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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Livewell Blog Mid-Summer Edition

I recently moved to northwest Minnesota, which is a little bit of a culture shock, as the town I currently live in has only 40 people. The hardest part though, is learning all these new lakes and small ponds. Anyways, it is time to get this Q&A going, I would like to make this more regular, so, if you have some questions, ridiculous or not, send it to me via Twitter: @dropshotbob with the #livewellblog hashtag, or for questions that cannot be contained by 140 characters, by email at I will try to do my best to answer them to the best of my abilities, hopefully you find some information that you can use on the water, as well as a little humor.

What are your top three crappie lures?

This is a tough question to answer, as there are a variety of ways to fish crappies depending on the time of year. However, here are three that should catch you fish at some point:

Rebel Tracdown Minnow.

This stickbait allows an angler to cover a large area relatively fast. This is especially necessary right in the spring as panfish are spread out over weedy flats chasing down prey. At this time of the year, it is very unlikely to come across a concentration of fish, so the more water you can cover, the more aggressive fish you are likely to come across. I prefer the 2.5” size, but they are made in sizes from 1 5/8” all the way to 3.5”.

They also work great for trolling in mid summer when the crappies are sitting along weedlines in ambush points waiting for prey to stumble by.

Lindy Watsit Grub

The first time I tried this bait, I thought it was so ridiculous looking that I almost refused to even bother. Imagine a creepy crawler experiment gone awry, that is what this plastic looks like. However, the slow fall and undulating parts somehow turns into crappie suicide when it hits the water. Need to fish it deep, put a heavier jig on, wanna go shallow, just pair it with a lighter jighead. Whether you plan to cast it, pitch it, jig it in deep water, or troll it, crappies get stupid at the sight of this goofy lure.

Hair jig and a bobber

This old standby is a classic for a reason, when you need to hover a bait in front of inactive fish to get them to bite, reach for this combo. I tie my own hair jigs, but you can buy a huge assortment of them from almost any baitshop. Pair them with a clip-on foam float and you are ready to catch panfish until your hands are raw!

If I catch too many walleyes, can I have a couple of them self-identify as northerns?

Hmm, not entirely sure the DNR would go along with this idea, especially since fish don't start to talk until you have had at least 15 beers in you while in the boat. But, if you want to try it, let me know if it works. I am curious to see if you get a simple fine or locked up in the looney bin.

What do you do to prepare your rods, reels, line? New line every year?

New line every year?!? That just seems crazy, I have to spend a dollar or two per year on every rod and reel combo I own? Let's forget that some of these combos can run upward of $300, and that the line is the only thing standing in between you and losing a fish, $2 once or twice a year is ridiculous, especially considering how much you might spend on a fishing trip when you include gas, resort, food, bait, and new tackle that a local bait shop suggested.

Sound ridiculous? This idea is far more prevalent in the majority of fisherman than you might think. On reels that I use mono, copolymer, or fluorocarbon, I will change them two to three times a year, sometimes even more. The sun can wreak havoc on these lines drastically reducing their strength over time, so the longer you have that line on, the more likely a fish is going to break you off.

As for the so-called “superlines” such as Fireline, Spiderwire, and Sufix, I will only change once every 3-5 years depending on how often I use it. These lines last forever and the sun has very little effect on them. One great trick you can use to extend the lifespan of braids is to reverse them on the spool. Do this by taking an empty reel and tying the line from a full reel and spooling it on to the empty one.

Are you unsure about the age of your line or worried it might have become nicked while reeling in a fish, or in my case a stick you snagged, cut the last 5-10 feet off and stick it in your pocket. The last few feet of fishing line always receive the brunt of the punishment.

What is a better boat beer: High Life or PBR?

Pabst Blue Ribbon? Seriously? Are they still hanging onto the one award they won back in 1893? Maybe it is time to move on guys. I am not sure why hipsters chose such a terrible beer to bring back ironically when there are so many actual good beers available. PBR in a boat is now only consumed by guys wearing a sportcoat and swim trunks while putt-putting around on daddy's antique wooden boat.

Miller High Life is a great beer to have in the boat, second only to Premium in my opinion. The great thing about living the High Life, is that when you get into a school of fish that are biting like crazy and you forget about your beer, High Life still goes down smoothly when it is warm. Whereas, PBR, will make you gag more than a little unless it is ice cold.

This question is based entirely on these two beers and enjoying them solely on a boat, which is ludicrous. It is 2015, there are so many amazing beers available now. You just have to remember the basic beer rules, the warmer it is, the cheaper your beer is allowed to be. If it is over 100 in early August and you are on the water, I will not look down on you for having your livewell filled with nothing but ice and Lost Lake Lager. Just make sure you have a tetanus shot before drinking that swill (seriously, if you have tried it, you will understand).

As far as outside of the boat, this is when the craft beers really shine. When you are cleaning a mess of fish for the fish fry that night, it is pretty difficult to stop and take a sip of beer with hands covered in fish slime, scales, and blood. But, when those fish hit the batter and go into their hot oil bath, nothing beats a good IPA or stout.

When will there be ice?

Hopefully very soon, until then all we can do is think cold thoughts. It's not that I don't like summer, it's just that I hate biting insects. They drive me completely insane. In winter, all you have to worry about biting you is snow snakes, and Snowshoe Grog is a much better repellent than DEET or a Thermacell.

1 comment:

  1. Your comments on Pabst seem very unresearched. It's delicious.