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Topics - senkosam

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The Hawg Forum / trolling crankbaits to catch fish
« on: September 07, 2019, 07:44:37 AM »

Two friends of mine I fish with have told me they use crankbaits trolling for bass and panfish. Up until yesterday I was skeptical until when on the way back to the dock my partner caught a bass and two crappie trolling a medium dive crankbait at #2 speed on the trolling motor. His rod was held high at 45 degrees so the lure couldn't go too deep and the rod was medium action. The depth averaged 10' or so and the bottom fairly smooth with a few small humps seen on sonar while he trolled down the middle of this narrow lake one mile across three miles long.

The day was in the 60's, cloudy, windy at times (15 mph wind) and the water temperature 71 degrees and dropping due to nighttime temps dropping to 49 degrees. We are going into a fall pattern early that started over a week ago along with a drought that started in June. It's been a very weird year weatherwise!

When that rod bent back I thought he snagged something until he started fighting a fish ! I own hundreds of crankbaits with different lip sizes and never thought  to troll for fish - especially panfish ! Other than soft plastic design and testing different ones, I stopped using bass lures such as jigs/trailers, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, spoons, top water lures, etc. though I've done well on all of them at one time or other.

Guess I'll have to concentrate on this this presentation when fishing is tough because my partner insists that he catches fish in the middle of a sunny day trolling crankbaits. He also said that when a fish is caught, he throws out a buoy marker and retrolls the area in the opposite direction after turning the boat around and at times stops the trolling motor casting back to the area in hopes a school is present and active. Man I love fishing schools - one after the other !!!

Too bad his sonar is old and never shows fish - only the bottom and at depths that are inaccurate by a foot or more. I would have loved to have seen the fish the pontoon boat moved over before being caught with a 2 3/4" crankbait! I have a feeling that a gas engine would have spooked those fish and maybe prevented any strikes. Now the question remains : which crankbait to us???

I own a 1986 Ranger bass boat with a 90 hp motor. The boat's been out of commision for 2yrs waiting for repairs on the steering, electronics, gas tank, carburetor and a few other minor things. The 55# thrust Minn Kota bit the dust and I needed to replace it. Problem: a bow mount, foot controlled trolling motor cost a bunch and to add one to an old boat whose engine may die next year didn't make sense. Besides, why spend over $650 when I had a hand controlled 55# thrust sitting in the garage that I used for my jon boat on the stern. 

Mounting a hand controlled bow mount presented a challenge: what kind of bracket, how strong and how not to damage the fiberglass deck. So, I bought a deck mount transom-type trolling motor bracket.

a 55# thrust motor weighs a heck of a lot so support had to be added to a bracket that was designed for a much lighter 35# thrust tm. Luckily I had steel brackets left behind from my garage repair job as well as wood :

You can see the holes left from the previous bow mount tm which have to be filled.When I get it from Amazon I'm adding a foot control and have an extension handle so I don't have to lean over (even though the motor top is at waist level).

But two things I'm glad I remembered at the last minute:
1. the handle on a stern mount faces in the opposite direction of the propeller but on a bow mount they point in the same direction. It was easy enough to turn the top around 180 degrees.
2. the direction of the prop turns opposite when the handle is turned toward the rear when bow mounted. It was just a matter of changing wire polarities - positive wire to battery negative and negative wire to battery positive. Now the prop turns in the right direction whether forward or reverse.

Took us all morning and a few runs to the store for hardware, but once the holes were drilled it was just a matter of lying on my back in the hot sun, reaching under the bow deck and hold the nuts and large washers while my partner tightened them. Now all that remains is attaching the sonar transducer to the tm and filling the holes from the previous deck mount frame. My buddy gave me a cover he had laying around:

It pays to have someone help with such a project to offer suggestions on the run when problems crop up needing solutions. Just because a boat is old doesn't mean it should be dumped, especially after years of good memories and hundreds of fish caught from it most months of the year. With the 90 hp motor fixed, it runs like new charging down the lake at 40 mph. I'll test the boat this week.

(BTW, I got the idea of the bow mount hand controlled tm from a Roland Martin fishing show where he was using one on his guest's bass boat.)

Fishing Tackle & Equipment Reviews / Awesome day - unreal in fact!
« on: July 02, 2019, 07:29:37 AM »
Never have I done so well on a local lake in July considering the recent post spawn status of all species. Plus I've never caught as many fish in open water relating to flats that extend far from shore and humps in the middle of nowhere. Most satisfying was catching 5 species on soft plastic creations I made a few days before and wanted to test. In fact most of the fish were in one area 30 yds long 30 yds wide. I launched the boat at 9am and caught fish from that time until 3pm under a bright sunny sky, 84 degree water temperature and algae green water.

I made a promise that I would only fish areas regardless of depth where fish were seen on sonar and to drift past those fish and cast into the school - something I've never done.

Last week the bite was tough so I had to resort to using white spike tail grubs on a light jig head. Yesterday just about any shape and action worked in a variety of colors. Here are a few:
the usual hand injected thin tail grub:

Claw hybrid worked great! :

Stubby clear-tail grub:

Beetle Spin:

I noticed that there were almost no fish on the opposite shoreline where the suspended green algae was too concentrated made so by the wind.

I only caught one bluegill, went back to my spot and caught 10 more fish before the heat got to me and the wind ceased.

Lure Making / Catch fish on the strangest shapes!
« on: June 30, 2019, 10:02:06 PM »
I was screwing around with parts of different lures to see what might go together to create a unique action. Craw soft plastics have collected dust for years but for some reason one claw design caught my attention:

So I fused it to a grub body using a candle flame but had another idea: sprinkle some glitter on a surface, brush on some Mend-It glue for soft plastics and press both sides of the claw on the glitter.

That sucka caught bass and crappie!

A few weeks ago used this claw design which didn't have much action yet caught fish.

The flatter design flaps, quivers & flashes which in the algae green water I fished yesterday was probably what made fish take notice in water over 8' deep.

Lure Making / Hadn't used a feather jig and figured it was time
« on: June 24, 2019, 11:02:12 PM »
A friend told me recently that he uses feather jigs for trout and since trout strike everything all fish strike, why not make one and try it in a local lake. Sure enough it caught a dozen fish - namely bass, sunfish and crappie.
(The one on the bottom is a Joker tail added to a grub body that wasn't cast.):

These also caught fish:

I didn't want to start fishing until the clouds moved in which happened by noon. With a ripple on the water, the bite was good in the shallows near weed beds and undershady tree branches where the shore dropped fast into deep water.

Lure Making / update on lure mods/design
« on: June 20, 2019, 07:55:00 AM »
Decided to confirm once and for all certain ideas. Here are a few:
Clear plastic can used in the body, tail or whole lure and catch just as many fish:

2 lb catfish:

wacky jig rigged mini-sticks work like no tomorrow ! :

Fishing Tackle Q & A / test some ideas as was pleasantly surprised
« on: June 19, 2019, 05:36:16 PM »

As anyone knows me by my posts as senkosam or spoonminnow, my emphasis is usually on lure modification or design. Fortunately it's paid off as usual with over 100 fish caught on unique designs this year alone. More than just catching fish is proving or disproving old <em>wisdom</em> and new concepts as well as comparing catch rates between the old classic lures and my own.
Concept #1: <em>clear lures catch fish even when part of a lure is made from clear plastic</em>
Here are some examples of fish caught today on clear or semi-clear lures:

The crappy measure 13.5". Another was caught on the second cast that measured a foot.

Bluegills and bass got into the act with clear body or tail grubs:

A Crappie Magnet grub tail in chartreuse was added to a clear body and did very well:

and this 2 lb catfish:

I wanted to see how well my <em>mini-wacky sticks</em> would work in this lake as compared to another where it worked great (note clear plastic):

white mini-stick:

This +3 lb sucker pulled drag after getting hooked on this Crappie Magnet:

All were caught in the same lake, one that I <em>never</em> fished before this year.

Years ago I read somewhere an idea for a spinnerbait that would have maximum vibration on the drop in weed pockets. Rather than use it there, I cast it near rip rap in a tidal river creek and bass clobbered it ! All you need are two large Colorado blades, four split rings, two ball bearing swivels, some wire and pliers. To make sure the lure drops at a good rate of speed or travels upright horizontally a 1/2-3/4 oz spinnerbait is needed.

You add the wire extension to the split ring of the forward blade that's attached to the swivel and then attach the rear swivel and blade the usual way as pictured. Whoever invented this should have thought of naming it Thumper because that's what it feels like as the lure drops or moves horizontally.

I just recently found out about a lake my parents would picnic at on Sundays when I was a kid. Didn't know diddley about fishing nor what even a bass was though I did have fun roller skating at the rink. 57 years later the whole area is overgrown and unrecognizable including the lake that has a failing dam at one end.

The dam needed repairs years ago and the lake was mostly drained allowing most fish to be released downstream. There went the quality whatever that was! An inflow stream most likely provided a sort of natural re-stocking but the quality hasn't returned with small to medium size fish the norm. Heck, the lake is less than 15 minutes from home and a challenge trying different small lures - plus few anglers fish it.

The first time I fished it the wind was ridiculous at between 20-25 mph, but at least the more wind protected north cove had catchable fish. What was really weird was the shallow depth fish were caught on IE flats of only 2 - 3.5' ! There is little vegetation growing there but fish were hanging out (prespawn?) anyway. Small bass and sunfish are the predominant fish along with some crappie and rock bass (no pickerel thank God!)

All of these worked the first time I fished the lake:

This is an aerial view of the lake with the dam to the right and the inflow stream to the lower left (5' deep trench is the darker line):

Man do I love shorelines like this:

Other than catching many fish yesterday was discovering so much more about the bottom of the lake such as the trench leading from inflow stream into the lake and fish hanging out nearby on either side in shallow water. Other structure discoveries were some deeper water areas off the n.w. shore/ cove that were 4-5'. Fish were caught under overhanging trees in the shade and in open water on adjacent flats only 2.5' deep and toward the middle that abruptly dropped to 15'.

I hadn't cast a hair or feather jig in many years and figured why not:

I cast both but neither did nearly as well as soft plastic though about 8 fish were caught on the feather jig and very few on the deer hair. (Maybe a trailer would help.)

What consistently caught fish in many parts of the lake was the taper tail grub:

...and a grub-to-grub body fusion minus curl tails, the same which caught fish wacky style using the same jig:

A crappie magnet (which is nothing more than a taper tailed grub with a slit), did as well as anything else:

...along with a methylate colored stubby stick I poured that morning:

It would have been so much more comfortable without the 15 mph wind and air temp of 65 degrees, but at least I discovered more about this small lake as well as lures that excelled, making this one of the most interesting I've fished in a very long time!  Some would turn their nose up at lakes like this, but at my age certain body or water types keep my interest in lure craft and my enthusiasm alive while allowing a quiet peace of mind to prevail minus the noise of motorized watercraft, road vehicles or aircraft. Problem is, the state won't fund the dam's repair and who knows when the lake will be no more....

Boating Forum / 91 non-ethanol octane ok for 90hp 2 stroke
« on: May 28, 2019, 01:33:13 PM »
I've been having carburetor problems at least every few years and contacted Mercury about using non-ethanol gas as well as additives for my 1986 motor. He said put in non-ethanol if possible along with a short list of additives for smoother running. The only problem is having to go 15 mi. out of the way to a different county where it hasn't been outlawed and have to pay for expensive 91 octane gas. He also said 93 would be alright but never higher.

The boat is ready for testing and the first thing I'm going to do is fill up the tank and add Mercury 2-stroke 50:1 oil  rather than the cheaper brand at Walmart. Been dying to get that boat on plane for over 2 years as well as fish my local lake with it.

Another interesting thing of note I just found out: cover you tire sidewalls when boat/trailer not in use because increased sun damage will cause an increase in dry rot.

Northeast U.S. Fishing Reports / Weeds suck big time !
« on: May 26, 2019, 08:02:57 AM »
In Orange C., NY there are lakes I fish early spring but by mid spring to early June, the weeds are ridiculous until they die most likely from and increase in suspended algae that reduces the sunlight reaching the lower part of the weeds. Either that or dying is a normal part of the like cycle. Bass are in all three stages of the spawn and weedless surface lures are the best bet. We fished deeper water - the deepest being 15' - and no strikes. In fact the most bass caught were near the surface striking flukes and soft plastics on light jigs.

Holding boat position was difficult because of the wind which reached 15 mph in the pm. Friday was far worse with winds up to 28 mph! Good thing I stayed home!

Going to be hot all week but with a hat, full sleeved shirts and long legged pants made for the heat, it shouldn't be too bad as long as there's a breeze pushing cool the air over 65 degree water.

A lake I haven't been to in 55 years had a history I wasn't aware of. The dam needed repair and the water drained releasing most fish downstream. What was left were low quality fish, an overpopulation of sunfish and only three other fish species to my knowledge. The weeds, where I could see bottom were absent though in deeper water the sonar did pick up some. Sunfish and bass (a lb or less) were found in 3' or less water on flats and along shorelines with steep drops. What a weird lake!

At first I used a 1/16 oz ballhead jig with soft plastics and didn't do very well. I switched to 1/24 oz which didn't need to be retrieved as fast and the bites were one after another in quite a few areas. The 15 mph plus wind almost made me quit but I stayed in the north end for most of the day for more protection. The fish attacked many designs and unfortunately I left the camera home. I isolated those that worked great in a plastic bag so I can duplicate them.

Amazing cold front has dropped air temperature from 80 down to the 50 at present and the water temperature today read 60 degrees - cold for this time of year. I'll be fishing another lake with far better quality fish this Fri and report.

Years ago my friends and I went to a weigh-in sponsored by BASS. As I've indicated in a previous post about pros pushing products that turn out to be defective, Woo Daves is one angler I have no respect for and will always wonder if he had scouts that fished the week before telling where to fish on the Hudson R. in the late 80's which allowed him to come in first.  Being a southern boy, how would he know which creek miles from the launch was hot unless tipped off beforehand?

Being a life member of BASS, the week before the tournament I got two calls from strangers asking if I wanted to fish the river, which I refused, but it made me wonder if they worked for one of the contestants. Makes you wonder how many celebs won years ago using prior knowledge in tournaments held on large waters they never fished before. Cheating was reported in BassMaster magazine such as the case of two brothers who transported large bass to a lake from their home state - a species not found in that state the tournament was held - which they put them in cages before the contest. They were banned for life from fishing BASS tournaments once it was discovered they cheated.

I do believe the majority of pro anglers are most definitely talented and won because they deserved the win, but a few  others I'm not so sure least until the rules became very strict and spelled out after the 1980's. In other cases criminal prosecutions entered the picture once laws were enacted in each state. Here are examples :

The Hawg Forum / Anyone use Lake Fork Frogs?
« on: May 05, 2019, 06:05:31 PM »

A fishing buddy knew when to set the wide gap offset hook on these lures whereas I lost most bass.
Best bite was in spring in 2-3' of water and weeds. Today I decided to change where the hook comes out (from the bottom vs the top)and make it weedless with a wire guard. The hook is a straight shank.

The design is totally different than any frog and the legs flop around like crazy! It's been a few years since I've fished it.  We'll see....

Generalization 1. Lures are unnatural objects made of unnatural materials that generally move unnaturally - the rest is just a matter of deciding how unnatural the lure in action, shape, size and color.
Generalization 2
. Lures to bass or any fish for that matter, are moving objects violating too close or inside their personal space.
Generalization 3. The reaction of any animal to an object that gets too close is varied: play dead, run (swim) away or attack. Generalization 4. The lateral line knows more than the eye that sees or doesn't. A totally blind bass has been proven able to track and attack an object whether animal or lure. The lateral line is an amazing organ which man is still trying to understand regarding fish survival, but it is capable of detecting object size, action and direction of movement.

The following examples posted before in other posts are relative to the above generalizations. The rest is up to you to see the relevance.

Bass attacked these unnaturally moving swimbaits.

note: color and lure design differences caught bass the same day in the same lake.

A bass struck this unnaturally colored Crappie Magnet grub

A Joker Grub tail added to a soft stick body looks and moves unnaturally:

Pumpkin colored Senko rigged on a 1/32 oz ball head jig with 1/0 hook looks like and moves like nothing that lives:
Miniature bass hit lures almost as big as they were! Weedless Fin S Fish used in shallow water with weeds

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