Gearing up for memorial day fishing

The waterways of Jackson and it’s surrounding counties are ready and waiting.

When you go out on the boat, always, before anything else, remember you and your guests own personal safety.

Always make sure that you have and use life jackets when going out on the water.

Doing so can prevent a fun day on the water from ending in tragedy.

They are simple to use, and it just takes a couple seconds to put one on.

I was fishing at Lake Monroe and the water had gone up quite a bit from the almost constant spring rains we were having.

We found ourselves with a few nice fish and the day had turned into early evening.

We were at best junk fishing.

We made our way along beating the banks catching the scattered bass. As I look back on that day, I can’t say for sure what those fish were doing.

As the old saying goes, “The fish are where you find them.”

They don’t read the books and articles on fishing that I do, but I wish they did.

I’ve noticed and have learned first-hand that when you look out the window and you shutter at the thought of fishing because of the wind and the weather that’s when you should seriously consider hitting the water.

It’s my opinion that the worse the conditions are the better the fishing, just short of an apocalypse. I promise, you will not see me fishing in weather under 40 degrees. I’ll give the fish that day off and stay inside where it’s warm.

But no matter the weather, fish are always eating.

Myself, I love fishing in the rain.

It seems I am at my best during a downpour.

You should remember that when the barometric pressure falls that really turns fish onto whatever you may be throwing.

I was fishing a tournament at Hardy Lake several years ago and we had some of the hardest rain I’ve ever been in.

We stuck it out, we had a few in the live well and after 10 or 12 of those “last casts,” we went to weigh in soaked to the bone and half frozen.

We ended up being blessed to take home a check that day.

That nasty weather can be your friend if you can stick it out long enough.

So, what should you throw? What lure does well in those less than comfortable conditions? As I stated before, the fish don’t read the books on fishing.

How many times have you heard of a kid out fishing at a local campground catching a bass on a hot dog? Better yet who would have thought a marshmallow would ever catch a 15-pound catfish?

That’s the wonderful thing about fishing, you just never know.

Marshmallows and hot dogs aside, if you’re new to fishing or have decades under your belt you’ll want to use what works right?

Let’s take a quick look at two lures that can bring in some fish for you no matter what.

If you’re interested there are thousands of articles online about these lures I mention here.

First let’s look at the jig. With a jig you can swim it hop it or drag it flip or pitch it. It’s supposed to mimic a craw dad — one of the bass’ favorite meals.

The color pattern of jigs varies to say the least. A trip to a big box store offers a mind-numbing selection. So, one thing to remember is keep it simple. A good rule of thumb is what nature shows you every day.

It would be a wise idea to choose brown, black or green pumpkin starting out, then if you feel the need branch out from there on color selection.

Jigs are typically the lure that catches the big ones, a couple of guys I fish against who are what I would consider jig masters.

I know when I see them pull up to the boat ramp the competition just got a little tougher.

If there are better jig fisherman out there, I’ve just not met them yet.

Why is that? Because the jig works.

The next lure that works in all weather conditions is the good old plastic worm.

The worm comes in straight tail, curly tail and forked tail.

The most versatile is the straight tail, it will be more erratic causing those vicious strikes.

The best worm fisherman would tell you these five tips about fishing a plastic worm. A pegged sinker will lose more fish.

The fall rate of your worm will be more important than the color of your worm. Use fluorocarbon fishing line, fish can’t see it. Hop it, you’ll cover more water and number five When you tie on any lure no matter what it is wet your line.

In wetting the line it prevents the  fluorocarbon from burning and causes a tighter, more secure knot.

I hope these tips and suggestions helps you catch more fish and always remember to be safe out there.

Remember, don’t forget to wear your personal flotation device or life jacket.

Memorial Day is the biggest boating holiday weekend of the year,

Enjoy it, and tight lines to you all!

Toby Ortman is a local outdoors sports enthusiast. Send all comments to [email protected]

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