Bass slow down when the water gets cold but they still need to eat. Being cold blooded bass don't need to feed as much when the water gets cold. This means that bites can be hard to come by when the water dips below 50 degrees but there is one presentation that can help you get more bites. The square bill crankbait has helped bass anglers catch more bass in many different situations and cold water is no exception. You won't get as many bites in cold water as you will in warm water but the square bill crankbait can increase bites by creating reactionary bites which is needed to trigger bites from bass that are not feeding. READ MORE...
Cold Water Bassin' And The Overlooked
By Ken McBroom
This article appeared in the main section of MidWest Outdoors and is now on their website as a feature.
Midwest Outdoorsis a great publication with lots of outdoor stories,
tips and great information to help you with whatever outdoor adventures
you choose to enjoy.
anglers hang up their rods when the water temperatures fall. The bite
slows for sure, but bass can still be caught in cold water. There are
times when the cold water bite can be just as dramatic as any other
time of the year. But, you must be on the water to take advantage of
these times. Many of the same presentations you use throughout the
season will also work in cold water.
Once the water
temperatures fall to 50 degrees and below, bass fishing seems to come
to a grinding halt. It is true that bass slow down but they still
must eat. There are definitely prime times that bass feed during cold
water situations but not all bass feed at the same time, so you can
catch bass between these prime feeding periods as long as you are
there with the right presentation.
Cold water bass
fishing is like all the other seasons; you must put in the time to
learn that season just like you learned where to find pre-spawn or
post-spawn bass or where to find mid-summer bass and how to catch
them. Catching cold water bass can be a challenge but with
information and time on the water, you too can enjoy bass fishing
even when the water is cold. I want to introduce you to some of "the
other ways" to catch cold water bass and stay away from the jigs
and spoons and the other cold water techniques that you have probably
read about or heard about. These presentations work and I would never
eliminate them from my arsenal but there has been plenty written
about those techniques and I want to share some other presentations
that catch cold water bass.
great bait for cold water bassin' is the crankbait. In cold water,
bass primarily target dying shad, which can be represented well with
a crankbait. Crankbaits are so versatile and can be fished slow or
fast, deep or shallow. You can pause a crankbait to allow the
lethargic bass to strike. Many anglers argue that cold water bass are
all deep and you have to slow roll any bait in order to be
successful. I have found that slow rolling a crankbait does work but
there are times when faster retrieves trigger more strikes during
certain situations. You have to experiment and learn how and what
triggers cold water bass. You hear so much about the jig and trailer
combo. The jig is so effective on so many lakes because of the winter
kill of shad leaving bass no option but to feed primarily on
crawfish, hence the jig; however, with the abundance of shad on
mid-west waters, I assure you the shad populations remain high
throughout the cold water season and this is why the crankbait can be
TOP-WATER You say, "WHAT?"
That is exactly what I said to my boss for weeks leading up to a
company bass tournament we had in January. He brought in his limit
caught on a floating Rapala and I think there was one other bass
caught and it was not mine. Fishing on top was unorthodox for that
time of year, for us at least, but obviously it worked and made a
believer out of me. The best presentation I have found, and the same
one my boss used to smoke us all in that tournament long ago, is the
floating Rapala. The trick to fishing top-water when the water is
cold is to fish it slow. Just fish the same as in the spring or fall
but slow way down with long pauses between subtle twitches. This
method is especially effective in clear water where the bass can see
the lure when fished over deep water. Dying shad sink when they die
but shad with a little life left in them will swim erratically
without direction and the Rapala fished on top mimics this perfectly.
SINKING WORM Over the last couple
seasons, I have been using a sinking worm presentation that really
works well on cold water bass. This method was something I tried in
the summer on main lake points to target suspended bass in the middle
of the day. It worked and I thought that it might work on cold water
bass as well, and it does. My weapon of choice is the Yum Dinger but
Senkos and other sinking worms should work fine, as long as the sink
rate is slow. You can rig the sinking worm several ways but I prefer
the Texas rig, even in open water. The Texas rig seems to give the
bait a more zig and zag, along with the erratic movements that make
these baits so effective.
The Texas rig also gives you a
little more control over your worm. By adjusting the worm a certain
way on the hook you can get an up, or in this case, a down swimming
presentation. Give your worm an erratic retrieve, no more than a
couple of feet, before allowing the worm to slowly sink for several
seconds before the next short retrieve, then pause. This method is a
great way to search the water column and the erratic movement of the
worm drives bass crazy. The pause is where many of the strikes will
occur and I keep a slack line and watch for movement. Sometimes the
strike is tough to detect but many times there is no problem seeing
it, especially on this rig. Cold water bass fishing can be tough
at times but there are plenty of bass still willing to cooperate. I
hope this information will get you out there and experimenting with
these tips and enjoy a longer season of bass fishing, as well
as joining many other anglers in dispelling some of the myths
surrounding cold water bassin'.
April 2015 Tri-State Outdoors
April 2015 Tri-State Outdoors Article
Ken McBroom Outdoor Writer
Ken McBroom Outdoor Writer
By Ken McBroom
Squirrel hunting is a great way to spend some time outside with your family during a time when cabin fever can cause us all to become a little unsettled and on edge. Wintertime squirrel hunting can help with that tension as well as provide great table fare for the whole family. Check out these tips for bagging your limit of squirrels this season.
November can get chilly so it’s important to dress accordingly for the cold. Insulated boots that keep your feet warm is important but be sure your boots are comfortable for walking. With fewer squirrels this time of year, you may have to cover ground to locate active squirrels. The good thing about that is it will help keep you warm. Dressing in layers is the best way to deal with any situation your hunt might throw at you. A daypack or backpack allows you to comfortably carry all your layers, when removed, leaving your hands free for glassing and calling.
Low powered binoculars are important when hunting in dense woods. Low powered binoculars make it easier to scan through thick cover and locate squirrels on the ground. If you hunt fencerows or open old growth hardwoods then high power binocular such as 10×42′s can be used to scan greater distances to set up a spot and stalk on an unsuspecting squirrel.
With the leaves now off the trees it will be easier for you to spot squirrels but it also allows them to spot you. It is very important to wear camouflage during this time. Not only is it easier for the squirrels to spot you this time of year but these squirrels have survived the early hunting season are very alert and weary of intruders. Take these season-weary squirrels serious and you will be more successful.
Check out small tracks of woods for late-season squirrels. These areas are usually overlooked during the early season and squirrels can be a little easier to locate in these smaller tracts. Fencerows and small patches of woods next to cornfields can be great hunting during cold weather. I have found several squirrels in a patch of trees no bigger than an acre way out in the middle of a cornfield. Squirrels will bury corn during the fall and with all that corn surrounding their home, the squirrels in these patches will survive the harshest winters and most hunters never even check these little patches of woods.
A light snow is great for squirrel hunting. Squirrels dig in the winter to get to the food they buried earlier in the season. When there is snow these digs are easy to spot. Locating some of these active digs can save you time in your search allowing you to focus your efforts on areas with known squirrel activity. If the squirrels are obviously inactive during your search then move on making a mental note of where the digs are located so you can return later when the squirrels may be more active.
If during your hunt the wind is howling look for creek bottoms and other areas where the wind is blocked. Squirrels will be more active in calmer areas. These areas can even draw squirrels in from areas where the wind is blowing. Squirrels get real nervous in windy conditions, which makes it difficult for them to hear or see predators lurking on the ground or in the air. When squirrels travel outside their territory, to either search for food or escape the elements, fights will break out between the invading squirrels and resident squirrels of the area. When this happens the squirrels are easy to locate as they chase and voice their displeasure with the intruders.
When stalking through your hunting area be sure to focus on the ground as you move slowly through the woods. Squirrels have great hearing as well as eyesight and will pick you off from great distances. Avoid stepping on sticks or any quick movements. Move slowly from one point of cover to another. Once at the next point of cover then scan the area for movement with your eyes before using the binoculars to search further out. Squirrels are hard to see when they are digging so a slow methodical search is important. If you spook a squirrel this time of year, you might never know it’s there. Those loud obnoxious squirrels you see in the early season are likely in a freezer or stew pot and the squirrels that remain will usually just hop on the side of the tree opposite you and quietly move around as you approach and you will never know it is there. This is especially true on public land, so be stealthy.
Calling squirrels during the winter can be a challenge. It depends on how many hunters have been in the area and how many of those hunters used calls. During the cold months calls can trigger two responses, a territorial response and a feeding response. Two of the most commonly used calls are the bark and the cutting call. A squirrel barks when voicing its presence as well as danger to alert other squirrels. Cutting is when the squirrel is eating nuts and grinds its teeth on the shell to get at the meat. Either call can locate squirrels during the cold winter months.
The best way I have found to locate and harvest a limit of cold-weather squirrels is by listening closely to the woods. Calm winter days are the best but you can hear surprisingly well even on windy days provided you hunt those protected areas as mentioned above. Winter can mean very dry leaves where squirrels bury their winter cache of nuts. Listening to the woods can help you locate squirrels as they dig. You can hear this digging from quit a distance. It isn’t always easy to pinpoint exactly where the squirrel is but once you do you can start a silent stalk. Go slow and watch for other squirrels as you go. You know from the rustling leaves where the squirrel should be but glass as you go because the sooner you locate its exact location the better and you can move a little faster as the squirrel has its head buried in the leaves. Be cautious, winter squirrels are on the alert and will snap their head up quick to survey their surroundings and they will spot you as you’re moving in.
If you have cabin fever and want to get in the woods try squirrel hunting this winter. It is a great time for friends and family and can provide everyone with a great dinner to boot. Winter squirrel hunting is also a great time to scout for deer.
Ken McBroom is a freelance writer and photographer based in Indiana. For more information visit www.ramblingangler.com.
FROG FISHING FOR BASS
FROG FISHING FOR BASS
By Ken McBroom
I can remember my mom cooking with an old silver electric skillet. I can still feel the knob as I always wanted to set the temp. One of our favorite additions to our camper has been our electric skillet.
Its versatility is great and it saves expensive propane as well. We use our electric skillet for all sorts of recipes and one of our favorites, and now somewhat of a tradition for the last morning of a camping trip, is the electric skillet omelet.
The ingredients are simply whatever is left in the fridge at the end of your camping trip. That half of a tomato you used for the grilled hamburgers on Friday night or the four slices of pepper jack cheese left from the ham sandwiches you’ve been lunching on all weekend I have even cut up hotdogs for my omelet but if you plan to share your omelet be sure the ingredients are to their liking. Deer liver didn’t go over too well with my little girl. Liver is one meat that is hard to sneak past even the most unsuspecting individual.
Ingredient Preparation: I like to prepare my cold ingredients, to include the cheese and put them aside early on. This allows these ingredients to warm to room temperature as you prepare the meat. This helps keep the omelet hot longer but it also helps the cheese to melt inside before the egg burns on the outside. You also want to keep your meat hot inside the omelet. I use the electric skillet to cook the meat I plan to put in the omelet. I always brown the meat a little, even if it is already cooked like that left over cajun turkey that never was eaten because you ran out of bread. Anything can go in this omelet so don’t be shy.
After you have cooked your cold cuts, hotdogs or backstrap from the fat doe you harvested the day before, set it aside and covered to keep warm while you clean your skillet. After the skillet is clean add olive oil, vegetable oil, bacon grease or butter, whichever you prefer. Now set the dial to warm and let the grease heat up while you prepare the omelet.
Omelet Preparation: There are a couple different techniques to preparing your eggs for the electric skillet omelet so read carefully. I like to use five eggs in my omelet but three eggs will do. I keep it simple with a single fold over but this leaves the inside a bit under cooked with five eggs, but some people, like myself, prefer it this way kind of like over easy as opposed to scrambled. It is just personal preference. Now, whether you prefer it this way or not, keep in mind others may not, especially the “newer generation,” so the three egg omelet may be in order. The five-egg version is easy, just whisk five eggs in a bowl and pour into skillet. The three egg version requires a little more effort but for those that prefer the perfectly groomed omelet, this is the better choice. Whisk three eggs in a bowl for 30 seconds. Add a little milk and whisk. Now add the secret ingredient to create a fluffy, evenly colored omelet – buttermilk pancake batter. A tablespoon will do for three eggs, just whisk it and any seasonings you might want, into the eggs.
Cooking The Omelet: Set the temp knob to 300 degrees and allow to heat up before pouring the eggs into the skillet. When the grease is hot, pour the eggs into the skillet and spread them evenly across the bottom. The omelet will be thin when using just three eggs but the secret is the way you fold the omelet once cooked.
The thing my family likes about this omelet is they can see that the eggs are cooked through and through and honestly, it makes a great omelet I just prefer the easier and thicker five egg omelet. Once your egg has cooked and the top has lost its sheen and begins to firm up it is time for the initial fold. First fold over about an inch on two sides of the omelet then fold two inches over on one end. These folds help to keep the ingredients inside the omelet as the final folds are made.
After these first folds are made add the ingredients to the pocket formed by the folds. Once the ingredients are added you can begin the final folds. Carefully fold the omelet over the ingredients then continue folding to the end. The number of folds will vary by amount of ingredients but two or three should do it. Cook for a few minutes to heat all the goodies and melt the cheese and your omelet is ready.
The three-egg omelet is a prettier omelet to some but I still like the big boy omelet shown in the photo. Not everyone appreciates the old school omelet so I thought it appropriate to include the fancy three-egg electric skillet omelet. Remember, for the five-egg omelet you make just one fold and stuff loads of ingredients topped off with homemade salsa and sour cream.
About the author: Ken McBroom is a freelance writer and photographer based in Indiana. For more information please visit www.ramblingangler.com. Email questions to email@example.com
The name Lake Trout lends a slight misnomer to the actual species
of this incredible fish that is actually not a trout at all, but a
char. The Lake Trout resides in some of the most spectacular places
on earth, and the trip that spurred this article is no exception.
The Newhalen River near Iliamna Alaska is where this trip took
place, and the intention was to land some nice early season Rainbows.
Although Rainbows were indeed landed, the Lake Trout took center
stage as they fed in frenzies on the tiny smolt that were venturing
out into the currents for the first time.
The first feeding frenzy we spotted drew much attention as we
expected huge Rainbows were cruising the shallows. Not one person
expected what happened next. Wham! The Marabou Muddler was engulfed
and was stripped quickly through the rising pod of what turned out to
be Lake Trout.
Lake Trout, for the most part, tend to elude most fly-fishing lore
and go unnoticed. The depth at which they dwell and the difficulty in
locating a group of fish to target within the parameters of the fly
angler all contribute to its lack of attention, however there is an
exception and that is early spring just after break-up when Lake
Trout, usually in the 20-30 inch range, journey from the big lakes
and cruise the shallows of the rivers that enter and exit them. So
while Rainbows, Dollies, Coho and Kings steal the lime light, the
Lake Trout still continue, unmolested, gorging on the many salmon fry
that struggle in the currents as they begin to learn the perils of
is during this time that fly anglers can easily locate and entice
Lakers into taking their fly, even on top. The Lakers can be located
by the many swirls and splashes as they travel in schools. They
remind me of my younger days when we used to go to the lake before
school in hopes of catching rockfish in the jumps and hopefully catch
one without being too late for class.
Once the frenzy is located the angler must quickly introduce their
fly into the frenzy and utilize a fast strip-stop retrieve to get the
Lakers attention. The takes are no joke and I have found the quicker
you retrieve the more attention you get. One may want to hesitate for
just a second after a few feet of retrieve before resuming the fast
Any fly pattern that imitates a small fish should do the trick,
but I can only speak for the Maribou Muddler as I found no reason to
change while the Lakers continued to slam them with reckless abandon.
There is one note of interest you might want to know. Just because of
the hard takes don't think the Lakers are a pushover. For some reason
the Lakers are hard to hook. It seems they strike haphazardly at the
fly but I think nerves played a huge part of the misses I
If you have ever had the opportunity to fish Northerns or Musky on
top water you are familiar with the torpedo wake as the fish ambushes
your fly or lure from behind. With Lake Trout you get the same
visible approach which can unnerve an angler as they try to predict
when the strike will occur as the Laker dips under the fly, before
they come from under for the take. Often times I set the hook too
soon, missing the fish entirely and sending him searching for a new
prey as I duck to miss my fly.
The Lake Trout may not get much attention, but that is quite all
right with me. I will be glad to have these dwellers of the deep to
myself and will also enjoy the Rainbows, Dollies and Grayling in
between. If you are like myself and prefer less crowded angling you
should try early spring in Alaska and remember the Lake Trout. The
forgotten Lake Trout just might be an added species found in your
journals of your trip of a lifetime whether you expect it or not.
This is a cover shot of me with a nice channel cat. You will notice that many of the photos I have credit for were of myself. I fish and hunt alone a lot and I did actually take the photos of myself that I have credit for.
My first buck with a bow. It took me several years. I vowed to wait for at least a 15 inch 8 pointer or larger for my first buck with a bow. I was hunting public land and it wasn't easy as I passed up on a lot of bucks waiting for this one. It happened quick and I was glad it measured exactly 15 inches wide. After drying on the mount it fell a little short of that 15 inch mark but that's fine. I shot a lot of does during that time as I love venison so I still was able to truly enjoy bow hunting during all the seasons I was waiting for this one.
Me and my dad was able to fish one last time before cancer took him from us. This was a great day and we caught lots of big bass. We used none other than a red/shad culprit worm. He swore by that worm and it worked out well for us this day.