or overcast conditions. It is also what I refer to as a "horizontal" presentation of the bait. Second, you can cast it to holes or gaps in the weeds and make a more vertical presentation by letting it drop on a slack line. Let's take this one step further. You can also combine both presentations by casting the bait out across the surface weeds, dragging the bait across the slop and as the bait reaches a gap, hole, or the edge, let it free line down. This can be an extremely effective presentation because the smallmouth will be able to track the bait across the weeds and then jump all over it when it falls though a hole. Strikes will usually come in the first foot of the drop so hang on!

Fishing deep water and current

Now it's time to take our soft stick bait fishing to a new level. Most river smallmouth fisherman will fish the bait down to 5' or 8' but find it very difficult to fish the bait effectively any deeper. I'm of the mind that if a soft bait can catch fish at 5' it can probably also do the job at 10 feet or more. We just need to find a way to get it down. We also need to be able to keep reasonably good contact with the bait so we know when we have a hit or when we are bumping bottom. Here are a couple of solutions that will not only get the bait down but also enable you to fish the bait in more current than you thought possible.

Nail Weights

As the name implies, nail weights look like nails but are made of lead. I saw my first nail weights back in the mid 80's when they were developed for the new soft jerkbait referred to as a Slug-Go. The nail weights were inserted into the plastic baits to get them down deeper. Nail weights are typically about 1/2 inch long and can be used as is or cut into pieces depending on how much weight you want insert into your soft stick bait. The weights are basically pushed into the soft plastic so that they are completed buried under the "skin" of the bait. When nail weighting soft stick worms you need to make sure that you use a single weight in the center, or if you are going to use multiple weights, make sure that the weight is evenly distributed across the bait so that it still falls in the horizontal position.

Jig Heads

Using a jig head with a soft stickbait is a great way to get the bait down to smallmouth holding in deep runs. It does negate the action of the bait but it still presents that great soft stickbait profile that smallmouth love. I will typically only use a jig head with soft stick worms in the 3" or 4" length. Longer baits just have too much bulk and the weight needed is just too much to make a good presentation. Most often when rigging the 3" or 4" stickbaits I'll used a standard 1/8 oz. jig head. I fish the bait much like a tube, bouncing it along the rocky bottom keeping contact with the bait so I can feel the most subtle strike.

A soft stickworm is one of the most effective summer time baits for river smallmouth. Almost every fisherman I know has at least a few in his or her bag of tricks. Some of the best fishermen I know catch fish because they have a handful of go-to baits that they are able to adapt and present in a wide range of fishing conditions. As you've seen, with a little thought, experimentation, and effort even a simple straight worm can be adapted and presented in a wide range of fishing conditions. This was just a quick overview of what you can do with the bait. Hopefully it will be food for thought and lead you to more ideas and ways to fish the bait. Like I always say, experimentation is a fisherman’s best friend. Without it, we would still be fishing with live baits and bone hooks.

From top to bottom: 4" bait wacky rigged on a size 2 offset shank worm hook, 4" bait wacky rigged on a size 1 Gamakatsu Octopus hook, 3" bait nose hooked with a 1/0 Gamakatsu split shot/drop shot hook

From top to bottom: 5.25" bait texposed rigged with a 4/0 Gamakatsu offset shank extra wide gap worm hook, 4.25" bait weedless wacky rigged on a Gamakatsu finesse wide gap weedless hook

From top to bottom: 3" bait rigged on a 1/8 oz. jig head, various sized nail waits that can inserted into a wacky rigged stick worm increase the depth that it can be fished

Juan is a member of several fishing industry pro staffs including and the Centre Sportsman TV Show. He has almost 40 years of fishing experience on the waters of Pennsylvania. Get more great fishing tips, techniques, and reports on his personal blog,

Friday, October 22, 2010

SFM Hints & Tips Issue Now Online!

The Susquehanna Fishing Magazine October/November 2010 Hints & Tips Issue is now online and available for free download via the website.

Check out Bryan Wilhelm's "Black Bass Lure Selection Matrix", Nathan Follmer's "Five Knots You Need to Know", and select Hints & Tips which will improve your angling skills!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Susquehanna Fly and Spin Guide Service Fishing Report; Mid-October 2010

Well you can tell its fall as football season is here once again on the Susquehanna River as many football shaped Smallmouth Bass have been making their way to the boat for my anglers this week. Congrats to some of them as these were some of their chunkiest smallies they have have ever caught. Some double hook ups were had as well. This is a great time to experience the smallmouth bite and to get bent and sling some string with us!

Until the next report, tight lines!-----<*)}}}}}><
Your Susquehanna River Fishing Guide, Steve Hancock

Monday, October 18, 2010


Hi Gang,

The river was at 6.1 with 54,700CF of flow and 64 degrees at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.4 with 21,900CF of flow and 56 degrees. The BP was 30.20 and falling.

1. Trip #1 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Monday evening and we fished from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM and we boated 11 Walleye, 1 Channel Cat and 1 Bass. The largest Walleye was 20”, the Bass was 14.5” and the Channel Cat was 24”. We caught them on Stick Baits, Rattle Baits and Jigs. Three of the Walleye were legal. We had 5.1 – Muddy – Steady – 34,500 CF and 60 degrees. It was clear we had a BP of 30.00 and steady.

2. Trip #2 – Guide Fun Trip – This was on Tuesday evening and we fished from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM and we boated 10 Flatheads. The larges was 41.5” long and weighed 38.05#. This is the largest one we have caught to date. We also had several this night over 20 pounds. We caught them on live bait and cut bait. We had 5.1 – Steady - Muddy - 34,000 CF and 60 degrees. It was cloudy skies and we had a BP of 30.20 & falling.

3. Trip #3 – Guide Scouting Trip – This was on Wednesday and we fished from 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM and we boated 2 Bass. The largest was 14”. We caught them on YUM Craw Papi’s. We had 4.7 – Steady - Muddy – 26,300CF and 58 degrees. It was clear skies and we had a BP of 30.30 and falling.

4. Trip #4 Guide Trip – This was a half day Saturday PM Trip and we boated 20+ Flatheads. The largest was 28# and we had several citation size fish. We caught them all on live bait. We had 4.4 – Stained – Steady - 21,970CF and 56 degrees. It was windy and we had a BP of 30.20 and falling.

5. Trip #5 – Guide Trip – No Trip

6. Trip #6 – Guide Trip – No Trip

7. We got blown off the water on Thursday and Friday.

8. The cooling water temperature is making the bass fishing better and the Walleye fishing should continue to build as well.

9. Please write the Fish and Boat Commission and express your concerns to them. We can provide you with email addresses if you need them.

10. There is an article today in the Republican Herald news paper. This article is based on an outing that we took Doyle Dietz on and it can be seen at Go to sports and then outdoors and click on the article.

11. Last Tuesday we had Commissioner Bob Bachman out on the river with us and this Tuesday we will have Executive Director John Arway out with us. We will continue to express our concerns to them about the Bass situation, the walleye creel limit and creating a Flathead slot limit.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

PA Fish & Boat Proposes Susky/Juniata C&R Regulations

From today's Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission's press release:

"Following years of declining numbers of smallmouth bass in the Juniata and lower Susquehanna rivers, the Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today moved to protect the fisheries by placing catch and release regulations on sections of the two waterways which are currently regulated under the Big Bass Program."

"The Board of Commissioners voted at its quarterly meeting, held today at the Genetti Hotel, to approve the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking containing the proposed regulations. Pending a final vote by the board at a subsequent quarterly meeting, PFBC Executive Director John Arway signed a temporary emergency order which allows the changes to take affect Jan. 1, 2011."

Check out the linked press release for specifics...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fly Fishing For Monster Trout Seminar with George Douglas (10/6/2010, Harrisburg, PA)

Harrisburg, PA — Hall of Fame author, fishing guide, filmmaker and publisher of Kype Fishing Magazine, George Douglas, will be in the Harrisburg area on October, 6th. This free event will be held at the Gander Mountain Sports in Harrisburg from 6:30 to 8:00pm.

This should be a fantastic evening for those of you who are interested in becoming a better angler and perhaps looking for a fishing adventure, as Douglas will provide his recommendations for your next trip. He will be showing variety of fishing footage on an eight foot screen that features some of the best fishing in the country for trout, steelhead and salmon. Douglas will be speaking on strategies and techniques for trophy fish, and will shine light on solutions to common mistakes.

After the films and seminar, George will be signing copies of his new book titled, "Fish Like A Guide.” He explained that Professional Fishing Guides produce consistent action for their clients, and it is not done by luck--there is a science and a discipline behind the results. His book goes far beyond how to catch a fish by revealing the formula that leads anglers to success through planning, preparation and advanced thought process that will consistently place an angler in high percentage fishing situations.

This free event is sure to improve your knowledge base and get you ready for this fall season. More information is on his website at

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Electric Kayak Fishing Revolution (SFM, May 2010)

From the May 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By Jon Shein

The Ocean Kayak Torque’s Minn Kota propulsion system

Kayak fishing is exploding across the country as it finally starts to penetrate into freshwater. It’s ironic because most people think of kayak angling as a freshwater sport, but the majority of its growth and the use of kayaks for fishing have been in saltwater. Many of us got started because we became tired of watching stripers and blues blitz beyond the range of our casts. Kayaks allowed us to catch those fish. Kayak fishing is growing in leaps and bounds and that was with very little growth in freshwater. That’s all changing now and it makes sense. There are very few environments a kayak can’t fish. Still one of the limitations that prevented the sport from being as popular as it could be was many fishermen weren’t interested in providing propulsion. They weren’t interested in the exercise. You either had to paddle or pedal a kayak, until recently. Now there’s another revolution in the sport that’s going to alter it considerably. That change is the rise of the machines, like in Terminator, but these machines aren’t robots, they’re electric kayaks (EK). For years the regional Ocean Kayak rep and I tried to get the company to make an integrated electric motor model. That’s because the parent company, Johnson Outdoors, also owns Minn Kota. This past summer they finally did it and introduced the Torque. It wasn’t the first production EK though. Legacy Paddlesports introduced the Volt a few months earlier. However the two kayaks are very different. I’ll discuss all the options available and different models along with features later in this series.

Putting an electric motor on a kayak isn’t new. Cobra kayaks and later on Malibu kayaks have offered motor mounts for years. They allowed one to attach a standard trolling motor. Also anglers would build their own mounts and attach a motor. While writing my book, Kayak Fishing, I spent seven months in the Everglades and there were three anglers who built a rear mount that functioned nicely. All these worked but they weren’t near what a proper integrated system could be. Every now and then I’d see a neat system on the various internet forums where someone with far more mechanical and engineering skills than most of us would build a really cool setup. However most of us are not capable of such things, and unless we knew someone we weren’t going to have one. Things took a significant turn for the better when an aftermarket company called Bassyaks started doing the same and offering them to the public. Bassyaks has kits for all the popular kayak models and they’ll design one for any kayak. A buddy of mine got one a couple years ago and could spend all day on the water without needing to use his paddle.

I’m a big fan of EKs, but I often hear people say if you want a motor just get a boat. There are a lot of reasons why I would much rather have an EK. For starters it’s still a kayak; the motor just replaces muscles with electricity. So let’s take a quick look at kayaks and why they’re such good fishing vessels.

First they’re inexpensive, relatively light, easy to transport and incredibly versatile. I don’t know of another craft that can float down the Susquehanna and then the next day launch through the Jersey surf. You can put the kayak on a set of wheels, called a cart, and wheel it into a remote section of river or a lake nestled back in the woods. These are places that you may only have been able to previously fish from shore, or via an inflatable or a float tube. A kayak can be customized to your needs and allow such places to be fished in a manner they may have never been before. There’s a lot a kayak can do and an EK allows it to do more. More next month…

Jon Shein is a veteran kayak angler. His recently released book, Kayak Fishing, can be purchased at the following website:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fly Fishing Egg Patterns (SFM, April 2010)

From the April 2010 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By Jim Kukorlo

The “Incredible, Edible Egg.”

Fish know what we know about the food value of an egg. It is a high-protein, high-fat and high-energy food.

Spawning season in the Susquehanna Region runs from late August to late May. This cool water period is when insect activity is in decline, and fish are looking for a high protein food source. It is instinctual for fish to eat fish eggs and is a great time to fly fish egg flies. You will find success fishing egg patterns throughout this cool water period.

The most popular colors are white, pink, dark pink, and orange. Carry an assortment of sizes from one eighth to one quarter inch. Smaller ones seem to be more effective in late summer and low water conditions. Larger ones are a good imitation of egg clumps or clusters. Eggs don’t swim, they roll along with the current on or near the bottom.

A drag free, dead drift is the most effective way of fishing eggs patterns. This is to fish the fly without imparting any additional movement while keeping the lure moving in the current. Add a split shot eight to ten inches above the fly to get down where they feed. If you are not getting hung up occasionally, you are probably not fishing deep enough.

Cast quartering upstream and hold your rod high, keeping most of your line off the water, to get your fly down on the bottom with little drag. Having a drag-free drift is important. This is much like nymph fishing.

Try using two flies with a bead head nymph as the first fly. Attach 12 to 18inches of 3x tippet material or 4 pound mono filament at the hook bend of the first fly, then tie on your egg. Add split shots above the first fly and between the two flies depending on the depth and speed of the water.

Often, fish will gently take the egg fly and it is difficult to detect the strike. Using a strike indicator will increase your chances of success. When fishing a strike indicator, it should be moving along with or more slowly than the bubbles on the water.

Low-water summer conditions call for a different approach to fishing eggs. Again, you can use two flies, but, use a dry fly on top. A Hopper pattern floats well and is a great choice with this method. Attach the egg dropper fly in the same manner as before, but make the drop lead longer to reach the bottom. Whatever the depth is, one and one half times that is a good starting length for the drop leader. The Hopper will be your strike indicator as well. When it stops…set the hook.

Try tying your own egg flies. Mc Fly Foam works great for egg patterns. Use egg hooks in size 14 to size 10. The most popular colors have been listed… yet, be creative. Try different colors and fish them in different water conditions. In your selection of egg patterns you should also have some sucker spawn flies. Sucker spawn is tied simply by looping yarn and tying the loops to the hook to look like a sucker fish’s egg sack. White, pink, yellow are the popular colors for sucker spawn flies.

Fish eggs are a prized high-energy food source in rivers and streams of the region. Fish know this and now, so do you. Give them a try!

Lisa Kamerzel, 19 inch bow on an egg.

Jim Kukorlo has fly fished Fishing Creek near Bloomsburg, PA and surrounding waters for over 40 years. He is a skilled angler, fly tyer and a fly fishing guide, who enjoys taking photos of fly fishers and their catch.