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King George, Virginia
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May 4, 2016     The Westmoreland Journal
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6 Wednesday, May 4, 2016 THE JOURNAL www.journalpress.com MARK FIKE Next, be stealthy. If in a boat, mini- be near cover such as weeds, treetops mize noise by carpeting the decks, or deeper water such as a drop off. Over the past year I have had a few Don't knock over objects to cause The exception would be fish guard- people ask about sight fishing and thumps and crashes that spook the ing a nest. Look for nests in shallow how it is properly done. While Icer- fish. If on the bank, don't run, jump water less than five feet deep, usually tainly don't claim to be a professional or stumble. Wear clothing that is not in coves or on sloping points on lakes angler by any means I have had ex- too bright. If on a boat wear drab col- or ponds. When approaching a fish, tensive angling experience sight fish- ors or if your position is high enough stop just in casting range and deter- ing with both bait and lures. My sight to have the sky backdrop you, wear mine which way the fish is pointed. fishing experience spanned fish- light blue. All of these basic tips help Observe the fish for a minute. What ing for redfish, cobia, bass, bream, you not spook fish so you can prac- is it doing? Is it guarding territory, crappie, snakeheads, and even some tice seeing them. To sight fish, you cruising for food or just hanging out? trout. One of the places I learned to have to see the fish for enough time Ifitisguardingterritoryyourworkis most about sight fishing was in Ari- to entice them to hit. not quite as hard. Use a bait that is zone while I was stationed there. The Sight fishing can be done on riv- a threat. For bass, sunfish or crappie, local river was slow and low and full ere, lakes, ponds, the bay or even the that can be a creature bait such as a of weeds but after some searching I ocean. The techniques work for all plastic lizard or crayfish. Fish love to found holes in the weed pockets that fish with slight adaptations. When eat these creatures but they also pose I could fish. Often these holes had sight fishing, don't get any closer a potential threat to their eggs too. large bass over six pounds, huge ti- than you need to in order to see the Make your cast.past the nose of the lapia or hand sized shellcrackers vie- fish and pitch a bait or lure to it. Use fish, let the bait settle and then begin ible. After a lot of trial and error I enough rod to do the job hut don't working the bait back towards the learned a lot of things, over gun the fish. Light line that is fish but not directly at the fish. The Given that there are many fish in thin is best because if you can see baitneeds to be just in front of the the shallows right now either spawn- the fish that means the water clar- fish. Making a cast right on top of the ing, guarding fry or feeding, this is ity is very good and it can likely see fish will spook it most of the time. a great time to share some of that you and anything wrong with your Multiple casts may be necessary to knowledge so that readers wanting bait or lure. With that in mind, don't anger the fish into striking but don't to try sight fishing can do so in the leave extra line hanging off your be frantic or pound the water in your next few weeks, knot. Fluorocarbon line is not a bad attempts. Observe the fish's behavior. The first thing to keep in mind is idea for a leader. Make sure your If it ignores the bait after multiple at- that a quality pair of polarized sun- lures are in good shape and clean, tempts, switch baits or give the fish glasses and a ball cap to shade the top Lures with large eyes are a good idea some time without any casts. In oth- of the glasses is extremely helpful, for sight fishing, er words, come back to it later. Without a way to cut the glare, see- Look for fish in the shallows. Fish that are feeding are going to be ing into the water is going to be very Where you find them will vary de- eitherreallyeasyorreallytough. Ifyou tough. Fish on a sunny day. Overcast pending on the species, whether they don't have the magic bait then tough days are very tough to get the right are spawning or what they are feed- is the way it will work out. Again, cast contrast to see down into the water, ing on. Most of the time the fish will ahead of the fish far enough so as not Outdoor Report = the best bet. Catfishing is hit or heard that some huge bream were miss for eating size fish but on the caught on lures. Try a whole worm to good days or spots it is very good. No entice the larger fish on the beds. Fishing is still very good for most word on the large fish. Mott's Run reported that the crap- species despite the cool down. Hunting Potomac River--The bass report pie fishing is very good with many an- for spring gobbler did slow down this from the river tells of angling that glers getting their limits. Red wigglers past week. Give us some warm, consis- dropped back into slightly deeper we- and minnows are the baits of choice. tent temps and the toms willbe moving ten Perhaps the overcast and rain drove The reservoir staff reports that a large around looking for available hens. them back down. Chatterbaits, weed- nmnber of bass in the 2-3 pound range Rappahannock River--Ken's Tackle less plastics and jigs are the way to go. are being caught Use nightcrawlers in Spotsylvania (540-898-1011) re- Bream are hitting in the shallows now for them. The shellcrackers will hit in ported that fishing herring and Ameri- and are moving towards the spawn, deeper water and are much larger. can shad is very good but neither can Perch are in the main river hitting Lake Anna anglers are catching be creeled. Put them back as soon as bloodworms or dam snouts. Watch out many species of fish to include catfish you catch them. The same goes for for catfish. They are eating anything under feeding striper which are all rockfish which are hitting very well on that they can find. over the lake eating shad and herring. cutbait and big bucktails from Hop- Ponds--Pond fishing is very good The bass are on the beds guarding yard upriver. Crappie are hitting well for bass which have just come off the Crappie are in mixed stages of spawn in the river. Fish tribe where there are spawn in many areas. Try chatterbaits, still which is a bit surprising. There deep holes and treetops. Minnows, plastic worms or large minnows. The are some nice white perch to be had at nightcrawlers or bright grubs are the crappie bite is still very good. Use min- Lake Anna too. Bass and crappie are best bet. White perch are hitting very news or tiny spinnerbaits. The bream in the shallows while the others are well around Hopyard. Bloodworms bite is very good in small ponds. We deeper. to spook it. Work the bait back natu- rally but don't stop when the fish ap- proaches. In fact, if necessary, move the bait erratically and slightly faster as if it is trying to get away in a panic. Many people stop reeling in antici- pation of the fish striking. This often brings the fish up short and it looks the offering over suspiciously. Keep things moving. I have sight fished small ponds that were overloaded with small to medium bass. In an at- tempt to remove some of the fish I used minnows. Once the minnows were dead I did not discard them. I kept them and used them. By hook- ing the minnows through the nose I jerked them erratically as if they were having death throes. I kept the action going until I got a strike. A minnow can catch a LOT of fish ff you use it over and over. The last tip I would like to share is that sometimes it is hard not to set the hook too soon. When the fish inhales the bait be sure the bait is IN the fish's mouth before setting the hook. I have missed a number of fish in my excitement to get the fish This bass was spotted just in front of a weedline and inhaled the first plastic worm hopped in front of it. hooked. Get a good pair of polarized glasses, Sight fishing is a lot of fun. You a hat and give sight fishing a try this can learn a lot about fish by watching spring. 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