“Lip Grip is OUT!”

Below is an excerpt from J. Leslie Booth’s (of  www.ofieldstream.com) titled “Lip Grip is OUT!”

The Problem: Gripping the lower lip (dentary), while holding the fish horizontal.  Thus, forcing the entire body weight of the fish to be supported at the operculum fulcrum point [OFJ](jaw).

The Result: The muscles connecting to the OFJ are subjected to extreme flexion. At the minimum, severe muscle stress and strain, resulting in the inability to use these muscles for eating. This puts a fish at high risk of fatal release.  At maximum, muscle and cartilage are damaged, along with the connecting tissue, with possible socket dislocation. This would be a broken jaw and a 100% post release mortality.


Cause of the PROBLEM: It’s a muscle thing.  Bass (all sunfish) eat by sucking the prey into their buccal cavity (mouth). Open Jaw > Suck in water and prey > close Jaw > expel water out gills > swallow food. It is that simple.  However, the force generated to perform the ’suck’, is considerable and requires a great deal of muscle strength.  The muscles needed to do this are all jointly connected to the operculum fulcrum joint.  That point where, in an improperly held fish, all the pressure of the fishes body weight – suspended without support – is focused.  When those muscles are strained or injured; let alone torn; the ability to generate the suction necessary to capture prey is greatly reduced or eliminated.

Recovery time is proportionate to the severity of the injury.  In studies conducted on the suction power generated during feeding, results have shown the stresses generated during the feeding process to be just short of resulting in injury themselves. Thus, a fish with an injured muscle or set of muscles, needed for feeding, is just not going to be able to eat.  A fish that cannot eat is a dead fish.  Compound this situation with a competitive population density for available prey, the mortality probability rises to unacceptable levels.  This is a problem that can – and should – be totally avoided.

Solutions: There are several workable solutions to alleviate the problem inherent in the ‘lip grip’ technique.

  • Simply holding the fish with two hands, in a horizontal position will work best.
  • A purely vertical hold, by the lower lip (dentary) will work on smaller fish.
  • Large bodied bass – actually all fish over >3lbs – suffer an elevated potential for internal damage from the vertical position and thus should be avoided.
  • Use of mechanical lip-grip tools have been widely publicized. These tools work very well on restraining large fish – especially those with teeth that obviate a ‘lip grip’ by hand or to remove aggressive hooking methods (treble and barbed hooks) in fresh and saltwater. They are, however, not without their damage potential and controversy.
  • Studies on popular sport angling fish species, like the tarpon and bone fish, have shown mortality rates as high as in the 80% range. Far too high to maintain any kind of a sustainable release population.


Winter Storage of your Rods and Reels

As winter approaches and the lakes begin to freeze over, most of the anglers in the Northern states have put away their fishing gear for the winter.  Like most fishermen I know the garage  has the most space and it’s where they’ve been stored during the fishing season, however, the cold temperatures aren’t doing your reels much good.  So here are few tips to prolonging your equipments usefulness and being prepared for the upcoming fishing season.

  1. Storage is tough for equipment that is 5,6,7 feet or longer, so leave the rods in the garage but remove the reels

  2. Take all the line off the reels, do not put new line on at this time. This will ensure when next season comes around you will be putting fresh line on the reels.

  3. Clean and oil/grease the reels; there is a lot of information on the web on where and how to properly do this

  4. Wrap them up in some old towels/rags and place them in a container/box inside the house.  This will prevent the oil/grease inside the reel from congealing and caking from the cold temperatures which can really degrade the performance.

As for your rods, check them over for any chips, cracks, worn guides; (use a q-tip and run it around the inside of each guide, if any cotton pulls off there may be a problem with that guide). Wipe them down with a mild cleaner, I like to use windex sprayed on a rag.

That’s it, simple steps to being prepared for the following season.

Selecting a Rod & Reel for Bass Fishing – Part 2: Bass Reels from Bass Fishing Tips and Tactics

Selecting a Rod & Reel for Bass Fishing – Part 2: Bass Reels | Bass Fishing Tips & Tactics.

This is Part 2 of Selecting a Rod and Reel published by Bass Fishing Tips and Tactics.  Another excellent article that should be read along with many of the other posts at bassfishingtips-tactics.com .

How To Buy a Rod and Reel for Bass Fishing – Selecting The Rod from Bass Fishing Tips

How To Buy a Rod and Reel for Bass Fishing – Selecting The Rod | Bass Fishing Tips & Tactic .

“One of the most important tools in your bass fishing toolbox is the proper selection of rod and reel combo.  Selecting the right bass fishing rods, however can be more than a little confusing since there are literally hundreds on the market today” – Bass Fishing Tips.

I encourage you to read this and check out some of the other articles on this site.

Early Spring Fishing in Northern NJ

Early spring bass fishing in Northern NJ can be some of the best of the season.  As the water begins to warm the bass will begin their migration from the deeper water to staging areas near the spawning grounds.  The majority of the lakes and ponds in the area still have water temps in the high 30’s, low 40’s but only a 1 to 2 degree change in water temps can trigger the bass to feed.

1 PM to 4 PM tend to be the best times as air & water temps are at their warmest.  But be prepared it’s still cold and the proper lures for this time are required.  I prefer the “low & slow” type of lures and presentations.

The suspending jerkbait (Rapala X-Ray 8 & 10) in light colors is one of my favorites.  The jerkbait is a minnow-type of lure that usually invokes strikes as it sits suspended in the water column.  I prefer to throw the lure past the area I’m targeting, make 3 – 4 turns of the reel to get the bait into the water column, let it sit – sometimes as long as 15 – 20 seconds, than give it a few easy twitches, stop let it sit, and repeat.  You will have to experiment with the cadence – the twitches may need to be more aggressive and the pauses longer, or the twitches may need to be multiple easy ones with only a slight pause.  The majority of the strikes will occur as the lure sits suspended.

Another favorite is the jig.  I prefer black and brown colored skirts with a matching colored trailer — my favorite trailer is a pork rind.  The weight is usually 1/4 to 5/8 of an ounce.  Pitching around lay downs and rocks in the transition areas is always a good bet.  Remember, to keep the jig in contact with the bottom and slowly “pop” it.  If you are new to the use of the jig, I suggest you throw it in very swallow water and see the action as you lightly “pop” your rod tip.  You’ll be amazed at how much action is given to the jig, if you are too aggressive the jig will hop like a rabbit and not like the craw fish it’s supposed to resemble.

And than there is the spinnerbait.  You can cover a lot of water both vertically and horizontally, you can vary the retrieve speed, you can bump it off of rocks, docks and lay downs, which often triggers a fish to strike.  Remember to work the bait slowly and try an irregular retrieve – don’t just throw and retrieve it straight in, move your tip from side to side, pop the tip a few times, these erratic movements help slow the bait down and give the fish that opportunity to strike.  I prefer 3/8 – 1/2 of an ounce, silver willow leaf blades, with light color skirts at this time of year.

Finally the worm & senko always a favorite of fisherman regardless of the time of year.  Try to keep the sizes on the smaller side, 6 – 8 inches in colors of, black, pumpkin seed, black/purple & browns.

Tight Lines & Bent Rods



Early evening catch

3-28 bass

Stopped by the lake at 4:30, 2nd cast took a 2 3/4 lb LMB on a ultra light rod with a Rapala X- rap 8. Water temp 42, light rain with snow flurries & small hail; 6 mph winds out of the north west. Great way to end the day.
Tight lines & Bent Rods.

How To Reduce Twists Using Spinning Reels [Video] : BassFishin.Com

How To Reduce Twists Using Spinning Reels [Video] : BassFishin.Com.

Check out the video, some very good tips in reducing twists.  Come on I know you all have experienced the annoying line twist with your spinning reel, I have and I’ve seen or should I say I’ve heard you from halfway across the lake ;-).