Fishing tips for the Yuma area
We are fortunate to have a good share of water nearby with lots of fish for the taking along with a number of super fishing clubs on hand with anglers full of techniques and tactics they are willing to share. In addition, Game and Fish is running over with tried-and-true advice that definitely does the trick when it comes to fishing in the Yuma area.
It's usually great fishing this time of year for largemouth bass with topwater action really good as long as you choose the right gear in order to detect the slightest change in feel when a bass takes your plastic worm.
Try using a fishing line no heavier than three times the weight of the average size bass you catch (light lines not only enable you to cast a wider range of lure weights but are also harder for a bass to see in clear water). The proper weight of line will also give you a maximum feel as well as adequate strength.
Choose a rod with a slight flex in the tip to handle a wide range of lure weights. Cast your line quietly and keep the average cast under 30 feet. Keep your eyes locked on the line where it penetrates the surface of the water in order to catch line movement or tension change. Keep your hooks sharp and keep the slack out of your line so you can set the hook quickly.
For open water fishing, try six-pound test for quarter-ounce lures, eight-pound test for one third-ounce lures, and 10 pound test for half-ounce lures. For weedy, brushy cover, raise these line tests by five pounds each.
If you want to try topwater fishing, nights are good during warm weather months.
Mouths of river channels going into lakes, shore lines with abundant growth and points with nearby drop-offs can be good chances for topwater fishing.
While calm waters may work best for topwater plugs, it also works in rougher water but needs more noise to magnify its presence.
Retrieve slow and steady when the cast is to a shallow water structure — often a fish will strike during a pause in the retrieve. If this doesn't work, vary the speed between fast and slow, and again, keep the slack out of the line so you can set the hook quickly.
If channel catfish is your bag, try 8- to 10-pound test line with a slip bobber. Place the bobber 4-5 feet up the line (if the line is longer, it becomes too awkward to cast) along with a No. 2 hook and cut bait, chicken liver, live or stink (remember, the stinkier the better) bait.
If you are using a spinning outfit, keep the bail open so line can feed freely because catfish almost always swim a short distance before swallowing their food and they will notice resistance quickly. Small fish will attempt to tear off chunks of your bait and will dip the bobber around or up and down. The same is true for a big cat investigating your offering. Once the bobber disappears and does not return, stop playing out line, then as soon as the line becomes taut, set the hook firmly.
If you have trouble hooking a decent-sized channel catfish, check to see if the hook's barb is exposed enough. If you have buried the hook point too deep in the bait, it may not penetrate the catfish's mouth when you set the hook.
Once hooked, large catfish will make for deep water or sunken timber. Tighten the drag and try to keep the fish from running out your spool or tangling the line. Keep the rod tip fairly high and take every opportunity to reel in line as often as you can.
Once the fish is at your fingertips, watch out for its whiskers. Grasp the cat firmly in mid-body and remove the hook with forceps or needle-nose pliers. The smaller catfish tend to swallow baits too deeply, so by using only large chunks of cut bait, you can avoid hooking catfish too small to keep. When you handle any fish, wear a cotton glove or use a rag if you need to remove the hook so as to not remove the slime on the fish that is so necessary to it's survival.
For flathead catfish, which are biting like crazy along Colorado River waters, work with a heavy-duty rod and reel and use baitfish for bait (bluegill work really well — check the regulations to be sure of the size limits on bluegill) for the heftier of the species. For the most part, utilize the same suggestions as for channel catfish.
For stripers, try late afternoon until dusk in open water, where they often move to chase shad and other baitfish. Surface plugs, jogs and shallow-running vibrating lures seem to do well while jigging or drift-fishing ridges with drop-offs, near bridges, at the deep end of points and near areas where stripers visit to feed.
• Desert Bass Anglers: Don't miss fishing the team tournament Saturday with launching out of Fisher's Landing. Then stay ready for the Dec. 1 President's Choice Tournament when the Angler of the Year presentation will be held along with a delicious tri-tip dinner for members and guests at Fisher's. Call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984 for details.
• Yuma Pro Am Series: Hopefully you got to fish yesterday's tournament in Colorado River waters. If so, here's hoping you did well. Sign-up between Nov. 1-17 online or by mail (if early enough), or at the draw meeting 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. at Baron Fuels also on Nov. 17 with the draw at 6:15 p.m. sharp to fish the next day's (Nov. 18) tournament launching out of Fisher's Landing. Visit online at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign-up while also paying the $15 membership, or call Bob La Londe at 580-1270. Make plans now to get in on the Dec. 16 Toys and Tots Tournament and bring a toy to help kids have a wonderful Christmas.
• Wednesday Jackpot Derby and Monthly Swede Ferguson Big Bass Derby at Fisher's Landing: Entry $5 for each Wednesday Jackpot 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; $10 sign-up anytime during each month to fish the Swede Ferguson Bass competition with the winner taking all for the biggest bass determined the last day each month. Call Jimmy Phipps at 782-2207.
• Special for our military: Call Mike Castello at 783-3422 at the MCAS recreation area to learn about fishing, camping and other outdoors activities open to all military personnel and families at Martinez Lake/Colorado River. You are also welcome to fish with other Yuma fishing clubs listed here.
• Bass Class on the Water: To learn how, when and where to catch bass at local waters at all times of the year with a bass boat and all equipment provided, call Dave Willhide at 782-2621. Ask about fishing seminars available for RV parks and home groups.
We, in the Yuma area, are fortunate in having endless opportunities for shooters to get in that needed practice for either competition or for hunting, as well as for shooters who would like to shoot for recreation in a safe environment. Check with any of the clubs listed below to learn about shooting at any of the ranges.
The Adair Park shooting range facility, located 15 miles northeast of Yuma off Highway 95 (turn off at the signs about 3/4 mile past the Gila River bridge to the west), is complete with pistol range, archery, big bore range (1,000 yards), small bore range, trap and skeet range, police combat (law enforcement only) range, silhouette range and black powder range, open to the public seven days a week. On days when maintaining clubs are hosting matches (listed here each week), the public is asked to shoot with the clubs for safety.
There is also another archery range in the Yuma area, the Foothills Archery Range, located on the south side of I-8 close to the Gila Mountain Range from south Foothills Blvd., open to all archers most Sundays when trail shoots take place. For information, see Renegade Archers listed below along with other shooting clubs.
• Renegade Archers: All archers are welcome to shoot the trail of 3D animals on certain Sundays at the Foothills Archery Range. Best to check with Jean or Kevin at 247-4450 or 726-0953 if you'd like to shoot archery on a given Sunday (with gas so expensive it's best for now to have more archers than just those who are interested in shooting). Directions: Take the south Frontage Road from south Foothills Blvd. from I-8, drive 2 miles east to Avenue 15E, turn right and drive south 1 mile 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 $3, with youngsters always free of charge. Bows and arrows are available free of charge upon request prior to the shoot. A great opportunity for youngsters and adults both to learn how to shoot and enjoy archery as well as for experienced archers to get in the practice and have good fun.
• Southwest Bowhunters: Call Zach Slette at 246-8381, Larry Leake at 342-5181 or Uschi House at 345-3770. Sunday Shoots at 7 a.m. will continue as usual until and after the fun shoot.
• 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 1st and 3rd Saturdays each month at Adair Park. Call Dennis Hansel at 342-7573.
• Cholla Gun Club: Almost all forms of metallic silhouette shooting are featured at the Adair Park range with disciplines including Hunter pistol, lever guns, high-power, small bore and black powder cartridge. The season runs from Nov. 1 through the end of April. The range is open to the public when there is no club scheduled shoot. For information, call Rick or Glenda at 502-0736.
• Yuma Matchmasters: Shooters sign-up at 7 a.m. with a shooter's meeting at 7:30 and shooting starts at 8 a.m. at the Adair Park small bore range. The Steel Challenge Matches will be held the first Saturday each month, the IPSC Combat Match held the second Sunday, with the Cowboy Match held the fourth Sunday at the range. The Cowboy Match for December will be held Dec. 16 rather than the fourth Sunday. Call Ruth Wilmot at 726-7727 with questions.
• Proposed License Simplification Legislation: Game and Fish will host a public meeting in Yuma from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 13 at Booth Machinery, 6565 E. 30th St., to get our input on the proposal to provide the commission more flexibility to change the license structure and license products to be responsive to customer needs and changing conditions. “Potential benefits include establishment of a simpler, easier-to-understand license structure, better license products offering more value, and a more streamlined process allowing direct customer input opportunities. The meeting will explain the proposal and offer the opportunity for questions and feedback.
Contact Jean Wilson at email@example.com or 247-4450.