Freshwater Fishin’

Freshwater fishing means fishing in waters that are generally considered to contain fresh water, with minimal or no salt content. It’s one of the more versatile types of fishing, with various species of fish, and many ways to fish for them.

About 40 percent of all fish are freshwater species. Common freshwater species are bass, trout, certain species of salmon, walleye, musky, crappie, catfish, and many others.

Freshwater fishing can be done in many ways – from shore or a boat, from a bridge or dock, in lakes and ponds, and rivers and streams. There are a variety of freshwater fishing techniques, in addition to gear, baits and lures, depending on the type of fish you’re after.

With all the different possibilities, there’s something for everyone. What are you waiting for?

Filleting Your Fish

Filleting Fish

Filleting Your Fish

Filleting means getting the meat of the fish without the bones. Larger fish, like largemouth bass, northern pike, salmon and walleye are usually filleted. A filleted fish has its skin and all of its bones removed before cooking. Scaling isn’t necessary.

Fillet knives have a long, thin blade that’s very sharp and specifically designed for filleting fish. To work properly, they must be really, really sharp. If you have any slime on your hands or the fillet knife handle, wash it off to prevent slipping.

You can also wear metal-mesh fish-cleaning gloves to protect your hands.

  1. Lay the fish on its side on a flat surface.
  2. Cut the fish behind its gills and pectoral fin down to, but not through, the backbone.
  3. Without removing the knife, turn the blade and cut through the ribs toward the tail using the fish’s backbone to guide you.
  4. Turn the fish over and repeat the steps.
  5. Insert the knife blade close to the rib bones and slice away the entire rib section of each fillet.
  6. With the skin side down, insert the knife blade about a 1/2-inch from the tail, gripping firmly and put the blade between the skin and the meat at an angle.
  7. Using a little pressure and a sawing motion, cut against, but not through, the skin.
  8. Remove the fillets from the skin.
  9. Wash each fillet in cold water.
  10. Pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. The fillets are ready to cook or freeze.

Playing the fish and Setting the drag

Playing the fish:

When a fish feels the hook, it struggles to get free. This might involve jumping, making a long run, swimming back against the line or swimming around obstacles. Each species of fish fights differently.

Fish hooked in shallow water are more likely to jump and behave more frantically than those hooked in deep water. Deep-water fish often seek the bottom.

It’s possible to land many small fish just by reeling them in. They’ll fight, but they aren’t as strong as the line and the rod. Use lighter tackle and you can get some fight out of the smallest fish in the lake.

If you’re catch and release fishing, don’t fight too long or the fish will die from exhaustion before or after you release it.

Setting the Drag:

If a fish makes a run for it, don’t panic. And don’t try to reel in while the fish is swimming away from your line. Relax and let the drag and rod do the work. After you’ve set the hook, set your drag. If you’re using 12-pound test, you should use about 4 pounds of drag. Just keep the rod at about a 45-degree angle to the water aim it straight at the fish.

When the fish slows down and stops taking more line, it’s time to go to work. The best technique for the catch is to gently pull the rod up and then reel down as you lower it, using a pumping motion. Do it in small, smooth strokes rather than large abrupt sweeps because it will help keep both the line tight and the fish much calmer.

If the fish runs again, let it go and you will probably notice that this run is shorter and slower. But don’t let the fish rest. If you can’t hear your drag working, you should be reeling.

Don’t be anxious. Even if you get the fish close to the boat, that doesn’t mean it’s done fighting. If it turns and runs, let it go. Your line is pretty short at this point, and pump-and-reel action could break it.

COBIA!!! What you need to know.


Also known as: Black Kingfish, Black Salmon, Cabio, Crab-eater, Lemonfish, Ling, Runner, Sergeant Fish

Cobia are found worldwide in tropical and warm, temperate waters both offshore and inshore. Adult cobia seem to prefer shallow continental shelf waters. They particularly like buoys, pilings, wrecks, anchored boats, flotsam, etc., and will sometimes congregate around these objects.

It is the only known member of the family Rachycentridae. It has a long, broad, depressed head. The overall appearance of the fish is similar to that of a small shark, given the shape of the body, the powerful tail fin, and the elevated anterior portion of the second dorsal fin. Even more striking is its resemblance to the remora. The most noticeable difference between these two species is the suction pad on the remoras head. The cobia is known to swim with sharks and other large species as the remora does.

The cobia’s coloration and markings are distinctive. The back is dark chocolate brown while the sides are lighter with alternate horizontal stripes of brown and silver or bronze and white. The markings on smaller specimens are more vivid; the black and dark stripes are blacker, making the lighter areas stand out more.

The cobia is a highly rated, hard-hitting game fish that is prone to long, powerful, determined runs and occasional leaps. Often when one is hooked the entire school will surface along with it. Preferred fishing methods are trolling with lures or baits, bottom fishing, jigging, chumming, and spin casting. They can be caught on crustaceans (which is why they are nicknamed crab-eaters in Australia) as well as on smaller fishes. Good baits are squid, crabs, small live baits, cut baits, and strip baits. Spoons, plugs, and weighted feathers can also be used. They rate high as table fare.

Fishing Tips for the Novice Fisherman!

Basic Fishing Tips

Fishing is a fun sport that requires some skill and timing. Depending on where you fish, your tactics will be different. Brackish or colder water may call for a certain style of fishing, while calm fresh water might need a different style. Regardless of the type of fish or water, there are some fishing tips that everyone should follow.

  • For lake and river fishing, go where the water turns from shallow to deep. Fish like to congregate and look for food in this area.
  • Shiny fishing lures can attract certain fish, but the reflection of the sun can blind them and cause confusion.
  • Use a matted metal fishing lure instead if possible, to avoid too much reflection.
  • Cast close to the shoreline for more bites.
  • Look for mossy areas, as fish prefer to swim in these areas to forage for food.
  • A lot of people use worms as bait, but locusts are also a great choice. Larger fish like bass really enjoy these insects.
  • Check the local fishing reports that day for updates on areas where they’re biting.
  • Sunrise is an excellent time to fish, try to go out early in the morning.
  • Pay close attention to the movement of your line. Learn how to understand the difference between a curious fish and one that is biting so you can hook and reel it in.
  • Research the region you will be fishing in to find out what kinds of fish live there and the things they like.
  • Be patient. Patience really is the key to good fishing. Bring a book or radio if you plan to out for a long time and remember that all good things come to those who wait.

Best times for fishing!

Summer/Early Morning-Late Afternoon

Fishing is excellent from before sunup to just before mid-morning. At this time of year there is abundant food and cover for fish, so finding hungry fish can be a challenge.

Summer/Late Morning-Early Afternoon

Fishing is poor for most of the day. Fish move to deep water to cool off.

Summer/Afternoon-Early Evening

Fishing is excellent from early sundown until dark as the waters cool and fish rise up from the depths.

Fall/Early Morning

Fish aren’t biting much from sunup to early morning. The water is cool because the sun is too low to penetrate the water.

Fall/Late Morning-Noon

Fish are biting off and on in warmer, shallow water. The water is generally cool due to the season.

Fall/Afternoon-Early Evening

Fishing is excellent. Sun is directly overhead for several hours and the water gets more comfortable near the surface. This makes for seasonally good fishing because fish are putting on weight for the winter. Look for bait schools where bigger fish are more likely to be.

Landing your Fish!

As your fish gets closer to the boat, drop your entire rod and reel to your waist. If the fish goes under the boat, get your rod tip in the water and follow it. If you can see the fish, you’ll know when it’s tired. It’ll roll over on his side. And if you can’t see the fish, you’ll be able to feel it.

Mouth Pick Up:  Carefully avoiding hooks, many bass anglers use the thumb and index finger to grip a bass by its lower jaw. This holds the jaw wide open and temporarily paralyzes the fish. You can also land pan fish by pulling the fish towards you with the rod. Then grab the fish by the mouth or around the belly to remove the hook.

Gaff Landing:  Don’t gaff a fish unless you’re planning to take it home. In most cases, you should try to land your catch with a net. If you gaff a red snapper or a grouper that’s too small to take home, you’ll be releasing a fish with a gaping hole in its side that’s not likely to survive.  Today’s nets are made to withstand a lot of weight when handled properly.

Netting:  Always try to land a bigger fish with a net. Place the net in the water and lead the fish into the net head first. Don’t stab the net at the fish. If you don’t get it the first time, re-aim and try again. Keep the fish in the water if you plan on releasing it. If you plan on eating the fish, get it out of the water as quickly as possible and take the hook out away from the water.


Catch and Release: Unhooking a fish

Unhooking a Fish

If you’re practicing catch and release, try to remove the hook without exciting or harming the fish. The eyelet (small hole) of the hook is the best place to grab the hook. Back the hook out the same way it went in.

There are special tools designed for taking out hooks. But needle-nosed pliers work pretty well. If you need to, use a hook remover or pliers to flatten the barb. Depending on how the fish is hooked, you might be able to cut away a small amount of flesh to get the hook out.

Professionals sometimes flatten the barbs on their hooks before they start fishing to cause less harm to the fish they catch. In some areas, you can only fish with barbless hooks.

Making memories with your KIDS!

Being on the water provides an excellent opportunity to teach kids about their environment, and boating, fishing and safety skills. Try to incorporate these teachings into fun activities and gradually introduce your kids to new things as they are ready. For example, you might want to create a game that teaches nautical terminology such as port, starboard, stern, and bow. Once your kids master this terminology, help them learn how to safely drive the boat or cast a fishing line. Boating and fishing provide unlimited learning and memories that lasts a lifetime! And Goodtimes is glad to be apart of making those memories for you and your family.

How to avoid getting SEASICK

Seasickness is caused when the minute inner ear organs that enable a human to balance are disturbed by the motion of the boat swaying and pitching. This movement sets off alarm signals to the brain causing nausea, headache, dizziness, and sometimes vomiting.  This can be a person’s worst nightmare at sea.

Seasickness affects many people to varying degrees – even sailors with years of experience. Looking on the bright side, the body adapts after time.

Fortunately, several remedies can be taken before setting sail. Pills can be obtained over the counter which help most people by sedating the balancing organs. The pills can cause drowsiness and should be taken with care. Some people find special wrist bands effective. There are also stick-on patches that can be worn on the skin behind the ear, but these are obtained by doctor’s prescription only.

You can often avoid seasickness by staying busy and keeping your mind occupied by taking over the helm or any other activity that will keep you above decks. Look at the distant horizon rather than the water close at hand. Take deep breaths and drink plenty of water. The worst thing that a person can do is go below decks with no land or horizon to look at. Reading or staring at an object will assuredly bring on the affects of seasickness.

If you are seasick and can’t bear it anymore, lie down on your back with your eyes closed. This will greatly reduce the affects.

Bottom line – if your eyes see what your ears are feeling, you will certainly have a better chance of a great day sailing.