Ever run into someone who has such an abundance of interesting thoughts that you’d wish they’d write a book?
If you’re among the fortunate who have had occasion to listen to or fish with Dave Pitts, you’ve probably had some of those thoughts. I know I have after hearing what some of his friends say about him as well as corresponding with him myself.
If you read my previous column you know that Dave first got into tournament fishing on the Sacramento River in California more than 20 years ago. He established his winning ways early on for striped bass and now has taken them into the field of salmon angling.
Dave will tell you that Mack’s Lure products, especially the Sledge Hammer, have been a major factor in his salmon fishing success. I’ll share some of his thoughts on how best to use this proven salmon catcher in my next column.
|The Mack's Lure Sledge Hammer is the favorite lure of an increasing number of salmon anglers. Dave Pitts, a California salmon catching expert, was among the first to discover how productive these lures can be when properly used.
Let’s look first at some of Dave’s other thoughts where salmon angling is concerned. As I wrote about in my last column, Brian Sutton is an outdoor writing friend from Sacramento, California. Brian has kept an eye on Dave ever since he started winning striped bass tournaments in the early 1980s.
Brian asked Dave why he didn’t spend as much time salmon fishing as do others who catch less fish. “There’s no need to be out there all the time,” Dave says. “Ask yourself some questions before determining when you need to be on the water. Is there a salmon run right now on the river you want to fish? If there is a run is it just beginning, at its apex or near its end? I have friends who rib me about not fishing as often as they do. They want to know how I still catch fish. It’s easy. It’s not the quantity of times you’re out there; it’s being there when it’s a quality time to be there.”
Dave is not the first widely recognized expert who has shared that kind of thinking with me. Gary Loomis, the likeable guy who founded G.Loomis Rods, is another angler who immediately comes to mind. Gary was one of Southwest Washington’s best steelhead anglers before he ever got into the rod building business. “Stan,” he’s told me many times, “make sure you’re there when the fish are.”
The game and fish department of the state where you are planning to fish can often provide this kind of information. With some of them it’s available via the Internet. Another method, and it’s a darn good idea, is to start right now keeping your own records.
Every time you go out note the time of year, time of day, water conditions including temperature and clarity as well as your success or lack of it. You will also, of course, want to note the exact areas of the river fished along with lures you used and how they were being presented when you had success with them.
There is a bundle of other things you might want to record but those are the high spots. I kept such bass fishing records myself for decades and I know just helpful they can be.
Pitts does some other things when he’s on the water for salmon. One is that he’s always watching for spots where bait fish are boiling on the surface. “There’s something under the bait ball that’s keeping it up there,” he says.
|Is it any wonder why Dave Pitts favors a Sledge Hammer for his salmon fishing? Who wouldn't if it took fish like the one he's pictured with here.
He also maintains that water clarity is everything for big king salmon just coming in from salt water. “Those big kings right out of the ocean,” Dave says, “can taste parts per billion when entering fresh water. They can taste the difference between a herring and an anchovy. They also know, after being in the salt eating for three to five years, which food source produces the most energy for the least amount of effort.” Dave will also tell you that knowing what these fish want is why he uses herring fillets on his Mack’s Lure Sledge Hammers.
As I promised earlier, I’m going to do one more column about Dave Pitts and his proven approach to salmon angling. In it I’ll share his prize-winning thoughts as well as his advice on how to go about fishing the Mack’s Lure Sledge Hammer he uses so effectively.
Some anglers wind up swearing at their lures. Talk to Dave long and you’ll find out in a hurry that the Sledge Hammer lure is something he swears by.
My next column is scheduled to begin Sept 1.
_To Be Continued_