Bass Season Weeks Away
Inside the Outdoors, May 30
, 2014

There’s nothing like hooking a bass and then taking on the challenge of seeing if one can land the creature. Once brought to shore or pulled to one’s net and lifted to one’s boat, the seeing of what was caught is what the sport is all about.

Whether one is using live bait, a rubber worm or a plastic lizard, the goal is to see if the hooked item does the trick. Sometimes it’s used again and other times replaced with another product.

Recently, a gentleman pulled his car along the curb where I was sitting and yelled out the window, “Hi ya, pal, how you doing?” Before long he was telling me his favorite stories of catching bass on the Loyalhanna creek with his favorite lures, his plastic lizards. Then he stated, “I always love to read when you talk about bass fishing in the Loyalhanna Creek.”

And I can readily understand why, because smallmouth bass are everywhere, particularly from Kingston Dam down. And that’s understandable. After all, that is considered a warm water fishery, and that is where these species thrive.

Just like any other location, in order to understand what to use for bait wherever one goes, it’s best to study the location before one actually does any fishing. Just like hunting, where the Pennsylvania Game Commission suggests one scout the area before taking to the woods, anglers must use similar approaches. This may include treading the waters of the shores, lifting up rocks and actually seeing what enters one’s small net that is held against the stream’s bottom.

Many times, little crayfish may be washed into the enclosure or hellgrammites, excellent bait for catching both trout and bass.

A great imitation lure is the teeny crayfish made by Rebel.

Knowing that big fish like to eat smaller ones, it only makes common sense that lures that imitate minnows, shiners or even younger fish of the same species will look for food when hungry. So utilization of these lures is necessary if one is to latch onto something when fishing a certain waterway.

There’s nothing like the different-colored crank baits by Leland. The best money can buy, they are hard to find, but I have everyone the company produces. By emailing me at, or calling me at 724-539-8850, arrangements can be made to show and sell one these exquisite lures.

Worden’s white Rooster Tail has been the ticket consistently. The reason – its gray-scaled color along with white bottoms looks so much like a small minnow swimming up or downstream, that many species find the spinner a must for any meal.
It must be understood that fishing for bass is phenomenal all the way down to Loyalhanna Lake and below. That is why Loyalhanna Creek has always been a great waterway to master one’s skills.

And yes, there are plenty of largemouth bass to be had in the Loyalhanna as well. But it seems, for some reason, there are more smallies than largemouth.

But it goes without saying that lakes are a great place to find huge bass. Just last year, a neighbor emailed me to tell me he had caught a largemouth out of Keystone State Park Lake exceeding 25 inches. Even though he regrets after returning it to the water he didn’t measure it, the proof was in the pudding, as the saying goes, that the lake holds some very big fish as do many of the other lakes, particularly farm ponds that sometimes seldom get fished heavily or not at all.

This middle-aged man was using a five-inch Crème purple plastic worm.

If bait fishing, remember to keep the presentation simple. Too much weight will deter fish.

There are so many ways to lure out a bass, but before one should even consider doing so, it is always recommended that new line be put on one’s reel. This story has been related a number of times in the past only to bring to the table the fact that if one leaves line on his reel indefinitely, sooner or later it will snap when one attempts to haul in a big fish.

An angler was fishing with a yellow spinner bait near some stickups in a large pond. All of a sudden he felt a sudden tug on his line only to hear the snap of his line shortly thereafter. Why? Because he thought he could get away with using old line.

Line is only meant to last for two years. It would be stupid to state that it doesn’t last longer than that. It is realized that the statement is set in stone. However, if one gets into the practice of automatically doing the right thing, changing his line periodically, then it will become a tradition and a good one at that.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.