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For roughly 35 1/2 years, Mark Samp’s Illinois smallmouth bass state record was comfortably intact. Samp, who was not accustomed The post New Illinois State Record Smallmouth Bass Caught appeared first on Premier Angler.
For roughly 35 1/2 years, Mark Samp’s Illinois smallmouth bass state record was comfortably intact.
Samp, who was not accustomed to fishing so early in the season, did so at the urging of his close friends. He remained skeptical, however, about his chances fishing frosty Illinois in late March, 1985.
Of course, Samp was wrong!
Even after landing his epic catch, however, Samp initially did not believe he had captured a record fish. It’s better to be pleasantly surprised than terribly disappointed, we suppose…
But the catch-of-a-lifetime, caught on a brown jig and pork trailer on a strip-mine lake outside of Farmington, would be one for the record books!
Estimates suggest that Samp’s then-record catch — a 6 lb 7 oz, 22.6 inch beauty — may have been a twenty years old fish. Few imagined, however, that this older fish would be tied to a fishing record that would stand for three and a half decades.
Samp had quipped in an interview that he was always bugged by the catch, wondering if there was “one in there bigger than that.”
While the location was different and generations had passed, Illinois now officially has that bigger fish.
On Monday, October 14 (2019), Joe Capilupo etched his name in the record books. Fishing with friends Myles Cooke and Jonny Pitelka, the LaGrange resident was night-fishing on Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago. The trio often target those water in search of smallmouth bass up to four times per week.
But this catch was different…
Ten minutes before the park closure (at 10:50 p.m.), Capilupo felt the hit and the fight was on. Fishing a Z-Man Finesse TRD, a St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting rod, and a Daiwa Legalis reel with 14 lb monofilament line, Capilupo pulled in the record fish.
At first, Capilupo assumed it weighed around five pounds. At second glance, maybe closer to six pounds.
In reality, however, the new Illinois state record smallmouth bass checked in at an impressive 7 lbs 3 oz. At a full 12 ounces heavier than Samp’s 1985 monster, how long will it before we see this record broken?
For curious anglers, Capilupo was able to release this fish back into the water after recording an official weight. If you’re in the Chicago area, now is a good time to try your luck!
Know of any other great state record catches we should know about? Let us know in the comments section below.
Still the Fish of 10,000 Casts? Muskie Musky Muskellunge The proper spelling and pronunciation of this fish’s name is almost The post Muskie Fishing Made Easy… Sort Of appeared first on Premier Angler.
The proper spelling and pronunciation of this fish’s name is almost as difficult as catching one!
Obviously, that was a joke. For anyone who has ever tried to land one of these elusive, prehistoric fish, you know why the call them the fish of 10,000 casts...
Yes, A 2012 Weather Channel article suggests that improvements in technology, the availability and affordability of modern equipment, and the general increase in fishing knowledge, it’s more likely that the muskellunge has become the fishing of 1,000 casts.
But that’s assuming, of course, that you’re fishing the right waters.
In the right areas.
With the right bait.
Using the right equipment.
During the right time of year.
The point is, it’s still a challenge to catch muskie consistently. And that is why Premier Angler is here! We won’t promise that you’ll land a state record muskie after reading this article. But we are pretty confident that your chances of landing a quality fish will increase!
When it comes to freshwater fishing, there isn’t much that compares to catching muskie. They’re big, aggressive, and put up an incredible fight. They also exhibit unpredictable behavior and what might work one day might not work again for weeks (or months, or until the following year).
And that’s part of the beauty! Given how elusive the species can be, the thrill of the catch is even greater.
Think about this: If anglers were able to cast from the shore or a dock and land two or three whopper muskie per day, there would be far less folks fishing for bluegill and crappie. That said, much of the novelty would also wear off if muskie were as abundant and easy to catch.
These kings of the lake will definitely test your patience and dedication. You will get frustrated. They will likely skunk you more often than not. Muskie fishing might even rattle your confidence and cause you to question your abilities as an angler at first.
But the reward is worth it! And once you’ve hooked your first big one, you’ll be hooked for life!
If you love fishing for muskie and live in cooler, northern states (or in Canada), you’re in luck! However, if you want to do some muskie fishing and live in Florida or Lousiana, we’ve got some bad news…
Simply put, muskie require a considerable amount of oxygen to survive. In cooler areas, oxygen is more abundant. Conversely, in warmer regions, oxygen is more scarce. As such, you won’t be finding many of this king fish down south. In fact, you’ll only find muskie in about half of the fifty U.S. states.
Even if you live in the north, however, you will want to do your research before hitting the water. If not, you might find yourself trying to catch muskie in all the wrong place.
Also, later in this article, we will talk about when it is too hot to fish for muskie, even if they are located on a particular body of water.
The reality is that some waters are just better suited to house muskie than others. If you are fishing a new area (or are new to muskie fishing in general), you will want to do some research before going on. Some of the resources you can contact include:
Keeping in mind that muskie prefer cool temperatures, we also need to keep an eye for coverage and structure.
We’re discussed where to fish for muskie. Now, we need to consider when we should hit the water. As with most fish, there are betters times of day to ply your craft when muskie fishing.
Ready for the most frustrating two words an angler can hear? It depends…
Sure, there are times and conditions that will certainly be more opportune than others. This is where a mixture of knowing your lake and common sense come into play. As with many fishing “rules,” it’s often easier to start with what you shouldn’t do and go from there.
When You Shouldn’t Fish for Muskie: Fishing a large, crowded, recreational lake with no horsepower restrictions and heavy fishing pressure is likely to cut down your chances of landing quality muskie. That doesn’t mean you can’t catch muskie here, but these are not ideal conditions. Likewise, hitting these waters midday when traffic is at its peak will all-but-guarantee your frustration. Muskies and jet skis don’t really mix.
Instead, consider hitting the water in the early morning (a couple hours before sunrise) or in the early evenings (a couple hours before sunset). If fishing during the daylight hours, rainy or overcast weather can also play to your advantage.
Muskie anglers often enjoys fishing in windy conditions and/or light rain. Fish tend to feed more aggressively when the water is broken or disrupted. Many will also fish through the night in pursuit of a great catch.
Remember, we never said it was going to be easy…
Ready for those dreaded two words again? It depends…
Can you catch muskie all year? Yes
Are you likely to catch muskie all year? Well…
You will want to be aware of the four major seasons (especially depending on where you live or will be fishing). Also, it’s important to pay attention to the biological seasons of the fish (i.e. pre-spawn, post-spawn, etc).
Winter: The reality is that most of us won’t be out fishing for muskie in the dead of winter. Sure, some brave (see: obsessed) anglers will hit the water for some ice-fishing, but the bite will (likely) be considerably less during these cold months. Like other fish, muskie tend to get lazy during colder months, however. Their metabolism decreases and their desire to feed (and chase their prey) slows down considerably. For a naturally-aggressive species, this is essentially the “off-season,” especially during December and January. Sure, you can still get them to bite, but planning your strategy for the thaw might be just an beneficial.
Depending on your location, however, the latter weeks of winter (during February and March) may produce some of the best action of the year. During the pre-spawn season, females will be feeding aggressively. As temperatures warm, muskie will also come closer to the surface as they prepare to spawn. Estimates differ slightly on when muskie will actually begin their spawn, but they should start their ascent as temperatures rise above 45 degrees Farenheit (7.22 degrees Celsius). Unlike the summer months, where an early rise and late nights are key, anglers may want to start their day a bit later.
Spring: Numerous biological seasons will occur throughout spring, including the pre-spawn, spawn, and post-spawn. After a long period of stagnation during winter, muskie will become hungry and need to feed before spawning. If you have a late pre-spawn, consider using the tactics mentioned above. As for the actual spawn, however, things get interesting.
Muskies will begin to spawn when temperatures reach between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (or 10 and 18.33 degrees Celsius). For many waters, this will take place around April.
It has been said that muskie exist solely to spawn and eat. During this period, the spawn is a fish’s top priority, however, so you are unlikely to land a mid-spawn muskie. That said, there is no hard-and-fast rule as to exactly when muskie will spawn and, fortunately, there will likely be plenty of fish who are still in pre-spawn mode.
During the post-spawn, muskie will tend to be lethargic again. The good news is that this is a fairly quick period, usually lasting only a few weeks. The not-so-good news is that, during this lull, most fish are likely to either be spawning or post-spawning, so your bite around late-April/early-May might be reduced somewhat.
Summer: This is often the most popular (and frustrating, and dangerous) time of year for muskie fishing. It’s popular because spawning is over and muskie can focus exclusively on one thing: feeding.
Summer is frustrating, however, as you are dealing with vacations, recreation, and increased fishing pressure. As space becomes scarce and the water is disrupted by boaters and other anglers, your best bet is sticking to mornings and evenings. Water temperatures will be higher during summer, too, so striking when it is nice and cool will play in your favor.
But dangerous? No, we aren’t suggesting that muskie are going to revolt and attack you during the summer months. But just as we take our own heat-related precautions while fishing under the blistering hot sun, we need to be conscientious about when we fishing for muskie during summer.
Studies have shown that there is a high delayed mortality rate for muskie caught when water temperatures reach 80 degrees (26.667 degrees Celsius) or higher. Muskie are a muscular fish known to fight incredibly hard when hooked. They build up an abundance of lactic acid and then are often pulled into a boat, measured, mishandled, and thrown back into the water.
As we mentioned above, muskie enjoy cold, well-oxidized water. As temperatures increase, the water loses oxygen. When pairing this with the fact that muskie have physically exhausted themselves during the fight, they are often unable to recover after release. There is plenty of recreational and scholarly research available on this topic, so we encourage you to read up on delayed mortality and make conscientious decisions before catching muskie during the summer months.
Fall: This is personally our favorite time of the season for muskie fishing. Not only will you get some of the most incredible weather and scenery of the year, but you will also be fishing for some of the fattest muskie of the year!
Think about it. These fish have now been feasting for months now and will be preparing themselves for the cold winter ahead. As temperatures cool, they will begin working their way back to the surface and slowly migrate back to deeper waters as the season progresses. Fish a slow and steady retrieval during these months.
Like other species, you can catch muskie on a variety of lures. Swim baits, crank baits, jigs, worms, buck tails, gliders, you name it! Each angler will have a preference, certainly, but here are some of my personal favorites.
When you’re fishing for a toothy powerhouse like muskie, you will need more than just your rod, reel, and baits handy. These fish have a powerful bite and sharp gills, so you want to make sure that you and your rig are prepared ahead of time.
Depending on your experience, budget, comfort level, and personal preferences, you can spend as much or as little as you want on terminal tackle and accessories. That said, there are a few must-have items, especially if you are looking to land big fish.
You will also want to have a reliable and sturdy pair of needle-nose pliers and a hook-cutting tool. A set of jaw spreaders can also be helpful in certain situations. Some anglers are also brave enough to wrangle their lures from a muskie’s mouth bare-handed, but we do recommend having a thick pair of gloves on hand just in case.
Also — and this one gets overlooked quite often — but it’s never a bad idea to have a decent first aid kit on-hand. Muskie are big and mean and accidents happen. Even a basic kit will suffice for most fishing-related injuries.
We’re looked at where to catch muskie, when to catch muskie, what to catch muskie using, and even why to catch them.
Now, let’s take a look at how to catch muskie.
Generally, dedicated muskie anglers will be fishing from a boat. That’s not always the case, however. Consider Zack Hall, who caught a potential Ohio state record muskie while shore fishing at Piedmont Lake. I’ve fished from those same rocks numerous times and never pulled a monster fish like that. That said, I’ve pulled several 40+ inch fish trolling in the center of the same lake. We’ve had a 36 inch muskie hit a generic brown rubber snake floating boat side. So, as with most techniques on this list, it really does depend.
Depend on what? Well, on what the muskie is in the mood for. But, here is general, all-season list to get you started.
There are countless articles (like this one) that merely scratch the surface when it comes to muskie fishing. To be truly successful, you can read, research, and prepare all you want. But nothing takes the place of just getting out and fishing.
If you are looking for some informative (or simply entertaining) reads, however, we would recommend the following books:
Want to share you favorite muskie fishing stories, spots, and techniques? Let us know in the comments below!
Catching impressive fish can be hard! And we believe that people who catch those impressive fish should be recognized! Fortunately The post The Colorado Master Angler Program appeared first on Premier Angler.
Catching impressive fish can be hard! And we believe that people who catch those impressive fish should be recognized!
Fortunately for thousands of anglers, so does the state of Colorado!
And this is also not a particularly novel concept. Numerous states throughout the country offer recognition programs for successful anglers.
For example, in Ohio, landing a qualifying catch can earn you recognition in the state’s Fish Ohio program. And Colorado’s program is no different.
Sponsored by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the master angler program is pretty straightforward. Anglers catch a fish of qualifying length and, in return, they are recognized with a certificate and a lapel pin.
While it might not seem like much, these mementos can be passed down from generation to generation.
So, what do you have to do in order to qualify?
First, make sure you have a valid Colorado state fishing license.
Next, while legally fishing on Colorado waters, catch one of over three dozen qualifying fish species. The state does not recognize fish that were snagged.
Then, close the fish’s mouth and measure from the lip to the end of the tail. A side-view photograph of the fish (with measurements displayed) should be submitted with the verification of one witness. Colorado requires a second witness verification if not photograph is available.
Anglers will have sixty days to submit their catch to CP&W. Entries should be mail to:
MASTER ANGLER AWARD PROGRAM
COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE
6060 BROADWAY, DENVER, CO 80216
The minimum qualifying length is listed in inches
Rainbow Trout: 24″
Brown Trout: 22″
Brook Trout: 16″
Cutthroat Trout: 20″
Snake River Cutthroat: 20″
Rainbow & Cutthroat hybrid (Cutbow): 22″
Golden Trout: 16″
Lake Trout: 32″
Tiger Trout: 18″
Arctic Char: 18″
Kokanee Salmon (angling only): 20″
Northern Pike: 36″
Tiger Muskie: 40″
Yellow Perch: 12″
Sacramento Perch: 12″
Largemouth Bass: 18″
Smallmouth Bass: 17″
Spotted Bass: 18″
Striped Bass: 28″
White Bass: 17″
Green Sunfish: 10″
Redear Sunfish: 12″
Hybrid Bluegill: 10″
Channel Catfish: 30″
Blue Catfish: 30″
Flathead Catfish: 30″
Black Bullhead: 14″
Common Carp: 30″
Grass Carp: 30″
White Sucker: 22″
Longnose Sucker: 18″
According to the CP&W website, the Colorado master angler program is intended to promote conservation. The scenic, nature-rich state wants to ensure that its 1,300 lakes and reservoirs (and countless streams and rivers) remain both health and well-stocked.
The Master Angler Recognition Program is designed to recognize anglers for success in their sport, as well as to promote the conservation of fishery resources and quality fishing by encouraging the careful release of trophy-size popular sport species. – Colorado Parks & Wildlife website
As such, the program recognizes both catch-and-kept and catch-and-release categories. CP&W also recognize the longest (in inches) released fish per species annually. Award winners are recognized on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website at the start of each year.
The Colorado master angler program records fish exclusively by length, whereas Colorado state fishing records are calculated by weight. This benefits anglers looking to earn recognition as it increases their odds of catching a qualifying fish.
In 2019, several anglers recorded multiple registries on the master angler list. Brian Steinfield Sr., Garrett Smith, Jason Davis, John Fearheiley, Joseph Hill, Kevin Keens, Nathanial L. Tims, Neela Lingenfelter, Nicholas Peardot, Taylor Kelly, and Travis Braxton all recorded at least two qualifying catches.
Keens caught (and released) five qualifying rainbow trout in April alone!
Have you qualified for Colorado’s master angler program in the past? Have any great stories to share? Let us know in the comments below!
Lake County, Florida, home of the Harris Chain of Lakes, is in for some big fishing in 2020! The Harris The post Harris Chain Hosts Two Major Fishing Tournaments appeared first on Premier Angler.
Lake County, Florida, home of the Harris Chain of Lakes, is in for some big fishing in 2020!
The Harris Chain, located about 40 minutes northwest of Orlando, will play home to two of bass fishing’s biggest tournament in February.
One of the tournament will be making a much-anticipated return to these waters. The other, however, will be hosted here for the first time.
From February 20-23, the second regular-season tournament (out of seven) of the FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) will take place in Leesburg.
This marks the third time the FLW will bring some of the industry’s top bass anglers to the Harris Chain waters. It also marks the southernmost stop on their 2020 tour.
The event is expected to bring dozens of anglers and considerable revenue to the Lake County area.
Just three days later, some of the top collegiate anglers from across the nation will also hit the water.
Fishing League Worldwide also sponsors the YETI FLW College Fishing National Championship. This will be the first year the Harris Chain hosts the college national championship.
Between February 26-28, students from several dozen schools will compete for both recognition and prize money. Many of the top performers on the FLW college circuit will go on top achieve success in the professional ranks, and there will be no brighter stage than Lake County, Florida, in early 2020!
The waters being fished span over 75,000 acres between lakes, canals, and creeks. The Harris Chain of Lakes include Dora, Griffin, Eustis, Griffin, Harris, Little Harris, Yale, and Beauclair.
These lakes make up some of Florida’s most popular sailing, boating, and water-skiing destinations. They are also home to some of the top bass fishing not only in the state, but the country.
Know of any great fishing tournaments we might have missed? Let us know in the comments below!
Who says you need expensive gear to catch big fish? Spoiler: You don’t. Sometimes we just like to buy nice The post Washington State Fishing Record Broken By Teenager appeared first on Premier Angler.
Who says you need expensive gear to catch big fish?
Spoiler: You don’t. Sometimes we just like to buy nice stuff, right?
If there’s any doubt, though, look no further than a recent catch by Cole Abshere in Washington State.
Abshere, who is only 16 years old, withstood what would be a 45-minute battle with the now-Washington state record channel catfish.
If only it was that easy for all of us…
Abshere’s catch, a 37.7 lb, 42 inch channel catfish caught in Lake Terrell in northwestern Washington (approximately 20 miles from the Canadian border) is quite the catch. Not only did it smash the previous Washington state record (caught in 1999) by one and a half pounds, but Abshere’s rig was neither fancy nor expensive.
While Abshere did not share what type of rod he was using, referred to it as a “simple pole.” Pair that with the nightcrawler he threw on 8 lb line, and there’s hope for any angler looking to enter the record books.
So, what do you do after catching the largest channel catfish in your state?
You eat it!
At least that’s the plan if you’re Cole Abshere.
Cole and his grandfather were able to harvest an impressive 25 lbs of meat from the record catch. The head and spine, however, were donated to the Washing Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Justin Spinelli, the WDFW catfish expert, shared some interesting thoughts on the record fish. He estimates the fish was around 14 years old and was stocked at Lake Terrell in 2005.
The head and spine have been sent to a lab for more accurate testing, however.
Know of any exciting stories in the world of fishing? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!
The post Washington State Fishing Record Broken By Teenager appeared first on Premier Angler.
Update: This contest has completed. Please check back periodically to find more contests sponsored by Premier Angler and other great The post Rapala Fishing Tools Giveaway appeared first on Premier Angler.
Update: This contest has completed. Please check back periodically to find more contests sponsored by Premier Angler and other great fishing websites.
Every good angler needs an even better set of fishing tools.
If you visit the official contest website, you have a chance to win a set of seven Rapala fishing tools.
Six lucky winners will receive some great Rapala fishing tools, including:
This package retails for well over $100, so make sure to enter today!
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