The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 20, 2012

Ken Maurer's Outdoors could: Get out there, the fish are waiting

Daily Item

---- — The fall foliage is awesome right now. Get out and take a walk. Along with the fall foliage, we also have a very important thing this fall: voting. Get out and vote.

I can't tell you who to vote for, just look beyond the rhetoric and at the record of the candidates and their parties. If you believe in the second amendment, the choice is clear.

I've been on the river a bit lately and the bass are not everywhere, but when you find them, you will have a good time. They are fat and sassy right now, feeding up for the winter. They are really feeling the drop in water temperature, which to them means eat.

The walleye fishing is also very good at times. They can be picky and the bite can turn on and off quickly. Here's an example of how picky they can be: The other evening, I was out with a friend and as dusk arrived, I started catching walleye. After I had landed about five or six, it became evident that they wanted my color. We were both fishing one eighth ounce jigs with twist minnows. I had solid chartreuse on and my buddy had chartreuse with pepper. Those colors are similar.

He wasn't even getting a hit, and we were fishing the same water. I told him I had more of what I was using, but it took a while of me catching and him not before he relented and took one of my color. He then caught four walleyes on four casts. In that situation, color was absolutely critical. Now, don't rush out and buy a thousand solid chartreuse twist minnows because there is a very good chance that the next time I go out, they won't even look at that color. That's why it pays to have a selection of colors and it's worth trying different colors.

There are a lot of factors that create the color puzzle. The main ones are water clarity and ambient light. Is it sunny or cloudy? Is the water clear, stained, or dirty?

On the Susquehanna, throw out the rule book about dark colors on dark days and bright colors on sunny days. Yes, that works sometimes, but on this river sometimes the opposite is best. That's why sometimes even if I am catching fish, I'll try something else just to see if it works better.

I've seen situations with lure color that were unbelievable. One of the best nights I ever had walleye fishing, the water was dirty, and I mean chocolate dirty. I didn't even expect to catch anything, but I had a couple hours available and decided to give it a try. I went through the colors and caught nothing until I put the local favorite (motoroil) on. Then it was one after another. It was dark, the visibility in the water was zero, yet the walleyes were keyed into that motoroil color. I got my flashlight out and shined it on my jig as I dropped it into the water. It disappeared instantly. I tried other colors and they wouldn't hit them. I put the motoroil back on and they killed it.

These are just a few extreme examples of how color can be the difference between getting skunked and knocking it out of the park. Get out there, the fish are waiting.

n Ken Maurer, Herndon, is a licensed fishing guide and a regular contributor to the Outdoor Section.