Time to practice catch and release
If your usual heavy-type lures aren’t doing the trick for catching those fish you’re after, go smaller and lighter. Mini-jigs are great for bass as well as for crappie and bluegill this time of year with bodies that slip on the lead head from the front, covering the weight entirely and looking more like a minnow as well as being soft and pliable like a live fish. They come in a variety of colors and weights for a great fish-catching combination.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass, even striped bass, will snap up one of these easy tidbits, even if it seems to the angler that such a small offering would be ignored. Mini-jigs are effective because they don’t scare fish in clear water. The tiny ripple left by the arrival of a jig weighing only a fraction of an ounce doesn’t cause spooky fish to run for cover.
The jig slips through the water with a natural swimming action looking just like a baby fish that isn’t watching for trouble. This non-threatening behavior allows bass and other game fish to pursue their quarry like a cat stalking a bird. Cast and retrieve as you would other lures. If possible, use it without additional weight – this flylining the jig out and swimming it back can be done in two ways. You can use the rod tip and twitch the little lure along, or simply let it swim steadily. The light weight of the mini-jig compared to the water resistance makes it sink slowly.
You can attach a small bobber above the jig to serve as a casting weight, a way to suspend the jig at a specific depth, and it is also a strike indicator. Attach the standard spring-loaded bobber by winding the line two or three turns around only one of the bobber’s two spring slips to produce an off-center wobbling motion as the bobber is slowly retrieved with a series of twitches and pauses simulating a minnow in difficulty.
The time of year with the spawn in progress and with good size bass being caught is a good time to practice catch and release to ensure the future of the species.
• Desert Bass Anglers: A whopping total of 44 boats (all club members) worked the latest tournament with fantastic results. The team of John and Sarah Turner took first place with 15.30 while Manuel Garcia/Scott Steffins enjoyed second place with 14.12. Taking third place was Bob La Londe/Matt Yates with 14.12 followed by Kevin Goss/Derek Hall in fourth place with 13.26. Big fish honors went to Gary and Jenette Understiller with a 6.87 pound bass while Ken and Denise Howden placed second with their big fish weighing 5.31. The junk fish option was won by Lannes Brock/Greg Abney with a 9.24 catfish. Watch this column for details on the April 6 Mittry Lake Tournament coming up or call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984.
• Yuma Pro Am Series: Sign-up opened March 1 for the March 24 Mittry Lake Tournament with the draw meeting at Baron Fuels March 23. Annual membership is $15 along with tournament fees to be paid online to email@example.com.
• Wednesday Jackpot Derby: Sign-up $5 each Wednesday at 8 a.m. at Fisher’s Gas Dock with weigh-in at 1 p.m. Winner takes the pot for one big fish, any species. Call Jimmy Phipps at 782-2207.
• Swede Ferguson Memorial Monthly Bass Derby: Sign-up $10 anytime each month to fish, with the winner taking the pot for biggest bass determined the last day of the month. Call Phipps for details or to sign-up.
• Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club: Check for results of the latest Open Bass Derby next week or call David or Jon Parrish at 941-6168. Also check for results as well as news for upcoming tournaments at Sportsmen’s Hideaway, off 16th Street behind Baron Fuels.• American Bass - Yuma Division: Tournament number 4 will launch March 30 from Fisher’s Landing/Martinez Lake. Sign-up by calling Jeff Woods at 1-951-201-9461.
• Bass Class on the Water: If you’d like to learn the tricks of catching bass at local waters with Dave Willhide, give Dave a call at 782-2621. You’ll learn everything you want to know to become successful at all times of the year no matter what the weather. A bass boat and all equipment is provided for a great day on the water. Ask about fishing seminars for RV parks and home groups.
• MCAS Recreation Area at Martinez Lake: Call Mike Castello at 783-3422 to learn about camping, boating and fishing activities available at the lake and the Colorado River for military and families.
• Arizona Elk Society Banquet March 23: Dinner with a live auction will include a coveted Arizona Commissioners special elk tag being sold along with other special tags including an Arizona special buffalo tag and Hualapai exclusive bull elk tag. Every dollar raised from the Commissioners elk tag will go directly to the management of elk in Arizona and allows for a multitude of wildlife conservation projects including water improvements, wildlife friendly fencing, wildlife studies, game surveys, translocations, habitat restorations, land acquisitions and more. Visit arizonaelksociety.org or call 1-602-885-0835 or call Scott Kelly at 1-480-206-3435 or visit www.blackdogpromotions.com or www.facebook.com/bdpevents.
• Renegade Archers of Yuma: All archers are welcome to shoot the trail of 3D animals each Sunday at 9 a.m. at the Foothills Archery Range located east of the Foothills near the Gila Mountain Range, south side of I-8 off Avenue 15E from S. Foothills Blvd. Adult shoot fees are $3 with youngsters always free of charge with free use of equipment available with directions to the range by calling Jean or Kevin at 247-4450 or 726-0953. Plans while the weather is still cool are to replace cotton bales on the practice range along with repairs of 3D animal targets prior to the summer heat.
• Southwest Bowhunters: Archery shoots at 9 a.m. Sundays at Adair Park with the practice range open all week. Call Wayne Wittenberg at 314-0140.
• Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: Open trap and skeet 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (closed Easter Sunday), noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Adair Park range. Scholastic clay target practice will be held Wednesdays during March at the range at 4:30 p.m. as well as at 1 p.m. March 16 and March 30. A March Madness Buckle Shoot will be held at 9 a.m. Monday. The 6 p.m. board meeting will take place March 25 at Round Table Pizza. Call Gary Knight at 210-0805.
• Yuma Territorial Longrifles Club: Open black powder matches 1st and 3rd Saturdays at Adair Park with sign-up at 8:30 a.m. Call Dennis Hansel at 342-7573.
• Cholla Gun Club: Open matches each week will begin again this fall. For information, call Glenda or Rick at 502-0736.
• Yuma Rifle and Pistol Club: Open Vintage Match March 16 followed on March 17 with an Across the Course Match at the Adair park big bore range for shooters signing up by 7:30 a.m. Ask about the junior shooting program. Call Jerry Brooker at 305-9681 or Paul Lerma at 782-6766.
• Yuma Matchmasters: Shooters sign-up at the Adair Park small bore range at 7 a.m. on match days with shooters meeting prior to shooting. Monthly 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.
Contact Jean Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 247-4450.