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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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We at Shotem and Caughtem think the best way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day is to think green.  Nothing during this time period makes us think green than grabbing a couple cold ones and head out to do some fishing.  Since St. Patrick's Day usually means spring is here we thought we would impart a couple of early fishing tricks we like to use.  Happy St. Patrick's Day to all our members.  We hope you have a safe and fun outdoor celebration.

At this time of year remember diversity is the key. Bring not only minnows, but also minnows ranging from tiny to large as the bite varies from day to day. Also carry not only waxies, but spikes and even an assortment of plastics. Due to this varying bite, don’t be afraid to switch up presentations. Just the other day, in fact, we finally got crappies to bite on the sixth lure we used and that was a 1/16-ounce spoon tipped with a tiny minnow.

Probably the most important thing to remember while fishing those lazy hazy days of spring is to trust your electronics. If you don’t see fish, move around the deep basin or flat you are fishing. There are some crappie and perch fisherman, in fact, who won’t even put in a line until they see fish on the screen.

Crappies will often hit up and when your spring tip goes from slightly bent to straight up, the fish is hitting up so use an immediate soft lift to hook it. If you don’t use a spring tip, be sure you have a “noodle” rod, as a deep-water crappie bite is subtle. What makes catching them so magical is it’s all in the touch, the finesse.

To all the great Irish people out there, even though you might only be a “toenail” Irish, happy St. Patrick’s Day. May the luck of the Irish be with ye. Enjoy all that is green. In fact, try to go northern Minnesota and get some of those black and silver and green crappies or the green barred perch for your green-themed meal.

Published in News/Events
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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Published in News/Events

We at Shotem and Caughtem have noticed that once again the hunting and fishing permits are rising in many states.  We also know that one way to help off set the increases that seem to happen every year is to apply for a Lifetime hunting and fishing permit should your state offer them.  However, it still begs the question.  Where does all that money end up?

Lucky for us our law makers knew they would not be able to keep their hands off the money and made it so that all money collected by wildlife and parks must be used for wildlife and parks projects and funding only.  However, the lawmakers also found a way to use the money in a different way.  Got to love politicians.  They use the vast amount of unappropriated funds as leverage to cook the books in other departments.  So when the state roads department goes over budget they use the surplus in the wildlife budget to offset the overage.  

Now the bad.  Because they need to leverage the positive dollars in the wildlife and parks fund to go over budget in other areas, many wildlife and parks project money gets stalled.  Projects that would help expand or create a better environment for hunters and fisherman/woman to use typically get sidelined.  As is the case with many things follow the money.

The best way for many to help loosen the reigns on these funds is to make sure you stay active in creating areas in your own area worthy of spurring our environments.  Using the land you hunt and fish wisely and contacting your state government on projects you feel are worthy of our license dollars might just help get some of these projects moving.

So the positive is all those increases in fees go towards wildlife and parks.  The bad, much of the money never gets used for wildlife and parks.  It sits and accrues interest so that other projects look flush.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.  As always get outdoors and share your adventures in our galleries. 

Published in News/Events
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.

Published in News/Events
Tuesday, 25 February 2014 23:21

Muscles made from Fishing Line

We at Shotem and Caughtem read this article and it got us wondering.  What a great topic.  How many different uses of the things we carry in our hunting packs or fishing bags can we come up with to do things other than their intended uses.  We already use our knives, tools, lures, rifles, and bows in different ways other than their true intentions.  So we challenge you to leave different ideas in our comment section below after reading this article.

Take a rubber band and twist it. Keep twisting it until it starts to collapse onto itself and form larger loops—it's something you can do with almost any strand-like structure. Now, scientists from the University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson are taking advantage of this property in everyday materials such as fishing line and sewing thread and using it to make artificial muscles.

The scientists took pieces of fiber that were a few hundred micrometers long and twisted them until they began to coil. As the pieces coiled, the twisted fibers became shorter and thicker; once tightly coiled, the scientists heat-treated them to prevent the fibers from unfolding. If heat is applied to the finished coil after this procedure, the individual fibers try to untwist. The untwisting causes the coils to expand in volume as they shorten in length, just like a muscle.

The researchers found that if they made the fiber form larger coils in the same direction as the initial twists, the fibers contracted. If the fibers were made to coil in the opposite direction from the twist, the fibers expanded. By combining large quantities of these twisted fibers, the team could produce artificial muscles with above-average characteristics.

In their study, the scientists compared their artificial muscles to natural ones. Biological muscles contract to only about 20 percent of their length, while these artificial muscles contract to over 50 percent of their length. In addition, the synthetic versions can lift loads over 100 times heavier than human muscles of the same length and weight can handle. The twisted fibers can generate over 5 kilowatts of mechanical work per kilogram of muscle weight, which is similar to the output of a jet engine.

These are not the first artificial muscles to have been created, but they are among the first that are inexpensive and store large amounts of energy. The team that developed them believes the heat-dependent contraction, low cost, and the ability to store large amounts of energy make these fibers ideal candidates for a huge range of applications, including medical devices, clothing, prosthetic limbs, and even home automation. Some day, your blinds may open and close on their own as coiled fibers respond to the weather.

Published in News/Events
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.

Published in News/Events

We at Shotem and Caughtem hope all our member's have a safe and loving Valentine's Day.  Thank you so much for all your support over this past year.  We can't thank you enough for being apart of our website.  We have some great things in store for you this year and hope that you help us create a wonderful new network of avid outdoorsmen and women.  

Remember nothing says love better than a box of Camo, Ammo or Bait!

Thanks again and Have a wonderful Weekend Outdoors,

Shotem and Caughtem Staff 

Published in User Spotlight
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!

Published in News/Events
Friday, 10 January 2014 23:14

Willing to Brave the Cold?

We at Shotem and Caughtem thought we would end the week with a little trivia and information.  Should you be willing to fight through the cold or have access to a shelter on the ice and have the itch to fish, ice fishing is a great way to land a monster.  To wet your taste buds we thought we would find out some of the biggest catches on frozen waters.  Let us know your tricks to land the big one in the frigid cold in the comment section below.

As of February 8, 2013, Sederberg’s fish—estimated to be 40 to 44 pounds—officially replaces the Fresh Water Hall of Fame’s old world-record ice-fishing catch-and-release lake trout on pole and line, which was a 44-incher caught from Clear Water Lake in Manitoba, Canada, by Brent Danylko on April 11, 1920.

Still smiling Father Mariusz Zajak proudly displays his 18.30 pound walleye he landed while ice fishing on Tobin Lake, near the Resort Village of Tobin Lake, on Tuesday afternoon Jan. 4, 2005. The Roman Catholic priest now has legitimate bragging rights to the provincial record for walleye.

The all tackle world record, caught in New Jersey in 1865, weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces. It is the longest-standing, freshwater sport-fish record.

26-pound, 12-ounce catch is the new IGFA All-Tackle world record for landlocked Atlantic salmon. He set another record too catching it on 6-pound test line.

A Great Lakes muskie 58 inches long, with a girth of 29 inches. It weighed 58 pounds.

SOme massive fish are caught if one is willing to brave the cold.  We hope you take time to share your photos and adventures to the galleries and tell us your stories.  

Published in News/Events
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 22:20

Our New Years Resolution is You

We at Shotem and Caughtem have reflected a lot on the first year of our website.  It has been a blessing to have started what we feel is a unique website dedicated to hunting and fishing.  It has all the makings to be a hunter or fisherman/woman's first place to share and connect with others.  A place  where people like Melissa Bachman, Phil Robertson and you our members can feel comfortable sharing their adventures and opinions on the lifestyle to which we dedicate so much time, efforts and money.  A place safe from those who might not agree with the way we choose to live our lives.

That is why our New Years resolution is you.  We promise to dedicate this year to further creating a home for all who enjoy this lifestyle to continue to share their experiences.  Good or bad.  Share with the rest of the world to try and educate and inform on why we do what we do and what we use to do it.  Even share those experiences when things don't go as planned. 

However, inorder to make this the website that you choose to make your home we need your help.  A social network is nothing without you our members.  We need to here from you as to what you need from a great hunting and fishing social network.  So we ask you to help us to continue to make a place you want to be a part. 

We have some great things in store this year and hope you help us to continue our dream of creating the first and foremost hunting and fishing community.  So become a member and help us shape this brave new world on the web.  Happy New Years.  Make it a safe and joyous year outdoors!

Published in News/Events
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