Bass Season June 18
Inside the Outdoors, June 10,

Before I begin my column today, I wish to bring to the table a serious mistake I made last week in my column about the success of Matt Demine and his trout adventures. Instead of using his name, I made a Freudian slip and used his mother’s name, Pat, instead. Even in proofing the story, I didn’t catch it. Sorry Matt. This would have been one of my best stories of the year had I done it right and I really messed it up. I extend my apology to both you and your mother.


If I had a dime for everyone who told me they would rather fish for bass rather than for trout, I’d probably be able to pay for an ice cream cone with sprinkles on it. All kidding aside, I find that many more individuals seem to express that they like fishing for bass more so than most other fish.

If that’s true, the bass season opener is just around the corner. This year it is set to begin June18. As it appears, there are some eager beavers waiting to take to the waters.

As a vendor at the Latrobe Vendors’ Market and now the Latrobe Farmers’ and Vendors’ Market, I have plastics available that will catch bass, both smallmouth and largemouth.

Last year, a youth came up to my booth down at Legion Keener Park and blurted out, “What do you have for bass?” I showed him an example, not really knowing, but thinking if he presented this plastic worm imitation, he would haul in a nice-sized species.

The lad told me he went out to Keystone State Park and fished near the first bridge entering the park. Upon making his first cast out onto the waters, he said a large bass surfaced and gulped down the imitation. He was so happy that the worm I advised him to use was a winner. And to think bass will hit on various-sized plastics should provide incentive for all fishers angling for both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Having a former bait store was key here. I learned from others. They are the real heroes here, and not I. However, I gained a reputation of knowing everything there was to learn about the sport, particularly trout and bass fishing.

I probably could have been compared to a bubble gum machine. When people asked about certain aspects of the sport, I wound the knob and answers presented themselves in form of round balls. Once bit into, the solutions presented themselves.

So, here I am, years after closing Pee Vee’s Fishing Lures and Tackles, popping out answers to catching bass this season and suggestions as found in those big colorful balls.

First, I would recommend making sure one has good line on his reel. Don’t go on the assumption that just because the line looks good means it will hold up. I have seen anglers loose big fish because they didn’t put new line on their reels. “Ping” isn’t the favorite sound of sportsmen who love the challenges of the waters.

Second, make sure the rings on one’s round are sanded so that rust buildups over the winter which causing jagged edges that won’t break one’s line when hauling in a trophy catch.

When fishing for bass, switch to a bigger hook. I prefer #6 or even #4s. I’m somewhat swayed to using double hooks rather than trebles on lures. One does not need all those hooks to catch one fish. When a fish wants the bait, it will go after it; I have no doubt about that. If the hook gets caught too far down in the flesh, snip it and slide on a new double. It is so easy, the stress of one’s body will be released and one will enjoy his outing much more.

Try to use more artificial lures than live bait. I know some fishers have a mindset to use live bait only. The only problem with that is that the fish will tend to swallow the real thing. Forget about even trying to get the hook back. Besides that, if swallowed, the hooks will cause harm to the fish physically if it swallows a minnow, for example. I love night crawlers and shiners, but will only use them as a last resort.

One thing I stress tremendously is to minimize the weight one puts on his line. If one uses a rubber worm, put it only on the line let it sink naturally. The hook will be additional weight. Then the combination of both worm and hook just may pull in that trophy that dreams are made of!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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