Questions for Ken

Do you have a question about fishing? Send it to espn@winnercomm.com
with Questions for Ken in the subject line and your name in the email.

Because of Ken's busy schedule, the volume of questions and the fact that he's out fishing a lot, he cannot reply personally nor answer every question. Before you send an email with a sport-fishing question, check out the inventory of Q&As already here. Perhaps your topic has been covered.

Ken will answer a number of questions here each month. Here's what's on his agenda this month (August 2006):

  • Summer bass location in strip pits

  • Flounder vs. fluke

  • Catching hard-pressed metro bass

  • Fishing rods and thunderstorms

  • Lice on freshwater fish

  • Catching summer trout

    Summer bass location in strip pits

    Question: I live in northeastern Oklahoma and own part of what used to be an old strip mine which is now a small lake containing many fish. The banks are very steep and brushy. Where would the best place be to locate bass during the summer? In the center of the lake, the depth is 40 to 45 feet.

    ó Submitted by D.M.

    Answer: Iíd first fish the heaviest bank cover by flipping with soft worms and weedless jigs. If you can walk the banks and drop a lure into the cover, great, but otherwise youíll have to fish from a boat toward shore. In addition, look for submerged structure away from shore. Many strip pit lakes have humps that were created by accumulated dredged deposits. Some of these come fairly close to the waterís surface. You may need sonar to locate these, and they are pure crankbait plays. The depth of hump generally determines the type of crankbait to use; in summer and early fall, this will be probably be deep divers, but at other times it may be lipless crankbaits.

    Flounder vs. fluke

    Q: What is the difference between a flounder and a fluke?

    A: ďFlukeĒ is a common name for the species of fish known as summer flounder. This is a left-eyed flounder, with both eyes on the left side of its body; it is most common in shallow water close to shore in summer. Its range overlaps in the western north Atlantic with the winter flounder, which is a right-eyed species that winters in shallow water but spends summer in deeper water.

    Catching hard-pressed metro bass

    Q: I live in a large metro area next to a lake which has some big bass. However, it gets bombarded with every kind of artificial and live bait on a very regular basis. Iíve caught a few good bass, but itís tough fishing. Any suggestions?

    ó Submitted by J.F.T.

    A: Thereís no magic solution, but if youíre dedicated to big fish, then you must learn this lake better than you know your own living room and put in a lot of hours. This summer, during peak season, fish when thereís less competition, like at dawn, at night, on rainy days, and during midweek. You probably should be fishing very slowly, and in deep water. Natural bait may be the ticket, but be wary of deep-hooking the fish.

    Fishing rods and thunderstorms

    Q: Iím a beginner in trolling and your book, The Art of Trolling, has helped me a lot. I am told that graphite rods attract thunder, and that fiberglass ones do not. I have an aluminum boat and do a lot of trolling in the summer. What is the best thing to do if a thunderstorm strikes and I am in the middle of the water, and what type of rod should I be using?

    ó Submitted by D.P.

    A: Graphite can act as a conductor of electricity, so if you are caught in a thunderstorm you should lay any graphite rods down flat; donít leave them sticking up. Itís the lightning that would be attracted to them. The best rods to use depend on what you need for fishing, not the weather. I suggest that you watch the skies closely and leave when thereís an advancing storm, but if you should get caught in the middle of the lake in a thunderstorm, lay antennas and rods and other tall objects flat, and get down low in the boat. Do not carry or raise any objects. Remove any metal objects from your hair or head. If lightning is likely to strike you or your boat, experts recommend that you immediately crouch down, lean forward, and put your hands on your knees, making sure not to touch anything else in the boat.

    Lice on freshwater fish

    Q: Are lice found on freshwater fish? Iíve seen small things on bass in a farm pond I fish and wonder if they may be lice.

    ó Submitted by Ryan

    A: There are seventeen known species of fish lice that have been found in almost all warmwater and anadromous fishes. Fish lice look somewhat like scales, but are actually saucer-shaped. The lice sometimes have jointed legs and two disk-shaped "suckers," which are sometimes mistaken for eyes. The lice, usually 1/8- to 1/4-inch long, can creep over the surface of the fish and are found attached to the skin, fin, or gills.

    Catching summer trout

    Q: There are plenty of rainbow and brown trout on a small lake I fish. Early in the season, Iím able to catch them trolling fairly shallow, but in the summer, I get skunked. Trolling the entire water column, particularly near the bottom where I mark fish on my sonar, with a wide variety of lures, and with and without gang trolls, has been unsuccessful. What could these fish be eating, and what technique would you suggest?

    ó Submitted by Jim L.

    A: Iíve been there, done that, and mostly been frustrated, too. However, look in the tributary stream(s) on the off chance that the oxygen level in your lake is poor at the cold depths these fish require, forcing them to leave the lake in summer for a place where thereís good oxygen and cooler water. In the lake, I believe these trout would be eating small baitfish, perhaps alewives if theyíre present, and they could be concentrated in one area that has good temperature. Have you tried deep jigging? And deep stillfishing with live bait?

    For more information on angling, see Ken Schultz's Fishing Encyclopedia, available through www.kenschultz.com.