Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Night Fishing For Catfish

Catfish seem to be on my mind lately (see the biggest catfish ever caught post) and this post is no different.

Night fishing for catfish

Catfish were once strictly a night time angling target exclusively, but day time fishing has become a much more popular method for catching these great fish. However, there are many reasons to go night fishing including;

  • The water to too clear.
  • It is too hot during the day.
  • Too many anglers and "pleasure craft" on the water during the day.
  • Catfish (and other fish for that matter) will often be more willing to feed at night.
  • The bigger catfish are consistently caught at nighttime!
To catch catfish at night try following the tips below;
  • Try to be quiet catfish don’t have the best vision, but they are sensitive to noise.
  • Try a big smelly bait to give the catfish the best chance of finding your bait - try shad, fresh fish fillets, chicken livers even hot dogs will work.
  • Use a rig with the hook on the bottom (this is where the catfish are looking for food).
  • Try not to shine your light in the water - this can scare the catfish.
  • If you are fishing a river try working the pools below the damn where the bait fish will be schooling.
Good Luck - hopefully you will catch a big catfish like the one in the video

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fishing Knots: Thumb Knot

The thumb knot is one of my favorite knots and with practice is very quick and easy to tie. It is a popular knot for attaching hooks, swivels and rings to very heavy monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line. The knot tightens down very well and provides a strong connection.

note - this knot should not be confused with the overhand knot, which is also called the thumb knot in rope tying circles

It will take some practice to get this knot correct

Click to enlarge

1. Thread your hook with the line
and make a loop so that the hook
is suspended from the loop.

2. Wrapping your left thumb
and loop with the tag three times.

3. Push the tag back under those three wraps.

4. Hold both ends and ease the wraps off your thumb,
one at a time, in sequence.

5. Close the knot by exerting pressure
on the loop against the tag.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Biggest catfish ever caught (with video)

If there has been one species of fish that has captured the imagination more than any other it would probably be monster catfish. Stories of these monster fish have been quietly told around lakes, tackle stores, bars and fishing clubs for hundreds of years. Stories of huge fish caught and even bigger fish lost are etched into the memory of all serious catfish anglers.

The biggest catfish ever caught
There are many species of catfish in the world and that makes the task of finding the biggest catfish ever caught somewhat more complicated - here is all the information I could find.

The largest Blue Catfish
Caught in the Mississippi River on May 22, 2005, weighed in at 124 lb (56.2 kg). (SEE VIDEO)

The largest flathead catfish
Caught in Independence, Kansas, weighing 123 lb 9 oz (56.0 kg).

The largest recorded catfish capture
However, these records pale in comparison to a giant Mekong catfish caught in northern Thailand in May 1, 2005 and reported to the press almost 2 months later that weighed 293 kg (646 lb). This is the largest giant Mekong catfish caught, but only since Thai officials started keeping records in 1981. (see picture)

Biggest Mekong Catfish Picture

The largest catfish ever caught video

(source wikipedia and aquaticcommunity.com)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bass night fishing

Many people do not understand that most fish activity takes place under the cover of darkness. There is research that suggests that over 90% of fish species feed almost exclusively at night. This means that night fishing can be a very productive method of catching fish.

During the day fish are not only less active, but can be spooked by boat noise and anglers making noise above the surface. They can also see your boat and lure presentation much clearer and there is the added risk of rejection because of these factors. Under the cover of darkness, fish feel more confident when feeding and cannot see quite as well as usual.

Night Fishing Tips
When night fishing for bass follow these few tips to success

  • Use dark colored lures (color vision fades in darkness)
  • Try fishing around areas of light like docks.
  • Try a lure that makes some noise or a surface lure that "bloops"
Night Fishing For Bass
These two videos share some great ideas for night fishing for bass and are well worth watching - the first one is presented by Doug Hannon (The bass professor).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fishing Knots: Flemish Eye Knot (wire knot)

Sometimes fishing with a wire trace in unavoidable, especially when targeting fish with razor sharp teeth. Obviously wire leader requires different knots than regular fishing line and one of the most popular knots is the Flemish eye knot.

The Flemish eye knot is one of the most popular methods for attaching hooks, rings and swivels to a wire trace, but it can also be used for very heavy monofilament that can be difficult to tie. It is highly regarded for use with multi strand wire because it allows a degree of looseness which removes the pressure from the crimped sleeve.

How to tie a Flemish eye knot

note: a a crimping tool is needed for this knot

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How to catch crawfish (crayfish)

I first saw the technique for catching crawfish on dirty jobs with Mike Rowe and since watching the episode these little freshwater crustaceans have fascinated me.

Crawfish, also called crayfish, are a freshwater crustacean that resemble a small lobster. Different species of crayfish are found throughout the world. They make very good eating and for this reason are a popular angling target.

How to catch crawfish
Crawfish are not difficult to catch and as long as you follow some simple tips you should not have any problems.

1. Choose a crawfish trap
There are many different crawfish traps and choosing a crawfish trap is one of the more difficult parts of crawfish fishing, but all the crawfish traps on the market will work. Some crawfish anglers argue that certain types of traps work better than other ones so my advice is to purchase a few different types of traps and run a few tests before deciding which type of trap you will exclusively use.

2. Best bait for crawfish
Crawfish can be picky eaters, but if you stick to fresh, fish based baits you will be fine. Try fresh fish heads, guts or whole small fish, preferably from oily fish such as salmon or herring, but any fresh fish that can be caught locally should work. Many people swear by secret baits like dog food, cat food or chicken, but most experienced crawfish anglers dismiss these as proper baits.

3. Set your traps
You cannot simply toss your traps into the water and expect record catches on crawfish. Instead, try to lay your traps in areas where crawfish have cover to hide from predators such as grassy areas, rocks, tree roots etc.

4. Catching crawfish
Check your traps after a few hours and place your keepers into a sack or container. Remember to return any small crawfish or excess crawfish into the water for another time.

Friday, April 18, 2008

How to make beer batter - fish recipe

I must admit I love fried seafood and one of my favorite batter recipes is beer batter. It has such a lovely flavor and creates a delicious crispy coating on almost anything you can think of frying. I have personally used it on everything from fish to zucchini fritters and friends always comment on it's flavor and crispiness (and it is a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies!).

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

  • Plain Flour
  • Ground Nut Oil (this can be substituted with other oils)
  • Beer
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Spices (optional)
  • Seafood to batter
This recipe is very simple, but it makes great batter. You will probably find that it makes better batter than packet batter and contains much less salt than the packet variety, which is better for your health.

I recommend experimenting with different foods to batter as you never know when you will find a gem of a battered dish that you had never thought of (a bit like my Zucchini fritters).

Beer Batter Recipe
It is all explained in this short easy to follow video

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fishing Knots: Cat's Paw Knot (offshore swivel knot)

The cat's paw knot, also called an offshore swivel knot, is used to attach a swivel or ring to a double line with a complete loop (like the bimini twist knot). It is widely accepted as the best knot for this application and is an extremely strong and effective knot that resists slipping. It is usually tied in monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing lines and can be tied in many different line strengths. For general applications follow this guide:

  • 3 loops for greater than 50 lb line
  • 4 loops for lines between 30 lb and 50 lb
  • 5 loops for line between 12 lb and 30 lb
  • 6 loops for line less than 12 lbs
How to tie a cat's paw knot

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How to catch crappie

The crappie is a popular North American freshwater angling target, which attains a maximum size of approximately 21 inches and 5 pounds. Their are two distinct subspecies of crappie simply referred to as Black crappie and white crappie (note: the name white perch is often incorrectly used for the white crappie). The crappie is highly regarded as a fine freshwater food fish, which adds to its angling popularity.

How to catch crappie

Before you head out to catch crappie it is important to understand a little bit about crappie and their feeding habits. Crappie have very good eyesight and can see a range of colors. Crappie are generally inactive during the day spending time around submerged objects and move out into open water to feed around dawn and dusk. It is also worth considering that crappie are also active during the winter months making them a viable fishing target year round.

Crappie have diverse diets, which means there are many ways to catch crappie including casting light jigs, trolling with minnows or artificial lures, using small spinnerbaits, or using bobbers as well as many other techniques. If you are using bait stick to natural food sources including baitfish, crayfish, worms, maggots, crickets or grasshoppers.

Crappie Fishing Tips

  • Fish around structure - logs, boulders, docks, weeds etc. (especially heavy structure).
  • Once you catch a fish keep working the area as crappie are a schooling fish.
  • Crappie will move into shallow water during spawning (spring and early summer)
  • If the fishing is slow try imparting more movement onto the bait or lure to entice a bite

Fishing Knots: Centauri Knot

I am always going on about taking the time to learn good quality fishing knots. I believe learning to tie solid knots will improve your fishing almost more than any other factor and I wish someone had told me the importance of great knots earlier in my fishing life (I leaned the hard way!)

The Centauri knot is another high quality, strong and easy to tie knot that every angler should know. It is an extremely versatile knot and can be tied in a wide range of line strengths, line types (including braid with increased wraps) and diameters while retaining up to 90% of the breaking strain. This knot is highly regarded because it produces very little friction and does not distort the line.

How to tie a Centauri knot
Follow this animated video to guide you.

Remember to lubricate the line with saliva before tightening.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

How to catch lobster

I have written a few "how to" posts before, but I think I need to write them more often.

How to catch lobster
There are probably only two viable ways for recreational anglers to catch lobster. The first method is to dive for lobster, either free dive or with scuba, and the second is to use a lobster trap or pot. Commercially lobster traps are the most widely used as they can lout out many hundreds of traps, but in the recreational fishery most people find diving for their lobster more rewarding and often more productive.

Diving for lobster
Before you begin any form of lobster fishing you need to make sure that you have all the appropriate licenses and familiarize yourself with the size and possession rules regarding the species you are targeting.

When diving for lobster you will need the following

  • A tickle stick and a net OR a lobster snare
  • Heavy gloves (lobsters are spiny!)
  • A catch bag (to store the lobster)
  • Snorkeling OR Scuba gear
  • A permit!
Finding the lobster
This is probably the hardest part of lobster fishing, but you can follow a couple of simple tips to help you.
  • Lobsters live in almost any rocky environment that gives them adequate cover. Almost any rocky reef with boulders will do. In the day they hide in crevices, caves and under ledges.
  • To find the lobster look for tips of their antenna, or their legs sticking out from cover. Also look under ledges or boulders which they use for cover during the day.
Techniques for catching lobster
I found these two great videos which show the proper techniques perfectly

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My holiday fishing report

My regular readers would have noticed that I haven't made a post for a couple of days and I have been on a fishing holiday with my old man and my wife. We rented a cabin on a local lake and fished right from our front door. I haven't had much luck in the freshwater before and really only expected a relaxing trip with a couple of fish. Relaxing wasn't quite the word I would use as the fishing went off with a bang. Over 5 days we caught about 20 great fish and over 7 species in total. I managed my very first tarpon (albeit the smaller pacific version) and I now understand why people pay tens of thousands of dollars to visit South America to catch these fish! We caught 12 big Saratoga, which are a prehistoric looking fish found in the northern parts of Australia and give a spectacular leaping fight. I didn't manage to capture any video this trip, but here are some pictures of the trip (I am having trouble uploading - check back soon):

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What do plankton eat

Plankton are classified as any drifting organism that inhabits the waters of the earth. These organisms combined are considered to be some of the most important organisms on earth due to the food supply they provide. They are generally very small and many can only be seen with the aid of a microscope.

What do plankton eat

Most people know that plankton are the most abundant food supply of the ocean, but not many people know what these little organisms eat. Most plankton can make their own food like plants through the process of photosynthesis (converting sunlight into food energy). Planktonic animals cannot make their own energy and feed on smaller plankton. The smallest plankton eat bacteria and detritus (non living organic matter).

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Portable fish finder

Portable fish finder

Portable fish finders are designed to do the same job as a regular fish finder with the added benefit of being portable.

Choosing a portable fish finder

In certain situations portable fish finders are preferable over fixed fish finders. Portable fish finders can be used from land based situations (like ice fishing), in hire boats and in any other situations where portability is required.

Castable transducers – These portable fish finders are fantastic from shore as you can attach the transducer to your line and cast it to the area you will fish to assess depth and structure (as well as fish). This type of portable fish finder is also very useful from a boat and you can cast the transducer into snags and shallow areas to check out the area without moving the boat into position, which can scare the fish.

Suction cup transducers – This type of portable fish finder is fantastic for people who fish out of hire boats. This works exactly as it sounds and the transducer is mounted on a suction cup that sticks to the back of the boat. It is easy to attach before you start your days fishing and is just as easily removed after the session.

Ice fishing portable fish finders – These portable fish finders are made especially for getting the sounders signal through the ice. They are becoming more and more sophisticated and most ice anglers don't leave home without one.

Advantages of portable fish finders

  • Portability
  • Light Weight
  • Provides fish finding ability when none would usually be available.

Disadvantages of portable fish finders

  • Usually lower power (less depth finding power)
  • Usually lower definition (lower pixel count)
  • Need to remember to recharge the battery

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fried grouper recipe

Fried grouper recipe

Of all the ways to eat fish a simple fried recipe is always my favorite way to eat it. A piece of fish dipped in some simple spices and patted with flour and fried and I am in heaven. This recipe might be a bit more complicated than that, but it is my favorite fried grouper recipe.


1 1/4 lbs Grouper Fillets
1 TBSP Flour
1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
Large Zip Lock Bag
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 1/2 TBSP Butter
6 Ounces Sliced Fresh Mushrooms (3/4 package)
1 TBSP Capers
1/2 TBSP Roasted Garlic
1/4 Cup White Wine
1 TBSP Lemon Juice

Wash the grouper fillets.
Check for bones by pressing on fillet and remove.
Cut into 4-6inch fillets.
Place flour and seasoned salt in zip lock bag and shake to mix.
Add grouper.
Seal bag and shake to coat.
Preheat large sauté pan on high for 1-2 minutes.
Add oil to pan and swirl to coat.
Add grouper to pan and saute 4 minutes on each side.
Move grouper to outer rim of pan, clearing a space in the middle.
Add butter and mushrooms; sauté 1-2 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients, keeping grouper on outer rim of pan.
Saute 3-4 minutes, stirring mushroom mixture frequently.
Mix all ingredients in pan.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 6-7 minutes, or until sauce thickens.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Best bait for crabs

Best bait for crabs

I know a few really serious crab anglers who guard their secret crab bait or concoction with their life. I have even heard of serious fights between crab anglers over which crab bait is better than the other and it all seems a bit silly really.

To understand what makes a top quality crab bait you need to understand the feeding habits of crabs and, in particular, what actually makes up their main diet. I have recently written a post titled what do crabs eat, which might be a good place to start. For those that want to skip ahead without reading the main points are that crabs feed mainly on plant matter and alive or fresh dead animal matter. That doesn't mean you should start adding dead wood to your crab nets just yet though! Contrary to popular belief crabs are not more attracted to rotting fish because of the smell and fresh bait is always a better choice. Adding tuna oil will help to attract the crab to the area.

Top crab baits include

  • Fresh fish (whole or carcus)
  • Fresh chicken pieces (these can also be spiced up with tuna oil)
  • Tin of tuna with some holes punched in the top (this is not quite as effective, but is very convenient and not as messy)

Other strange crab baits

I tend to stick with the more traditional baits, but some crab anglers swear by these strange and unusual baits.

  • Dog food tin with holes punched into the can
  • Unscented soap (not recommended)
  • Dry dog food rings

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Tuna fishing video

Tuna are a great fish and can be a tough adversary on the right gear. They are known for their stubborn fight and circling motion under the boat. Unfortunately people also like eating tuna and the stocks right around the world have dwindled from the overfishing that has taken place. There are far less places to tangle with a big tuna than there were years ago, but locations where big tuna are caught can still be found. New Zealand is one of these places and is where this video comes from. We Aussies might think they are a bit mad at times, but you have to admire them for their excitement and passion for what they are doing! There is some insane action on this video and is worth a watch!

Follow the link to youtube to see the action


Friday, April 4, 2008

How do fish smell

The title of this post could be taken two ways. I was temped to simply write BAD in big black letters, but April fools is long gone (thankfully), and fish don't really smell that bad.

The sense of smell is extremely important to a fish. It gives them ability to smell out food and in some cases return to the correct breeding location years after leaving "home." The salmonoid family of fishes can detect a certain amino acid in quantities as little as 1 part per 8 billion, which is quite amazing really. This ability means that fish are just as easily put off by smells they are unfamiliar with. The can include the following sunscreen, motor oil and petrol.

How do fish smell
Fish don't have nostrils like mammals, but have a very similar set of holes called nares which lead into a chamber full of sensory pads. The fish smells by moving water through this chamber and over the sensory pads and in general the faster the water moves through the better the sense of smell. Most fish need to keep swimming for this to occur, but some fish can pump water through the system via tiny hairs called cilia or through muscle movement. When the sensory pads pick up a smell they transmit the signal to the brain for interpretation, which the fish ultimately responds to.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Kayak fishing video (record tuna)

I have always admired people who fish from kayaks. This is probably because where I live big aggressive crocodiles are common and they would have no problem tipping over a kayak to eat the occupant! Fortunately big crocodiles aren't present all over the world and there is plenty of good kayaking waters ripe for the fishing.

I found this great little video on youtube today of a guy catching a tuna from a kayak, which just so happens to be a 70 pound kayak fishing record tuna! It is a well presented video and if you are into kayak fishing or big tuna then it is well worth watching!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Basic fishing knots

I have posted lots about fishing knots before, but I have never really put all of the information together in one spot for convenience. Hopefully this post will be of use to people looking for the basic fishing knots that every angler should know.

Tying good quality fishing knots is a very important part of fishing. There is nothing worse than losing a fish of a lifetime only to find your knots were not up to scratch (trust me I know). Fortunately, tying quality knots is not all that hard and there are some very strong knots that are even fairly easy to tie in the dark.

Basic fishing knots
If you click on the following links they will take you to my original posts with instructions or an instructional video for tying the knots.

Line to terminal tackle (hooks, swivels) knots

Improved Clinch Knot - A strong knot that is easy to tie.

Uni Knot - Probably the most popular knot in fishing and is a quality knot.

Snell Knot - More difficult than the first two, but is worth learning.

Palomar Knot (Polymer Knot) - Quick and easy to tie with sufficient strength in most applications.

Line to leader knots

Double Uni Knot - The most popular method of joining a line and a leader and is very strong.

Surgeons Knot - A very good knot for joining two lines with very different diameters.

Albright Knot - A slightly more complicated method of joining two lines of different diameters, but is very strong.

Line to lure knot

Rapala Knot - A very famous knot that is perfect for lures.

Others worth learning

Trilene Knot
Joe Miller Knot