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TV fishing is better than none at all

If you read last week’s Outdoor Journal column you know I watch some TV fishing shows even though I don’t often find ones that provide me a lot of information.

In my opinion these shows spend more time touting the star’s fishing ability than providing down to earth information that will help a novice learn to fish. Of course if you love fishing these programs are a lot more interesting to you than watching someone sing while wearing a weird mask. But perhaps I speak hastily as I have never watched some of those reality shows, and they have a lot of viewers.

As for fishing the TV shows are all I’ve got now since my boat is on her trailer and covered for winter. Even worse, the lake has been lowered so repairs to the dam and individual docks can be made if needed. That means fishing from my dock is also out of the question so I depend on watching others fish on TV.

The most popular TV fishing shows seem to be the elite bass fishing tournaments. These guys are really good, but it is hard to learn anything from them because as soon as they hook a fish they horse it out of the weeds and onto the boat so it can be weighed and scored. They are trying to win prizes rather than teaching others how to fish.

I still learn from them, but I need to pay attention as I struggle to glean knowledge from watching these experts. These shows do not feature the same species I go after so I need to filter down what they show to make it more useful for me, and my readers.

One thing I learned was that they used a lip gripper to weigh their catch. Their gripper was attached to a scale so they could get the proper weight. I have the same type of gripper, but mine is not attached to a scale.

My fishing buddy, Dennis, and I just use it to hold the fish while we remove the hook. This allows us to keep our fingers away from sharp hooks, or in the case with some fish away from sharp teeth.

With the gripper and a set of forceps unhooking a fish is pretty safe. I recommend it especially for youngsters or ladies who might be new to fishing.

The tournament competitors are not particularly open about their methods, but by listening closely I did hear one mention jigs, and jigs are one of my favorite methods for catching fish, especially crappies. The fisherman I was watching let it out that he was using a jig with a soft plastic creature bait.

The best way to describe a creature bait is that it looks like something out of a cheap 1950s horror movie instead of something you might actually find in this world. Sure doesn’t look like something I’d eat, but bass seem to love them. I haven’t done too well with them on walleyes, but maybe I’ll give them another try in the spring.

But it was really the use of a jig that got my attention, although the jig he used was much heavier than anything I use. My jig mold does not make anything heavier than 1/8th-ounce so I might need to think about purchasing a different mold, or at least buy some premade jigs. But then again I’m not a serious bass fisherman so I might be OK with what I make myself.

Unfortunately the tournament competitors did not mention color, but I did note that the creature baits they used were about the color of something you might actually find hiding under a rock in any of our local streams or ponds.

That got me thinking about the colors I use on my jigs. Some of them are painted with colors that could also relate to a sci-fi movie about a nuclear meltdown. I’m starting to wonder if spent too much time watching those low-budget Japanese movies during the ’50s. Maybe it’s time for me to use more natural colors on my jigs.

In retrospect watching bass tournament anglers horse bass out of the Lilly pads is not a waste of my time. If I pay attention, and think for myself I really learn a few things to try when spring comes around again.

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