– Not every day we fish is gonna be picture perfect. We got some prettynasty weather right now. But if you prepare for it, you can get out and go fishing and be safe and comfortable. But if you’re unprepared for it, you talk about miserable. Don’t know if we’ll catch any fish on a day like this, but we are gonna share some information on how you can gear up to enjoy a day out like this, and maybe not even know it’s that bad. So stay tuned. We’ll see if we can’tget out on the water and help you get prepared. – On today’s episode of the Cabela’s Fisherman Handbook host Wade Middleton has made his way overinto East Texas, and ispreparing to head out onto Sam Rayburn Reservoir in search of pre-spawn bass. As he pulls up to the ramp today, Wade’s been greeted with rain, cold winds, and harsh conditions. This may not look like the bestday to get out on the water, but as the first half of today’s episode moves along, Wade will show how being prepared, having the proper equipment, and a little hard work can pay dividends in these types of conditions. – For me on a recent trip, pulled up to the boat ramp, and the rain was rolling in. You look on the radar and it was red. Red usually means heavy rain and lightning in my book,and there was no need to go running straight out on the water. But, at the same time, I knew I was prepared to be able to handle the conditionsshould I have wanted to. You know, once I deemed itsafe, I could dress up properlyto get out on the waterand be successful. And that’s something a lotta people have to keep in mind to be comfortable. You know, going out, obviously, you can go fishing in any old set of clothes that you want. But will you enjoy it?Will you be comfortable? Probably not. So if you prepare in the right ways, and layer up in the right clothing,have the right kind of clothing to be able to handle the conditions, you can pretty much get out and fishin any conditions and enjoy it. Since those days, you catch those giant. When I look at the day right now that we’re unloading on, we just had a storm pass through. Low pressure, the wind’s blowing. It’s been raining. You know, probably gonnaget a little more rain before the day’s over. As we’re heading down the ramp and starting to fishalong the area, the first thing that’s popped up in my mind, there’s a lotta grass. And when I can find a lotta grass, I know I’m gonna be able to figure outhow to catch some bass. There he is right there. Another little guy. Those little guys’ll warm you up after a cold day. Woo. Aw, man. Throwing you back in the water, sir. ‘Cause it’s warmer in the water than it is up here. Like we’re ice fishing. Let you go. You know, when you lookat water conditions,temp, water temperature,the actual conditionsin an area that you’re fishing. Depth and all those. It plays a variable in where the fish are gonna set up,and it’s amazingto me sometimes, I can be at the middle of a cove,and it’ll be, you know,one set a temperature,and at the mouth or in the back, it could be a totally different set of conditions once you get back there based on the water temperature. This scenario right here, the further back I went, the warmer the water got. And that’s where I started getting bites. I started to really geta good reaction bite on the Aruku Shad. I was actually throwinga smaller version one,and ripping it throughthe tops of those grass, and then trying to let it feather downon the long creek edge, and those fish, because we had a good low pressure day, they were knocking slacking that bait every time. We’re just followingthat hydrilla edge, andcatching a lotta littlebucks at the back end of this creek. On this small Aruku Shad,and I mean, it is solidhydrilla through here. We can’t throw a big one, A big bait, through here, ’cause it’s just gonna bury you up in the grass too fast. So we’re actually throwing the smaller one. Paying off with some, a few bites. – Time now for a break, but when we return, host Wade Middleton continues breaking down the conditions out on Sam Rayburn, and catching fish on a go-to lure for this body of water during the spring, the Aruku Shad. Stay tuned for more Fisherman’s Handbook. The Fisherman’s Handbook is brought to you in part byBass Pro Shops, you’re adventure starts here. Garmin. Fight your fish, not your fish finder. And by Yamaha Marine,reliability starts here. – Look at that. You don’t think he didn’t eat that Aruku Shad?He choked on it. – Welcome back to this episode of the Fisherman’s Handbook. As anglers, we all know we can’t control the conditions we’re faced with out on the water,but we have to take what’s givenand make the most of it. Today, out on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Wade Middleton has the opportunity to fish inlow pressure conditions,and he’s capitalizing on this opportunity. – Alright, fish, we’re gonna let you go back. There’s a huge difference, in my opinion,in a low pressure dayand a high pressure day when it comes to the weather. You know, those high pressure days, I talk about it a lot,where you’ve got a bluebird sky. You know, the sun’s real bright, and a lotta times there’s very little wind. Those tend to be a little bit tougher fishing days when it comes to just getting a lotta bitesor getting an aggressivebite in my opinion. On the flip side of that, you get a low pressure day,you get a kinda real cloudy day, and it’s kinda rainy and the wind’s blowing a little bit, and it’s just nasty. It looks like, man, I just wanna roll over and go back to sleep. That’s sometimes the best days of all to be able to go fishing, because the fish are gonna be a little bit more active. They tend to be snapping. They’re gonna bite more readily in a lotta situations, so, for fishermen, don’t stay home just because it’s a bad weather day. A lotta times, if you can safely get out and go fishing, that’s the time to go. You know, what you can seelooking at the units right there is there’s a lotta hydrilla down there, and it’s just kinda all almost all matted. And every now and then, you’ll see us getting the three and a half and four foot deep, and you can actually see that lighter color on the mapping portion that I’ve got that I’m trying to kinda keep the boat along the edge of that because that’s the drain. That’s where we come through here. The Garmin survey’s comethrough, and, you know, identified that as the deeper water andthat’s where the fish should be. That hydrilla is just almost to the top back here right now, even though the water’s that cold so. You know, we’re justlooking for the highway,trying to intersect ’em. And they’re probably gonna be, for the most part,you know, one tothree pound fish that we’re gonna find all the way back here right now. But after the weatherfrom earlier in the day, we’ll take those. As you dissect all the pieces of the puzzle that day, it’s amazing what little subtleties may trigger you to do one thing or another. You know, I’d had a couple bites, and as I was working way to the back of this pocket,I had just about givenup on going any further. And when I looked down, Inoticed on my water temperature that it was about two degrees warmer nowthan it was severalhundred yards behind me. That prompted me to gojust a little bit deeper into the cove, and as I went deeper into the cove,I started really tryingto watch my mapping to find those little edges, a little bit of that drop off. Then moved my pan optics aroundto target some of those clumps, and as I did, I began to get some awesome reaction bites. Water’s two degrees warmer back here, and they are knocking fire out of it when they bite. I mean, they arejust nailing it. Boy these fish are healthy. Anybody that’s ever fished a lipless train bait, and I’m partial to the Spro Aruku Shad,but anybody that’s everfished one of thesewill tell you, when youget on this kinda bite, and you pause it, and they hit it like a freight train, and they start going the other way,will attest that it isone of the funnest bites that you’ll ever have. Now, you’re gonna get your feeling’s hurt. You’re gonna lose a couple because a lotta times they’ll slap out a good hook on the outside of the mouth and they’ll get away, but when they bite, it’s a blast. You know, it’s amazing how close you can be to success and failure in fishing. It could be, you know, a little bait change,a little rhythm change, a difference in your cadence, maybe moving 100 yards and doing something different, and all the sudden you start catching fish. And so, when it comes down to dissecting those things, those little bitty nuances, there’s some days that people just really dial it inand other days theydon’t get it figured out and catch as many, so, as a fisherman, I guess the moral to that story is keep a line in the water, and figure out how to catch ’em. ‘Cause sooner or later,once you dial ’em in, you can repeat that time and time again. They’re all clones. Fat as footballs. Mad as can be. I mean, every one of ’em, just pow. That’ll warm you up fast. – Coming up,conditions can change from minute to minute, hour to hour, and even day to day. After the break, Wade returns out to the same body of water the following day, but this time the weather pattern has shifted significantly. Find out if Wade can manage to figure ’em out. The Fisherman’s Handbook is brought to you in part by Cabela’s: it’s in your nature. Ranger Boats: still building legends one at a time. Engel Coolers: a legend in reliability. And by Bradley Smoker:food smoking made easy. After a full day of fishing in adverse conditions consisting of heavy winds and rain, Wade has decided to return to Sam Rayburn Reservoir in search of more hungry pre-spawn bass. And as the sun has risen on a new day, the conditions have changed drastically. – We’ve got totally different fishing conditions. You know, yesterday we were able to get out for about an hour. I mean, a cold front was coming through. It was raining, it was low pressure, and the fish were snapping on the Aruku Shad in the back little pocket. Now, we’re dealing with mostly clear bluebird skies. Very, very little wind. So we have to in our mind as fishermen, think we’ve gotta adjust and adapt just a little bit. Things are gonna be different while we’re out on the water, so we need to present our bait different. First thing thatcomes to my mindwhen I start seeingthis type of a conditionwith the high bluebird sky,water temperatures what they are is a suspending jerkbait. You know, a suspending jerkbait is phenomenal to be able to throw out, twitch it down, and leave it in the strike zone. And by leaving it in the strike zone,it’s a very subtle thing that allows you to be able to get bites from fish that are otherwise lethargic. Basically, you’re teasing ’em. You’re leaving it in the strike zone. Little suspending jerk bait. Mean a chunky bass right there. This is perfect conditions for suspending jerkbait really. Water temperatures are not quite to 50. He got all the hooks in there. That’s what you like to see. You know, when you’re fishing this bait, it’s not my preferred style. I’ll be the first to admit. Mike McClellan can sit there and throw this thing and let it sit, and watch the paint dry on his house. Whereas I’m more of a fast fisherman, but when you can catch fatties like that. Look at the belly on that fish. Makes it fun. Great start. There’s a lotta things to keep in mind when it comes to jerkbait fishing. First and foremost, a good rod selection. You don’t wanna use a rod that’s gonna be way too heavy and way too stiff in jerkbait fishing. That weight and that stiffness is just gonna wear you out. You’re gonna feel it in your elbows and your forearms. You want something light,you know, designed forjerkbaits and topwaters. It’ll really allow you to get good action without exerting too much energy in it. Secondly, the speed of the reel. I like a slower reel verses a faster reel. You know, you get into those eight, seven to one,eight to one typereels, I mean, basicallyyou’re moving so muchline so fast with those when you’re using a jerkbait. You’re taking it outta the strike zone. And I wanna, you know, a six to one type reel to leave it in that strike zone a little bit longer so I’m not moving it quite as fast. And finally, most people will use fluorocarbon line when it comes to jerkbait fishing and an eight to twelve pound test string. Normally that’s what I do, but I’ll tell you on this trip, I actually changed to monofilament. The reason I changed to monofilament is the grass was so high in the areas that I was fishing that I didn’t want my bait to get quite as deep as fluorocarbon would get it. I wanted to basicallygive up a foot of depth to be able to get it a little bit higher so I could stay in that area of about four feet down, which is what I felt like was the perfect strike zone for the way I was fishing. Old clown colored mixed spec. – And next on the Fisherman’s Handbook, Wade continues to get dialed in on the fish, targeting them with a suspending jerkbait. Don’t miss some of the best fishing action of the day. We’ll be right back. The Fisherman’s Handbook is brought to you in part by Sawyer Products: we keep you outdoors. Engel Coolers: a legend in reliability. And by Big Bite Baits: designed to bring the big bite to your line. – As you look out across here, I mean, it just looks like a big bay. And it’s, you know, there’s a bay with several pockets and little channels through here, but it’s very, it’s full of hydrilla right now. So trying to find areas that you can get a bite in basically where the fish is gonna set up for an ambush point or where they’re basically just sitting there staging in that grass ’cause it’s kinda cold this morning, is tough. So what I’m doing is I’m using electronics. Here’s a great example. You can see the ditch right there. There’s the top of thegrass, how it drops off right there and then flattens off. So I’m looking at my traditional sonar, my mapping, and how my colors are set up so that I can findthe little deeper drain, the little deeper stretch to stay in to throw this jerkbait across it. And then as I get in there using pan optics to try to identify gaps in the holes in front of me, out 40, 50, 100 feet so that I can target those with cast. Go down, twitch, twitch, and then pausethat jerkbait in there. That’s a biggun. That’s gonna be a biggun right there. He took line and he took off. There he is. Oh yeah. There’s a good one. And he’s got a face full of hooks. Come here. Oh yeah. That’s what I’m talkingabout right there. That’s what I’m talking about. There’s a fat one. I mean he crushed the little jerkbait out there right in the middle of the drain. Need the pliers again. On a straight pause. Poom. I mean it’s warming up. Water temperature’s cameup about a degree now. That may be making a difference on why these fish are hitting it a little harder this morning. You know, they were barely just taking every bait we threw. Lot better there. That is as fun as it gets right there. I mean, that was like hooking a freight train right there. You know, I’ve had two orthree of ’em now that have just nailed it. You know, we talkedabout earlier in the day everything was just there. Now, they’re actively hitting it. I can feel ’em, they’retaking it away from me. And as soon as that one,you know, I posited. Bait’s just sitting neutral out there. It’s just sitting there like this. And then all thesudden, boop, it’s gone. I mean, I knew right away we had onewith a little bit bettershoulders that time. We’re just fishing downthe middle of the drain. You know, I’m using my map andto basically tell me, you know, here’s where I need to be. Because I haven’t fished this cove here, you know,since last year we cameover here sight fishing. And, but I’ve got mymap and set up with thereds and the greensand the yellows so that I can actually say here’s where the ditches are and the drain should be to give me a better feel, and then I’ll scan around with the pan optics, and it just helps you put your boat in a better spot where you’re not just always throwing towards the bank. Because right now the bank is covered in hydrilla. And these fish are out on the edge of it. I got him that time. Woo-hoo. This is fun. I mean, they’re just slap banging and nipping at it all along. All I can do is start laughing at this point here. Just when you get ’em going and you start catching fish consistently, that just never gets old. I had two bites on that cast. And I think he both times just kinda come up and licked the tail of it. And then that second time he licked it and we got the hook in him. Regardless of how manywe catch or don’t catchthe rest of this day, wehave had a lotta bites. We started off really, you know, scattered bite here, scattered bite there, very light bites. Now that we’ve got into the afternoon, a few scattered clouds, water temperature’s warmed up about two degrees,they’re really starting to fire, as you would expect, I mean, you know, we laughedthat we don’t wanna getout on the water at 8:00 ’cause we wanna fish til dark a lotta times this time of the year, but, I mean,that’s just kinda my mentality. I’d rather be out here when it’s a little warmer, the fish are gonna be a little more active in the afternoons. Versus the summertime when, you know, I may wanna be out here at daybreak. But, you know, today wewent and ate breakfast and fiddled, and got on the water late, and it’s paying off with a lotta late afternoon bites. May be another biggun. He’s dogging like a biggun. I don’t know. Maybe he’s hooked on the side of the mouth. Yeah, he’s hooked on the side of the mouth. Easy. Easy. That’s one of those ones that just came up and kinda nipped the tail. Bit it like that. He just kinda nipped at it. All of ’em are good. Go back and grow up, buddy. So many variables going into this fishing trip herethat made for thesuccesses and failures. Bait changes, weather changes. Caught fish regardless of what was going on,but had to adapt a lot. You know, the fish were moving,some of them were set up reallyin the deep water haunts, some of them were up shallow, actively chasing that Aruku Shad. Some of ’em we had totease with the jerkbait. It was amazing to see how the bite evolved, you know, from that crushing reaction bite the first afternoon to a very light nibble the next morning, to a better aggressive bite as that final afternoon we were out there. And the sum of all partsis a great fishing trip. Sam Rayburn, without a doubt, one of the best bass fishing lakes in the nation. And there’s a reason why it’s just a healthy fishery and has been for decades. Hopefully it’ll stay that way for a long time. And hopefully you enjoyed some of these tips we shared, some of the insight we showed, and some of the ways we talked about to catch fish in a wide range of conditions in less than 24 hours. Giant bass. Hold him way out here. Yeah, those are still as big as him. Not a lot I can do to make him bigger than what he is.