River catfishing with a live minnow, shiner, or crayfish is best when you present the bait on a slip bobber. Place the line stop and bead on your line first, and then thread the slip bobber onto your line. Three small splitshot on the line hold the bait down. Place the splitshot about 14 inches from the hook (size 4).
A common tactic for trout fishing is to drift baits through a creek's deep channels. Though the best presentation is to have baits barely bouncing along the bottom, anglers often create unnatural drifts, with their baits simply dragging across the bottom. One way to remedy this is to use stick-shaped bobbers. To do this, first attach one farther from the weighted bait than necessary, and make a cast. The tip of the float should angle upstream. Little by little, slide the float toward the bait and repeat the process until it remains perpendicular to the water's surface, yet quivers slightly every time the bait bumps the stream bottom.
Panfish anglers generally need to use small hooks on small-mouthed fish, such as bluegills. Unfortunately, these hooks are difficult to remove when lodged deeply in the mouth. To make this removal process easier, use long-shank hooks. The longer shank gives you something to grab onto without sticking fingers or pliers in the fish's mouth.
Serious float tube fishermen often like to keep their tubes in their car trunks when they're not using them. Always deflate the tube about halfway before doing this. Closed trunks get very hot and cause the air inside float tubes to expand. A fully inflated tube could pop as a result of this heat expansion.
Does your boat trailer fishtail while underway? Fishtailing suggests that you need to increase your trailer's tongue weight. To do this, move the winch stand a bit closer to the hitch.
Anglers using stockingfoot-style waders should know to stand on something other than the ground when initially putting on their waders. Lugging a scrap of carpet around in your vehicle just to stand on can be a hassle. Instead, simply use one of the floor mats from your car or truck to stand on when not wearing your waders' accompanying boots. Just don't forget to put them back when you're finished!
An item fly anglers should carry, along with their myriad of other fly angling paraphernalia, is a small fish-tank net. Any experienced fly fisherman knows how difficult it is to pick aquatic insects off the water's surface for identification. A net, available at pet stores, makes this seemingly impossible task much easier.
When going after catfish, try using this free bait that's readily available on all rivers: Crayfish. Simply round up a bucketful of crawdads before settling in for an evening of fishing for channel catfish. Use the whole crayfish or just the tail. They're also nicer to handle than the messy, smelly "blood baits."
Hooked trout can be uncooperative when anglers attempt to remove hooks from their mouths. For whatever reason, holding trout upside-down, with their bellies facing up, usually settles them, making the whole process less stressful on both fish and fishermen.
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May/June 1999 Angler & Boater
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