Fish are temperamental and are constantly shifting to different areas. I have often left hot spots biting and returned twelve hours later only to experience the dead sea. Trying to explain their feeding habits can get down right silly. Here are some of the favorite excuses explaining why fish don't bite:
- It's too hot.
- It's too cold.
- The wrong moon phase.
- Mars is in retrograde.
- We need a falling barometric pressure, not a rising.
- Wash your hands! This is an absolute must if you smoke, chew, or touch anything smelly (especially bug spray!). Fish have an incredible sense of smell, and if the bait you're using smells like a can of deet.....No bite for you!
- The wind is from the east.
Most of these claim truly hold merit. However, Mars in retrograde is a stretch. After documenting fishing patterns at Big Hook for over twenty years I have made several conclusions about fishing patterns.
- Fish love a falling barometric pressure. I have boated more trophy fish just before experiencing a low pressure system.
- Moon phase can affect the fish bite, more so for the big boys. I have witnessed more big fish boated during a full or new moon.
- If there is a high pressure, the third day will produce. A high pressure system will start with slow fishing and gradually improve.
- Wind direction makes no difference. If the wind is blowing, just go to the windy shoreline.
- Bug spray and gasoline are no no's. If you apply bug spray or recent fill up the gas tank, wash your hands! I have noticed fish absolutely hate the smell of deet and petrol.
- Fishing will be tough following a cold front. After a low pressure comes ripping across NW Ontario expect a tough bite. Give it time, the fish are there but are not active.
Now that Big Hook is closed up for the fishing season, I have the opportunity to explore the waters in Wisconsin. I recently embarked on a three day musky fishing outing with several old college friends. A wicked low pressure had just pounded the Midwest and I was just about ready to cancel knowing the fishing was going to be slow. I sucked it up because, in my opinion, being on the water is far better than sitting around the house.
The first two days of cold, windy elements following the front just about broke my confidence. We saw no fish and boated no fish. My arm was about ready to fall off from casting baits the size of a 2X4's for twelve hours a day. However, the third day of angling, everything changed. I should note, it was the third day of a high pressure and a full moon phase. Our patience paid off and all within an hours time we boated a 31", 37", 38" and 48" musky. We also missed several other fish that hit our suckers soaking boatside. As I mentioned in the title of this article, persevere and you will be rewarded. The following pictures are of the 37" and 48" fish we boated and released.
Most people replace line on their fishing reels over the winter time. Here is a great knot for attaching line to your reel. The arbor knot is a simple and secure way to attach your line to your reel, and it is very easy to tie. Here's how.....
1) Thread the line around reel arbor.
2) Tie an overhand knot around the line itself. Then just tie a second overhand knot in the tag end. This second knot keeps line from slipping through the first.
3) Grab on either side of the knots and pull tight. Cut off the excess. Then slide the first overhand knot down the line to snug it around the reel arbor.
Good luck in your fall fishing trips everyone. Remember to practice CPR.