The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

blog subhead pic
Thursday, 26 June 2014 22:01

Warm water fishing tactics and tips

Warm water fishing brings out an abundance of Bait

With the holiday of our independence and the warming trend in temperatures across the country we felt it was a good time to start talking about warmer water fishing tactics.  Warm temperatures and an abundance of bait fish in the water makes the summer time a little more difficult for fishing.  However, they are there and still catchable.  Some might just need to switch their tactics a little.

As water temperatures warm different species of fish will move seeking cooler water temperatures at whatever the comfort level is for that particular species. Oxygen supply is also a factor since the warmer water typically holds less oxygen that fish need.

Facts about Pike and Trout Movements

People used to believe that northern pike lost their teeth in summer since they were difficult to catch. Now we know that this is not true. The pike just move to different locations such as much deeper and colder water where there may be openings in the weed beds for them to ambush baitfish.
In streams the trout will seek cover, cool water, and oxygen. This typically will be deep riffles or rapids or maybe a deep, shaded pool with a riffle at the head. These riffles provide aeration and trout typically will be in or just below the oxygenated water.

Warm water Stresses Fish Habits

Something we should be aware of is the effect of stress on fish in warm water. A trout that has fought for a long time in warm water often will not survive, no matter how carefully you handle and release it. At the very least, put away those darn ultra light rods – or better yet give them to some kids.
Many trout anglers avoid fishing and stressing out trout in small or medium streams. Instead they concentrate on larger waters like West Canada Creek which may be cooler and more oxygenated. Many fishermen do not bother to fish for native trout under these conditions, but concentrate on the waters where much of the fishing is put and take anyway.

Bass will also seek cooler water. For smallmouth bass this usually means deep water along some rocky structure where they move up in evening to feed. Deep water tactics such as live bait, jigs, or jigging spoons are usually best.

Largemouth bass will move deeper for cooler water, although they tolerate warmer water than smallmouths. They will usually seek shade from the bright sun by holding deep in cover such as dense weeds during the daylight. Plastic worms rigged weedless, sinking worms, or drop shot rigs with Berkley “Gulp” minnows may be your best bet. Top water lures in the evening are effective and fun.

Even though bass are hardy fish that are used to warmer waters, their chances for survival are greatly diminished when kept out of water for long in this warm weather. Fight the fish quickly, and if at all possible unhook it while it is still in the water. Using circle hooks which tend to hook a fish in the edge of the lip makes it easier to quickly release a bass.

Of course anglers are still taking some nice salmon, steelhead, and brown trout on Lake Ontario. But it is easy for salmon and trout to move a little bit deeper or further from shore and be in colder water. Check fishing reports on FishNY.com or lakeontariooutdoors.com for the latest depths, lures, etc.
For increased fishing action try fishing during periods of low light or even at night. Trout fishing at dawn or twilight is your best bet. Fishing for big brown trout at night can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Trout fishing on a rainy day is usually good.

Night Fishing can Increase Success for Predatory Species

Night fishing for bass is great since the action is often at its best and you can take them using surface or shallow water lures and tactics. Instead of battling weeds, try fishing after dark with poppers, chuggers, and other top-water lures. Know your waters and fish over relatively shallow weed beds.
The fish usually are not where you found them in May and regardless they are wary or lethargic. But adjust your tactics and you can still find fun and action. It sure beats the alternative of watching “reality shows” on TV.

Monday, 09 June 2014 22:19

Berkley Fishing Havoc Boss Dog Bait

We at Shotem and Caughtem got to run out an enjoy the nice weekend and test out some new baits sent to us by Berkley fishing.  With the clear water conditions and the amount of bait fish we saw by the shore line we choose to grab the Boss Dog bait they sent us to try out first.  Lucky for us we made the correct choice.  Bass in our area always seem to have the taste for lizard and this bait does not disappoint.  

The difference between many of the lizards we have fished within the past is Berkley changed the tail to add a little more eye appeal.   Not only does the bait come in a variety of colors for the right water conditions, but the tail construction adds similar effect to the swim motion that you find in many worm baits.  Needless to say we and the bass seem to be big fans of what the bait has to offer.  

We definitely will continue to have this bait in our tackle box for years to come.  We not only enjoyed its look but the single bait we had weather more than a dozen hard hits from 3-4.5lb bass and is still ready for the next trip out.  It seem to hold up very well to not only the strikes but to consistent re-hooking to our weedless approach.  

Let us know your experience with Berkley baits in the comment section below.  We were lucky enough to get several of their baits to test and hope to receive more that we might be able to distribute to our members for posting their photos.  Continue to check in and see what else Berkley gave us to try this season and see how it faired in our area of the world.    

 



Tuesday, 03 June 2014 22:05

Angler's Choice Flappin Weasel

We at Shotem and Caughtem got out this weekend to do a little fishing with some baits sent in by our good friends at Angler's Choice.  We thought we might pass off our initial thoughts on the baits which is a story that will continue.  As anyone that fishes know the reason we carry around so many different baits is because what colors, shapes or sizes that work one day, might not work as well the very next day.  As such we like to make sure we don't give any of the products we review a one and done kind of review.  

Angler's Choice was kind enough to send us a nice array of the baits they offer.  On this particular day the one the could not resist was the Flappin Weasel(far right in photo).  We ran through almost the entire bag of these soft baits due to the fish hitting them so hard.  Overall, all the baits they sent down are all made with a pretty nice consistency for being hand made.  As with any soft bait, with aggressive fish they sometimes don't last as long as we would like.  Construction of the baits however was solid and what we would expect from a bait of this kind.  Action of the baits in the water portray a bait that many fish will no doubt be able to refuse striking should they be presented in their path.  

We were fishing a nice old farm pond.  Water was clear with visibility about 4 ft in depth.  Water temperature was in the mid 70s while outside temperature when we started was in the low 80s and finished in the mid 70s.  We did have a thunderstorm the following evening so it was prime fishing weather in our opinion.  

As we said this is an on going review as is the case with all our products we review.  We like to find out which conditions seem to be the best and which do not.  We would like to thank those at Angler's Choice for their patience and the opportunity to review their product.  As is the case with many of those who send in product we like to make sure our members get a chance to let us know their thoughts on baits as well.  So we would once again like to extend the chance to our members.  Send us your best Caughtem photo to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to enter and when a nice little fishing package from our friends at Angler's Choice.  As always leave your comments in the section below and let us know your thoughts on their baits so we can pass along the information.

Caught a lot of bass on this bait

 

Thursday, 24 April 2014 22:07

Berkley Fishing Flicker Shad

We at Shotem and Caughtem know why we carry so many different baits in our tackle boxes.  One day a certain bait will out shine another.  As such we try and diversify as much as possible with high quality well designed baits that will work with a variety of species.  Berkley has come out with a new Flicker Shad hard plastic bait that will certainly become a main stay in our tackle boxes.  However, just as we began to run out and test it for Berkley they released the news of a new bait we will be excited to try out as well.  

Anglers have trusted the Berkley Flicker Shad since it was introduced. When it comes to catching fish, beginners and professionals still rely on them whenever - and wherever fun or money is on the line. Well, move over Flicker Shad and make some room for the brand new Berkley Flicker Minnow.

Berkley Pro anglers Keith Kavajecz and Gary Parsons have been a part of the bait-development process from the start, creating the Flicker Minnow that adheres to their demanding standards. Though these ultra-competitive professional anglers would rather keep this bait to themselves, the time has come to share the secret with anglers everywhere.

Berkley's Flicker Minnows are tournament proven. Utilizing the same strict development standards from the Flicker Shad, the Berkley team created a line of minnow baits that dive deeper with maximum flash and action. The bait's body design and impressive dive curve gets anglers to the fish quicker.

My hat is off to the Berkley team for interpreting Keith and my thoughts to create this new design, said Gary Parsons. I've never seen a bait outperform other baits like this one, and overall the Flicker Minnow is the most productive crankbait Iíve ever fished!

Constructed with increased internal weight for bullet-like precision casting, the Flicker Minnow has a unique swimming action and flicker that mimics a fleeing baitfish. The body is more elongated than its cousin the Flicker Shad, and is available in 12 pro-selected colors. The larger bill with a steep pitch creates a deeper retrieve than other baits.

The Size 7 (2.75 inches) Flicker Minnow can be trolled in the 14- to 17 -foot depth range, depending on line choice and speed, with a dive curve that is unmatched by similar minnow baits. The bait is also castable, especially when paired with Berkley NanoFil. The Size 9 (3.5 inches) model can easily reach the 18 to 23-foot zone (Precision Trolling at 100í back with XT and Fireline) when cranked while both sizes of the Flicker Minnow feature a big, aggressive roll when retrieved or trolled.

The Size 7 model has a casting weight of 1/4 ounce while the Size 9 Flicker Minnow has a casting weight of 1/3 ounce, with both models featuring an internal rattle as well as Mustad Ultra-Point treble hooks. The Flicker Minnow is tank and tourney tested, giving anglers the confidence of knowing that the baits are tuned with precision.

Name: Berkley Flicker Minnow
Length: Size 7 -- 2.75 inches; Size 9 -- 3.5 inches
Weight: Size 7 (1/4 ounce); Size 9 (1/3 ounce)
Colors: Black Silver, Chartreuse Pearl, Firetiger, Pearl White, Pink Lemonade, Prime Time, Purple Flash, Racy Shad, Slick Alewife, Slick Firetiger, Slick Green Pearl and Slick Mouse.

MSRP: $5.95

Friday, 21 June 2013 16:45

How to Make A Homemade Minnow Trap

We at Shotem and Caughtem recently found ourselves without live bait and our artificial baits just weren't catching any fish.  We were fishing an area where trying to dig up worms was pretty much a lost cause.  So we decided to do a little quick work and make ourselves a homemade minnow trap.  Luckily for us we are still in early spring and there are a ton of small bait fish in the water to make this quite an effective way to procure live bait.  We thought we might share how we made ours so that you might have the same fortune of getting yourself some free bait from good ole mother nature herself.  It acts as a better bait anyway since they are fish from their natural habitat.  

What you need:

1 clear 2 Liter bottle, some small rocks, piece of hot dog or pet food and a sharp knife. 

1.  Cut the bottle where it starts to narrow. Lay the bottle on a flat surface to keep it from slipping. Better yet, get someone to hold the other end. Use a utility razor knife or Exacto knife if you have either available.

2. Place the cut top inside the remaining bottle with the narrow part down. Use the duct tape to secure the two together. This makes a funnel that the minnows will swim into but won't be able to get back out. Place some pebbles inside the bottle to weight it down. Make a small hole near the top of the trap and fasten a string about 15 feet long.

3. Place some dry dog food, a hot dog or bread into the bottle and fill with water. Toss the trap into the stream in a calm, deep section. Check it in a couple of hours to see the minnows you have caught.

Let us know what you might use to catch your fresh bait in the comment section below and share your adventures in the galleries.

    •  
    •  

 

 



Another great bass fishing spot here in the Midwest is Grand Lake in Oklahoma.  It was the first lake hit by the BassMaster tournament this year and will be a spot many head to for this Memorial Day Weekend.  We at Shotem and Caughtem did a little fishing homework for you.  

The Crappie spawn is about over which means that it is about ready to be prime crappie fishing.  Crappie have been hitting on live bait and shallow spinners.  Weather conditions look to be nice in the mid 80's but a chance of rain Sunday and Monday.  Fish seem to be biting early mornings and mid evenings with a small window right after lunch.  Lake levels are good and reports show that many areas are clearing up.  Catfish have been hitting on Shad.  Bass have been hitting on worms, shad and top water baits.  Bass fishing has been spotty but what bites have been happening have been well worth the wait.  Water temperatures are hovering in the mid to low 60's dependant on time of day.  

Let us know how your fishing trip goes this weekend in the comment section below and as always post photos to the Caughtem Gallery and tell us your story. Most of all have a safe and fun holiday Shotem and Caughtem weekend!

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem are doing a little self indulgence by doing a fishing report for Table Rock Lake since that happens to be the spot we will be heading to this weekend.  The bass fishing is one of the best in Missouri at Table Rock lake and we can't wait to get our lines wet for the first time this season.  Water levels have risen to just above normal levels and we hope this has woken up the predators. 

Reports say that the Shad have begun to spawn in the graveled areas off points and along shallower coves.  Top water baits have been doing well in the lighter colors around depths of 5-20 feet.  Weather looks to be hit and miss with scattered thunder storms all weekend and highs in the mid to upper 70's.  The lake as of this past week has been relatively clear making the lighter color baits more noticeable and seem to be the preferred color baits.  

St. James River trout will be enjoying the cooler lake temperatures which seem to be in the high 60's.  As always we recommend a small hook and some Jolly Green Giant canned corn as bait.  Always seems to work.  

If you are headed out this weekend to any Lake we hope to see your Lake or River Monster photos in the Caughtem gallery and share what is working for you.  As always leave comments in the section below.

 

Thursday, 02 May 2013 13:52

Some Basic Fishing Tips and Tricks

We at Shotem and Caughtem, as is probably the case around much of the United States, have been frustrated with the recent weather.  Hot, cold, hot then cold.  This has not only wreaked havoc on our Turkey Hunting Season but has also caused a delay in our fishing.  Hence the reason we have not been flooding the galleries with new photos of our adventures.  So we decided that getting as much information to help us start the season right was the best way to calm our need to be outdoors.  With this in mind we thought we would offer some tips on getting ready to cast that first line in the water.  Let us know some of the tactics you use to catch that monster fish in the comment section below or post your photos to the gallery and tell  us your story.  Don't worry the season will be here before you know it.

• Use the right gear: No matter how you slice it, there’s no one rod, reel, bait, or lure that will get the job done in every situation with as much success as gear tailored to specific fishing tasks. Choosing the right tackle means thinking about more than what kind of fish you plan to catch. Your surroundings, weight of baits and lures, distance you need to cast, and fighting ability of the species, are just a few factors that must be considered when gear shopping.

• Farm your own bait: Worms can attract more fish than any other bait, but they’re often difficult to find just when you need them most. Consider propagating your own steady supply of wigglers with a worm farm.

• Perfect your techniques: In many cases, subtle nuances that change the presentation of bait or lure in a minor way can produce major results. The more techniques you have in your repertoire, the better prepared you’ll be to catch fish under any conditions.

• Listen to Mother Nature: Believe it or not, there are other methods of figuring out when the fishing’s hot besides looking up Internet reports. For example, if it’s fall and you want giant walleyes, wait until the same time leaves start falling. The air temperature will likely be cold enough to lower local water temperatures to a range that kicks on the walleyes’ instinct to pack on the pounds before winter.

• Find your secret fishing spot: Those little ponds in manicured neighborhoods and tucked behind strip malls can surprise you with bass, pickerel, crappies, and bluegills that are bigger and less pressured than those in the closest reservoir. Use Google Maps, to find those small bodies of water, searching a mile or two at a time in all directions. For hidden gems, focus on housing developments, shopping centers, and office complexes.

• Sneak Up on Fish: Fish are extremely sensitive to vibrations and instantly become wary when they sense an intruder. After wading into a new area, stand perfectly still for two minutes. It will feel like an hour, but you’ll get more strikes. In a boat, approach the area you plan to fish at a low speed and wait two minutes after shutting off your motor before casting.

Monday, 22 April 2013 21:50

Top Water Fishing Season Tips

Eventhough we in the Midwest are getting a possible flake of snow in the forecast again this week, we at Shotem and Caughtem can not hold back the excitement any longer on talking about spring top water fishing.  Nothing gets us more excited than the time when fishing season becomes its most fun.  This is when the water temperatures rise and the predators come out to feast.  We prefer to lure or predators up to the surface, like Air Jaws (Great White Sharks down by South Cape, Africa since its almost Shark Week).  Nothing gets them to the surface like using top water fishing lures so here are some tips on what we use to get them leaping.  Let us know what you recommend in the comment section below or post photos to the gear section and tell us your stories.  Most of all get out there and Caught em'!

If you ask five different fishermen this question, you'll probably get at least three different answers, and they will probably all be right. You may have to try them all to see which one (or more) works for you. When is the best time to use them? Another question with several correct answers. In general, topwaters are most effective when the water temperature is in the high fifties or above.

The most common and probably the most popular topwater is the buzzbait. It's easy to use; just throw it out and reel it in, or so it seems. Throwing and reeling will catch bass, but a few variations might increase your odds of success. Throw the lure in the weeds, retrieving it over holes in the weeds, along edges, parallel to laydowns, or close to stumps. Start out with a slow retrieve in early spring and speed it up as the water temperature rises. Experiment with a varied retrieve; slow it down , speed it up, or jerk it every now and then to create more noise and a more erratic action.

Stickbaits such as the Rogue, Bomber Long A, Rapala Minnow and The Thunderstick are all excellent "twitch baits". Basically, in the spring, these lures are cast close to cover such as a weedbed, laydown or stump, and twitched to create a darting erratic motion. Try twitching and letting the lure sit for a short time or use a slow twitching retrieve. The fish will tell you which one they like. In the summer, these baits are very effective on bass feeding on shad on the surface. Just throw it into the scattering shad and retrieve it like it's hurt. They are also very effective on stripers when they are feeding on the surface.

Chuggers like the Chug Bug or the Pop-R are great summertime surface baits. These lures can be worked continuously back to the boat with a short jerking type motion, or they can be jerked a few times and left motionless for a short time. They can be worked in shallow water or over schooling fish. Vary the speed of your retrieve until you get the desired results.

The king of the big bass topwaters is the Zara Spook. Once you learn how to "walk the dog" with a Spook, you can consistently catch big fish in the early spring and fall. To "walk the dog", keep your rod tip down and make short (less than 1 foot) twitches with your rod tip while reeling at the same time. The lure will walk side to side as it moves toward you. Once again, vary the speed of your retrieve until you get bit. Spooks are especially good on points or in the backs of pockets where the big fish come to feed.

No matter which topwater you choose, they all have one common characteristic, the strikes that they trigger are heart-stopping. Usually, the fish explodes on the bait, sending water everywhere, and instilling in the angler an almost irresistible urge to instantly strike back. Don't do it! Wait until you feel the fish, then set the hook. Believe me, it's much easier said than done.

The down-side of topwater fishing is that you tend to lose more fish than you would when fishing other types of baits, but the excitement is well worth it.