Switching lures for bass can often bring success when the fish has been lazy in taking the bait. For those of us who are just learning, practice makes perfect so work at it often enough to become fairly fast before finding yourself coming up empty-handed. Either keep different lure choices close at hand and practice switching the lures or have two rods set-up with different lures so all you have to do is switch to a second pole. The quick lure change can ultimately catch more fish.
When a bass strikes but misses, try casting your bait slow and easy to the same spot with a unweighted soft plastic frog or worm with twitches on the retrieve.
A pencil popper topwater lure has been proven good for stripers because its erratic wiggle can pull fish from 20 or more feet away — but might sometimes produce no more than a heavy swirl or splash behind the plug — probably meaning the striper may be excited but not fooled. If this happens, switch quickly to a slightly smaller plug such as Cordell Red Fin that can be fished more slowly. A slow enticing retrieve usually works like a charm. If a fish refuses your offering, try dunking the lure (or bait) in cod liver oil to make it “tasty” to attract hungry fish.
Whether floating, suspended or resting on the bottom, any artificial or live bait always attracts more bass if it appears lifelike. If you use live bait, try a small, yet legally-big-enough bluegill for bait. It works! Crawdads also entice a bass bite. Shiners and shad are good as well for catching bass. One thing to remember whatever you fish with, every bit of added weight takes something away from a minnow's natural action but casting a small minnow or worm or other live bait for any distance without additional weight can also be difficult. An open-face spinning reel and light line will make casting easier. In a stiff breeze, a small split shot or float might also be necessary.Be sure to move any live bait periodically so a bass has a chance to see it as well as hear the splash when it hits the surface of the water. Work live bait as you do plastic worms and jigs; jerk it and let it sink. A small sliding sinker attached above a barrel swivel about a foot from the hook keeps the bait down, aids in casting, and still allows your bait some freedom.
If you'd really like to learn the tricks of the fishing trade, get together with local fishing clubs for pointers on how to best catch that prize bass. Most successful anglers are glad to share a bit of knowledge that would help you be successful as well. Check also at Harold Wah's Sportsmen's Hideaway, 16th Street east of Pacific Avenue in back or Baron Fuels to learn about new “fish catchers” now on the market.
Take a kid fishing: When Yuma schools begin the time off for Christmas vacation, it'll be prime time for us to grab a kid or two and take them fishing. Our youngsters are the future of fishing and getting them interested will ensure the tradition we have learned to enjoy will continue after we are no longer able.
• Desert Bass Anglers: Congratulations to the club’s 2012 Angler of the Year Robert Murray who did such a great job this year with fishing pole in hand. Job well done!
Twenty-three boats competed in the annual President’s Choice Colorado River Bass Tournament with Manuel Garcia/Scott Stiffins winning top honors with 11.61 followed in second place by Jimmy Phipps, fishing alone, with 11.31. In third place was the team of Joe Mayerchik/Jeff Cotten with 10.22 while Lance Adams, also fishing alone, took fourth place with 9.89. The father/son team of Ron and Doug Terhawk placed fifth with 8.80. Hammer Kuanda took first place big fish with a 5.72 pounder as well as winning the junk option with a 1.29 crappie. Second place big fish was won by the Terhawks with a bass weighing 4.18. The fun raffle was a great success with donations by local merchants and anglers. Stay in practice for the Jan. 5 team tournament launching out of Fisher’s Landing, open to all anglers with tournament approved boats having remote steering and kill switches as well as a livewell with aeration capable of supporting a 5-fish limit of bass. Call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984.
• Yuma Pro Am Series: Be sure to fish the Dec. 16 Toys for Tots bass tournament launching out of Fisher’s with your toy contributions providing kids with Christmas who might otherwise do without. Call Bob La Londe at 580-1270 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org for sign-up information online along with paying your dues for the new year.
• Wednesday Jackpot Derby: Entry $5 each Wednesday with sign-up at 8 a.m. at Fisher’s 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 Monthly Bass Derby: Sign-up $10 anytime during the month to fish with the winner taking the pot with the biggest bass determined the last day each month. Call Phipps for information or to sign-up.
• American Bass: Bass Tournament is Jan. 12 launching out of Fisher’s with advance registration being sent to Jeff Woods, 2520 Tara Lane, Riverside, CA 92506 anytime prior to seven days before the tournament or sign-up also 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 an ABA member for the first year. Email questions to email@example.com or call Jeff Woods at 1-951-201-9461.
• 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 at Martinez, open to all military personnel and families.
• Bass Class on the Water: If you’d like to learn all about fishing including all the tricks of the trade, call Dave Willhide of Goin’ Fishin’ Productions at 782-2621. He’ll teach you everything you need to know to catch those big bass at local waters in all times of the year with a bass boat and all equipment provided. Ask about the fishing seminars for RV parks and home groups.
With Christmas coming soon, the 2013 Wildlife Calendar put together by the Arizona Game and Fish Department would be a super gift idea for that outdoors person in your life. The November-December issue of Arizona Wildlife magazine has the full-size wall calendar featuring winning photos from this year’s wildlife photo contest. Still available to new subscribers, sign-up now to get the same price of 7 issues for just $7 (regular price $8.50) - order @www.azgfd.gov/magazine or call 1-800-777-0015. Single copies are sold at Game and Fish offices for $3.
Another great Christmas gift would be "Hunting Arizona’s Small Game," a fantastic resource for hunting small game, birds and mammals from quail and doves to squirrels and rabbits that covers their behavior and habits, how to select the right firearms and gear up for the hunt, how to succeed in the field and care of the harvest.An ideal field companion for $16.95. Go to azgfd.gov/publications or call 1-602-942-3000. The book will also be on sale at Game and Fish offices over-the-counter by Dec. 17.
• Cooperative conservation, not ban, is best approach to condor-lead issue, as written by Larry Voyles, director of Arizona Game and Fish Department: "In the My Turn opinion piece published Nov. 12, Kieran Suckling of the Center for Biological Diversity, Sandy Bahr of the Sierra Club and Kim Crumbo of the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council summarized their stance on the California condor reintroduction project in Arizona with the final statement: 'No animal in Arizona should die from preventable lead poisoning.'
"The issue is, of course, not whether animals should die from lead poisoning, but rather, the real issue is what the best approach is to address the problem of lead poisoning. The environmental litigation groups headed by Suckling, Bahr, and Crumbo have taken the approach of suing in federal court to order the U.S. Forest Service to ban lead ammunition for hunting in the Kaibab National Forest. The Arizona Game and Fish Department favors a different approach.
"Repatriation of condors in Arizona faced intense local opposition. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gained support by developing agreements with local parties, under provisions of the Endangered Species Act. These agreements were memorialized through rules published in the Code of Federal Regulations. These rules constituted promises to local groups in exchange for their support. Some of those promises have since become the center of intense controversy. In the case of the condor, the service promised not to seek the regulation of lead in ammunition.
"The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been consistent in its belief that agencies must live up to those legally-binding promises. Failure to do so risks the loss of local support which in our experience, can make or break critical endangered species programs. Every in-the-field success in condor repatriation to date has been accomplished through partnership with fellow conservationists, on the ground, not in a courtroom.
"The southwest condor working group, which includes Arizona Game and Fish, The Peregrine Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and 24 other partners, has devoted countless hours and well over one million dollars annually to field work and outreach programs to make condor reintroduction successful. Today, 80-90 percent of Arizona hunters use non-lead ammo or physically remove big game gut piles from the field to reduce the amount of lead available to condors. Today, 77 condors fly free in Arizona-Utah where once there were none because of this groups efforts. Now Utah is emulating the very successful Arizona program to address the condor’s increasing use of its lands.
"The mandatory ban approach to the lead problem, conversely, not only has the potential to damage the valuable partnership we deem necessary to successful conservation, it may even fail to produce the intended benefit. California banned lead ammunition in condor habitat, but a 2012 study suggests the ban has not yet proven effective in reducing lead exposure in condors.
"The southwest condor working group is devoted to keeping condors in the wild in Arizona. Free-ranging condors exist entirely because of this group’s dedication.
"I was initially taken aback by the authors’ vitriolic characterization of the Arizona Game and Fish Department as an agency that shoots, traps and kills threatened and endangered species. In spite of the dramatic condor photo accompanying the opinion piece, virtually no public outcry or response occurred. Either the public saw through the diatribe or the public has grown so jaded, as a result of the name calling and never-ending environmental litigation, that their passion for wildlife is waning.For those of us who love wildlife and wild places and the sight of a condor majestically soaring above vermillion cliffs, that would be the ultimate tragedy."
• Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club: Monthly meetings, open to anyone interested in hunting, fishing and wildlife conservation, are held at American Legion Post 19, 2575 S. Virginia Drive, on the first Wednesday of the month with dinners at 6:30 p.m., meetings at 7 p.m. Call president Doug Beach at 446-1122 for club information.
• Renegade Archers of Yuma: All archers are most welcome to shoot the 3D trail shoots at the Foothills Archery Range located east of Foothills blvd, south of I-8 with adult fees $3, youngsters always free. Bows and arrows are available, also free to use, for anyone calling Jean or Kevin at 247-4450 or 726-0953 prior to any Sunday shoot. A great opportunity for anyone interested in learning how to shoot and enjoy archery as well as for experienced archers to stay in practice and have fun. Give us a call if you’d like to come shooting — be sure to leave your phone number.
• 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 for shooting times.
• 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 Rendezvous 2013: All black powder enthusiasts are welcome to attend the Jan. 17-20 at Adair Park with Primitive and Tin TeePee camping as well as Traders Row. All traders welcome with no traders fee. Events include Rifle, paper and gong; Trade Gun, gong and paper; Pistol, gong and paper; Knife and Hawk. Shooting fees include adults $20 with family $30 plus a blanket prize per shooters worth $10 or more. Saturday 5:30 p.m. barbecue and potluck. The club will furnish the cooked meat. Your ticket to attend is one side dish. Anyone not registered to shoot and wishing to attend the dinner must bring a potluck dish and pay $5 per person (fee does not apply to family members of registered shooters). Shooting times: the range will open at 9 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. All firing will be completed by 5 p.m. Saturday. The Fort Shoot will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday with awards at 1 p.m. Call Dennis Hansel at 342-7573 or Glenda Graves at 502-0736.
• Cholla Gun Club: Holding a variety of silhouette matches at the Adair Park range with disciplines for hunter pistol, lever guns, high-power, small bore and black powder cartridge with the season running though the end of April 2013. Call Rick or Glenda at 502-0736.
• Yuma Rifle and Pistol Club: Call Paul Lerma at 782-6766 or Gerald Brooker at 305-9681 for information on December matches at the Adair Park big bore range.
• Yuma Matchmasters: Shooters can sign-up at 7 a.m. with the shooter’s meeting at 7:30 a.m. at the Adair Park small bore range. Monthly schedule is: 1st Saturday - Steel Challenge Match; 2nd Sunday - IPSC Combat Match; 4th Sunday - Cowboy Match. Call Ruth Wilmot at 726-7727.
Contact Jean Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 247-4450.