Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Bassin’ (SFM, January 2011)

From the January 2011 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine:

By Nathan Follmer

Winter – There’s a lot of certainties with it upon us – freezing temperatures, face numbing winds, blinding snow squalls… Ok, maybe it isn’t that bad, but there is one thing we can count on – big fish! Winter is usually a time for hunting or tackle organizing and cleaning. Many people miss out on some great fishing opportunities that can be had during the coldest months of the year. Winter fishing doesn’t have to mean ice fishing, you just have to know where to go and what to use.

Proper lure selection and presentation is vital during the winter. Most species (especially warm water species like largemouth) are in a near state of suspended animation to make it through the winter. This doesn’t mean they won’t eat though. You have to make their efforts to eat worth their energy loss. You have to put big, bulky baits right in front of their face and do so very slowly. Here are a few of my favorite winter time baits:

- Stick Baits – The best way to use stick baits in the winter is to wacky rig them and just let them sit. Let the current wiggle the ends and only pop the bait every 20 to 30 seconds. For colors, I like to keep things dull. Aquatic life tends to lose their vibrant colors in cold water, so keep your colors the same. Green pumpkins, blacks, and dark greens all work great. If you can find these colors without flake in them, they will be even better.

- Jigs – Jigs will work just about any time of the year, you just need to change your presentation and trailer. During winter, use a heavier jig with a trailer that has a lot of appendages. Anything that is going to move in the current with minimal effort is going to be a great choice. Brush hogs, hula grubs, even tubes, all make great trailers. Again, keep the colors dull and the action slow… painfully slow.

- Carolina Rigs – This can be an absolutely deadly technique in the wintertime. I love to throw a Carolina rig with a huge worm on the hook. Keep your leader a little longer than you normally would to get some distance between the lure and the weight. Since this will most likely be sitting for long periods of time, you don’t want the weight to be seen.

- Suspending jerkbaits and crankbaits – A good quality lure is needed here. One that you can use slowly, but still get action out of it. It also must be a suspending model so it can sit motionless without floating to the top. Keeping the lure in the strike zone for as long as possible is key, so keep the movement slow and the pauses long. You’d be amazed at how long a fish will sit and look at your bait until they decide to commit!

Ok, we have the baits covered, now where should you be looking for fish? That all depends on what type of water you are fishing and what kind of bass you’re looking for.

If you’re going after some quality river smallmouth, there are a few factors that are going to put the fish into the perfect feeding positions. First and foremost, the fish are going to be most comfortable out of current. Good spots to start looking are the tail ends of islands, bridge pilings or any other big structure points that are going to create current breaks. If you can find one of these areas that gets sun for most of the day, you can bet that some big smallmouth are going to be holding tight in this area. It may take multiple passes with your lure to get these pigs to attack, so take it slow and be very disciplined in covering an area thoroughly.

If you want to hit a lake that hasn’t frozen over yet and try your luck with some largemouth - you need to look in a few different areas. The first place to start looking is the mouths of creeks that enter the lake, especially if these are fairly deep. The bass will more than likely be suspended off the bottom, so the Carolina rig would be a good technique to try in this area.

Didn’t find any bass at the creek mouth? Follow the channel out into the main lake and find the lake’s main point. Take out your jig that you should have with you and hop it slowly down the point until you find the magic depth. If that doesn’t work, use your crank or jerkbait and parallel the point as best as you can.

Still didn’t find the fish? Never fear! Head for the dam and find the spot that gets the most sun throughout the day. The rocks that formed the dam will be holding heat from the sun and the largemouths should be taking advantage of this. Deploy your wacky rigged stickbait and you should come up with some fish.

I hope I’ve persuaded you to put down the rifle and pick up a fishing rod this winter. Winter bass are some of the biggest fish of the season and many trophy sized fish can be caught – all it takes is a little preparation and a lot of discipline (remember to go slow!).

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

Monday, January 24, 2011

Another Great Monaghan Fishing Show!

It was another great Monaghan Fishing Show this past weekend in Dillsburg, PA.

A huge shout out to Bob and everyone who helped to make this year's show possible.

Until 2012...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Harrisburg Outdoor Show Just Around the Corner!

The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, PA is just a couple weeks away.

Get your discounted show tickets via this exclusive SFM link:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Monaghan Fishing Show this Weekend

If you are in the area this weekend (Jan. 22-23), stop by the Monaghan Fishing Show in Dillsburg, PA.

Admission is $3.00 and all Proceeds benefit Monaghan Twp Volunteer Fire Co.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A CPR Tournament? (SFM, January 2011)

From the January 2011 issue of Susquehanna Fishing Magazine.

Download all back issues free online:

By John "Toast" Oast

Have you ever wondered how a fishing tournament could be held without using livewells, stringers, or harvesting your catch? Well, with recent catch-and-release regulations going into effect across the country and a more environmental mindset among outdoorsmen, a little planning and the use of digital cameras, such “C and R” tournaments are not only possible, they are easy to conduct and compete in. All tournament directors need are an “identifier” and an onsite computer for “weigh-ins”. All the angler needs is a digital camera and a measuring device.

For years kayak fishing tournaments have been at the forefront of the development of such Catch-Photo-Release (CPR) tournaments. For obvious reasons a unique format for documenting catches was necessary, since the typical kayak lacks a livewell. And to many peoples’ surprise, over the years there have been very few, if any, substantial problems or controversies which have arisen from these tournaments. And several annual kayak fishing tournaments successfully conduct CPR events with well over 100 entrants each year. Now with new fisheries regulations and growing angler interest this format may become much more utilized with tournaments outside of the kayak fishing community.

The main thing to remember with CPR tournaments is that they utilize fish length and not weight in tracking competitors’ entries. Basically, at a designated time prior to the event tournament coordinators distribute some form of photographic identifier to the entrants. This identifier may be an event sponsor’s sticker or printed logo, or any other convenient item which can be placed visibly in each competitor’s photographs. The idea is that no one knows the identifier prior to the event to ensure no previously caught fish can be photographed with the specified identifier. Some tournaments, such as the annual TKAA charity event in Virginia, actually distribute designated measuring devices to each competitor, to be used as both the ruler and identifier.

Once the tournament has begun each angler must take a photograph of each entered fish, while the fish is on a measuring device with the measurement visible. The identifier must also be clearly visible in each photograph. Tournament coordinators also often distribute paper and pencil forms, so that the anglers can keep track of their catches. At the end of the allotted tournament day event directors are notified of the day’s best catches, and memory cards from the competitors’ cameras are used to confirm the winning catches. This is why the identifier is so important, so that only the fish caught during the specific time period are counted.

CPR tournaments will have an increasing role in fishing tournaments over the coming years. It not only complies with typical catch and release regulations, but also causes less stress to the fish, as they would not need to be transported on a boat for the duration of the event or be released into different waters than where they were caught. Also, this photographic concept would offer opportunities for potential competitors who do not have livewell systems on their boats, or even if they happen to be shore anglers.

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, January 12, 2011

SFM's Bryan Wilhelm Tying at NCC-TU January 12, 2010 Meeting

If you are near Bethesda, MD this evening Susquehanna Fishing Magazine staff member Bryan Wilhelm will be at the National Capital Chapter of Trout Unlimited meeting tying Deerhair flies. Stop by and say hello. The meeting starts at 7:15pm at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Services Center.

For more information:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Treasured Towns and Landscapes of the Susquehanna Greenway Photo Contest

The Susquehanna Greenway is seeking photos that help tell the stories of the Susquehanna, photos that celebrate the Susquehanna and her River Towns as places of timeless value, shared memories and experiences – places to use and enjoy and to treasure always.

*Photos must be taken within the Susquehanna Greenway Counties listed below:
Bradford, Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Indiana, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Susquehanna, Union, Wyoming and York
*All photos must be taken between January 1st 2010 and January 1st 2011. Photos taken outside of this timeframe are not eligible.
*Photos must be submitted by January 15th, 2011.
*Prizes will be awarded for both Adult and Youth in the two categories for a total of 12 prizes.

For more information: