Six items you should have this fall
Fall is coming. Though it still seems like summer, nighttime temperatures are causing water temperatures to gradually drop. Fall "turnover" hasn't happened, though the process has begun. The decrease in water clarity on many lakes is a result of declining water temperature and a few windy days.
As fall approaches, there are a few things you'll definitely want to have in your boat, tacklebox and overall arsenal that will prove beneficial.
n A good hook remover. Whether this is a pair of needle nose pliers, a hemostat or the ever-popular Baker Hook-out, this is essential for retracting hooks from small fish and toothy predators. A hook remover works much better than cuts on your fingers.
nMinnows. During fall, fish aggressively attempt to put on weight in preparation for winter and spawning in the spring. Big minnows will get you big fish, though it's not uncommon for an average sized northern pike or walleye to grab a redtail, creek chub or shiner minnow that's 5 or 6-inches long.
If you're using a live-bait rig like Northland Fishing Tackle's Roach Rig, the minnow has to be lively. If you're fishing the minnow on a Fireball jig, the minnow doesn't need to swim, the angler provides the action.
n PFDs- Not only do you legally need a lifejacket in the boat, you should wear it. As the water cools down and the afternoons become windy with warm and cold air coming together in frontal systems, it's important to stay safe. If you fall overboard and your PFD is stashed in a compartment, it's the same as not even having one on board.
n Small crappie jigs. Though panfish sometimes seem like they no longer exist during cold fronts, warm fall days provide some of the best opportunities of the year. Crappies and bluegills typically inhabit the same area in the fall, so if you find one species, you're likely to find the other. A 1/16th ounce jig with a plastic or marabou dressing proves as effective as any live-bait option.
n New line. After a summer of fishing with your monofilament, it's probably time to change your line for a few reasons. First, line takes on memory which is the natural shape of the reel spool's curve. After casting, the curlicues inhibit your ability to identify a bite. Line twist can also be caused by lures that spin, reeling while your drag is going out and with a spinning reel, turning your handle to engage the bail (which adds a 1/4 twist every time). New line will give you a better chance to bring that trophy into the net.
n Sonar. Some people call them fish-finders or depth finders, but either way, you need to know your depth to find fish. Some anglers circumvent purchasing a sonar for watercraft like pontoons that are primarily used for recreation. Sonar can be purchased for as little as $100. GPS is a feature that most sonar units incorporate and is an additional cost, yet advantageous feature.