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jimithyashford

Advice, Springfield Area: Struggles of a Bad Angler

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Howdy All, I am a bad angler who lives in Springfield. 

I say I am a bad angler cause I almost never catch fish, despite spending a heck of a lot of time on the water. I made a seperate post for Lake Stockton, but this post applies to general fishing anywhere within about an hour of Springfield.

I have fished Lake Springfield and James River up as far as the 60 Bridge from a kayak many times. I usually cast crankbaits and rooster tails around structure and up under overhanging trees or as close to vegetation as I can get. I've caught one decent bass in probably 10 or so hours on the water doing this, and a dozen or so little panfish or occasionally a small crappie.

I have sat under the south Campbell bridge and north of the Kinser bridge late at night with chicken livers sitting on the bottom for hours trying to catch catfish, and have never caught a single one. The only catfish I cause was once while using a ned rig to try and get bass.

I have sat for many many hours at Fellows lake with chicken livers soaking on the bottom at night and never caught a catfish there. I feel like I've spent at least 9 hours on fellows and seriously don't think I ever even got a bite, but that was like 4 years ago and I gave up on that lake.

I almost always fish in the summer.

 

Now I know fishing is very hit and miss, very feast and famine. Sometimes they just don't bite, sometimes they do, but I have a hell of a time trying to get on to fish. The majority of my fishing trips result in me getting skunked, or maybe if I am lucky one fish. In years of trying I have literally NEVER had a "good" fishing trip where I "catch my limit of keepers" or even get more than one or two decent fish.

I feel like the only time I can get some decent fishing is if I pack up and make the longer trip to the Gasconade or Jack's Fork or Piney or Northfork, but then I have the added expense of having to hire and outfitter to shuttle me.

Now, I am going to assume that the rivers and lakes within an hour of Springfield aren't just devoid of fish, and that in fact I am just a terrible angler. But I read articles and watch videos about what kind of bait to use and what kind of water to put it in, and I feel like I follow that basics, but I just cannot seem to catch any fish.

 

So, if anyone has any advice of just, ya know, how to catch some fish in the Springfield area, what I could be doing better or different, I would dearly appreciate it. I understand getting skunked happens, but it's gotten to the point that I go out expecting to get skunked and am pleasantly surprised when I occasionally catch one fish.

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Can’t really give you much advice but if it’s any consolation, I’ve definitely been there. Took me several months from catching my first ever fish to my 2nd and it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Several years where it was like what you were saying, go expecting to get skunked. It does get better. Maybe not by much but at least nowadays I usually catch something on trips where I give it some time. I fish same way too. Lots of roostertails and cranks. One thing I’ve had pretty decent luck with as far as catfishing, is regular Shrimp. I frequently save a couple pieces of it when I buy a bag of it at the grocery store and a lot of the time  something will hit. 

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A place you could try is the cove at Crabtree.  Put in at the launch and fish all the way around it.  About 1/3 of the way back there are a bunch of brush piles out near the middle that generally hold fish.  I would fish them with a Texas rigged worm or craw.  I would do the Texas not the Tex skin because of the brush limbs and hang ups.

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If you're not opposed to fishing for trout head to Taneycomo.  If money permits book a trip with this forums very own Duane Doty of oazarktroutrunners.  Watch Phil's one cast on his Facebook or YouTube.  Go back and watch them from a year ago as well.  From there you will be armed with the knowledge know how that if you make the 45min drive to Taneycomo there should be no reason for you to go and not catch fish.  In fact you should have a good fishing trip more likely.  Worse case hang at the outlets and throw a pellet in the kiddie pool lol.  

Bennett springs would be my other location again if you want to catch trout.  Likely easier even there if you go during the week when it's not busy.

Equipment does come into play, but man sounds like you've had some rough goes of it.  Good luck out there.  If I lived in Springfield I'd be in trouble being that close to such great water...

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3 hours ago, jimithyashford said:

I feel like the only time I can get some decent fishing is if I pack up and make the longer trip to the Gasconade or Jack's Fork or Piney or Northfork, but then I have the added expense of having to hire and outfitter to shuttle me.

So you have to ask yourself how much your time is worth. If you think that hiring a shuttle service is too expensive then I guess your time is not worth much. 

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3 hours ago, jimithyashford said:


I say I am a bad angler cause I almost never catch fish, despite spending a heck of a lot of time on the water.

Who was it (someone important that knows the meaning of life I think) that said ...."Guys fish all their lives never realizing that it's not the fish they are after" ?

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I would almost dismiss all your cat fishing adventures. Take me to Table Rock and let me put out a trot line or jugs or limb lines and I can catch catfish. You put me on the bank soaking livers, live bait, or stink bait and I cant count on 1 hand the number of fish I have caught over 10+ years. I just cannot sit in one spot long enough and I am convinced not all bank fishing locations are really good cat fishing spots. Me and a buddy spent a whole summer bank fishing late into the night, every night when I was 18-19 for cats and outside of maybe 2 night most of the time we didn't catch a thing. 

I would also expand the time your fishing. My idea of summer is mid June to late August also the one time of the year I try to avoid fishing if at all possible. To me not much is happening that time of year except in the rivers where you have been successful. Get out in spring, fall, and even winter and I bet your luck picks up. 

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Three thoughts-

FIrst, fish more in the spring and fall. You don't have to quit fishing in the summer, but fish in the cooler months are generally more active, and located in shallower, easier to fish places. Catching them when they want to eat, will give you more practice feeling bites and makes you a better fisherman, and that will give you more confidence to fish when they aren't biting, like now, in the heat of the summer.

Second, put the cranks and rooster tails down, and fish soft plastics and jigs a lot more, specifically the ned rig, and small paddle tail swimbaits, as well as weightless worms like the senko and zoom super fluke. Moving baits like crankbaits and rooster tails are reaction baits, and generally do better when you are fishing active fish. Soft plastics will get bites from active and passive fish, hang up less, and generally catch more fish most of the time.

Third, learn to fish the windy banks. It is harder to fish, sure, but fishing is al about the food chain. Wind blows the plankton up, and the baitfish eat the plankton, and the gamefish eat the baitfish. All of that happens the most on a bank that the wind is blowing in on. When you get to a new body of water, start on the side the wind is blowing in on. A place where the bank changes, flat to steep or vice versa, with wind blowing in on it, is a great place to start your search.

 

good luck!

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