People’s lives are so busy these days that it may be hard to find time to read a whole 800-word column--even if you’re interested in the topic. So for those people, here are some short tips and tactical insights that might help you catch more fish or harvest more game, or at least enjoy the activity more because you know more about it. And each tip should take less than a minute to read!
Fishing: When casting spinnerbaits for bass, try attaching a pork frog or plastic trailer to the hook to make the offering look meatier. The added dressing will also slow the sink rate of the lure. That will often increase strikes as it slowly flutters down next to cover after you’ve made your cast.
Hunting: When going after turkeys this fall, look for their favorite foods. These will include acorns, grapes, hawthorn, mountain ash berries, clover, grubs, greenbrier, persimmon, corn, chufa and grasshoppers.
Fishing: Choose live baits for walleyes according to the season. In summer, go with nightcrawlers or leeches. In fall, minnows, especially large ones, are the best choice for attracting and catching hungry walleyes. During winter, smaller minnows get the nod, rigged as a dressing on a jig.
Hunting: Most grouse and woodcock will let you walk right past them rather than flush. To prevent this, pause every 50 or 75 feet as you work through prime cover. Remain motionless for 15 or 20 seconds. Chances are that pause will unnerve any nearby gamebird and make it burst into flight, offering you the chance for a shot.
Fishing: Try to stay quiet when searching for schools of surface-feeding fish such as stripers, hybrids, white bass and black bass. You’ll be better able to hear the fish as they slash the surface or gulp down shad.
Hunting: Glassing from a high mountain ridge or tower is a great way to pinpoint turkeys in the fall. Spot the birds as they feed in fields and then circle around and get in front of them.
Fishing: When vertical jigging, try to keep your lure at or slightly above the level where the fish are spotted on the depth finder. Few gamefish will swim down for an offering, but virtually all will come up for a lure fluttered a foot or two above them.
Hunting: If a trophy buck is high on your list of priorities, look for areas with rich, black soil, high mineral content, a good buck-to-doe ratio, and light hunting pressure. These are some of the main factors needed to grow an exceptional whitetail.
Fishing: A mistake many anglers make with buzzbaits is to set the hooks too quickly. Bass need a bit of time to get these large offerings into their mouths. Hesitate for a second or two after the strike before setting the hook.
Hunting: Still hunting for deer and other big game is often best in the morning. The woods are still damp with dew, and the light is soft and easy to spot game in. During afternoons, the woods are drier and the light is harsh, with high contrast shadows that make spotting game difficult.
Fishing: Walleyes seldom strike a bait hard. Instead, you’ll usually feel a dull thump or just a “dead weight” suddenly on the line. Maintain light pressure until you’re sure it’s a fish, then set the hook with a turn of the reel handle and an upward snap of the rod.
Hunting: River bottoms provide natural travel corridors for deer. Cover is typically thick there, natural foods are abundant, and crops often grow close by because of the rich soil found there. Try still-hunting, hang a stand, put up a portable blind, or use mini-drives to probe these deer-rich areas.
Fishing: Look for flounder in channels of major inlets and deep tidal creeks. When the tide is high, they’ll range up onto the adjacent flats to feed. During low tides they’ll pull back into the deep channels. The edge of the drop-off is often a hotspot.