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How fast/far do you move


Norm M
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This thought came to me while reading Phil's post on fancasting and I didn't want to hijack it.

 

Does the amount of gear you carry when wading limit how fast and far you are willing to move?

 

Back in the day when I was a human pack mule because I carried a small tackle shop with me I didn't move real fast, in fact it was down right slow and I wasn't real interested in going long distances. I preferred to try to catch every fish in a given area and carried enough tackle to cover every possibility and prolly then some.

 

I no longer want to catch every fish in that spot and am content if I can catch them on the presentations that I chose for that day. I move faster, at least for me and cover more water in a day.

 

For me, fishing with Phil has taught me that you don't need every type of lure known to man to catch fish. I doubt I'll ever pack as little as he does but I've prolly cut down at least 75% of what it used to be.

 

After thinking about it , I believe I'm moving faster and farther because I've learned to do more with less. I now try to carry a smaller assortment of lures that I have learned to be much more versatile with.

 

I just didn't move as much in the past because carrying all that tackle made it a chore , hence I tried to maximize the amount of fish caught in a day by fishing every possible way in a given area.It was a self reinforcing cycle - carry more, move less- move less, fish a spot harder.

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I've taken strides towards scaling back on the amount of gear I carry as well. Not only is it more comfortable, but I think it allows me to focus more on my fishing rather than looking for that magic lure. For the past few seasons, I primarily used the following lures: a spinnerbait, topwater, soft jerkbait, soft plastic jig. There are times I just slip a few into my pocket, grab one rod, and go.

 

Normally when Don and I fish together, we're covering different parts of the water column; I think Don favors his soft plastics and a slower approach while I search with a faster moving lure. This has helped us to locate the bass quicker on most occasions.

 

However, since I've taken up fly fishing, I find myself falling into the same old trap of being caught by the lure, or in this case a fly. I seem to want to pickup every fly I'm attracted to in the fly shop! Hopefully this too will run its course and I will focus on some primary selections and spend more time perfecting technique.

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I used to carry a tackle shop with me also as did Norm. I scaled back about 50% before I moved. Now down here I find myself culling out tackle in the boat and changing over to more traditional or localized lures. I am fishing with Tubes and Grubs right now and having very good success. I have a friend who is a Guide and we fished Monday afternoon together for a few hours. He uses six pound Seaguar Florocarbon Line with Gary Yamamoto plastics. I was using six pound trilene XL with a 1/4oz Jig and a plastic twister. I caught one he caught about three. I switched to his 3/8oz. Jig head and Yamamoto Grub and caught a couple more but he still outfished me because of the line. In this super clear water you need the invisible line. So basically what I am saying is that sometimes it is not the amount of gear or lack of that makes the difference but more the right stuff for for the water you are on. I have Six Pound Seaguar on two of my Spinning Rods now and 12 pound on two Baitcasters I use to work tubes. I had caught 15 Bass that morning on the green pumpkin tube. It was a fun and educational day. Another note when you fish with Phil make sure you eat your Wheaties that morning cause your going to need the energy.

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I have been slowly breaking my pack mule ways too. In an attempt to cover all of the "What If's" for myself and countless

fishing partners, there was not a whole lot left to chance. I had it all and my back has been paying the price. I still find

myself carrying too many hard baits and varieties of plastic. I'm still caught second guessing on the "What If" scenarios on

the slower days. Hey, maybe the slower days are for enjoying just being out there and not lugging an aisle worth of tackle

around stupid!! This is what I tell myself and thus fish a bit faster not necessarily farther. We typically cover 1/2 - 3/4 mile worth

of water in 5 hours or so.

 

I will break down to carrying 4-5 pcs of a certain plastic and only covering 1 or 2 types/colors of those. Too many colors,

too many choices, too much time wasted decision making rather than getting the old line wet. I victimize myself w/ info.

Time to stop carrying everything that everyone posts about catching fish on and concentrate my efforts on what has been working

w/ the exception of Jonn's Jigs. I've got to pack 1-2 of those puppies for those nook & cranny spots that require attention.

You know, its an advantage to fish w/ a buddy so that he can carry one or two of those other options and compare notes. It

bears witness to what you guys are doing working different parts of the water column. I do that w/ my brother and friend Rudy.

No bets on the first fish though, I'd lose too much cash!

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Now that I have my son Quinn out on the water with me, I am not scaling back despite the great reasons listed here to do so. Mine is a little different situation in that I do not want him carrying a chest pack as I am requiring him to wear a life jacket and the chest pack over the top would be a little much for him. This way, he only has to worry about himself, his balance and his rod, and for a kid learning to fish the river that is all I want him to have to deal with. He can concentrate on lure presentations and techniques more effectively this way and I get to be the pack mule, basically carrying everything needed for two people! Because kids always want to fish a certain thing, I tend to carry a few more options for him vs if it was just me, I might be inclined to scale back once I find the groove I am looking for with this type of fishing.

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Dan

 

Its the same thing when I take my daughter fishing. Initially I tied on free swimming lures to keep the process simple and as snag free as possible. She also likes to use jigs though, either 3" grubs or the YUM crawbug and she has gotten more adept at developing a feel for distinguishing between rocks and fish. Still, simple is better for us in my mind. She rarely uses more than three lures; a minnow imitator, a topwater or a jig.

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Over the past few years, I have really lightened my load in terms of how much stuff I carry with me when I'm wading. I think that I cover the same amount of territory as I did before, but my back and neck feel better due to carrying around less weight. I also stay more comfortable in hot weather with less stuff. All of this makes it easier to stay out longer and cover more water.

 

Whether I am fly fishing or using spinning tackle, I carry one box of flies or one box of spinning tackle that are packed with basics, and I supplement those boxes with a small selection of lures or flies that should be appropriate for the specific conditions of the day. That way, I can start fishing with what I think should be working and still have some plenty of other options.

 

It really helps to limit the quantity of any one particular lure, jig or fly that you carry. I used to jam as many jigs in my Plano 3213 box as it could hold, until I realized that I never used more than three or four of a particular jig in a day. I minimized the number of jigs in my box, and I probably lopped off a quarter pound of weight and never have I missed having the sixth spare jig of a particular weight. The only downside to this approach is that you do have to remember to replenish your wading box of flies or lures after an outing.

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I am always trying to thin my selection, but at the same time, I enjoy having different options.

 

I typically fish 8 - 12 hour wades. I'm not unnecessarily about speed or distance especially in the water. The distance is relative. I move as fast as the conditions/fish dictate or my presentation dictates. I've gone a few miles up to 10.5 round trip wade in a given day. Average around 7 miles I suppose. Typically fishing & walking back in the dark.

 

I hear you about the weight thing, but on my long wades I feel I need more potential essentials.

 

I carry the following :

  1. Camelbak Trailblazer backpack
  2. 70oz H2O hydration system full or half full
  3. small waist box (carries small assortment of what I will throw for the day, easy access)
  4. 1 typical medium sized lure storage box.
  5. soft side soft plastic carrier
  6. Camera
  7. GPS (I plot my wades when I get home and use for those long dark wades back to the car.)
  8. Headlamp
  9. cell phone
  10. license/id
  11. Lunch & or Snacks
  12. Rain Jacket (I fish rain a lot but bring only if I need it)
  13. Sharpie marker
  14. Turkey mouth call
  15. knife
  16. multi-tool
  17. micro first aid kit
  18. lighter
  19. hemostats
  20. scent jar
  21. bug or/and sun lotion
  22. polarized sunglasses

 

I don't use everything every wade, but when I need it, it's there.

 

I am seriously open to suggestions on how to cut back.

 

-jim

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One buddy outfished another last saturday 42-11. The guy was throwing a worm on shakey head. Second buddy didn't have that bait and claims he threw the book into the same spots. Another time I outfished a guy 33-4 because his baitcaster couldn't throw a buzzbait and that's about all they bit on. Some days some lures are far more effective than others. Don't bring your options and you can think it's a slow day- when you were throwing the wrong thing. It really does happen.

 

I think no matter how hard you fish certain baits- the fish may not just want it. If I don't try a tube, I'll miss that bit of info. Same as with topwater and flukes. Trying them early and often helps you read the type of day it will be. Part of Smallie fishing is being thorough, but part is finding the mood of the fish and what kinds of food they are keying on.

 

The way I try to fish is admittedly based on past experiences in those conditions. I use what is most likely to work on a given cast, based on what has worked in past outings or earlier in the day.

 

I recently scaled back, because I seldom need more than 2-3 each color tube, yet I carried 3-4 bags of them, now all the options are in one baggy. I carry some worms, I carry some flukes. 5-6 types of topwater, 4-5 cranks, 3-4 different chatterbaits. Always bring two Sammies.

 

By far, the heaviest thing I carry is water for the long journey. 5 17oz bottles of H20 is a back breaker.

 

Bugspray/sunscreen- do it before you start and throw in your trunk.

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1 quart size ziploc baggie 1/2 to 2/3 filled with plastics

1 plastic sucrets box with weighted keeper hooks

1 plastic sucrets box other jigs, ewg gammies, some bull shot

1 quart size ziploc baggie with spinnerbaits a buzz bait or two and a chatterbait

1 small plastic tackle box w/topwaters/x raps/minnow baits/subwalk

1 medium size plastic box with rattle type baits primarily Rattlin Raps and Rattle Traps

1 medium size plastic box w/ bandits and other billed cranks

It goes in a over the shoulder bag or in my tals pack depending on how deep I think I'm going to wade.

temp gauge/hook hone/needle nose pliers in front pocket of bag

nail clippers on lanyard around neck

lanyard attached to glasses to keep them from falling into the water

1 medium action spinning rod/reel

stocking foot waders/lug sole boot

hat/clip on sun glasses

 

bug spray/sun screen in car apply before hand

Prehydrate until you can't drink any more

got a bag my wife made that can carry 3 bottles of frozen water/iced tea if I feel it's necessary

 

If I cut back the box of other jigs, the box of topwaters and about 1/3 of the plastics, the chatterbait, one buzzbait and a couple spinnerbaits stay behind.

If I have to I can go with the box of weighted keeper hooks with a swim jig or two and a couple ewg gammies, some plastics and 2 singlespins in a bag, and one box with rattling cranks, bandits and a subwalk in the pocket of my waders and the pliers and hook hone in a tee shirt pocket.

 

As far as what's in the plastics bag there are 5 inch grubs, power pulse worms, couple fluke-sluggos, few 5 inch tubes, some swim bait trailers and some seasonly dependent stuff. Color doesn't matter to the fish and I just toss it all in the same bag anyway.

 

 

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As far as deciding on lures , if it hasn't got wet on three trips odds are it's not going to in the future either.

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Those cursed "what if's" they get me every time!!!!

When I got my first vest, I chose the one with the most pockets and tried to fill them all with as much as I could carry. The front pockets were loaded and the back had nothing...my back was not happy about this at all. Then I put a couple bottles of water in to even out the weight this just added more weight....sorry lower back. I now have a willy joe chest pack that forces me to take less gear, but I can still get a case of the what if's and bring too much. The problem with having too many baits, for me, still being somewhat of a novice, is that I can't decide which one to use.

This year I plan on leaving that backup box of lures at home and slowing down everything. I can do the run and gun thing and my presentations are generally too hurried. My new daily mantra: "less gear and slow down".....but what if they're hittin rat-l-traps? I can't buy a bite on these buzzbaits. I didn't bring rat-l-traps... They're in my other box...and it's at home!!!

What a tough life I have!!!

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Guest Don R
Another time I outfished a guy 33-4 because his baitcaster couldn't throw a buzzbait and that's about all they bit on.

 

That must have been awesome for your friend to witness!

 

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That must have been awesome for your friend to witness!

 

 

Not to me, I felt really bad, though he played it off. I caught a 20"+ on the signature bait he introduced me to. Ulp. I always want whoever I'm with to catch fish too. He paid me back recently. Worst feeling is when your partner is getting bit out of places you just thew to and you can't do anything. Humbling. Makes you appreciate the fish you get.

 

I could never pack light, I know there are simply days when something with a certain noise, or jighead, are the rule. It's fascinating.

 

Norm, good idea on the pre hydration, I should probably drink more before I go. I see you carry a bit of everything just in case. :)

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Fishing has a nice way about it to keep you humble. Can you rig a buzz bait on a drop shot or three way rig just to get it out there ...ha...ha....

Phil

 

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I prefer to move around a lot from spot to spot rather than linger in order to try different flies on the theory that warmwater species whether in still or moving water are opportunists and if feeding will most often not be selective unlike trout which very often are.While there are of course exceptions I believe most of the time covering more "fishy" spots will produce better results than fewer spots with more flies.

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Fishing has a nice way about it to keep you humble. Can you rig a buzz bait on a drop shot or three way rig just to get it out there ...ha...ha....

Phil

 

Phil, I don't think they've made the perfect BZB yet. A buddy is experimenting with a long shaft (to keep the minnow well under surface and out of the turbulence), dual counter rotating blades and a clacker, 1/4 oz. So far I like.

 

I'll let you guys know how the testing turns out.

 

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Phil ,

 

Some time ago I made a lure that consisted of a solid split ring then a bead, then a triple wing buzz bait blade, a couple more beads and then a hook with a twister tail or twin tail grub on 17lb test trilene xt. You could prolly resurrect it and use it on the drop shot or 3-way rig as it was fairly light.

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Not to me, I felt really bad, though he played it off. I caught a 20"+ on the signature bait he introduced me to. Ulp. I always want whoever I'm with to catch fish too. He paid me back recently. Worst feeling is when your partner is getting bit out of places you just thew to and you can't do anything. Humbling. Makes you appreciate the fish you get.

 

I could never pack light, I know there are simply days when something with a certain noise, or jighead, are the rule. It's fascinating.

 

Norm, good idea on the pre hydration, I should probably drink more before I go. I see you carry a bit of everything just in case. :)

 

Brendan,

 

I'm still working on cutting down from there but those choices do allow me to cover all the depth/speed options.

 

I am debating if I really need to carry both soft plastic and hard plastic jerk type baits for example. I am also trying to decide if carrying several different types of topwaters i.e. chuggers,prop baits, walk the dog is really necessary.

 

The heaviest issues come down to just how much lead and plastic is sufficient for a trip. I guess that will ultimately be a decision based on how far from the car and a potential resupply I get. There are some duplication type issues though such as if I carry swim jigs do I need darter heads to rig soft plastics on as well as both tend to be used the same way. Does the difference in the profile justify the extra weight? Just how many of each plastic is enough, hate to run out on a hot bite.

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Brendan,

 

I'm still working on cutting down from there but those choices do allow me to cover all the depth/speed options.

 

I am debating if I really need to carry both soft plastic and hard plastic jerk type baits for example. I am also trying to decide if carrying several different types of topwaters i.e. chuggers,prop baits, walk the dog is really necessary.

 

The heaviest issues come down to just how much lead and plastic is sufficient for a trip. I guess that will ultimately be a decision based on how far from the car and a potential resupply I get. There are some duplication type issues though such as if I carry swim jigs do I need darter heads to rig soft plastics on as well as both tend to be used the same way. Does the difference in the profile justify the extra weight? Just how many of each plastic is enough, hate to run out on a hot bite.

 

 

We are in the same place there. BtW Norm, have any advice on that subwalk yet? Finally got that I don't need to WTD as much as use it like a fluke.

 

 

As a perfect example of this type of back and forth, Mike C and I caught some pigs yesterday on high water and wounded crippled baits. Flukes and poppers. Anything faster did not get bit, anything dragging bottom did not get bit. I discovered the popper bite in slower slack areas -flukes near and in current, and Mike ran with it getting two 20"+ . I don't always even carry one, but knew with the high, fast water they'd be bunched up. Poppers can be great at calling fish out. A slower presentation worked. Buzzbait, Prop, WTD either didn't work or got fouled too often to work correctly in all the Maple detritis. That lure has produced more surprise bites when all else failed than most for me. But it's not the most productive Topwater most times. Do I leave it at home, banking on probability or run the risk of not getting that single lure hot bite?

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The subwalk has been awesome..........most of the time. So far it's one that is going to be in the permanent rotation until it proves otherwise. It may be that's it's just something different and will cool off when the fish see a lot of it, but that's a year or three down the line if it does happen.

 

Have you tried the Mann's Waker that only runs a few inches deep yet? I'm going to keep testing especially when the water levels drop and clear some but so far it hasn't stood out ahead of the crowd.

 

As far as making lure choices my ultimate goal is to find the most versatile and cut down on the specialized lures. I am doing my best to avoid carrying multiple types of lures that perform the same basic function.

 

In the end I may end up not carrying a lure that is the hot lure for one particular day or maybe even an hour or two figuring that it's not worth packing all the time for the 1% of the time it's da man. I have already long since got to that point on lure color and it doesn't seem to have affected my success rate enough to matter.

 

I doubt I'll ever be able to avoid at least trying some hot new bait but the goal is to make the decision to experiment more on possible need and versatility over just everyone is raving about it.

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If i cant get it in one shirt pocket then its too much... the other pocket gets a small set of bino's for the wildlife, a bottle of frozen water in the wader pouch. i travel lite, wade deep, if the fish dont bite it's my fault i'm not working it right!

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Soon as I see them sub-walks at GAT, I'll pick up a couple-two-tree...

I like Mann's waker. I got a chance to throw it down on Newton for greenies. Mann's lures are great for the money.

I get sometimes stuck passing up some good lures because they look too big for smallies... so they get left at home.

I'll try it on the river someday soon. That and the Spro frogs will have to be tested.

...Also...Salmo makes a good "glider" type bait. I forget the name of it but it's pretty versatile. It's pretty big so I only threw it a LMB. It comes floating and sinking. I have two floaters...they actually suspend just below the surface. You can work it slow for a wounded/gliding effect of rip it for an erratic terrified baitfish action. When it's ripped below the surface it has a wiggle like a lipless crank, but it does not come back to you in a straight line at all...it goes everywhere like it's trying to find an escape route.

One of these days I'm going to force myself to bring three baits out and three only....ok maybe four... It's so hard to do!!!

If I'm not catching fish and I go home I get stuck in the thought process of "what if that spot 20 yds downstream held fish...maybe I should have been throwing crankbaits....next time I'm packing crankbaits....I'll make room."

 

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