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Those magical mayfly periods

This is the time of year when those of us fishing the clear lakes of Michigan have to deal with a mayfly hatch. Although it’s more prominent up here, it happens in the South, especially along the Coosa River. In fact, we encountered one in 2014 when we fished a tournament on Lake Chickamauga. It’s a phenomenon that occurs throughout the summer in some places and can really affect what it takes to catch the fish. Mayflies are just that – flying insects that emerge off the water’s surface, although most hatches occur in early June. They become so thick …

Put some swing in your plastics

I’ve made a good living fishing big crankbaits and Texas rigged worms during the summer, but in the past couple years I’ve added another valuable tool to my arsenal – the swing head jig. Tommy Biffle gets credit for bringing this nifty rig to the bass fishing world when he won an Elite event with his Hard Head and Biffle Bug. That created an explosion of similar rigs and a new technique we’ve all learned to embrace. I have to admit I was skeptical at first. I thought it was a gimmick, but I learned a long time ago to …

Don’t forget buzzbaits!

We have so many tools in our tackle box that an old standby has been pushed to the back shelf. The buzzbait. Trendy baits such as lifelike frogs, toad-style soft plastic baits and other shallow, cover-related lures have captured our attention and rightly so. They’ve proven themselves as solid fish catchers. But buzzbaits remain a valuable tool as a big-fish lure. The technique is one I keep in the back of my mind, especially when fishing early spring on lakes that are beginning to warm up. The buzzbait may be more valuable in the South right now where a ton …

Organized anglers are more efficient

We’ve been hit with an ice storm overnight here in Michigan, so I can’t get outside. But that’s OK; it’s a perfect day to work on tackle while I deal with other business matters in my office. Tackle organization is a never ending process, but the winter makes for a great time to inventory tackle and get it stored properly. It’s even more critical for me this year as I will have to load my truck and boat for the Elite Series that will take us to a variety of different waters where a number of techniques could come into …

Know your baitfish!

Any experienced angler will tell you it’s important to spend a lot of time studying what bass do and their seasonal patterns in different lakes and regions of the country. Knowing those factors will help you narrow the search of where to find and catch them. But equally important, and oftentimes a wild card to being a successful angler, is dictated by a knowledge of the forage - especially baitfish - in a given lake. Much of what is discussed about baitfish is centered on shad and rightly so. Shad are a primary forage in most of our impoundments. But …

Fall bass love crayfish, too

We’ve spent a lot time this fall talking about the importance of baitfish movements during the fall and how it affects where you’ll find the bass. But there’s another element worth considering, and one that we’re already seeing here in the north – the bass are beginning to target crayfish. Indeed, the key to successful fall fishing is to follow the baitfish, but there is a time when bass will direct their attention crayfish. Bass are opportunistic, and when the crayfish get active like they have up here in late fall, the bass start feeding on them. It’s like deer; …

Late can be great

Happy Halloween! Up in Michigan, where I live, it's starting to get cold. The weatherman is calling for snow and even the most optimistic bass angler would have to call this the "late season." But "late" can be great no matter where you live, as long as you have the right attitude and right approach. The bass fishing is still really good. Fish are still feeding, and you can still fish pretty fast and cover a lot of water to catch them. The first point I want to make about late season bass fishing and bass habits is that 50 …

Time to light ‘em up shallow!

The fall fishing season is developing across the country and a great time to be on the water. I’ve been on the road a lot filming and fishing the past few weeks and have watched the fall transition develop across the south and into the north. Of course, it’s farther along here in Michigan where the trees have turned into an array of brilliant colors and the water temperatures are dropping precipitously. You’ve heard me say this before; what triggers the fall pattern is a good 10-degree drop in temperatures. We’re in the midst of that now and that’s what …

The wind is your friend

I spent this week on Kentucky Lake participating in a Strike King Media Workshop and filming some videos with a couple of sponsors. As always, the writer event was a good time and highly productive. Strike King invites some of the top media in the country to spend a few days on Kentucky Lake to work and fish with its pro team members. We always stay at Fishtale Lodge just down the road from the Paris, Tenn. landing and it’s held every year in early October. The fishing is pretty good around there if you can get a break from …

KVD: Great Lakes smallmouth are the best

The Great Lakes rank near the top of my list as best fishing in the world. They can also be the toughest because of their vastness and the affect weather can have on them. That was illustrated during Toyota Bassmaster Angler of Year Championship on Lake Michigan’s Bays de Noc last weekend. But as tough as the weather can become around the Great Lakes, the fishing can be ridiculously good, especially in the fall. Although the championship was shortened to two days, keep in mind that several 20-pound limits of smallmouth were caught over those two days. That’s not something …