Vibration is important when catching bass
Whether you fish for fun or are a serious tournament fisherman, once you've located where the bass are, you still need to figure out what bait will make them strike.
One thing to remember is that bass cannot see any farther in the water than you can. Vibration is very important to making the catch. If you drop a bait over the side and it goes out of sight in six inches of water, then that's all the farther a bass can see.
For a good, cold-water bass locator, put a crankbait to work with the colors of your bait of prime importance. Bright colors like chartreuse and fluorescent orange will give some “flash” in discolored water when used in combination with dark colors. Match your color to the color of the water. Try using one with a big lip for diving in deep water near cover and reel it back at a steady pace. A retrieve with several pauses also brings good results this time of year. To make a crankbait, run at its designed maximum depth, use as light a line as is reasonable for the species you're fishing for and the amount of structure nearby. Be sure to check the line often for frayed spots, and cut and retie as needed to avoid losing any fish.
To make a crankbait run even deeper, hold your rod tip as close to the water as possible, or even retrieve with your rod thrust under the water. Many pro bass anglers kneel on the bow of their boat and fish in this manner to gain an extra three or four feet of depth from a crankbait. By putting your rod underwater, you lose sensitivity so it is debatable whether depth or loss of feel is more important. If the fish are aggressive and hitting hard, then the loss of sensitivity doesn't matter as much. But if they're being evasive, feel is very important.
Work crankbait as close to structure as possible, especially along the bottom. If a lure's front lip isn't occasionally tickling weeds, rocks or stumps, you aren't getting your lure close enough to fish-holding cover.
• Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club: Safe light today will see club members enjoying the All Member Bass Derby, for largemouth and smallmouth bass only, held on the upper river (including Betty's Kitchen) with weigh-in at Fisher's Landing scale shed at 3 p.m. (late weigh-ins will not be recorded). This is a qualifying big bass tournament. Call David or Jon Parrish at 941-6168. Check next week's column for results.
• Desert Bass Anglers: It was a beautiful day on the river for the 38 boats competing at the latest bass team competition with Craig Johnson/Jimmy Phipps taking the lead with 16.45 followed by Jeff Cotten/Joe Mayerchik placing second with 15.85. Taking third place was the team of Robert Murray/Mike Edwards with 15.02 while the husband/wife team of Tim and Kelley Price followed in fourth place with 14.74. Big fish honors were enjoyed by Hammer and Sandi Kawanda with 5.42 with Jon Gleeson/Brad Wallace taking second place big fish weighing 5.22. The junk fish option was won by Shawn Gillespie/Burton Lewis Jr. with a 4.76 carp. The club will play on the Colorado River March 2 with sign-up and launch at Fisher's Landing. Watch for details in this column or call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984.
• American Bass-Yuma Division: Feb. 23 tournament launching out of Fisher's Landing. Contact Jeff Woods at 1-951-201-9461.
• Yuma Pro Am Series: Online sign-up is ongoing now through Feb. 23 (draw at Baron Fuels on Feb. 23) to fish the Feb. 24 Mittry Lake Tournament. Membership is $15 with reasonable basic entry and options. Visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Wednesday Jackpot Derby: Entry $5 each Wednesday with sign-up at 8 a.m. at Fisher's Gas Dock, weigh-in 1 p.m. with the winner taking the pot for one big fish, any species. Call Jimmy Phipps at 782-2207.
• Swede Ferguson Memorial Monthly Bass Derby: Sign-up $10 anytime during the month to fish with the winner taking the pot for the biggest bass determined the last day each month. Call Phipps for details or to sign-up.
• Bass Class on the Water: If you'd like to learn how to catch bass at local waters at all times of the year no matter what the weather, call Dave Willhide of Goin' Fishin' Productions at 782-2621. The bass boat and all necessary equipment is provided for a great day on the water. Ask about fishing seminars for RV parks and home groups.
• Feb. 12 deadline: Be sure to get your application turned in by Tuesday for this year's elk and pronghorn hunts. Applications will also be accepted. Also available are physically challenging remote area hunts for elk, offered for the fall season near Flagstaff at Unit 7. The terrain is very much like Colorado or Montana. Visit www.fs.usdalgov/coconino or view hunt regulations at www.azgfd.gov/draw.
• Feb. 15-17 Women's Javelina Camp: If you're interested in hunting javelina, call Amanda Moore at 200-0544 or visit email@example.com. Or for complete information, call Val Morrill, region IV director of the Arizona Wildlife Federation at 550-9390.
• Arizona Concealed Carry Class: The Saturday class will be held at Sprague's Sports with instructor Matt Dusek. Cost is $89 with the 5-year Arizona CCW permit $60 after completion of the class. Call 726-0022 to secure a seat.
• Arizona Elk Society 12th annual banquet: Mark your calendar to include the March 23 banquet at the Mesa Convention Center to raise funds for wildlife habitat restoration and improvements across the state of Arizona for the benefit elk and other wildlife.
This year the Arizona Elk Society will auction two of the special commissioner's big game tags, which include the commissioner's elk tag and buffalo tag. The season for these tags runs from Aug. 15, 2012, through Aug. 14, 2013. A special this year is an elk tag for the Hualapai Indian Reservation with the winning bidder the only person hunting big bull elk during the hunt. Visit www.arizonaelksociety.org to purchase tickets to the Arizona Elk Society banquet and for more information on the commissioner tags and other events. If you are interested in a corporate table, contact Cookie Nicoson at 699-9036; questions about the banquet, call Steve Clark at 1-602-885-0835 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Renegade Archers of Yuma: All archers are invited to shoot the trail of 3D animals for fun and recreation as well as practice for bow hunting and competition at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Foothills Archery Range located south of I-8 and east of S. Foothills Blvd., close to the Gila Mountain Range. Shoot fees are $3 for adults with youngsters always shooting free of charge. Equipment is available for those not having their own by calling Jean or Kevin Wilson at 247-4450 or 726-0953 beforehand. Detailed directions to the range are also available by phone. Anyone able to assist with the work party (pick up old cotton from the practice range) after shooting is done, will be most welcome. Bring gloves and hand rakes.
• Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: Open trap and skeet matches 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. A President's Day buckle shoot will be held at 9 a.m. Feb. 18. Scholastic clay trap practice for youngsters is at 4:30 p.m. each Wednesday as well as at 1 p.m. Saturday at the range. Call Gary Knight at 210-0805.
• Yuma Territorial Longrifles Club: Open black powder matches 1st and 3rd Saturdays at the Adair Park range with sign-up by 8:30 a.m. Call Dennis Hansel at 342-7573.
• Cholla Gun Club: A good variety of metallic silhouette matches are offered each month at Adair Park for hunter pistol, lever guns, high-power, small bore and black powder cartridge with the season running through April. Call Rick or Glenda at 502-0736.
• Yuma Rifle and Pistol Club: The open long range palma match is being held today for interested shooters who sign-up by 7:30 a.m. at the range. Call Jerry Brooker at 305-9681 or Paul Lerma at 782-6766.
• Yuma Matchmasters: Shooters can sign-up at 7 a.m. with the shooters meeting at 7:30 a.m. for monthly matches at the Adair Park small bore range. Shooting Schedule: 1st Saturday - Steel Challenge Match; 2nd Sunday - IPSC Combat Match: 4th Sunday - Cowboy Match. Call Ruth Wilmot at 726-7727 or Ron Gissendaner at 726-0022.
• Interested youngsters: If you have a youngster interested in the shooting sports, give the club a call to see what is available for them.
Contact Jean Wilson at 247-4450 or visit email@example.com.