News & Views
CURRENT ISSUES FOUND BELOW ARE NOT BY SIGHT AND SAFETY FIRST
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NOT BY SIGHT...THIS ANGLER'S PERSONAL VIEW by Joe Joslin
We are in prime spring fishing season as trees are budding, birds are building nests and many bass are on their beds to spawn. It is also the time when some(not all) anglers sight fish. Prime bedding season is past but on south Toledo, we still have fish on the beds.
By sight fishing, this means an angler visually locates a bass on it's nest in the process of spawning and 'set up' on the fish. In the process, they make repeated casts into the bedding area until they irritate the fish into striking. The fish strikes out of anger or while trying to protect nesting area. Some anglers may spend as much as an hour on one fish trying to get the fish to strike. State fish regulations allow this method as well as most bass tournaments.
I am always glad for sight fishing season to be over as I am no fan of such techniques. My personal view is that such repeated casts into the bed is interrupting the normal process of bass reproduction and shows a lack of respect for the fish. In tournaments, all bass caught are transported in boat's live well to the weigh-in sight before they are weighed and released back into the lake. Those caught sight fishing are usually prime, large fish which is why they were targeted for sight fishing in the first place and are at the top of the gene pool. The question is whether or not those prime fish will reproduce that season after being caught in the spawning process.
It does take skill to be an effective sight fisherman and some anglers have this technique perfected. It also takes time to locate big fish on beds in order to catch them. I have angler friends who use this practice as well as those who feel the same way I do. I don't use the practice in our guide service and we still manage to catch our share of big fish. However, when tournament conditions are perfect for sight fishing (water temps in 60s/sunshine and clear water) it is almost impossible to compete with an angler who is skilled in this approach. Will this practice ever be outlawed? Most likely not. However, it will continue to be an important issue where anglers disagree.
Fishing continues good-to-excellent as cold fronts slow action down for a day or two but it soon rebounds. The main challenge has been high winds which takes many options off the table plus adds a huge safety concern. Most of us who have fished this lake for any amount of time have huge respect for it and the safety challanges it can present. The safest and smartest approach is to not push the limits of your self or your boat.
Whether your boat is built in Kilgore, Flippin or Nashville, it is no match for extreme high winds/waves on exposed sections of Toledo which is 70 miles long and 180,000 surface acres. If you get caught on one side of the lake in a storm or high winds from cold front and feel you have to cross back on the open lake , please make sure you evaluate the situation and always come down on the side of caution. You don't have to cross back as you can make a call and tell friends/family the situation and wait it out or have someone bring your trailer to the other side of the lake.
BIG ON BILGE PUMPS! Also,make sure your boat has two large capacity bilge pumps, one auto and one manual. Bilge pumps are cheap and they can save your life. If you get a big wave in your boat, one pump is not enough to quickly get the water/weight out. If your boat is weighted down with water, the chances of getting another wave is highly increased and two large wave can sink you. Pardon me for being so blunt but it is not smart......yes dumb.....to launch your boat without bilge pumps in working order. Make sure they are not clogged with paper/plastic worms. Stay pumped!!
Joe Joslin Outdoors
Licensed Guide on Toledo Bend & Sam Rayburn
Tournament Angler & Outdoor Media
Member: Louisiana Outdoor Writers Assoc.& Southeastern Outdoor Press Assoc
160 Country Lane, DeRidder, LA 70634
Phone: (337) 463-3848
Copyright © 2007 by Joe Joslin Outdoors, DeRidder, LA 70634