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.

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Hunting the Right Place at the Right Time

Although research confirms that the whitetail rut takes place at virtually the exact same time every year, most hunters know that the rut’s intensity varies from day to day and season to season. As much as your head spins with the mental images of scrapes, full moons, rubs, monster bucks, and rut-crazed chase scenes, the best times to be in the woods will rarely coincide with calendar anniversaries. Through years of personal experience and research gathered from other hunters, I have discovered three critical rut-­influencing elements that can help you tame the annual madness, and also help you predict what I refer to as “high-­intensity rut-hunting days” with great precision. So, let’s leave the long-range rut prognostications behind and get down to brass tacks.

Monday, 28 April 2014 22:09

Barometric pressure and fishing

We at Shotem and Caughtem have always been told the stories and ran to the lake to answer the prophecy that the best fishing happens before the storm.  So of course now that much of the United States have been involved in a large line of thunder storms we felt it might be good to look at the science behind fishing and storms.  

Barometric pressure- the weight of the air- decreases as a storm approaches. It's called low pressure. To understand how it works, imagine the palm of that giant hand the professor talked about easing up as it presses on the water's surface. Its touch is lighter. The water isn't as compressed as it was, and fish can move more easily through it. The mood of many fish often changes to what we might call a more 'active' mood. They move around more freely and feed.

A storm also brings clouds and wave-creating wind, reducing sunlight penetration. Active fish can move to shallower water. In the case of walleyes, they often rise in the water column. The sonar screen shows them moving up off the bottom. Or, they just move shallower on shoreline-connected and midlake structures.

The absolute best fishing periods often occur when barometric pressure reaches its lowest point, just before the front arrives.

"The old saying, that fish bite best right before the storm."

The best time to head to the lake is when the forecast calls for storms moving into the area.

The picture changes when the storm is over. Barometric pressure starts to rise again. The giant hand presses down harder, and the water becomes more compact. High pressure also brings clear, bluebird skies, and light penetration is often intense for the next several days. Fish feel the increased pressure and become less active. They move tight to cover or deeper, where the sun isn't so bright. Their mood is lethargic.

With underwater cameras, you can watch fish come up to a bait and not bite. People don't understand that, but when air pressure is high, fish become less aggressive. They just come up and look. They may eventually take it, but you have to work a little harder.

The effect of the pressure change is most pronounced on the first day after the storm passes.

Time of year must also be considered. The impact of a change in barometric pressure is more severe in winter. For one reason, the swing between high and low pressure is more drastic during the cold months. For another, the same high pressure is affecting less water volume when part of it is locked up as ice.

Fish like northern pike may be the least susceptible to changes in barometric pressure; they seem to be aggressive no matter what. But, the perch family, including walleye, may be the most impacted by the changes, followed by crappies and bluegills. Heitkamp doesn't target muskies often, but anyone who does will tell you the best time to be on the water is when black clouds appear on the horizon.

A barometer isn't needed to know what's happening with air pressure. Read the wind instead.

Anyone can play amateur weather forecaster. Before the (storm) front, wind is out of the south. When it switches to west-northwest, pressure begins to rise.

"Wind from the east, fish bite the least." 

Wind comes from the east the longer high pressure is in place. By then, high pressure has taken a real toll on the fish.

Let us know your weather tricks and tips in the comment section below.

Friday, 11 April 2014 17:15

Weather and Turkey Hunting

We at Shotem and Caughtem have been waiting for turkey season.  Across much of the United States the season is here or will be here shortly.  As such we took a look at the weather to see how conditions might be for our opening weekend.  We were a little surprised that though tomorrow is going to be gorgeous across most of the area that sunday would bring a grab bag of different weather.  Some look to be cloudy and windy, some will have rain and some might even see a bit of snow.  So how does this effect the turkeys that seem to be on the move and starting to spread out from their winter packs?

Turkeys can be called in all types of weather, but certain conditions are more challenging. In windy weather it will be hard for the gobbler to hear and hard for you to hear him. You should used a higher-pitched call with more volume, like a pan friction call. During windy weather turkeys will tend to move to open fields where they can make better use of their two main lines of defense--their eyes and ears.

In rainy weather a turkey's lines of defense are also reduced due to the lowered visibility and heightened surrounding noise level. Turkeys will again move to more open areas and a higher volume call will be needed to cut through the noise created by rain. In addition, a rain-soaked turkey requires a longer runway in order to get airborne and escape predators. This will also drive turkeys into more open areas. You may find that gobblers and hens spend more time on the roost during a rain because they are reluctant to leave the security of a protected tree.

Snow is a third weather condition affecting some spring turkey hunters. Snow and cold can make turkeys very quiet so they could come to a call without gobbling. If possible, hunt mid-day because the snow may mean that gobblers leave the roost later. Finally, hunt south-facing slopes, which will receive the most sun and will be the warmest areas. These areas may also be the first to lose their snow cover, attracting birds looking for food.

 
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 21:13

Weather and Water Temperature in Fishing

So we at Shotem and Caughtem decided to get our nerd on this week.  Since temperatures are on the rise around the US and with day light savings creating longer sun warmth periods we wanted to know how do you gauge water temperatures by what is happening weather wise to guess what water temperatures might be in places we go to fish.  

What we found is that there are a lot of factors that go into water temperature vs weather to get an exact gauge but you can start to get close.  First lets find out the most important thing.  At what temperature do fish species spawn to be able to ride the two weeks prior of aggressive fishing that is close to being upon us.  

Here is a list of some of the spawning water temperatures for the most popular game fish.  The temperatures are in Fahrenheit.

Largemouth Bass 68-72

Smallmouth Bass 59-60

Spotted Bass    63-68

Yellow Bass   62-66

Cherokee Bass 55-57

White Bass    57-68

Striped Bass 59-65

Muskie   49-59

Walleye 45-51

Northern Pike 40-52

Sauger   40-45

Paddlefish 50-55

Warmouth   75-80

White Crappie    60-65

Black Crappie 62-68

Bluegill   70-75

Green Sunfish    75-85

Red ear 68-75

Channel Catfish 75-80

Blue Catfish    70-75

Flatheads    66-75

Bullhead Catfish 79-89

Carp    63-75

Rainbow Trout 50-55

Brown Trout    47-52

Brook Trout 45-48

These are typical temperature ranges where fish spawn and almost every species will spawn several times during the spring and move from areas that are too warm into waters that are just right as too warm or cold of water is lethal to the various fish’s roe.  The time of year that these fish spawn will vary by location due to the air temperature and other factors so one state in the south such as Texas may see their fish spawning long before Minnesota and you will see those up in some shallow pond spawn long before those in a moving river carrying the spring snow melt.  A thermometer to drop in at a depth of 3 to 8 feet might be more handy than you realize.

Weather affects water temperature in a lake every day and throughout the year. On a daily basis, weather conditions can cause subtle changes in water temperature. Seasonal changes in weather temperature can cause dramatic variations in a lake’s water temperature—even causing waters to mix.

Daily Changes

Strong winds can cause large waves that can mix a lake’s water. Cloud cover is also important. Skies can be cloudy, clear or a mixture. On cloudy days or foggy days, when visibility is low, the sun cannot warm top waters as quickly as on clear days. On clear, sunny days, a lake’s top waters may become warmer than bottom waters.

Seasonal Changes

Winter
Low weather temperatures cause a lake’s water to become cold. Sometimes the water near the surface gets so cold, it freezes. During winter, nearly the whole water column (the depth from surface to bottom) becomes uniformly cold and near freezing.

Spring
Sun begins to warm the cold water near a lake’s surface. When water reaches a certain temperature—exactly 4 degrees C or 39.2 F—it reaches its maximum density or heaviness, and it sinks. This process causes a lake’s waters to mix. Wind also plays a role. Winds get stronger during spring and help to mix the whole water column, from top to bottom. This seasonal mixing, called turnover, also occurs in the fall. This mixing also helps circulate nutrients throughout the lake.

Summer
Sun warms the surface waters of a lake. Winds die down and are no longer strong enough to mix the whole water column, or depth of water. Surface water becomes very warm, but the bottom water remains cold. Swimmers may notice this sharp temperature difference, called a thermocline.

Fall
In the fall, Great Lakes surface waters begin to cool. When the temperature of the water reaches 4 degrees C or 39.2 F (as it does in the spring), it reaches its maximum density or heaviness, and it sinks. This seasonal process causes a lake’s waters to mix. Wind also plays a role. Winds get stronger during fall and help to mix the whole water column, from top to bottom. This seasonal mixing, called turnover, also occurs in the spring.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 23:25

Fish still bite after the melt

As the weather took a turn into the 60's today after about eight inches of snow just a week ago we felt it was a good time to remind people that just because it is cold doesn't mean there is still not great fishing to be done before the spring spawn.  Let us know your cold weather tips in the comment section below.

Since we like to sleep in, we really love the fact that the winter months allow anglers to get a late start.  Most often fish will be more active during the day under full sun conditions.  It’s almost a complete opposite of what we see in the summertime.  We’d say that the crappie, however, seem to bite a little better sometimes near sundown.

During the summer, we outdoor lovers preach fishing cover, shadows, darker water and getting out of the sun.  But in the winter, it seems that the gamefish will often be found in the shallower, clearer waters.  The little bit of warmth that the sun will offer is quite pleasant for the fish.  Bait fish will get into the brighter waters too, so needless to say, the gamefish follow.

Another reason for us to search for warmth is because the water is cold and fish being cold blooded will be less aggressive in colder water.  Their movement will be minimal. Although the fish will want to be in warmer shallower water, they’ll still stay close to some deeper water.  Call it the deep water sanctuary or fish’s home.  Fish like the quick access to the shallow water that can get warmed up with the sun and deeper water for safety.  Usually this is on the north side of lakes and northern shores of rivers where there are eddies and still water. That side is exposed to the sun longer.

With the cold water and cold fish, their bite will be light and hard to detect.  To catch fish like sauger or stripers from the river, light jigs and line with live bait (minnows) will be the way to go.

Friday, 24 January 2014 22:49

Cold Temps and Late Season Goose Hunting

We at Shotem and Caughtem would be remiss to not think that we may have the perfect weekend for hunting in store.  Recent cold temperatures in the midwest have made the goose populations rise.  Typically goose hunting is a cold weather sport.  However, this weekend much of the midwest will see a slight uptick in weather temperatures which may make for an unusually nice goose hunting experience.  

Goose offers that last quick hunt prior to a bit of a cold spell for hunting till the arrival of spring turkey season.  Goose hunting can also be the perfect practice session should you love turkey hunting.  Many of the same experiences hold true for both animals.  They require you to be still.  Practice your calling techniques.  Lay out decoys.  And lastly, let them get in close because many of them wear kevlar.  

We are lucky since we in the midwest have had decent moisture levels and the winter wheat fields started a decent growth prior to the deep freeze we have seen.  Also the fact that the wheat around our area at least has gone dormant means farmers are usually more apt to allowing small groups in their fields to help eliminate their goose problems should they have found their fields attractive.  It gives many hunters a perfect opportunity to meet new landowners by extending a helping hand.  "Sir or Mam, I was noticing that your wheat field contains a large goose population.  Would it be possible for me and a friend to help relieve you of some of your problems?"  Many farmers hate to see crop lose to geese since much of the plant is eaten by the animal and will not grow back once temperatures rise.  Also, geese will establish a pattern by hitting the same fields over and over sometimes completely wiping out a farmers crop.  

Let us know your goose hunting secrets or tricks in the comment section below.  As always share your adventures to the galleries and tell us your story.  

Thursday, 05 September 2013 19:20

Fall Makes for Great Fishing Weather

Though we at Shotem and Caughtem definitely have Dove Hunting on the brain we would be remiss to not remember that fall is also a great time for fishing.  With the cooler temperatures headed for the nation the fish will turn to bulking up prior to the winter freeze.  Many species of fish will begin to eat everything in sight in order to gain the weight needed for the lack of food sources during the winter.  

Whether you are fishing for walleye, pike, trout or bass many species of fish will need plenty of nutrients.  This makes for great fishing.  Also the hot days cause fisherman/woman to constantly change depths to find cooler water and fish.  Fish should be lining the banks looking to pick off any left over morsels or quality baits that happen to come around as the water and air temperatures drop.  We have been having some great luck catching fish with some of the lures provided by Angler Choice baits.  We have been giving them a thorough review to help let our members know more about their products.  Should you want to learn more about them before the review is complete check them out at www.anglerschoice.ca.  

Either way we could not be more excited that Shotem and Caughtem season is here in full effect.  We have been excited about all the great new members and activity that we have been receiving about our new website and hope you continue to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below or by sharing your stories in the galleries and discussion boards.   

Friday, 23 August 2013 22:07

Hot Weather Bass Fishing

We at Shotem and Caughtem have had some rotten luck the last month when it comes to running out after work to do a little quality time fishing.  Here in the Midwest the temperatures have been all over the place and last month we got hit with huge amounts of rain.  Now the weather has swung the other way.  The last two weeks after some cooler weeks with a lot of rain have turned in to hot and dry days.  As such we think the fish might be just as confused as we are so we thought we might research what happens when the weather is hot.  Our last outing on Tuesday of this week cause us to not get bites till it was pretty much pitch black.  So what do you do when it is sunny and hot?

Bass feed throughout the day. They don't just take a nap all day then feed at night. The key is discovering how to catch bass on the hottest days. Bass are feeding opportunists that feed when food is handy. They are fully active and, in fact, aggressive when conditions are right. A key is discovering thermocline.  Lakes go through seasonal water temperature changes. This creates different levels of water temperatures. The water becomes uncomfortably warm on the surface for bass this time of year.

Some oxygen content is maintained on the surface in spite of direct sunlight, an important factor for bass comfort and survival, explaining why bass can be caught on top water during evening hours when the water surface is still warm.  Several feet below the surface, temperatures are cooler where adequate oxygen content exists. Thermocline is a comfort zone for bass and other fish. During hot weather there is little oxygen content below the thermocline, so most bass are caught at this essential level and above.

The best thing to do is begin to figure out at which depth the bass seem to be even striking the bait and then fishing those depths as you travel around your river, lake or pond.

We hope everyone has a great Shotem and Caughtem weekend.   Let us know your hot weather fishing secrets in the comment section below and keep posting your photos to the galleries and telling us your stories.



Wednesday, 31 July 2013 16:10

After the Heavy Rain Fishing Tips

We in the Midwest have been experiencing some unusual heavy rainy season this summer.  It has made the fishing in the lakes and rivers difficult to say the least.  We and Shotem and Caughtem felt it was a perfect time to discuss some tips when fishing in conditions like the ones we are experiencing.  

Initially fish may hold at the original water level before moving shallow. But soon afterwards bass adjust to rising water, presenting opportunities for catching aggressive feeding bass by following the water as it rises. Bass follow the water as it rises into newly flooded areas of shallow water. First start ultra-shallow (if the water temperature permits) and work to deeper water. Fish visible cover such as trees, buck brush and lay down trees as well as lawns, pastures and other clean areas with spinner baits, buzz baits, top water baits and shallow running crank baits. When contact is made with a fish take note of the depth, type of cover, lure retrieve, and how the fish took the bait. Then slow down and repeat the scenario. Use slower baits such as jerk baits, lizards, worms, jigs, etc. to pick off any of the less aggressive fish and to find larger bass that may not have bit on the first pass.

Another consideration when fishing after heavy rains is the influx of muddy water. Bass in lakes that are clear will be affected more than the bass that live in stained water. When a lake muddies the fish "should" move shallow and tight to cover. Bass will follow the water in search for food. This makes it easy for an angler to locate fish. Look for any visible cover such as logs, stumps, and laydowns. Also, consider fishing vegetation. Grassy areas help filter the water and will clear up faster than non-grassy areas. When fishing, remember to slow down and try to keep the bait in the strike zone as long as possible. First try horizontal baits such as spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and crank baits and top water baits. Spinner baits with chartreuse blades and skirts as well as black spinner baits with copper blades. Chartreuse and bright reds and black for jerk baits and crankbaits are preferred. Use crankbaits with rattles and a wide wobble to displace lots of water to help bass locate the bait. If these baits don't produce, try bulky vertical baits such as jig-n-pigs, brush-hogs, worms and craw-worms that stay in the strike zone longer. Shake the plastics while fishing cover to trigger a strike and help bass find your lure. Also remember that scent and sound become more of a factor when water muddies. Try using rattles on soft plastics or use baits that make a lot of noise. And, use scent on plastics to increase your chances of a strike. FISH SLOWLY!

When waters begin to recede fishing can become really tough. Fish will become inactive and suspend. Often bass will move into deeper water suspending around cover or near break lines away from the bank and shallows. Try moving out to the next line of visible cover away from the bank in your search for fish. Use a slow methodical approach to your fishing. Remember to try to appeal to the bass' senses of sight, sound and taste as well as reaction to baits. If a reactionary flash of a spinnerbait doesn't produce, try vertical plastics and jigs fished slowly, making repeated casts to cover and to entice a strike. You have to be confident the fish is there, be patient and persistent. Keep the bait in the strike zone and keep your confidence up.  Most of all leave your comments below and post your photos to the Caughtem Gallery and tell us your story.

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!

 

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