For Better Fishing Success Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut

A lot of my younger readers won’t have a clue about what my “don’t get stuck in a rut” means. My older readers will remember the old saying I’m sure.

The rut I’m talking about is from our old days. When it was muddy in the backland around Van Alstyne and Gunter, cars and trucks would make deep ruts in the ground on the dirt roads. Once a car got in those ruts it could wind up getting stuck. That’s how it and a lot of our other old Texas sayings, now sadly not used much anymore, came to be.

If you were in the rut you pretty much stayed there.

Fishing is also like that old saying. I’m guilty and a lot more fishermen I think are guilty also at times: we get in a rut. If we catch fish for a couple of weeks doing this or that, most of us stick with it even when the fish don’t bite.

I have been on a crappie bite for the last month. I could catch fish every time I went to the boathouse. If the horse is still running I don’t see any sense getting off. Well my Wednesday boathouse trip couldn’t buy a bite using the same baits 1/16- 1/8 oz. Blakemore Road Runners with plastic baits and a crappie nibble.

Now Lady Luck smiles on me now and then. I was about ready to go to the house. I was reeling up my lure and two little crappie chased it to the top.

Being smart, which I can be once in a while, I dropped the Road Runner back to the bottom and started slowly reeling it up. I caught a fish. Next drop same thing. I caught five fish in a row before I missed one.

The crappie, instead of being close to the bottom, were suspended above the brush. They would not hit my lure on the fall. Moving your lure through them going up it was game on. Striper guides and other fishermen will relate to this as they sometimes have to let their slabs go all the way to the bottom before cranking it back up fast as they can. When fish are in that mode you likely won’t catch them any other way.

Fishing is a contest between you and them. They hold the edge till we figure out what they want and how they want it. Don’t get stuck in the “I’m going to make them bite” rut. Change, experiment, you find what they want and how they want it presented and you are out of the rut back into fishing and catching.

On one of my retrieves, after I found out what retrieve speed the crappie wanted, I felt a tick, set the hook and my line took off under the floats. I was thinking if it was a crappie I got the lake record.

Finally I got the fish coming my way. I got it to the top and it was a big fat spotted bass. As I reached down to lip it my line broke. During the fight the big bass spit up several of the fresh water crabs we have in Texoma.

I was using light line and you need to make it a habit to check it out after every four or five fish. Do as I say not as I did. I hadn’t changed out my line by re-tying in a while and it broke where it was frayed.

With the holiday weekend coming up, get your new fishing and hunting license. I’m seeing lots of doves around Pottsboro sitting on lines and flying over my house. I have enough white wing doves visiting my feeder to easily get a limit while listening to music and under a fan.

Every kind of bird around I think likes black sunflower seeds. Whoever said doves were ground feeders needs to come out here and watch the white wings at my feeders.

If dove hunting I hope you all get your limits. Scouting helps but you should have started it sometime ago; if you didn’t roll the dice and you might get lucky. Waterhole shooting might not be as good as in the past due to the rains we have got lately having anything resembling a pond with water in it.

Lynn can fill in the particulars on hunting the birds. I don’t bird hunt anymore — I’d rather fish.

I plan on living the lake lizard life over this holiday — boat in the garage, eating, laying in the sun is not likely, swimming if I don’t think the water is too cool and sipping to good music for sure.

I hope this last summer day off is a good one for you. Football kicks off Friday night and the lights are calling. Susan and I are going to Howe to watch the game. I hear there will be Howe hot dogs to feed the Gunter Tigers. We will see if I have to eat crow in my next week’s article. Go Tigers.