Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bruiser Bass and Turkey Salad

Chasing Bruiser Bass
As water temperatures begin to slowly rise, bass become increasingly active. This leads to great fishing, with activity remaining steady up to the end of the summer. The combination of abundant forage and jacked metabolisms, make bass exceedingly voracious and they attack lures with contempt and struggle against lines with every ounce of their being. Angling excitement runs high, as aggressive strikes create watery explosions and hooked fish fly high into the air, in displays of astounding acrobatics.

Fishing for bass is all about location, find underwater structure and the bass will be there. While many waters may be fished from shore with success, reaching the best fishing spots requires breaking free from the crowded boat launches and accessing areas that see limited fishing pressure. All manner of large and small watercraft can be used to bass fish effectively, as long as care is taken to respect the anticipated weather conditions. Maine lakes are notoriously fickle and a beautiful day on the water can quickly turn life threatening. Depth maps and fish finders help anglers study bottom structure and locate fish but nothing quite compares to general firsthand knowledge of a lake or pond. Bright sunshine, calm water and polarized sunglasses, greatly facilitate the process of finding areas containing ambush cover for hungry bass. Locating beaver lodges, underwater weed beds, sunken logs and stumps, rocks, shoals, ledges, drop offs and submerged islands, will put you leaps ahead of other fishermen. Mark these areas with a GPS or write down locations and you will be served for years to come with fishing hotspots.

Fishing with friends, vastly increases the chance of finding that magic color and lure combination and allows the opportunity to locate bass faster by effectively covering more area with more lines in the water. Using a variety of different lures can assist anglers in finding combinations that strike gold so never be afraid to experiment and try something new. For the bass fisherman looking for a unique experience, try using live red fin shiners (3-4 inches), 2/0 hooks and large bobbers. This set-up is effective on both small and large mouth bass. For many, pitching a bobber and staring at it all day long is not going to prove to be the most exciting of fishing endeavors. For the search and destroy crowd, who like to cast, sluggos, blue foxes and terminator spin baits are all capable of eliciting brutal early spring reaction strikes. Fishing two poles, one for bobbing and one for casting, greatly maximizes your presentation by keeping two baits in the water at all times. This set-up allows you to fish live bait while a second line is cast and used to locate fish. This system is very effective anytime during the fishing season. *Please note that you are not allowed to keep bass in the state of Maine caught on live bait until after July 1st. Also until July 1, you are only allowed to catch and keep one bass, over 10 inches.

For a wild time on the water, try angling one of Washington County’s premier bass fishing destinations, Boyden’s Lake, found in DeLorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 37, D-2. Anglers can expect to catch many fine large mouth bass in the 18-20 inch range, with fish over 20 inches occurring at regular intervals. While larger fish are always a possibility, extensive time and luck will be needed to find them. When fishing, please be sure to monitor and clean your lures, motor, anchors and boat trailers of the invasive underwater plant Milfoil. Milfoil has the potential to destroy many of Washington County’s premiere fishing destinations. Do you part and check for this evil little hitchhiker!

Turkey! It’s What’s for Dinner! 
All of your scouting and target shooting lead to the successful tagging of a nice tom turkey. Now with old tom resting comfortably in the freezer, what comes next? Basically in preparing your turkey dinner, hunters employ one of two processing methods. The first choice, involves the time consuming process of plucking the bird. In the end, the completed product will look like a skinny-miniaturized butterball turkey. This is a great option if your plans involve deep fat frying the entire bird in peanut oil or baking in a roasting bag for a thanksgiving dinner. The second choice includes the faster, more simplified process of breasting the bird. This involves using a sharp knife to slice a straight line down each side of the turkey’s breastbone and removing the meat from each side, in a process similar to filleting. The benefit of breasting is time, as it can be completed in about 10 minutes, as opposed to the plucking, which if done correctly, takes about 1 hour. Of course, the drawback to the breasting is that it sacrifices a significant amount of meat.

Wild turkey has a delicious “undomesticated” taste and can be prepared in a number of different ways from being breaded and deep fat fried to made into delicious turkey soups. Sometimes, older birds can be tough and require parboiling or a few minutes in the food processor to be reduced to an edible consistency. In these cases, I resort to my favorite all time turkey recipe . . .

Simple Turkey Salad 
2 cups of finely chopped turkey breast
½ cup of Mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 stalk of celery, chopped

*Combine all ingredients in a bowl, add paprika, garlic powder, finely chopped onion and dried red pepper flakes in accordance with individual taste and mix thoroughly. Put a few spoonfuls on toasted sour dough bread with a slice of tomato, leaf of lettuce and enjoy! Whatever the final processing and prepping decision, always make sure to honor your kill by using and not wasting as much of the usable meat as possible and sending little to the trash can!

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