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Walleye and bass anglers share fishing passion

If you talk to walleye fishermen about bass fishing, they squirm and look at the ceiling, smile, seem to get shy, trying not to be somewhat offensive about their position, which is – bass fishing is a waste of time!

If you ask a bass fisherman about walleye fishing, most will admit to one thing – they like to eat them, but not necessarily fish for them. They hate the usual fishing methods for walleye. These include long hours of trailing a 300 foot-long troll line off distant planer boards. These require true, honest, physical effort and “work” just to reel in the lines to check for fouling.

Then the bass fisherman secretly confide, “And there is just a small glimmer of hope that a walleye will get hungry enough to mistake their artificial lure for tasty forage while you are trolling open water with no visible or measurable structure. Seems like a waste of time.” They all pretty much think this way.

There is not enough instantaneous action for them, they really enjoy their pursuit of bass. They cast a lure, reel it back in, hold the rod, hold the reel, set the hook to a reaction strike from the fish and then test their own human capabilities to cast for accuracy and follow with their best fight to land the fish. Their wish is simply that the hook holds from the moment of first introduction to their finny bass critters.

With walleye, it’s a matter of the boat speed moving forward and sharp hooks that set the hook. The angler is required to reel in the fish, all 300 feet, somewhat robotically according to some, when they are not sleeping. So why do walleye anglers have an army of followers?

The answer is that walleye anglers not only enjoy the palatable fruits of their fishing labor, they are even more serious about conquering the challenge of finding the fish and filling their allowable daily creel limit. Most walleye anglers are passionate about walleye fishing, but above all, my observations during the ongoing Southtowns Walleye Annual Walleye Fishing Contest is that they enjoy the camaraderie of fishing contests.

Walleye anglers know that when the walleye are biting, anyone can catch them. When they are not biting, especially such periods that occur during contest events, it seems they share secrets about their equipment, things about “hot colors,” tricks about leaders, action modifications to their lures, special rigs, special tactics and they share lake limnology, this includes their understanding of wind direction and resulting lake currents.

Lake currents affect everything about walleye fishing because changes to lake currents affect forage location, trolling direction, predator alignment beneath the surface and the thinking that follows to allow an angler to be effective when he goes to fish for walleye.

Overall, it would seem bass are easier to catch than walleye, but weather changes usually can be charged with turning the bass species of Western New York on or off. When bass are “off,” professional bass catchers will share that the fish will not look at a casted lure or even live bait.

Walleye are little different, but since walleye are a lake-roaming species, anglers can always blame the size of the lake for their ill-success while fishing for walleye. On the other hand, there may be a strategy for walleye anglers that bass anglers may not be able to share. That is simply, having friends who fish different sectors of large lakes, like Lake Erie, who are willing to share information with their fishing friend’s network – especially during competitions. My experience is that walleye anglers talk more with each other; maybe tell more tall tales too, trying to confuse their opposition as much as help them with laughter from jokes of the moment.

Both angler types need good equipment, good line, rods, reels, lures and the long list of respective accessories. For bass and walleye anglers, new technology has developed their focus regarding where to fish, how deep, how far away and provide much more information such as water temperature, boat speed, GPS, estimated time of arrival for boaters and so much more. Today we have low-cost, highly accurate, down-scan sonar and side-scan sonar. These devices find fish, eliminate wasted time and allow the angler to tighten efforts near high potential fishing areas. The lowest cost units run around $100, the best sonar units, however, are about $3,000.

The two most popular sonar companies are Hummingbird™ and Lowrance™, though it appears that Hummingbird has taken the lead in the underwater sonar market with regard to anglers. Lowrance sonar was once the standard by which all others were measured, but today, anglers everywhere seem to concur that Lowrance appears to have not advanced their once high-stature acceptance with anglers around the globe. One stop comparison at Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop to review all sonar manufacturers will quickly identify that Hummingbird sonar units are considered a superior choice for multiple reasons. From my view, as I do not have a latest technology Hummingbird unit, I need one, I want one and I am saving for such a unit now!

Having the most efficient sonar makes sense because the devices translate to catching more fish and wasting less time looking for where the fish are. Bass or walleye angler, modern fishing is all good! A good book and a comfortable chair along a stream or lake with kids or grandkids might also be time well spent.

Happy Father’ Day to all our outdoor dads.

NYS Boaters Meet New Laws

Boaters using Department of Environmental Conservation boat launches are now required to clean and drain boats prior to launch. As part of an aggressive effort to prevent invasive species from entering and damaging New York water bodies, the DEC has enacted new regulations that require boaters to remove all visible plant and animal materials from boats, trailers and associated equipment, and to drain boats prior to launching from DEC lands. The regulations pertain to all DEC boat launches, fishing access sites and other DEC lands where watercraft such as boats, kayaks or canoes can be launched into the water.

Boaters should visually inspect their boat, trailer and other fishing and boating equipment to remove all mud, plants and other organisms that might be clinging to it. Materials should be disposed of in one of the Nuisance Invasive Species Disposal Stations installed at many DEC boat launches, in the trash or at an upland location away from the launch ramp. Boaters must also drain the boat’s bilge and any other water holding compartments such as live wells, bait wells and bilge tanks. The new law does not apply to water associated with sanitary systems or drinking water supplies. Drying boats is also highly recommended, but is not required under the new regulations.

The intent of this law is wonderful, but most boaters will feel the new law is impractical, but it is a start.

Outdoors Calendar

June 26-27: BASSEYE event, benefit for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, for info call 204-2535.

Send outdoors info to Forrest Fisher 10 days in advance, Email:

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