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- Field Notes - Better Bass Fishing - Lesson 7
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Bass Fishing

Better Bass Fishing - Lesson 7
By Pete Douvarjo - Eggemoggin Guide Service

I’d like to address one of my favorite things about fishing. Taking kids and teaching them how to go about catching them and also teaching respect for the fish. 

When I get a call from a client who has young kids my first thought is if something isn’t happening every 5 minutes the kids lose focus fast and end up raising heck and end up bored. After one non-productive day you can probably forget about that kid growing up to be an avid angler. BUT! If you can keep them occupied (that means catching fish!) Then you have an angler for life!  We all know that there are times that bass could care less about eating our artificial. So when I have kids aboard the boat I always bring live minnows! Bass (or most any predator) simply cannot resist the real thing swimming around like he’s hurt or sick. They are programmed to attack anything that is injured, young, sick etc….. The other neat thing about live minnows is they catch not only bass but also pickerel, perch, sunnies and many others. Kids could care less about what the species is as long as they catch plenty of fish! 

We do it two ways….. If the kids are a little older (say 12 to 14) we live line. Just a #4 bait hook slid through the lips (remember Bass almost always hit minnows in the head). We slide the boat over areas that usually hold bass and just chuck them over and let em swim. Add a little split shot if you want the bait deeper.

The other technique is to use bobbers. Bring back memories? I still get a wicked charge when that bobber goes under! Again hook the minnow through the lips. Slide the bobber up anywhere from 2 feet to 4 feet up the line (you may have to cast this for them as four feet of line between the hook and bobber is rather unwieldy for a kid!) Toss it out and just wait….It won’t be long before something hungry sees it! 

The old way of letting a fish run till he swallows the hook causes more damage to fish than I like to so PLEASE set the hook at the first sign of a hit. Since Bass hit on the head it only makes sense to set the hook immediately. Please try not to let them swallow it!!!!! The invention of the circle hook has been a great boon to bait fishermen. Even if they get the bait deep the way the hook is constructed allows it to slide out and catch on the corner of the mouth. If you go to circle hooks exclusively you will hurt no more fish then a guy throwing barb less fly’s.  I heartily endorse them and I use nothing else anymore!

Make sure you explain what a 16 or 18-inch bass has to go through to get to that size…. Tell them it takes years to grow that big and they have lived through Eagles, Ospreys, Otters and being caught and released quite a few times. A river Smallie takes between 12 and 15 years to attain 18" and a lake Smallie takes between. 7 and 9 years to grow that size. So tell this to your kids and teach them the right way! On the Penobscot River this summer I have caught this one particular 18" bass 6 times so far. She has a distinctive mark so she’s easy to recognize. If I’ve caught her that many times imagine how many other times she’s been caught by others…. and, she’s still alive and kicking.
So take care of the fish, teach your kids the right way and we’ll have ethical, caring anglers for years to come!

Tight lines! - Capt’ Pete
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