September fantastic time for fishin'
If you want to lose weight while having lots of fun, there is an alternative to aerobic videos or fancy exercise machines. Try daytime topwater bass fishing at our desert lakes. It's called “sweatin' to the topwater,” Rory Aikens of Arizona Game and Fish said in a recent article. He said, “Anglers braving the heat and humidity will often get treated to some of the fastest-paced freshwater fishing action possible — predator fish busting shad at the surface,” as we get more into September with the water cooling a bit. When conditions are right, September is a fantastic time for good results.
Sometimes the topwater action is periodic with small numbers of bass chasing a school of shad. At those times, you might need binoculars to spot surface activity. But at other times, the water erupts into an action-packed froth as predatory bass get in a shad-eating frenzy.
First, get a long pole, six-foot or better. A 6.5-foot medium action or light-medium action graphite pole for good rod-tip action does the job. Some anglers even use flipping sticks (sever-plus footers). Minimum line strength should be around 10 pounds (fire line is good).
Largemouth (and stripers) are usually looking for the easiest meal possible and that is usually a wounded shad. You'll want your topwater or even subsurface lure to resemble a wounded shad or minnow. Don't ignore soft jerk-baits or lures like Zara Spooks, AC Plugs and Pencil Poppers along with some of the new models. Pop R's, Heddon Zara Puppies or any floating minnow or shad-like lure which is jointed (Rapala makes a whole bunch) are worth a try.
Using the long pole, an adept angler can cast extremely long distances with the larger plugs. And long casts can pay big dividends when taking advantage of summer topwater action.
When you see a boil, motor almost to it, then cast past the boil (so you don't spook the fish) and work the lure back through the feeding fish. If you get your boat too close to the boil, the fish will often spook. Or watch the seagulls or other aquatic birds, which will feed on fish. You want to be in an area where the gulls are circling. If you see them dive down to the surface, you'll know exactly where the shad are located.
Aikens also suggests setting up a second pole with a soft jerkbait like a Bass Assassin. Or even a third pole with a shad-like crankbait. Aikens said, “You can even get real crazed, and add a fourth pole with a spoon.” When you come upon a boil, work the topwater lure first and if the fish are close enough to your boat, switch to a soft-plastic jerkbait. Or maybe cast past the boil with the hard-bodied, shad-like crankbait such as a Cordell Spot.
Wounded shad will often have a back-and-forth pattern while swimming on the surface due to their injuries. Using your topwater plug, with the line between your pole and the plug, first pop the rod tip down and to the alternate side from the one you did before.
• Notice to local Junior Shooters: If you have a youngster interested in getting into the Yuma County Shooting Sports Program put on by 4-H, he/she must first become a member of a 4-H club, then get to the safety training and first shoot on Sept. 22 at the Yuma County Fairgrounds. Call Stanley Gourley at 344-0740 or the 4-H office at 726-3904.
• Yuma Young Guns: For ages 9-25 who are enrolled in elementary, middle, junior, high school or college. The Young Guns is open to young men or women who are interested in the Shotgun Shooting Sports with the Yuma Scholastic Clay Target Program with the shooting season September 2012 through May 2013. All team members receive instruction by the Arizona Game and Fish certified coaches in shotgun safety (course mandatory for first time club athletes), usage of a club 12-gauge or 20-gauge semi-automatic shotgun during practice, trap and skeet shooting skills and teamwork, sportsmanship, concentration and focus training. Contact head coach H. McNutt at 314-0179, coach John Gross 580-4836 or coach Wes Burch at 580-4495.
• Yuma area archery for one and all: Come shoot the trail of 3D animals with Renegade Archers at 7:30 a.m. Sunday at the Foothills Archery range located east of Foothills Blvd. up against the Gila Mountains. Directions: Taking the south Frontage Road from I-8, at south Foothills Blvd., drive 2 miles east to Avenue 15E, turn right and head south 1 mile to just past the golf range pond on the right. Turn left (east) at the archery range signs and follow the dirt road to the range. Adult fees are now $3 with youngsters always free of charge with free use of equipment by request prior to the shoot. “We'll be very glad to help children or adults learn how to shoot,” Call Jean Wilson at 247-4450 or Kevin at 726-0953.
• Southwest Bowhunters also shoot archery on Sundays at 7 a.m. at Adair Park. Open to all archers with the practice range open all week. Call Wayne Wittenberg at 314-0140.
• Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: Open trap and skeet 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Sundays at Adair Park. Call Gary Knight at 210-0805.
• Yuma Territorial Longrifles Club: Open black powder matches at 8:30 a.m. 1st and 3rd Saturdays each month at Adair Park. Call Dennis Hansel at 342-7573.
• Cholla Gun Club Open .22 Rifle and Pistol Silhouette Fun: Matches at 8:30 a.m. each Friday at the Adair Park metallic silhouette range. Call Rick or Glenda at 502-0736.
• Yuma Rifle and Pistol Club: Open Vintage Match Sept. 18 with a High Power Match Sept. 19 at the Adair Park big bore range with sign-up by 7:30 a.m. open to civilian, service, women, men and junior shooters. Call Paul Lerma at 783-6766 or Gerald Brooker at 305- 9681. Ask about their youth shooting program.
• Yuma Matchmasters: Open Cowboy Match Sept. 23 at the Adair Park small bore range. Call Ronnie Gissendaner at 726-0022.
• Desert Bass Anglers “The Fun Way to Fish”: Check next week's column for Saturday's tournament results or call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984. With three points tournaments left this year, the updated top 10 are: Robert Murray 348 points; Jim Phipps 323; Bobbi McDermott 289; Scott Nigh 275; Mac McDermott 274; Ed Reeder 272; Joe Kling 257; Ted Hook 249; and Kevin Goss 220. Their latest newsletter reminds everyone that the river is still muddy from recent storm inflows and there are new trees and sandbars to help make any trip upriver exciting. With water levels falling, anglers need to be careful and learn to “read” the river to avoid the inconvenience of catching a bar instead of a bass. Heat and humidity dictate taking precautions, having lots of water and sports beverages, hats, sunscreen and coverups. With less water in the river, we are affected with fewer places to get away from the crowds, so having patience and a sense of humor will help keep fishing (and catching) fun.
• Yuma Pro Am Series: Check online at Bob@yumaproam.com or call Bob La Londe at 580-1270 for latest results and details on current tournaments. Pay the $15 membership and reasonable entry fees online as well.
• Wednesday Jackpot Derby at Fisher's Landing: Entry $5 with sign-up at 8 a.m. at the gas dock. Weigh-in around 1 p.m. Winner takes all with one big fish, any species. Also fish the Swede Ferguson Memorial Bass Derby each month with $10 sign-up anytime during the month at Fisher's. Winner takes all for biggest fish determined the last day of the month. Call Jimmy Phipps at 782-2207.
• Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club: First annual Cats and Carp Slime Fest from noon Saturday to weigh-in at 9 a.m. Sept. 16 with launch and weigh-in at Fisher's Landing. $40 entry per two person team with a 10 fish maximum, only 5 fish can be carp. Call David or Jonathan Parrish at 941-6168.
• MCAS Recreation Area: Call Mike Castello at 783-3422 to learn about fishing, camping and other outdoor activities at Martinez Lake/Colorado River for Yuma area military personnel and families.
• Bass Class on the Water: Want to learn how, when and where to catch bass at local waters in all seasons and conditions in the Yuma area? Call Dave Willhide at 782-2621 who will provide a bass boat and all equipment for anyone who is interested. Ask about seminars available for RV parks and home groups.
• Slim Evans Memorial Catfish Derby: Sept. 29-30 with $20 entry per person with $100 guaranteed for 1st place along with a new rod and reel provided by Fisher's Landing Resort. 2 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday with scales closing Sunday at 7 a.m. in time for $5 breakfast available to all contestants at Fisher's Grill. Sign-up at the gas dock with late sign-up in the bar until 8 p.m. Saturday.
• 2012 Big Breast Contest: 141 birds were weighed in at Sprague's Sports this year with the winner overall Ryan Eaton from Scottsdale, his white-wing weighing 81.8 grams. Placing second and third were Jared Raymond of Irvine, Calif., with 76.7 and his son John Raymond 73.5. All birds weighed in over the two-day contest are now eligible for the drawing with the winning prize a Benelli firearm. I'll report the winner in the next outdoors column or check with Richard Sprague at 726-0022.
• Hunter Safety Education Class: The week of Sept. 25 at Sprague's Sports. Call 726-0022 for complete information.
• Early dove predictions: Now that the early season has opened and is going strong, there doesn't seem to be a shortage of birds in our neck of the woods. They are still flying strong and steady most areas. The season ends Sept. 15, so take advantage now of time left to get out there to enjoy the hunt before it's over until the late season begins in November. Remember to take plenty of drinking water with you, and mosquito repellent can come in mighty handy to have along.
• Spring hunt application deadline Oct. 9: Don't miss out on applying for spring turkey, javelina, buffalo and bear. Check to see if the online application service is available. The deadline to apply is Oct. 9. Get your copy of the information booklet (regulations) from license dealers or from Arizona Game and Fish.
Contact Jean Wilson at email@example.com or 247-4450.