How to Beat Cabin Fever
By Dan Grulke

Sometimes Mother Nature freezes our best laid fishing plans and in the Mid-Atlantic region the month of February is the biggest offender. Even the best winter hot-spots can go cold and snow and ice storms can make it impossible to even get to these destinations. Without an outlet, the outdoorsman’s mental stability can get crazier than a three tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. My solution is to prepare for the up-coming season by following the following outline.

Take inventory of your fishing gear. Go through each tackle box and replace your hooks and split rings if they are rusty, bent, or very dull. Rapala makes a great set of hook cutters and split ring pliers to make this chore easy. Order some Sure-Set VMC treble hooks to replace those needed. If your jerk bait’s feather tail has been ripped to shreds by bruiser bass order VMC replacements, they have many colors to choose from so mix and match to get that perfect color combination.

Replace your fishing line. The number one failure and biggest heart breaker is losing the trophy of a lifetime to a line that breaks. If you fish a lot you should order bulk spools of line as you should replace line, if you are fishing a lot, on a regular basis. Sufix has many types of line to choose from for different techniques. For finesse fishing look at the Sufix fluorocarbon lines, for heavy cover nothing beats Sufix 832 braid (they have this in green, hi-vis lime, and “ghost”), for surf-fishing Sufix Tritanium Plus, and mono enthusiasts can choose from Pro-Mix, Deep Cranking, Siege, and Elite. Match the line to the technique being used and the color to match the water.

Take inventory of failed fishing trips and make a list of new lures and techniques in order to improve your success. If you got skunked on the Potomac throwing a frog make it a point to buy some Case Plastics drop shot worms or jacks worm and try a drop shot rig. Perhaps you only caught small bass on the Upper Potomac trip well call Johnny at Riverfront Campground and pick up some 4” Campground Special tubes. If the bass on the Susky were finicky or you need a great reaction bait buy some Rapala Clackin Raps and retrieve those along the bottom. Did the Potomac River bass stop hitting your favorite top-water bait then try the new X-Rap Pop top-water popper. Sometimes new lures and techniques can reward you with better results.

Make a list of new bodies of water to fish. The Mid-Atlantic Region is home to many trophy fisheries and no other guiding company covers as much water or has the extensive knowledge as Life Outdoors Unlimited. LOU guides will increase your success on new waters, improve your catch rate, increase you repertoire of fishing techniques, and reduce your learning curve. Whether you are a beginning angler, a trophy hunter, or a tournament fisherman we have a guide qualified to help you. Go to our web-site (www.penrodsguides.com) call one of our guides, ask us questions, and read our articles so we can help you.

Finally I will leave you with three suggestions to try for the 2012 season. 1) Try the new N-Seine Rig from Mizmo. If you have been hibernating you may have missed that the Alabama Rig is setting the fishing world on fire. If you are a trophy fisherman you must try this technique. You will need a heavy power rod, capable of throwing 2-3 ounces, fast action rod and at least 17 pound test line (preferably fluorocarbon). Rig it with your favorite jig head and swim baits, though it’s hard to beat a 3.25” Mizmo Rabid Shad. 2) Try the Rapala X-Rap Pop on the Tidal Potomac during low tide next to grass edges and weed lines. Use Sufix 832 braid (40 pound test) with a Sufix fluorocarbon leader of 12-16 inches in 14 or 17 pound test. 3) Give the Rapala Clackin Rap or Dives-To-Thug a chance to make your day on the Susquehanna River. Cast these lures out and retrieve them so they bounce of the rocky bottom triggering explosive strikes from trophy smallmouth.

For more information or questions on this article contact Dan Grulke at musky13@yahoo.com. Be sure to visit www.penrodsguides.com to book a trip, ask questions, and to read our articles and fishing reports.