Tag Archives: bass fishing

Fishing with Flair

When it comes to fishing, camping, and pretty much everything outdoors, look no further than the Pocket Ranger® video channel. The video channel gives you a front seat into the world of up-and-coming adventurers, such as contributor Andrew Flair, bass fishing extraordinaire. Flair is a far cry from your run-of-the-mill angler, making fishing look like a piece of cake. He’s even got his own website, Fishing with Flair, dedicated to showing people what bass fishing is all about. Just watch below as he reels in a gigantic five-pound bass:

Flair likes the outdoors, enjoys hanging out with friends, and goes to school. But don’t be fooled—Andrew Flair is no ordinary Gen Z’er. Discovering his passion at a young age, he is active in local angling clubs, maintains a fabulous following on social media with his fishing tackle reviews, and has placed in state competitions on more than one occasion. Flair has an unbelievable knack to bring award-winning bass fish home in the blink of an eye, like in this video below:

Want to know how you can catch your next big one? By subscribing to the Fishing with Flair’s YouTube channel, you’ll get reviews on top of the line fishing gear along with great tips that’ll give you a head start on your next outing. These videos are worth watching, whether you are at the cabin or at your desk. Get the very latest from Fishing with Flair by liking him on Facebook and following him on Twitter and Instagram.

Fishing with Flair brings fishing to your doorstep! So what are you waiting for? Watch him on the Pocket Ranger® video channel, where you can see the best of the best in outdoor adventure, education, and much more!

Fishing With Flair Screenshot from Pocket Ranger® Videos

Ready to launch the boat? Download the FREE Pocket Ranger® apps, and get all the information you need to have fun in whatever stream you choose to paddle up.

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Pet Store Trophies: Cichlids on the Fly

Contributed by Alex Vail, The Flying Kayak

Crouched down in the tall grass, I carefully balanced myself as I stripped out fly line on the bank of the canal. Through the blades of grass I could see a fallen tree that was half submerged at the edge of the water. I quickly began my cast and landed my grasshopper fly within a foot of the sunken tree. With one short strip, I popped the little fly once across the surface of the water and waited. Ripples were still moving away from the grasshopper in the mirror-flat water when a V-wake appeared behind the fly. Suddenly there’s a splash, my fly is gone, and the fight is on. But what’s at the end of my line, you may ask?

Mayan Cichlid_Vail2

A cichlid. A Mayan Cichlid, to be precise. And for anyone familiar with fish keeping and aquariums, cichlids are popular pets. So what was it doing in a canal?

Through problems associated with the exotic pet trade and home aquarium releases, wild populations of exotic cichlids are now established in South Florida canals and ponds. Mayan Cichlids, Oscars, and Jaguar Guatpotes are just a few of a long list of exotics now swimming freely in Florida waters. In order to combat the possible detrimental effects of non-natives in our waters, FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) introduced another species of cichlid: The Amazonian game fish, Butterfly Peacock Bass.

Though Peacock Bass didn’t wipe out other cichlid populations, their presence has proven useful in keeping them in check. This means in addition to small cichlids roaming around the freshwaters of Southern Florida, there are now large Peacock Bass as well. And as an angler, these species are an absolute blast to catch.

Mayan Cichlid_Vail3

Two of the most common species of cichlid caught in the Everglades are the Oscar and Mayan Cichlid. Though they don’t get bigger than a large panfish (10-12 inches), they fight 3-4 times as hard as a native bluegill. The closest thing they can be compared to would be some sort of freshwater snapper. And just as small cichlids fight harder than native panfish, Peacock Bass fight harder than native Large Mouth bass. It’s important as an angler to have the right tackle selected when targeting these fish.

For Oscars, Mayans, and the wide plethora of other smaller cichlids, I prefer to use a 3 Wt fly rod with a floating line. For fly selection, I choose anything I Bream would hit. Cichlids aren’t exactly picky. For the larger Peacock Bass, a 6-7 Wt fly rod with floating line works best. Flies such as clousers or poppers work great on these aggressive fish. Cooler months are probably the best time to target cichlids as less rain will lower water levels in the canals and force fish to congregate. In addition, target structure when casting about. Rocky outcroppings, stumps, and sunken trees all provide great cover for these fish.

Like I did on this particular day, fishing from the bank of the canal is an effective method for catching these fish. But an even better option is to take advantage of the many public boat launches that lead directly into the canals and take a small boat or kayak. The ability to quickly cover large areas of water and keep a low profile (as opposed to exposing oneself high on the bank), make fishing for cichlids much easier.

Mayan Cichlid_Vail

All of this is fine and dandy, but I’m sure many people will ask: Are they good to eat? The answer is yes! Fried or grilled, any species of cichlid that can be caught in the canal systems in Southern Florida are great at the dinner table. In addition, FWC has set in place laws that actually make it ILLEGAL to release exotics once caught. The angler is responsible for properly disposing of the fish. And for most of us, this translates into: “Dinner”. With the exception of Peacock Bass, no other exotic has a size or bag limit. Keep them all!

For more information on cichlids in Southern Florida be sure to visit: www.myfwc.com.

Other agencies also host an exotic fish tournament every year. You can find information on: www.evergladescisma.org.

So if you ever find yourself in Southern Florida and are able to pry yourself away from the fantastic saltwater fishing, be sure to give the lowly inland canals a try. You certainly won’t regret it.

A-Luring: Why the Beetle Spin Lure is an Angler’s Best Friend

Contributed by Bill Howard, Bill Howard’s Outdoors and Bow Adventures Magazine.

In a recent discussion about the Alabama Rig and how effective it is, we at Bow Adventures Magazine went off on a slight tangent on what is the best fishing lure. If you have one artificial bait to fish with, what would you use?  Not just for bass, or crappie, or catfish, but to make sure, to insure, you would get the rod tip bent and the line tight. (Keep in mind that we’re discussing artificial bait here.) In my opinion, the beetle spin provides the best opportunity to bring in a fish. The beetle spin is a small jig head with a single hook where a small plastic worm or “beetle” is slid over top. The jig head is attached to a small wire that is elbowed with a spinner at the opposite end. The fishing line is tied where the elbow is located.

One of the great things about the beetle spin is the number of different colors and combinations of beetles that can be used. Some of the more common ones are grub-looking beetles that are solid white with a red dot, black worms with yellow stripes, yellow worms with black stripes, and a vast assortment of solid colored worms such as white, yellow, and green.

To pinpoint the best bait, it comes down to four specific worms for use on the beetle spin.

  • The first is a green/brown, translucent with two black stripes.  If you fished with a catalpa worm on a hook, think of what the insides look like after a small bream has attacked it with the ferocity of a piranha on a blood soaked chicken leg. I know, not an image you want to keep in your head very long, but honestly, that is what it looks like. It is a great color combination for the fish and the spinner does the attraction. Still, this is not the best lure.
  • Another of my favorites is the white grub with a single red dot. I often like to use this with a split tail. I don’t know why I prefer the split tail with this particular plastic bait, other than the possible extra movement is enough to get the bites.

The next two are the finalists for world’s best bait.

  • Black worm, two yellow stripes. You would think the mostly black bait would be hard to see, but the fish find it.  The spinner once again draws the attention and then the yellow stripes seal the deal. Remember the squashed catalpa worm vision from earlier? No, I didn’t rehash it to make you queasy. But this is exactly what this bait looks like, except before it gets squashed. If you have never fished with a catalpa worm, you need to find one. Back in the day, we had four catalpa trees near our pond.  The summer was spent hooking the worms and tossing them in the water. The line would constantly alternate between wet and dry. Why? Because we would have to keep pulling those fish in!
  • Now, as great as that sounds, this final beetle spin setup is by far my favorite, and my vote for world’s best.  Solid yellow body with two black stripes ending in a split tail. I have always said it reminds me of a bumble bee.

My son and I entered a small tournament several years ago. The tourney had prizes for most fish, largest fish, and smallest fish. I explained in typical parent/mentor to son/protégé the significance of the knowledge I was about to share with him. The bumble bee beetle spin is the Holy Grail of lures, yet many just do not possess the intellectual capacity to understand how wonderful it is. It was one of those moments when you could hear the angels singing in the background and the earth tremble with the passing of the wisdom. We caught the most fish that day. Proof is in the pudding as the saying goes.

What do you think is the “world’s best” fishing lure? What lure helps you reel them in?