With everything going on these days, it seems more and more people are taking to the outdoors. People are out riding their bikes, running, hiking, and fishing. In many cases, taking up these activities for the first time, too.
Walking down the aisles at Bass Pro Shops, Sail, or mom-and-pop tackle shops, it’s common to see people lost in an endless sea of lures, hooks, fishing lines, rods and reels. So, we’re going to simplify this for you.
When people talk about fishing, what fish are they referring to? Well, 9 times out of 10, they’re talking about Bass (aka “largemouth bass”, aka “largies”, but please don’t call them “bigmouth bass”). Bass are North America’s favourite game fish. There’s lots of them, they’re hardy, and they put up a good fight.
Here’s the list of things you’ll need if you plan on bringing home dinner. All of these items should be readily available at any big box tackle shop:
- A fishing rod – Got an old one sitting in the garage already? Great. It will probably do the job. If you’re looking to buy one, then a “spinning rod” that is 6’6” to 7’ long, that has “Medium Heavy” written on it will do
- A fishing reel – Again, nothing fancy needed here. If you have one already, great, use it. If you need to buy one, a “spinning reel” in a 2500 size is the standard size for bass.
- Fishing line – Monofilament in the 12 lb. range. If you want to step it up a notch, use Fluorocarbon which is totally invisible under water.
- Hooks – Of course! A 1/0 (pronounced “one ought”) is required. If there are ones with a “weed guard” (a piece of wire that prevents catching weeds), I recommend those.
- Bait – A worm. Yes, a worm, but a big plastic worm, sometimes referred to as “stick bait”. The most famous of all is the Gary Yamamoto Senko. A 5-incher in any shade of green will be the ticket. This is the Toyota Corolla of fishing lures: It’s flat-out reliable.
- A Fishing License – In Ontario, a 1-year sport license is only $40 and can be bought here. In the US, check your local state guidelines.
Before heading out, first take note of your local fishing regulations. For most of southern Ontario, you cannot target bass until the third Saturday in June. You can find all the regulations here.
Let’s get started.
You can now head over to your fishing site. You’ve got the basics, you’ve got the line on the reel, and you’ve run the line through the fishing rod, what’s next?
- First take your fishing line and hook, and tie a cinch knot. Make sure to lubricate the knot with a bit of spit.
- Done? Great, now take your stick bait, and stick the hook through the middle, literally. This is called “The Wacky Rig”
- Now that it’s all rigged up, how do you use it? Well, there’s a reason why this is called the “Wacky Rig”, that’s because it’s crazy simple and produces fish, anywhere and everywhere. Now, park yourself at the bank of a lake, and cast it as far as you can. High percentage areas would be around docks and parked boats, points and small islands. If you’re on a boat in the middle of a lake, cast it where you see tall weeds. Once your bait hits the water, wait 10 seconds to let it drop, and hop it using your rod every 3 seconds. Only use your reel to take in slack.
So your line and lure are in the water, how do you know when you have a fish? You will feel it. When a fish takes your bait, it’s usually a tick or sometimes, it’s a very strong tug. If you feel an unnatural tick, or pull, set the hook!
To set the hook, reel in the slack line, and lift the tip of your rod, really fast, almost like you’re swinging a baseball bat.
If it all goes according to plan, you should have a grin from ear-to-ear. Here’s my wife with a 4.06 largemouth bass. Cheers, and tight lines!
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