Tips for bass fishing
With weather and water temperatures cooling, working shorelines and backs of coves for bass with rattle traps, spinners, Caroline-rigged worms or lizards, or grubs have been found to be productive for bass in the mornings and late afternoons. Because of the cooler weather, bass will tend to hide out in heavy cover such as dense weeds, brush piles, lily pads, fallen trees and reedy shorelines and become hard to find.
Jigs are working at times, other times spinners and spoons with an occasional topwater bite with a popper.
Soft plastic can be worked over the thickest weeds. Try activating the lure to imitate crawling, wiggling and darting movements. Foot-long worms are very attractive to whopper bass — work them with a 6/0 worm hook over the surface. Because the hooks are heavy, no additional weight is needed for them to wiggle over, in and along dense cover. They also work well Texas-rigged with a 3/8-ounce sinker. If you prefer to fish with crankbaits, use a sinking type weighted to sink so slow it appears suspended.
While many fishermen support the catch and release program, most anglers still fish to take and eat their catch. We all need to understand that we can have much better fishing if we take home fewer fish and never waste what we take.
If you fish, but intend on releasing your catch back to the water, be sure you take into consideration the few things that will ensure they don't get injured in the process.
Handle your fish as little as possible or not at all. Needle-nosed pliers can be used to grasp a hook and twist it, gently when possible, out of the fish's mouth without actually holding the fish. If you need to hold the fish, do so with wet hands (or a cotton glove) to prevent infection caused from rubbing off too much of its protective slime.
Gills are a fish's lungs so don't grab the gills unless you plan to keep the fish. Don't hold the fish so tightly you damage its internal organs. To keep the fish quiet, try holding the fish upside down with the back resting on the palm of your hand.
Don't let the fish bang against the side or bottom of the boat or flop on the ground if you want to release it. The longer a fish is out of water, the worse its chances of recovery so release it as quickly as possible.
If a fish swallows the bait and is not bleeding, just clip the line as close to the fish's mouth as possible, or clip the hook if it's stubborn. Don't rip a hook out of the fish.
Don't take the term “throw it back” literally. After unhooking your catch, slide it into the water head-first or lower it into the water, then release it. If the fish seems to have trouble recovering, hold it gently in your hand, under the surface (facing upstream in flowing water) until it revives and can swim off by itself.
• American Bass: While the change in weather played havoc on several teams bite at the latest ABA Yuma Division Tournament, it appears the cooling trend did nothing to chill out the team of John Turner and Jim Waits who caught a total of 16.01 pounds of bass in the opening event; as well as taking big fish honors with a 4.98 pounder. Tournament director Jeff Woods reports Jim Waites said they used a variety of baits; jigs, cranks and spinnerbait's, in both the river and selected backwaters to run away with the first place prize plus a sweep of the options as well. Second place was enjoyed by Gary Pinholster fishing without a partner who worked cranks and spinner baits over the grass in the backwaters to bring 12.74 pounds to the scales as well as second place for options. Third place went to the team of Roy Hawk/Mark White with a total catch of 11.45. Billy Skinner and Simon Apadoca placed fourth with 11.36 while Ken Howden/Gary Understiller placed fifth with 9.93 total pounds. Pinholster also took second place big fish with 3.04 while Howden/Understiller placed third for big fish with 3.03. Overall 50 bass were brought to the scales and all released back to the water to be caught again. Anyone wanting to sign up for the Jan. 12 tournament out of Fisher's Landing can do so by sending advance registrations to Jeff Woods, 2520 Tara Lane, Riverside, Calif., 92506, anytime prior to seven days before the tournament. Sign-ups can also be done 5-7 p.m. the night before the tournament or the day of the event at Fisher's. Any person living within the Yuma region does not need to be a ABA member for the first year. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Desert Bass Anglers: Members plan to have a great time competing at the Dec. 1 President's Choice Tournament launching out of Fisher's Landing with the great dinner (for members and guests) following the competition to celebrate the presentation of Angler of the Year award for 2012. Questions, call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984.
• Yuma Pro Am Series: Robert Murray and Greg Abney finished first in latest competition with 13.88 pounds and second place big bass of 4.18 to their credit while Alvin Hatton fishing with Allen Hook finished second. Third place and first place big bass of 4.63 went to Bob La Londe and Justin Coogler. Don't miss fishing the Dec. 16 Toys for Tots Tournament to assist in providing kids with Christmas who might otherwise do without. Call Bob La Londe at 580-1270 or visit email@example.com.
• Wednesday Jackpot Derby: Entry $5 each Wednesday Derby with sign-up at 8 a.m. at the gas dock, weigh-in around 1 p.m. with the winner taking all for one big fish, any species. Call Jimmy Phipps at 782-2207.
• Swede Ferguson Memorial Bass Derby: Sign-up $10 anytime during the month to fish the monthly big bass competition with the winner taking the pot with the biggest bass determined the last day of the month. Call Phipps for information or to sign up.
• MCAS Recreation Area: Call Mike Castello at 783-3422 at the recreation area at Martinez Lake to learn about the various fishing, camping and other outdoor activities along the Colorado River. Open to all military personnel and families.
• Bass Class on the Water: If you'd like to learn all about fishing including learning all the tricks, call Dave Willhide at 782-2621. He'll teach you everything you need to know to catch those big bass at local waters at all times of the year with a bass boat and all equipment provided. Ask about the fishing seminars for RV parks and home groups.
• Renegade Archers: All archers are welcome to shoot the 3D animal trail shoot each Sunday at 8 a.m. at the Foothills Archery Range located east of Foothills Blvd. south of I-8. Adult fees are $3 with youngsters always free of charge. Bows and arrows are available, also free to use for anyone calling Jean or Kevin at 247-4450 or 726-0953 prior to the shoot. Watch for information on Saturday archery shoots at the range coming soon.
• Southwest Bowhunters: 3D trail shoots on Sundays for all archers at Adair Park with the practice range open all week. Call Wayne Wittenberg at 314-0140. Fun Invitational 3D Shoot results will appear in next week's column.
• Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: Open trap and skeet 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Adair Park range. Call Gary Knight at 210-0805.
• Yuma Territorial Longrifles Club: Open black powder matches 1st and 3rd Saturdays each month at Adair Park. Call Dennis Hansel at 342-7573.
• Cholla Gun Club: Most forms of metallic silhouette shooting are featured at the Adair Park range with disciplines for hunter pistol, lever guns, high-power, small bore and black powder cartridge with the season running through the end of April. Call Rick or Glenda at 502-0736. As with all ranges at Adair Park, the silhouette range is open to the public when there are no club matches scheduled.
• Yuma Rifle and Pistol Club: Check this column next Sunday for results of the latest matches held at the Adair Park big bore range or call Paul Lerma at 782-6766 or Gerald Brooker at 305-9681.
• Yuma Matchmasters: This time of year, shooters will sign-up at 7 a.m. with the shooter's meeting at 7:30 a.m., shooting at 8 a.m. at the Adair Park small bore range. Monthly shooting schedule: 1st Saturday - Steel Challenge Match; 2nd Sunday — IPSC Combat Match; 4th Sunday — Cowboy Match. Call Ruth Wilmot at 726-7727.
• Dates of hunts either under way or about to begin are: Quail, open now through Feb. 10; late dove season opening now through Jan. 6; general cottontail rabbit, open now through Feb. 10; muzzle loader deer, running Dec. 14 through Dec. 31 in certain areas; archery-only non-permit tag required deer opening Dec. 14 running through Jan. 31. It's a good idea to check regulations before going to the field. Take advantage of hunts to keep you in practice, enjoy the outdoors as well as putting delicious meat on the table — also great for getting in all that exercise that will keep you healthy and happy.
• More poaching near Payson: There is up to $10,000 reward being offered in an elk poaching case near Payson. The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Elk Society need your help in finding the person(s) responsible for the illegal shooting of four elk in Unit 22.
Two young bulls and a cow elk were illegally shot and left to waste and found in the Chaparral Pines Community, poached between Oct. 24-25. A fourth elk also illegally shot was found on Oct. 31 in the same area as the others believed to have been poached Oct. 27-28.
“The wasteful poaching of this many elk is a travesty to those of us that work to improve health and habitat for elk in Arizona,” said Steve Clark, president of the Elk Society. Anyone with information regarding this case or others can call the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-352-0700 or visit www.azgfd.gov/thief. The OGT number is 12-002661.
Contact Jean Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 247-4450.