Successful fishing takes patience, practice

Published 12:51 am Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fishing is like any other sport. The more you put into the better you are.

The most challenging aspect of fishing is the playing field is never the same. Patterns can change from day to day and lake to lake.

Above average bass and white perch anglers will agree that to be successful you have to spend time on the water.

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You can read the books and surf the net for the best patterns and lures for hours on end, but there is no substitute for time spent on the water.

As weather conditions change the fish will change. Moving with the fish and learning how weather patterns and the seasons effect fish will help you become more successful. What works one day may not work the next.

Many fishermen think the winter bite peaks during the middle of the day after the sun has warmed the water a few degrees. That may be true on some days but more often than not the best bite will be at daylight or sunset, just like in the summer months.

Being in the right place early and late will help you catch fish this winter just like it does in the summer.It’s hard for a warm water fisherman to cast a jig to a brush pile in 15 to 20 feet of water at daylight when they are accustomed to casting and cranking fast moving lures to pick off the shallow active fish.

Big bites from big fish come from deep water during the colder months.

That is the exact pattern going on in our area lakes right now.

Surface water temperatures have dropped to a chilly 52 degree and warming to about 55 by mid day. Some fish are shallow because there are always some fish scattered in shallow water. The more consistent bite from larger concentrations of big fish will come from deeper water during the winter. Deep water on lakes like Okhissa, the Natchez State Park and Lake Bruin is considered 18 to 25 maybe even 30 feet deep. The reason is the water clarity is much better on these lakes and there is plenty of deep cover. On lakes like Concordia and St. John deep water is considered 7 to 12 feet. Deep cover is limited on some lakes so you have to concentrate your efforts on what little deep cover the lakes have to offer. For big bass in cold water it’s hard to beat a jig with a pork or plastic trailer. Not many fishermen use pork jig trailers anymore simple because soft plastic trailers are easier to deal with and color choices are unlimited. There are days when the jig bite is not there and that is where many jig fishermen including me make the mistake of staying with the jig too long. When the jig bite is slow a mid to deep diving crankbank with a slow wobble like a Bomber model 7A or one of the many soft plastic creature lures on the market may be the ticket. For the white perch fishermen you can increase your cold water bites by downsizing your line and lure. If you were catching fish perch on a 1/32nd ounce jig fished on 8 pound test line and the bite slows down just switch to a lighter jig and 6 or even 4 pound test line. Even on those days when nothing works you should still go home with a better knowledge of what to do or what to do the next time out.