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

The Geico Bassmaster Classic

Our good friends at Berkley Fishing asked us to help spread the word for a great challenge this weekend that could be your winning lottery ticket.  Should you need an excuse to travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma this weekend Berkley Fishing is giving you the potential to win 100,000 of them should you take on the challenge.  Here are the details.

B.A.S.S., Tulsa Regional Chamber, VisitTulsa, and Grand Lake Association have announced its selection of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees and the Tulsa metro region as the site and host of the 2016 Geico Bassmaster Classic, March 4-6, 2016. It is the 46th edition of sport fishing’s greatest championship and the second to be hosted by the state of Oklahoma.

Daily weigh-ins will be held at BOK Center and Cox Business Center will hold the Classic Outdoors Expo.

To find more details on the Geico Bassmaster Classic click here.

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

 

Monday, 03 March 2014 23:06

Spring Bass Fishing Before the Spawn

As we at Shotem and Caughtem watched the bone chilling weather move across the Midwest this weekend our thought began to dream of spring.  The time of year right before the spawn when the fish come out from hiding with a ferocious appetite prior to the spawn.  It is a great time to catch fish.  It is a cool time which means you can wake up a little later than in the summer and enjoy a full day of fishing.  With this in mind and before our minds turn to the upcoming turkey season we thought we would pass along some tips we use when heading out to capture the first bites of the year.  Let us know your tricks in the comment section below and we hope to brag with you in the galleries as the water temperatures rise.  

Seasonal cold fronts in the spring will send bass back into their deep-water haunts. They will feed less but they will still feed. Fish from 8–-15 feet in depth, using electronics to locate suspending bass and target that depth. The wind and spring showers continue to warm the water, be as patient as the bass are.  Watch the water temperature to become 55 to 60 degrees. Warm water means bass will come out of the lethargic state and begin to move and feed. This is the time when some bass begin to move toward their spawning flats, as other older mature females will hold in areas from 8-15 feet for their turn and perfect conditions. 

Creek channels are traffic areas for bass, as the fish move into the spawning flats to reproduce. Points on these creek channels are great places to fish with a crankbait. Fish deep enough to scrape the bottom around points and drop offs. Use natural colors like green to imitate small bluegill or perch and reds, orange and brown to resemble crayfish colors.  In addition to fishing points and drop offs ledges, look for old road beds and focus on the ditches along side the road beds, these ruts that were once used to drain water off of a road, are now the road for moving bass. Also try rocky rip rap as well as grassy areas with close access to deeper water adjacent to shallow spawning flats.  When fishing the channel points located close to a spawning area, pull a scented tube along the bottom slowly. Try crayfish, pumpkinseed, and black and blue colors.  If you are not getting any bites, simply slow down your presentation. Remember that the temperature of the bass at their holding depth is the deciding factor that turns on the instinct to feed heavy before the spawn. 

The weed beds adjacent to a channel are a preferred area for emerging spring bass. On calm mornings and afternoon use topwater baits for a blast. Late morning through early evening, try big worms or lizards, or a slow-rolling spinnerbait through and between mats of weeds.  Look for sharp bends or humps in channels near large flat shallow areas, begin in the shallow area and fish back toward deeper water.  Look for shad and signs of crawfish in deeper coves. Try fishing a small jig with a craw colored trailer using a slow retrieve. The jig and pig fires up the smallmouth on the rocky bluffs at Dale Hollows deep coves.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 23:32

Landing Monster Bass Prime Time

We at Shotem and Caughtem have already touched upon the fact that big fish can be landed during the winter months.  We thought since hunting season is starting to wind down that we would check to see if anyone else had the same experiences.  Lucky for us a staff writer for the Dallas Tribune just wrote an article on just this same fact.  We thought it made a great addition to share what he found to help add to your experience in landing big fish during this time of season.  A big thanks to Roy Sasser for helping us drive the point home with some expert advice.

Every angler who picks up a fishing rod and casts a lure dreams of catching a big fish. Most never accomplish the goal and must satisfy themselves with reports of Toyota ShareLunkers, the Texas Parks and Wildlife big bass program that accepts largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or more for the hatchery program.

There already have been four ShareLunkers — three from Lake Fork, one from Lake Athens. About 75 percent of ShareLunkers are caught from January through March.

To help achieve your dream, we’ve asked 10 bass fishing experts — five Lake Fork fishing guides, three tournament pros, the owner of a popular lure company and the owner of a Mexico bass fishing business, to give us a few tips. Between them, they’ve caught or guided clients to more than 2,000 largemouth bass weighing 10 pounds or more.

Much of their advice is repetitious. Some, like bass pro Keith Combs, disagrees with the norm on how to present a lure to entice a big bass. Most of the experts move their lure as slowly as possible. Not Combs. Before becoming a touring pro, he guided anglers at Falcon Lake, where his clients in some months landed 25 or more double-digit fish.

“Concentrate on fishing early and late in the day and during the week when fishing pressure is light,” said Combs. “Fish with aggressive lures. I think baits that displace a lot of water and contact the bottom or underwater cover draw the biggest bites. My top picks are three-quarters ounce to one-ounce jigs, big spinnerbaits with big blades and deep-diving crankbaits fished on a fast retrieve.”

According to Bassmaster Classic champion Alton Jones, where you fish is just as important as how you fish.

“The three most important things in catching a big bass are location, location and location,” said Jones, who has twice caught three 10-pounders in a single day. “Your odds of catching a big fish increase dramatically if you’re fishing at a lake known to produce big fish.”

Mark Pack, who figures he and his clients have caught more than 400 10-pound-plus bass in 28 years at Lake Fork, said big bass like the security of having deep water close to their spawning areas. The experts agree that the upcoming spawning season is the best time to catch a lunker.

“Anglers in the spring need to fish points and banks where deep-water channels swing in close,” advised Pack.

Most big fish spawn in deeper water rather than right next to the bank, said Gene Snider, another prolific guide who’s spent the last 30-plus years figuring out Lake Fork’s big bass.

“More than 90 percent of the big fish we’ve caught during the spawn have come from water 5- to 15-feet deep,” Snider said. “I usually fish with a jig and don’t expect to get a lot of bites.

“One March day that I’ll never forget, I positioned the boat so my clients could cast to the bank, and I pitched a jig out into deeper water. The first bite I got was a bass weighing nearly 13 pounds. I only got one more bite all day, but it was a bass that weighed 111/2 pounds.”

If you have confidence in a particular big bass fishing spot, don’t give up on it, advises Mark Stevenson. He caught the former state-record bass from Lake Fork in 1986. It weighed 17.67 pounds. Named Ethel, the fish was displayed for several years at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Springfield, Mo., where it became an ambassador for Texas fishing.

“Once you’ve found good structure where you have confidence in catching a big fish, don’t give up on it just because you fish there for a while and don’t catch anything,” said Stevenson. “Revisit that area at different times of the day. I’ve caught a lot of big fish on the second or third visit to the same spot.”

Along the same lines, John Barns likes to cast repeatedly to good cover. Barns is the president and majority owner of Strike King Lure Company, one of the market’s most popular brands.

“Be patient,” advises Barns. “Fish slowly and thoroughly, especially in an area that has produced big fish in the past. I believe that many times you have to aggravate a big bass into biting by making repeated casts to a particular area or by changing lures multiple times.”

James Caldemeyer, another Lake Fork guide who’s guided customers to a lot of trophy-sized fish and caught quite a few of his own, says anglers in general fish too fast.

“The majority of big fish caught from my boat bit the lure when it sinking or sitting still,” he said. “Big bass prefer a slow presentation. When you think you’re fishing slowly, slow down even more — it works.”

While fishing at the best bass lakes in Mexico, fishing outfitter Ron Speed Jr., has caught his share of big ones. He’s also helped hundreds of anglers catch a personal best largemouth and learned much from their tales of dreams realized and the big one that got away. Speed also has enjoyed tournament fishing success in Texas lakes.

“I think the biggest fish are generally the first fish to spawn,” he said. “When the water is still pretty cold, I target the warmer banks and coves — usually the north banks that have water that’s protected from the north wind and warms a little sooner.

“A couple of degrees may not seem like much to us but it can make a big difference to a fish. Don’t forget that bass make their spawning beds not just on the bottom but in the forks of trees or on top of stumps or flooded treetops. They can be 4 feet beneath the surface in 30 feet of water.”

James Niggemeyer, a Lake Fork guide when he’s not competing in Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments, likes fishing during the spawning season, but he also likes the pre-spawn and post-spawn periods.

“Water temperatures in the high 40s to high 50s is the time to catch the biggest bass of the year by fishing in or around heavy cover with a depth change or transition area nearby,” said Niggemeyer, who notes that bass are heaviest before they spawn.

“Post spawn is my favorite time to catch surface feeding bass — big bass. I like a Strike King Sexy Dawg topwater lure in either bluegill or green gizzard shad colors. Big bass eat large prey items to recover from the spawn.”

Whatever the fishing style, Snider cautions anglers to take care of their fishing line and keep it fresh. It could become, after all, the tenuous link between the angler and a prize catch.

“Retie your knot after every hook set,” Snider added. “A big bass has every advantage to start with. When you finally do hook a big fish, why lose it because your line was old or worn or because you were too lazy to retie your knot?”

Several ShareLunkers have been caught by novices. As Lake Fork fishing guide David Vance said, nothing beats spending a lot of time on the water when big bass are most vulnerable, and that means during the pre-spawn period of January and February and during the spawn in March and April.

Vance should know. Relying on the axiom that big lures tempt big bass, he’s personally caught about 150 bass that each weighed 10 pounds or more.

Let us know your tips and tricks in the comment section below and keep posting your adventures to the galleries or create your own circle from which to brag to by starting your own group in your profile.  Most of all get outdoors!

 
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 23:12

Cold Weather Fishing Tips

Though we at Shotem and Caughtem definitely have hunting on our minds we would be remiss to not discuss the huge advantages to cold weather fishing.  There are many advantages to the cold weather.  One huge advantage is that cld weather hunting or fishing is not for the faint of heart.  Dedication to the outdoors even in the cooler temperatures can yield some monster fish.  Better yet is that many fair weather fisherman/woman have already hung up their rods and have opted to stay indoors which means less competition.  Here are some tips to get you started on landing your Monster Catch.  

 

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 20:34

Fishing at Table Rock Lake

Though we at Shotem and Caughtem did not get any bragging photos from our weekend excursion to Table Rock Lake this weekend we did make some observations that might make you adventure more eventful than ours.  We went out several different days at different times.  During most of our adventure we witnessed a large amount of bait fish in the water.  The shore lines and many of the docks were riddled with hundreds of small bite sized fish.  Off our lines many of the strikes either felt on the line or observed from the top line of the water came from small over aggressive fish trying to eat way more then their mouths would allow.  I watched as many of my top water baits were heckled by fish too small to fit the bait they were trying to engulf.  

Many of the fish we hoped to see at the end of the lines would come right up to shore or close to the dock or boat only to shy away at the last minute.  The water was impressively clear all weekend long, up to 15-20ft in some places.  We feel like the impressively clear water and the high amount of bait fish created an environment where the fish could stand to be picky eaters.  When ever this has been the case in the past we probably should have switched to live bait, a hook and a bobber.  Unfortunately since our weekend also consisted of a little rest, relaxation and some drinking with friends we kept forgetting to get the minnow trap in the water.  For the next couple of weeks at least with the lakes in the Midwest we would recommend only using live bait until the weaker bait fish have been eaten and the large fish get a little less picky.  Now admittedly we were not after bluegill which were more than willing to eat anything we through in the water.  

Hope our research helps you post some photos to the Caughtem gallery and let us know how your experiences went this weekend in the comment section below.

Published in On Location

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!

 

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. 

As the warm weather is quickly approaching, it is time to blow the dust off the rod and reels and get ready for some summer fun. Be it sitting on your favorite farm pond or zipping across the bass filled lake at 70 mph to beat your buddies to your favorite fishing hole. Shot em' and Caught em' thought these proven tips might give you a bigger bass to post to the Caughtem Gallery and brag to the world.  We found this article/video and thought we would pass along the information.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013 18:54

Striped Bass Fishing in Cold Conditions

With most of the Midwest getting covered in snow and hunting season coming to a close we thought we would focus on cold weather fishing.  Though we recently wrote about ice fishing, we in the Midwest have not had many days when ice has covered the waters.  So what fish likes cold water should we want to venture out to grab some good bragging photos.  After a little research we learned that the Striped Bass still thrive even when the water is cold.  There are many lakes throughout the Midwest that have Striped Bass populations such as Lake Texoma, Grand Lake, Table Rock, Beaver Lake, Lake Hamilton and the Colorado river to name a few.  Here are three potential methods that will help you land a fish.


Casting: Look for fish near points, flats, drop-offs, submerged islands and bridge pilings when using this technique. Also watch for stripers boiling water on the surface as they tear into hapless baitfish. You can use a variety of lures, including lipless crankbaits, deep-diving minnow plugs and Sassy Shads. But none can compare with the plain white bucktail jig, preferably with a single saddle hackle tied along each flank. The best weight is ¼-3/8 ounce. You can add a plastic twister tail to this if the water is stainy, but usually the jig by itself is best.

Cast this lure out to the structure described above and reel in slowly and steadily. It may seem boring. But it won't be when a 10-or 15-pound striper nails the lure. If strikes are slow in coming, try pausing halfway back during the retrieve and letting the lure sink down, like a wounded shad running out of gas. This often draws jarring strikes.

Trolling: This is another good tactic for winter stripers in the state. This method puts your lure down in the 15-30 foot range where stripers often hang out during cold weather. And it keeps it there constantly as you slowly motor over likely holding areas. Good places to troll include the mouths of tributaries, river and creek channel edges, humps, steep bluffs and near bridges.

Downriggers will allow you to troll any lure for stripers. If you don't want to fool with them, use large deep-plunging plugs such as the Storm Big Mac, Hellbender, Mann's Stretch and Deep-diving Rapalas. These lures dive 12-25 feet when trolled and often tempt jumbo stripers.

To make them even more effective, tie an 18-36 inch leader to the center hook of the front treble and then attach a ¼-ounce white jig or grub to this trailer. The stripers often are attracted to the large wobbling plug, but actually strike the smaller trailing jig.

Live Bait: Nothing can tempt a lethargic winter striper like a live baitfish. Shad are best, but if you can't catch them with a throw net, jumbo shiners sold at bait shops will work almost as well. Use 10-20 pound line and a size two hook. Attach a leader of two-to-four feet and the hook after threading a one-half to one-ounce egg sinker above it on the main line. Alternately, you can simply squeeze a few large split shot onto the line.

Hook the baitfish through the lips or lightly through the back and lower the offering down to the level where you find stripers on the depth finder or suspect they are holding. Drifting is a good tactic if there is a light wind or you can anchor out over a particularly inviting piece of structure.

Drop a buoy on the spot if you hook up, since there might be a whole school of stripers there. And if you do find a pack of voracious stripers, I'll bet you probably won't even remember how cold the air is!  As always post photos of your big or small catch to the Caughtem Bragging wall and tell us your story. 

Page 1 of 2