Tried and true can be better than new

Published 6:46pm Saturday, May 12, 2012

The fishing season is now open for walleye and northern with the bass and muskie openers to follow. The large and smallmouth bass seasons will open on May 26 with the muskie opener to follow on June 6.

Locally, there are plenty of walleye swimming in our area lakes, so you shouldn’t have to venture far on the opener to experience some good fishing.

The one good thing about our area is that you don’t need a boat to cash in on some good fishing.

There are some folks that have been catching dandy sunnies in Fountain Lake since ice-out. The secret to their success you may ask?

Worms, just plain old earthworms that we used to dig up in the garden for fishing as kids.

It’s funny how the old tried-and-true methods of catching fish still work in spite of all the experts telling us about the latest technology and the new and improved methods and lures that seem to guarantee you will catch the same fish we’ve all been seeking for years.

Sometimes simple is better, but over the years like most fishermen, I’ve been lured to the sporting goods department of a store seeking that new sure-fire fish-catching phenom.

A few years ago I was watching a fishing show, and there was a commercial about this muskie bait that showed a guy asleep in his bed dreaming about catching this giant muskie.

After watching that commercial numerous times I just had to have that lure. After locating it in a store just a little ways north of here, I decided to invest and bought that sure-fire fish catcher.

I’m still waiting for it to bring in that lunker like the one in that guys’ dream. I’m sure that it will be any year now.

Funny thing is, I haven’t seen that lure advertised on TV since I made the purchase.

One thing that I am confident in is my ability to catch fish with a lure that has produced fish for me in the past.

I’m sure that if you have confidence in a lure you will tend to use it more often. I still have my favorite shad rap, shad colored, and my favorite bucktail is black with a silver spinner. A black and silver rebel has caught more fish for me than a floating rapala of the same color and size.

I first learned about the rebel many years ago when working at Wilson & Co. A fellow worker did a lot of fishing with a well-known fisherman from Austin, and he always used that particular lure when fishing for muskies.

He did a little modifying of the original by replacing the original treble hooks with mustad treble hooks because they were sharper and would hold a bite better.

After using the lure a couple of times I was hooked, and it has been one of my go-to lures ever since. It was the first hard plastic rebel lure produced.

At one time I had many in the black and silver color and some in gold and black. Over the years they had taken a beating and the ones that I haven’t lost on fish are still my go-to lures whenever I am casting for muskie, pike or bass.

In my mind I can still see the explosion as a big fish hit the lure as soon as it touched the water. I almost forgot to mention that my own personal best walleye was caught on that same lure.

As I write this column I am thinking that I will need to take inventory of my tackle box just in case there is a need to restock it with some last-minute necessities. This is what fishermen do when starting another fishing season.

The Department of Natural Resources has expanded fishing opportunites.

Anglers can wet their lines at 20 new and improved fishing piers across the state during this year’s fishing opener and throughout many fishing seasons to follow, according to the DNR.

With $592,000 in funding from the Parks and Trails Fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, the DNR replaced 15 fishing piers and installed five new ones in 2011.

The DNR installed the new fishing piers at:

Grant Lake in Beltrami County.

Big Lake in Carlton County.

Sylvan Bay on the Mississippi River in Itasca County.

Lake Shetek at Lake Shetek State Park in Murray County.

Albert Lea Lake at Myre-Big Island State Park in Freeborn County.

“Fishing piers provide a safe and convenient place to fish, instead of from bridges or steep embankments or fragile shoreland areas,” said Nancy Stewart, fishing pier coordinator for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “They can be the heart of a community or a main component of a state, county or city park and are often used to facilitate fishing clinics that help introduce new participants to fishing.”

Funding for this grant program is from the Parks and Trails Fund created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008.

The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the sales tax revenue and may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

Until next time, get your tackle ready and do a little fishing; it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

Dick Herfindahl’s column appears each Sunday in the Tribune.