Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tequila Sunrise

When one thinks of the word tequila, they often think of long nights, extreme partying, and many regrettable decisions, or quite often one probably does not remember too much when the word tequila comes in mind. On the other hand, the word sunrise brings about a particularly different array of emotions. The act of slapping an annoying alarm off, a horrible morning class, or bad traffic are thoughts synonymous with sunrise. When these two words are juxtapose together it is no easy task to find the connection. Not so fast though.... I present to you the bass catching machine the Tequila Sunrise:

This bait is not only a personal favorite of mine, but also a highly reguarded fish catching bait by many anglers world wide. When the idea came to me to do a blog solely dedicated to a certain bait I was a little bum founded at first, but after little consideration it was a simple task to chose a bait. I just looked in my tackle box and all I saw looking back where those flimsy tequila sunrise worms.

For those of you unfamiliar with this bait let me set the story with a little back drop. When bass fishing (in freshwater) many anglers resort to a technique of fishing that is as old as the water itself: worm fishing. Personally this is my favorite type of bass fishing, for it not only produces a productive quantity of fish, but the quality of the fish is unparalleled. The worm of my choice is the tequila sunrise, it is given this name for its distinct color pattern. In the murky waters of the Tampa Bay area, this bait really has a "glow" about it as it flutters up and down along the bottom.

You can find this color worm at any local bait and tackle store, but I prefer to buy mine from just the simple place we all know and love: Walmart. The tequila sunrise worm is made by a variety of manufacturers, but I prefer to stick with the Culpert brand. Although they are a little pricier, $3.97 a pack, I find that the extra spare change is worth the quality. I like to fish with the standard size of 7.5 inch worm, but I will fish with the 4 inch worm occasionally. The reasoning for down sizing like this would be due to the fact that you maybe fishing at a heavily fished area. In this case you want to present a smaller bait to the fish, to thus enhance your chances of landing fish.

Bass fishing is starting to heat up, and now you know what to throw at these fresh water monsters. So next time you think of tequila, don't only think of a hangover, but also think of the sunrise. Because with that tequila sunrise worm you might just catch a monster like I have!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spec Fishing: The Colder the Better!

While slipping and sliding across my nearly frozen front yard this morning, the thought crossed my mind that this can't be Florida. I hunkered down in my truck and prayed that the heat would kick on before the feeling in my fingers vanished. With the temperature plummeting like a star from the sky, one may wonder what about the fishing? Is it even worth it to sit out in the cold throwing a line, to what must be freezing fish? They surely aren't going to bite anything in these conditions. Wrong!

If hailing from the Northern states one will be familiar with the term "crappie", but around here we call them "specs". When a cold front arrives, so do these powerful little fish. With the temperatures in the low 40s, a buddy of mine joined me on a fishing trip just yesterday to try and catch a few of the allusive specs. We bundled up in many layers (which is the way to go when fishing) and loaded our ten foot jon boat into a truck bed. We hit up a local lake (any lake, pond, reservoir, or river will do) and began our fishing.

We had purchased 1/4 lb. of small minnows from a bait and tackle store leaving us with a bill of $9.67, after we purchased the smallest hooks we could find. Hooking the minnow through the eyes ( they stay alive that way, and hey, maybe they can't see the mouth of the fish too!) and placing a small cork on my line, I began to pitch my minnow in towards the shoreline. This process went on for an estimated hour and a half with only a few measly bites. Much to my dismay the minnows seemed not only to be a waste of money, but also a waste of time.

Deciding this method was not our best way to catch fish, we decided to troll across the middle of the lake to reach the other side, and hope for better luck. While trolling, I threw out a 1/16 ounce pink jig head with a white tail, just for kicks and giggles. To my amazement my pole nearly doubled over within the first minute my bait was in the water. After a short fight, I had boated our first spec of the evening.

Having found the pattern we continued to troll through the middle of the lake with these jigs, and the fish may as well have jumped in the boat. Spec after spec bit our pink jigs, and it made for an exciting evening of fishing. So when going out spec fishing be sure to keep trying new things, and hop on those specs soon, for these weather fronts are the prime time to catch them!

Specs are quite the fish to catch, and can make for an exciting day. I give the degree of difficulty a two stars out of 5, so the youngsters would easily be able to have a ball catching these fish. They are also extremely good table fair. I give them a strong 3 out of 5 stars for their edibility. The world record spec weighed in at a whopping 4 lbs 14 ounces. The regulations that are put on specs are, 25 per person per day. So enjoy a fun day of fishing with the family, and remember if you think it's too cold, when it comes to spec fishing: the colder the better!

Getting Hooked

Whether it be floating around aimlessly in a small boat in a foreign lake, bobbing up in down like a cork in the massive ocean, or even wandering aimlessly down some shore line with a rod in your hand, fishing in general is no easy task. For those of us who spend many hours out on the water chasing these allusive creatures we call fish, many of our trips go from extravagant fishing adventures to mere boating tails. The aspirations of catching fish are nearly as old as the world we walk upon. Fishing has been not only a necessity of life for many years, but also a desired skill by many inhabitants in the days before us. It has much evolved since it's beginning, and has turned to a much more recreational activity, some prefer to call it a "sport". Whatever terminology one may use, or for whatever reason one may fish, all anglers hit the water with one main goal: TO CATCH FISH!!!

When asked about fishing, Samuel Johnson, an English poet, uttered the simple phrase:
"A fishing pole is a stick with a hook at one end and a fool on the other."
This quote fits myself sufficiently well. Born and raised in the beautiful waters of Key West, Florida, fishing has been away of life. The first pole I received was covered in snoopy photos, and I practically slept with the thing. Much like my snoopy pole has evolved into a more tactical pole, my fishing skills have also evolved.
The waters of the Florida Keys began to be as familiar as my back hand. This luxury all came crashing down on me, like a wave crashing upon shore at day break. The fisherman's dream I lived in the Keys was gone..... We moved to the Tampa Bay area. I wasted no time in wetting some lines in the Tampa Bay waters. For it is the first rule of fishing: without much time and effort one will nearly have to wish on the mere chance of luck to have that big one bite your line.
I have been fishing these waters of the Tampa area (both salt and fresh) for many years now, and have grown accustomed to the change. Between my previous experience and the experience I am still gaining ( due to my fishing nearly daily) this blog will be useful tool for those fisherman who do not have the time to spend looking for the fish. It is tough to enjoy a "great" day of fishing when you only get to go once every two weeks. So between my hot spot tips, fishing updates, helpful hints, weather updates, fish recipes, rules and regulations, and even the occasional tidbit of history, it is certain that not you, but also the fish you are after will be getting hooked!