Tag Archives: Crappie

Realities of being a father and an outdoorsman

Hey everybody and thank you for swinging by Aptooutdoors.com. Today I’m going to be talking about something I have been thinking about heavily these past few weeks. I have been re-building a 13-hp motor to convert to a long tail mud motor while also looking at newer models of fishing kayaks to purchase. While thinking about which path I’d rather pursue it dawned on me that no matter which path I take it will be taking time away from my 1-year-old daughter.

While most of us fisherman and hunters are reluctant to hang up our passions for a while or making any changes to our normal routines the reality of being a good father to me has started to sink in. There’s no point in me owning a boat until my daughter is old enough to actively fish or enjoy herself on it. And I can’t justify spending that amount of money on a duck boat/blind materials for the few hunts a year I go on when most of the time I’m hunting, I’m thinking about being home with her.

This epiphany has led me to really start thinking about selling the majority of my hunting and fishing gear for the time being and planning on getting back into fishing and hunting a lot more when my daughter is a little older and capable of enjoying it with me. It’s a sad thought to me but honestly I’d rather be home with my family. I am in no way trying to tell other people how to conduct their personal lives. I am simply explaining my situation and actions I am taking to be a better husband and father so that maybe someone else will read this and it have a positive impact on their lives and family.

I will continue to run this website and post educational blogs about fishing and hunting techniques. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and enjoy time with your families. God Bless.

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Photo Coutesty of Heather & Jared Photography

Targeting fish on hot summer days

Hey everyone and thank for swinging by my blog. This weekend I fished some heat indexes of over 100 and figured this weeks blog would be about how I target fish in the heat. Below are my four keys to catching fish during the dog days of summer.

#1 Shadows are the key to bass

Bass will congregate along structure and overhangs that provide large shadows. The predatory fish use the shadows to stay a little cooler and also as an ambush point to feed on smaller baitfish and insects. A good technique to target these bass is with small crank baits or plastics.

Crappie also follow this habit and will concentrate around bridges and submerged structure in 5 to 10 feet of water. My main method for catching crappie in the summer is jigging light tackle curly tail grubs and minnow like plastics along the structure.

#2 Mid day fishing is sometimes crazy  good

You would think that mid day temperature periods during the summer would be dead, but my trip on Sunday showed my that even in 100 degrees and at high noon, the topwater frog bite was insane. I ran out of my Stanley Ribbit lures before I even got to the good fishing holes. After summer rains look to target bass as high up on the bank as the water rises, it always blows my mind how many bites I get in water that has flooded into standing grass and weed lines. I throw a weedless Stanley Ribbit in the watermelon red color to target the bass. Just remember if the water rises so do the fish.

#3 The good old fashioned Super Fluke

My favorite and most effective bass fishing method has and always will be the Super Fluke. My go to color is watermelon red flake but I have also had success with the Arkansas Shiner color as well as the Mardi Gras color. I usually fish the fluke with a weightless setup but sometimes a 1/8 ounce bullet weight gets it deep enough to work the structure the fish are holding on. 90 percent of your strikes will be as the fluke is falling through the water column so be patient with your lure action and let it sink.

#4 Finess fishing worms

A texas-rigged worm is the most widely used method for summer bass. When bass are lethargic and don’t want to chase fast moving or floating baits a slow moving worm dragged in front of their face is hard to resist, My main colors I use are pink, purple, june-bug and watermelon red. a 1/8 to 1/4 ounce bullet weight is all you will need in most situations. Once again, in the early morning and evening hours don’t be afraid to literally throw your lure onto the bank and work it into the water. My biggest bass the summer was in less than a foot of water when he hit my worm.

I hope this short post will help you catch some more bass this summer and remember, snakes also like shaded areas so be careful when you fish and always keep an eye out. Good luck and stay safe!

Fishing update

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of material, its been bad weather slow fishing and long days at work. I managed to sneak in a quick trip yesterday and unfortunately the fishing was depressingly slow. I had one good hook up on the fly rod that ended up breaking me off. The highlight of the day came with my only landed fish of the day, I was flipping a roadrunner style rig along a bridge and ended up dragging in a very nice crappie. It’s the biggest crappie for me in this river system so far. I didn’t get it on video but I got some photos of it before it went in the cooler. I avidly practice throwback fishing with bass and most freshwater fish, but catfish and crappie I put straight onto the ice. Right after that fish I turned on my GOPRO and caught on video a hard strike right as I reeled in my lure to move to another spot. Sadly, I didn’t land the fish but it still was fun to get it on video.

I’m  going for a good fishing trip tomorrow and will have plenty of new video and photos monday. My first tackle selection video is coming up tomorrow and will be represented in my trip tomorrow morning.

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Kayak fishing 101

Hey everybody and thanks again for checking out the blog, today’s post will be covering  Kayak Fishing 101, my 7 steps and tips to becoming a better kayak fisherman and also touching on some safety issues.

#1  Keep your rig simple,don’t do this…

Courtesy of www.tenthousandislandskayakfishing.com
Courtesy of http://www.tenthousandislandskayakfishing.com

A crowded kayak is no friend to a fisherman, snag hazards and frustration can set in quickly, and if there is one thing I have learned form kayak fishing over the last 8 years it’s that if something can catch your hooks, it will. If something can go wrong during your trip, it probably will.  I have hooked myself, bird-nested bait casters to the point of cutting all my line off, and broke rod tips by hooking my rod behind me. A simple less crowded kayak will result in less gear but pay off in the quality and enjoyment of your fishing trips.

#2 Have a float plan with a friend or family member-

A USCG float plan might sound stupid , but in my 7 years of serving the the Coast Guard performing search and rescue nothing helps in a speedy recovery more than properly filled out float plan. A float plan consists a complete description of your vessel/kayak, the equipment you have available to you, but mainly focuses on your planned route and stopping points. When you fill one out you leave it with a family member or friend and if you haven’t returned by a certain agreed upon time they call the coast guard with the information given on the float plan. Below I have filled out and example and there is a page on my main menu with a blank float plan you can save to your computer.

Scan 4

#3 Safety equipment-

The most important thing to have on your kayak is a handheld VHF marine radio set to CH 16 or 156.8 MHZ for distress signals. You might not be the person who needs help another kayaker could be close by and having an emergency and you could be his or her saving grace.  The safety equipment I have on my kayak at all times consists of the following. An Atlantis VHF handheld radio, a Orion marine emergency signaling kit, a Firefly strobe light, my PFD, emergency water and next month I will be purchasing a 406 MHZ personnel locator. A good trick I learned form watching Ty Southerland on his  30Milesout Youtube Channel is I use frozen water bottles as my ice , it cools my catch and also serves as my emergency water rations.

Courtesy of www.farmandfleet.com
Courtesy of http://www.farmandfleet.com

#4 If you’re new to kayak fishing, try to reach out and go on trips with more experienced yak fisherman.

A beautiful factor of today’s technological world is the availability of kayak fishing forums on the internet and group pages on Facebook. If you are new to the sport its best to learn and shadow other fisherman you can go fishing with or meet on kayaking forums. Make no mistake their experience will teach you everything they have learned not to do over the years, saving you from making some of the mistakes and learning hard lessons along the way. Plus you might be able to get a couple of spots to fall back on during slow days.

#5 Wear protective clothing-

Sometimes people look at me funny when its 80 degrees outside, and I’m wearing full fishing pants , a long sleeve fishing shirt, a hat that covers my neck, a buff that covers most of my face, and Buffusa.com’s performance gloves, but at the end of the day I’m more protected from the sun, not burnt, and have a less chance of developing skin cancer from my kayak fishing trips. Every male member of my family has had melanoma skin cancer from fishing ,so I take it very seriously.

Courtesy of www.Tackletour.com
Courtesy of http://www.Tackletour.com
Courtesy of  www.BuffUSA .com
Courtesy of
http://www.BuffUSA .com

#6 Be versatile in your species targeting- 

My love is saltwater fishing, whether I’m fishing the flats or paddling offshore for some larger species I love saltwater fish. But there are plenty of days where I can’t drive to the beach 45 minutes or I can’t dedicate a long period of time for a trip. If I can’t fish saltwater I will immediately target bass and panfish in the creeks and rivers by my house. My favorite way to target bass and panfish is with topwater or floating flies. I even fish large ponds in my kayak when I can’t make a big water trip. Be very adaptive and try new places and styles of fishing. There are many days where your primary target species isn’t going to bite and you have to adapt. There is nothing wrong in my book with spending a day catching large ladyfish and jack’s or false albacore. Although they are considered trash fish by most people, large Lady Fish are some of the best fighting fish you can catch inshore.

#7 Should I use a GPS/ Depth Finder?

A good GPS/Depth-finder is one of my favorite things about my kayak, I don’t have to guess the bottom features of my surrounding areas, I can easily target structure listed on navigational charts, and I can view the depth fish are active in when fishing structure or even drift fishing along in my kayak. My GPS unit is a Lowrance Mark 4 HDI, I used it in my aluminum boat for duck hunting and fishing before I sold it with the arrival of my daughter in November 2014. My favorite way to utilize my depth finder is when targeting fish around bridges and submerged structure, I can clearly see the bait suspending and can adjust my rigs and presentation accordingly to better target the predatory fish on structure.

Courtesy of www.Lowrance.com
Courtesy of http://www.Lowrance.com

I hope these tips better help you understand some basics on kayak fishing and I will have more posts on different types of gear and homemade items for kayak fishing in the future. Thanks for stopping by and good luck out there. Always remember to be safe, no fish is worth putting yourself in a dangerous situation or jeopardizing your safety.

Please leaves comments below to help me on my future posts.

Getting ready for a new season of fishing.

Hey everyone and welcome back to AptoOutdoors, Today’s blog is going to cover getting your gear ready for fishing after a winter of sitting in the garage.

#1 Check your line-

Braided line has a tendency to weaken and fade after a season of use. An easy trick to avoid 45 dollars of new line for each spool a rod using the braided line from another . You are essentially putting the old line at the base of the reel and utilizing all the perfectly good line that was buried the previous season.  For fly fishermen and mono users  go over your line very carefully, if you think it could be replaced it probably needs to.

#2 Re-Stock on tackle and gear-

Make sure your tackle box is stocked again with what you use the most. For me what I go through the most is saltwater hooks, bottom rigs and popping corks. Go over your lures and see if any treble hooks need to be replaced. A common practice that has been hitting big with saltwater fisherman is to replace the treble hooks on topwater lures and suspending lures with circle hooks, providing an easier hook removal and survival probability for under-sized fish.

#3 Buy some Fish Grips-

A set of Fish Grips is something I consider an essential item. It doesn’t matter if I am fishing Freshwater or Saltwater, Inshore Or Surf, I will always catch something I don’t feel like touching or putting my hand near its mouth. Fish that come to mind are Pickerel, Bowfin, Snakehead, Rays, Speckled Trout, Flounder, Sharks  and other species make you cringe and really wish there was a way to get your favorite lure back. Fish Grips make that happen by providing a great way to firmly grab the lip of a fish and remove the hook or lure with ease.

Courtesy of Yakoutlaws.com
Courtesy of Yakoutlaws.com

#4 Safety Items-

If you don’t own a good first aid kit buy one, if you don’t have a CPR Mask or device Buy one, if not for the safety of the people on your boat do it for the other boaters who you will find having a bad day. We are all out on the water together regardless if someone is in your spot or acting a fool when bad things happen its better to be prepared. I can’t count how many times we have pulled our boat to someone flagging us down to find a wade fisherman stung by a stingray , and old man who hooked himself, my dad even pulled up to a drifting boat to find a 70 year old man clinging to the other side of the boat’s rails. His anchor had broke free while he was wade fishing and by the time he grabbed hold of the rails he hit a drop off and his waders filled with water. Always be prepared to help out other  fisherman. if something on the water does’t look right it probably isn’t right and you should always go check it out.

In conclusion one of the most important things to do is get out and fish. New structure is waiting to be found, new honey holes ripe for the taking, and good memories are waiting to be made this summer. So go out have fun, catch fish, but most importantly remember to be safe. No fish is worth risking putting yourself in a sketchy situation. Thanks for reading and come back next week.

How weather affects fish behavior

Hey everybody and thanks for stopping by again, today we will be covering weather and how it affects activity below the water’s surface. There are many things about weather that influence fish ranging from approaching weather fronts, pressure systems, and temperature but the most important factor is by  far the atmospheric pressure.

Weather fronts & systems

Fish are extremely sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure, whether it’s caused by approaching fronts or pressure systems. The pressure variations just before a cold front or approaching system triggers fish to become more active and feed closer to the surface. Some of my best fishing action inland and in saltwater have been during some pretty nasty weather that we probably shouldn’t have been in. Trust me from experience when I say when you’re in a storm so bad your fishing rods are signing to you from static, its time to go. Once the system has passed through it can be like somebody flipped a switch instantly and all the fish have lockjaw. Once the pressure starts to rise it can be very hard to coax a fish to bite without finessing a lure directly in front or getting a reaction strike out of natural instinct, because most active feeding has stopped.

Rain

Fishing during a light to moderate rain is one of the experiences I love most about fishing, it can trigger feeding frenzies no matter what type of water you are fishing. Bass and panfish know rain brings things falling from the sky and topwater bites can be some of the best you will ever have in your life during a good rain. while fishing the flats for redfish and trout when the rain started you knew it was time to throw on Alameda Rattle Cork and start drifting over potholes or the rocks in Baffin Bay in south Texas, and there is nothing more exciting than seeing your red and green rattle cork disappear in between waves. Just remember to be careful, tropical squalls and summertime thunderstorms can pop up out of thin air on a bluebird day and put yourself in an unforgiving situation. Use sound judgment and when in doubt get the heck out.

The high pressure following the weather systems

When the pressure starts to rise and settle into the area you will get the dreaded “bluebird” days, where fishing is slow and hunting is slower. The fish will sulk and settle around bottom features, structure, and the schools become more scattered and clumpy than usual. Targeting fish in high pressure almost always consists of three things, finess fishing lures, fast moving baits to cause reaction strikes, or live bait. The fish become so lethargic that it becomes very hard to locate the concentrations. When you do find a fish on a fast-moving bait in high pressure you will become much more productive if once you catch a fish on fast movers, switch to a jig or soft plastic and work that area hard, the results will speak for themselves.

In conclusion there are many more weather features to discuss when it comes to fishing but they will be covered on upcoming posts much closer to when they happen such as how to fish the dog days of summer, fishing the spawning cycles of bass and crappie and so on. Thanks for reading and we hope to see you back for some more posts! Have a safe weekend!

The weather this week has kept me from any kind of fishing.

Ice Storm this week.
Ice Storm this week.

Why i love fly fishing

Why I am in love with fly fishing

It’s mid day, 90 degrees and sunny. While most fisherman are fishing deep holes and cooler areas. I am targeting bass in the shallows with my fly rod. Whether it’s the more natural presentation of the fly or the ability to fish a spot slower with the fly, something about it drives the bass crazy.

2 lb bass on hand tied fly
2 lb bass on hand tied fly

My father was slightly skeptical when I told him I could take him to a creek on hot summer afternoon and catch bass until I was tired of catching. By the end of the trip I had ran through my entire fly box and only had two usable flies that hadn’t been destroyed by the aggressive warm water fish. I have realized that the presentation of flies not only is much more productive with bass but with crappie as well. After I had caught about ten crappie holding on some structure I figured I could come back with minnows and double my catch, I came back the next day and after an hour of using minnows and not a bite I was frustrated to say the least. I grabbed my fly rod cast in the same spots I had used the minnows and on the first cast had a 1.25lb crappie in the boat. I wondered why a school of crappie was hitting this tiny white fly over a flashing minnow all day.

Crappie on the fly
Crappie on the fly

Fish have a tendency to never turn down an easy meal, think about what looks like an easier meal. A fast moving crankbait, spinner bait, or topwater. Or a slow, suspending fly that looks as if it can barely swim.
Im not trying to push you into fly fishing I am simply explaining why I am in love with this style of fishing. Thank you for stopping by and stay tuned to my site for upcoming fly tying demonstrations and fishing trip reports!