"Like countless other bank anglers, you may not have a clue where to fish,” the writer of the Outdoors/bass-fishing/Article 3, bank fishing hot spots for fall bass suggests going to the closest boat ramp to set up shop. A lot of folks scoff at fishing near boat ramps from shore but it works. Boat ramps are great places to fish for a few bass and several other species of fish, especially this time of year. The boat ramps and the surrounding areas offer everything a transitional bass could want — deep water in close proximity to shallow water, rock transitions, docks or marinas, and oftentimes a brush pile or two. On top of all that, boat ramps are where many fish get released after small club tournaments. All this adds up to some prime feeding grounds for fish. The writer keeps it simple as much as possible in fishing and sticks to a couple different lures that always seem to work at and around boat ramps.

The article goes on to say (and bass anglers here in Yuma agree), “Fall is also a great time to chase bass from the shore and lots quicker than charging batteries, the boat rigged up and heading off to the lake. When time is short, at times it’s better to use the time to chase the bass from the bank as opposed to cutting time in half to fish from a boat. Three tried and true bank-fishing locations begin with bridges: They attract a lot of bait in the fall and where you find bait, you usually find bass. You can find bridges spanning across lakes or rivers in your area, and they’ll hold fish all year long. This holds even more weight during the fall months. Boat fishermen love them, too, because they’ve also found ‘where you find the bait, you’ll find the bass.’ The narrower the bridge, the better the bank fishing will be. If you find a short and narrow bridge crossing a lake towards the back of a creek arm, you have found a great place to bank fish in the fall. There are several baits you can use to attack bridges — jigs are synonymous with bridges and pilings and rocks. Both of these structures hold bluegills and crawfish which happen to be a hot menu item for bass, and a jig is a perfect imitator of both these forage types.” Anglers tend to vary between a 1/2-ounce Strike King Football Jig. If fishing water deeper than 6 feet, try a 1/4 to 3/8-oz. Missile Jigs Ike’s Mini Flip Jig when targeting skinny water. Let the water clarity you are fishing decide your color selection. If the water is relatively clear, try a green pumpkin colored jig. When water is stained too dirty, try the reliable black and blue, or brown for more fishing time. Stick a Zoom Super Chunk Jr. on the back of your jig and start casting. Walking topwaters: The best bridges to fish this time of year are buzzing with baitfish activity. Try a walking bait, like Zara Spook or if baitfish are large, try working a Strike King Sexy Dawg Jr.

The cool, comfortable weather fall brings can provide some of the most enjoyable days of fishing all year. Just because you don’t have a boat, or the time, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on these great fall days of bass fishing. Check the next week’s column for more on lures that work this time of year, not only at bridges but smaller areas such as small golf course ponds as well for fall bass along with more on fall baits that should join others that provide success.

Fish findings

The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds boaters to “clean, drain and dry” – and especially decontaminate — their watercraft and equipment before exiting listed waters containing aquatic invasive species (AIS). This reminder is particularly important for out-of-town visitors who moor their boats at AIS-affected waters and are preparing to head out of state.

Boaters are required to comply with all AIS regulations of the respective states in which they are traveling, as well as those of their final destination. Many states require that watercraft must stop for inspection, which may include both motorized and non-motorized boats. If you see signs that indicate an inspection station is open, stop and have your watercraft inspected. To ensure a smooth process at inspection stations while traveling, AZGFD has authorized providers to perform free inspections and decontaminations for those with boats that have been on AIS-infested waters.

Most of the waters in the western U.S. are free from invasive zebra and quagga mussels due to watercraft inspection and decontamination programs. The potential economic and recreational impact of invasion in these places would be devastating to the west. “As boaters, it is crucial to take responsibility and to have your boat inspected and decontaminated to protect the places that we love,” AZGFD Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator Erin Raney said. “It’s a big job, but with everyone pitching in, we can stop the spread of AIS into new waters.” Aquatic Invasive Species are non-native species that are often unintentionally introduced by human movement. They do not have predators outside of their native range, and are able to outcompete native species. These animals, plants, and even pathogens that cause disease in native wildlife can be invisible to the naked eye, making them even more difficult to control. Once introduced, they can alter and disrupt ecosystems, and cost millions of dollars to keep water and power infrastructure clear for delivery. These infestations directly affect your wallet by increasing the cost of water and power.

Stop the spread of AIS and keep our waters clean and beautiful for ourselves and future generations. Under Arizona law, boaters slipped and moored for 6 or more consecutive days must schedule an inspection and decontamination before transport. All watercraft and equipment leaving an AIS listed water must always use the steps below when leaving that water body. Clean boats, waders, anchors, and equipment by removing mud, plants, and attached animals such as snails. Drain all residual water from engines and motors, ballast tanks, live wells, and bait wells. Pull your bilge plug(s) and leave out during transport. Dry all equipment that gets wet such as life jackets, ropes, buoys, etc. See more information on Arizona’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program. For interstate travel, be sure to contact your local state AIS authorities for any additional questions on local regulation compliance.

Fishing clubs

• Desert Pro/Am Draw Series: Yesterday was the final Desert Draw Series tournament so check results as well as winners of boater angler of the year as well as non-boater of the year in next Sunday’s column. Michael Obney who has handled the Pro/Am Draw Series the last few years will now take over running Desert Bass, the new club with a format very similar to what Mac and Bobbie had with Desert Bass Anglers. Questions? Call Michael at 928-750-7081. He will be glad to hear from you. All bass fishermen and women are welcome to fish with the new club at the first tournament in January.

• ABA Yuma region: The ABA’s ‘8-pound pot’ remains unbroken since last year and we challenge all fishermen out there to come out and try to break that 8 lb pot which has accumulated to over $1,600. The ABA Yuma region 2020 tournament schedule is as follows: Jan. 4 at Fisher’s Landing, Feb. 15 at Fishers Landing, March 7 at Fishers Landing, April 18 at Mittry Lake, May 16 is our fish-off at Fishers Landing. Give Billy Clothier a call at 928-919-0304 with questions.

• High School Bass Fishing Club: A great way for any high schooler, both boys and girls, to learn about fishing for bass with members of the Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club and other volunteers assisting the kids in providing them with boats and equipment as well as guidance as they learn. It is an exciting year so far for our next generation of anglers at Fisher’s Landing/Martinez Lake. Interested high schoolers can call Terry Hurt, school sponsor, at 580-6567 or visit StudentAnglerFoundation.com to get started.

Shooting sports

• 4-H Shooting Sports: The Yuma County 4-H shooting sports is open to any 4-H youth ages 9-19 with and end of the year competition in March. Call the Yuma 4-H office at 726-3904 or Stan Gourley at 344-0740 with questions or if you have a youngster who wants to join a 4-H club to get in on the shooting sports at the Ware Farm in Dome Valley.

• The Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: New schedule: Regular shooting matches are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Matches are also held Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m. at the Adair Park trap and skeet range. Fees $1 to sign up with $6 non-member fee per round of 25 targets. Member’s fee $4 per round with 5 shooting fields available — field 1 & 2 skeet, field 3 wobble trap, field 4 & 5 trap. Eye and hearing protection required. Annual dues $30 per calendar year. Call Bob Avila at 928-919-0622.

• The Yuma Young Guns shooting the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP): The program, open to ages 9-25 still in school, with a team of Arizona Game and Fish Department certified instructors assisting. SCTP practice at the range is 6 p.m. Wednesdays. Call head coach H. McNutt at 928-580-4838 or John Gross at 580-1836 for answers to questions.

• Renegade Archers of Yuma: Keep check on this column for news of 3D animal shoots being held by Renegades at the Foothills Archery Range once again or call Kevin Wilson at 928-726-0953 if you’re interested in shooting the 3D trail at the range. Range fees are very reasonable and youngsters of all ages, including those new to archery, are welcome and always free of charge.

• Yuma Territorial Longrifles Club: Get in on the open black powder matches at the Adair Park range, 1st and 3rd Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. Call Roger Bickel at 726-7453 with questions or to ask about .22 matches.

• Cholla Gun Club: Club NRA approved matches will resume shooting now at Adair Park. 2019 silhouette match schedule at Adair Park with $5 shooting fee per gun: 4th Saturdays in January, February, March, November and December — big bore long range pistol; cowboy lever action rifle; pistol cartridge lever action rifle; .22 lever action rifle. These are NRA approved matches, however, NRA membership is not required to participate. 2nd Saturdays in January, February, March, November and December — black powder cartridge, vintage military rifle silhouette or fun match; vintage military rifle is any military rifle built up to 1952. No M14’s allowed. Chickens shot standing, pigs, turkeys, rams shot off of a ground rest. Replicating military positions while shooting. Bench rest 1/2 size targets will also be shot. This is all center fire calibers shot at 200, 300, 385, 500 meters. Other shooting schedules for the week: every Tuesday 8 a.m. Schutzen .22 rifle match on the black powder range. 20 shots bench rest at 100 yards and 20 shots standing at 100 yards. Bench rest match 50 shots at 50 yards. These are shot on alternating Tuesdays. Every Wednesday 8 a.m. informal get together for fun and plinking off the bench or standing. Practice your shooting skills, test your ammo for the gun you want to shoot it in. Every Wednesday 9 a.m. until finished BPCR .22 silhouette, .22 long range silhouette match. Every Friday 8 a.m. .22 and pistol cartridge caliber rifle and pistol silhouette fun matches. Informal get-together for .22 rimfire rifle or pistol and pistol caliber lever rifles or pistols. In addition, there will be some monthly NRL (National Rifle League) on the 3rd Saturday of the month throughout the year. Everyone is welcome. Club business meeting 2nd Tuesday November through March 7 p.m. at Villa Alameda RV Park, Avenue 5E. Qualifications: Open to the general public. Instructions will be provided as necessary. Firearm limitations: All firearms must comply with NRA guidelines for each event. Cartridge limitations: Cartridges must not result in damage to the targets (i.e., no belted magnums). Small bore is defined as .22 long rifle ammunition (no .22 magnums). Start times: Sign-up at 8 a.m.; shooting starts promptly at 8:30 a.m. Call president Rick Kelley at 928-502-0736 or visit rickinyuma@gmail.com.

• High Power Rifle and Pistol Club of Yuma: All shooters are welcome to shoot with the club. Call Joseph Murek at 928-627-4556 with questions. Shooting activities are also available for club junior “Whipper Snipers” for all ages. Check club matches along with other club news listed on the club website at hprifleyuma.com.

• Yuma Matchmasters: A variety of matches are offered each month at the range, all open to shooters at 7 a.m. with the steel challenge the 1st Saturday, multi-gun matches the 1st Sunday, IPSC combat matches the 2nd Sunday, with the cowboy fast draw the 3rd Saturday. SASS cowboy fast draw matches have moved from Saturday to the 4th Sunday. Call Ronnie Gissendaner at 726-0022 to check fall matches. Interested in cowboy action shooting? Call Irene Snyder at 920-613-4598 or Bob Wiles at 920-2158.

• Southwest Bowhunters Archery Club: Archery is offered Sundays with the practice range open all week at Adair Park. Call Keith Parsels at 782-1086.

Hunt happenings

The date may now be past, but thought hunters and anglers might like to hear how important they are in keeping our hunting heritage in good shape. Doug Burt of the Arizona Hunting and Angling Heritage Work Group, along with Ryan and Scott wrote to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! (I just got his email Thanksgiving morning). Let me share! Doug writes, “Honestly, there is not a more fitting holiday for this group than the celebration around the harvest. It’s what you do all year round and what we live for! Enjoy a wild game celebration! Seriously, no one else puts in so much hard work and dedication to wildlife conservation, habitat work and passing on the heritage in Arizona. You inspire us beyond words!

Doug came across a fantastic article, and he’d like to share the closing paragraph with you so you can look in the mirror, pat yourselves on the back and be proud to be a hunter / angler conservationist.”

“...the winning recipe for hunters is simple: keep doing what you’re doing. Both Brasher and Hatfield agree that in the conservation eco-system, hunters are the primary producers. Between duck stamps, excise taxes on hunting equipment, private donations, and grassroots advocacy, hunters have fueled our nation’s most successful conservation efforts for nearly 100 years.

“Hunters (let me add anglers as well) are the base of the food chain, the most important part of what we do,” Brasher concludes. “They’re the fuel that runs the engine.” And that statement is amplified by the collaboration, cooperation and communication of the HAHWG partnership, which is the largest statewide partnership hosting hands-on mentored hunts, recruits new hunters, retains newly recruited hunters, moves participants through the adoption sequence, develops mentors and advocates, supports the North American model and our mission, generates sales of license, tags, permits and P/R funding, assures the future of the hunting heritage.

Some highlights of your accomplishments: 495 public events conducted / 60+ partners, (8,000+ primary participants / 16,000+ attendees reached, 20 R3 partner workshops conducted (two a year), centralized calendar of events with single branding and promotion, online event registration and digital participant data, evaluations by national research firm: analysis of participants, focus groups of participants, survey of partners, and focus group on mentoring, contracted an R3 coordinator due to program growth and opportunities, statewide mentor recruitment: first-ever become a hunting mentor trivia and pint night, mentor database, mentoring events, communication and outreach. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Doug Burt/hunting and shooting sports manager (R3), Arizona Game and Fish Department.

If you, the hunter or angler have any questions or comments for Burt and his crew, call Doug at 623-236-7487 (mobile 602-531-7578), or visit with him at dburt@azgfd.gov. He’ll be glad to hear your thoughts.

• 2020 Learn to hunt camps coming up in Arizona: The 2020 spring hunt draw is now open and there are lots of events through the Outdoor Skills Network available for you to further your skills, try new types of hunts, and learn more about wildlife conservation. Some of the events require applications through the spring hunt draw, visit azgfd.gov/outdoorskills to view all spring events and the corresponding hunter numbers listed in the “event details” associated with the camp. For more information about how to apply for a hunt permit-tag, visit azgfd.gov/draw to view a short video tutorial, as well as answers to some of the most frequently asked questions by hunters.

• Arizona Outdoor Skills Events: Mentored workshops designed to teach hunting, trapping, fishing, and shooting activities. Are you interested in developing your outdoor skills? Do you want to connect with nature? Have you always wanted to shoot a gun, try hunting, or harvest your own food? The Arizona Game and Fish in a collaborative effort with sportsmen’s groups, gun clubs and conservation organizations, we offer dozens of hands-on, many with mentoring events each year through an Outdoor Skills Network that is just for you.

Interested, but not ready to go hunting yet? Don’t worry, we still want you to come out and see what the outdoor experience is all about. Hunting is just one portion of these events. Many of these camps are also open to people wishing to learn more about wildlife biology, ecology and their habits; target shooting; archery; wildlife viewing; camping; camaraderie and more. If you are interested, just contact the camp host and let them know. Check our listing of events and register for the one you would like to attend, it’s fast and easy. More information coming in next week’s column.

Contact Jean Wilson at jeanrenegade@gmail.com or call 247-4450.

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