Anytime you fish, the first step is always the same you must first find the fish. You first must find the proper structure that holds the particular type of fish that you are trying to catch, and once this is accomplished the most important part is being able to entice the fish to bite. For some reason from time to time the fish just don’t seem to want to biteunfortunately this may occur at any moment or at any time of the year. I have found this to be true in both the summer and ice fishing in the wintertime.
When this happens you must change your fishing tactics or lure to hopefully find the proper technique that enables you to catch fish. Everyone has their favorite lure or technique that always seems to work quite well in enabling you to put a few fish in the boat or on the stringer. Despite using our favorite lures, and fishing in our favorite fishing holes, there are days that nothing will seem to work. Often times on these days if you can entice that first fish to bite you may also set off a feeding frenzy (especially on school fish) that will enable you to catch many fish in a short period of time.
My son Travis and I were facing one of these slow days while fishing pike on the west side in the Beluga area. Things were so bad that day that I had not caught a fish in my first three hours of fishing. Travis did manage to catch one small pike that I kept, despite the fact it was not a very large fish. I changed lures from time to time, going from my favorite weedless Johnson Silver Minnow, to several different surface lures, to deep dive Rapala’s. We tried fishing in shallow water in the weed beds or in deep water, but the fish just did not seem interested in anything at all on this particular day.
The heavy vegetation found in this lake really makes anything that is not weedless or a top water lure very difficult to use. You are constantly removing some type of vegetation from your bait. After spending several hours in a boat doing nothing but cleaning weeds off your hooks, it becomes a pretty boring day.
I did finally manage to hook a nice sized fish on an orange deep dive Rapala in about ten feet of water, however after a brief battle and leaving a huge beaver sized boil beside the boat, the hooks came out and Mr. Pike was gone! I knew then that if I was going to be successful at all that day I was going to have to come up with something weird or exotic to get these stubborn fish to bite.
On a previous trip another fishermen once told me that his fish locater had marked a lot of big fish on the bottom in ten feet of water just outside the weed beds that were located in the bay. I knew too that this area was easily drifted from one point to another with even the slightest breeze.
Since my boat motor was in the shop my only way of maneuvering my boat was the old fashion way by oars, or hopefully the wind would pick up slightly. As luck would have it the wind started to pick up and I was going to be able to drift this area just as I had hoped.
Now the whole key was choosing the right bait or combination of bait to make my choice irresistible to Mr. Pike. I took the small pike Travis had caught earlier from our cooler and cut off the tail section of the fish, leaving about two inches of meat above the tail and hooked it on to a four inch Silver Johnson Minnow. We oared our boat out to one side of the bay and used the wind to drift us over the area I was hoping these sluggish fish would now respond.
I put out eight to ten feet of line and began drifting over what I had hoped to be the hot spot. Bingo our first nice pike took the bait! A very nice heavy fish over 30 inches! A short time later the wind stopped and so did my newly found method of catching fish. Then the wind started back up but from a different direction which was blowing me into the bay, not across the outside edge.
Too stubborn to give up and quit , despite being up for over 17 hours straight, I decided to try and oar the boat over the hole just outside the weed beds. Once again this proved to be very effective as we landed several more pike and even had three more over thirty inches.
My son Travis caught 5 fish that were as beautiful as any I have ever seen caught in one day by anyone. The fish ranged from 28 inches to 33 but were deep, heavy, beautiful fish. The excitement and fun these fish generated brought about some very exciting moments for both of us that day. A day when we really had to work for the fish but were able to prove that we were just a little smarter then Mr. Pike on a day they were planning on sleeping. That tail section on the flashy silver lure proved to be just too much for even the groggiest pike to resist.
No matter what kind of fishing you’re doing, don’t be afraid to constantly change your bait or your tactics. I probably change my bait or tactics more then anyone you have ever fished with, simply because I know that most generally there is always some combination out there that they can’t resist. If all else fails you might even try saying a prayer to the one who made those stubborn fish in the first place. I have tried this method too, and sometimes this also can be an effective method. Be sure and check your Fish & Game regulations book before trying this method to be sure it is legal. It might say something like praying only on certain ends of the lake and only with head bowed not hands folded or 200 feet from the downstream marker that used to be there and 46 feet from the one that they are planning on putting there and only on Tuesdays that follow Mondays....etc.
See you next week!
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