Fishing, Northern-Style

Fishing with Randy DearmanEditor's Note: Editor's Note: Fifty-three-year-old Randy Dearman of Onalaska, Texas, has fished professionally since 1983. He has fished in the BASS Master's Classic seven times, as well as achieving numerous top-10 wins across the country. In 1993, Dearman won the Texas Invitational at Sam Rayburn Lake and today works as part of Strike King's Pro Fishing Team.

Question: Randy, first of all, tell me about some of your major wins.

Answer: In the first B.A.S.S. tournament that I won, I set a new record for 15 fish at that time -- about 69 pounds, I think. Setting that record was a thrill. The second biggest thrill was the first year I went up to the BASS Master's Classic in 1994. Every year I go is still exciting. But that first year was definitely the most thrilling.

Question: You're from Texas. If you have to go north to fish for bass, what are some secrets you use for fishing in northern waters?

Fishing with Randy DearmanAnswer: Well, one of my favorite northern lakes is Lake Champlain, on the New York/Vermont border. The reason I like that particular lake so much is that it has a tremendous amount of largemouth bass. Most of the people near Lake Champlain fish for smallmouth, but I've done well up there catching largemouth by dipping into the thick grass. I prefer to fish in real heavy vegetation by taking a 1-ounce Strike King jig and dropping it through the grass. Nobody fishes for the largemouth. Everybody goes to that lake and fishes for the smallmouth because you can catch and release 100 of them a day. But the fishing for the largemouths is better, in my opinion.

My second-favorite northern bass fishing area is Thousand Islands, up in the St. Lawrence River. The bass fishing up near Thousand Islands is mostly smallmouth, but the smallmouth there are a really nice size. You can catch them on the ½-ounce Strike King spinner bait by reeling it in quickly. You can just have fun reeling your line in all day, and at the end of the day you're likely to have a nice string of bass.

Question: How does fishing northern lakes differ from fishing lakes near your home in Texas?

Strke King Spinner BaitAnswer: When bass fishing up north, the most important thing to have is a spinner bait. But, you can't fish it too fast. I like to fish with willow-leaf blades in the buck brush. When you reach the breaking water, at a depth of 5 to 15 feet deep, throw that lure up on those rocky shoals and reel it in as fast as you can. You want it to bulge up the water. Those big smallmouths will come up and smack your lure.

Question: Do you have any other secrets?

Answer: As I said before, everybody up near Lake Champlain fishes for smallmouth, so the largemouth are plentiful. I would recommend looking for the thickest, gummiest, most-matted- looking grass that you can find. Get a big 1-ounce jig, and drop it in the middle of the grass. Don't fish the edge of the grass; fish in the grass. The weather doesn't really matter. Up north, the bass-fishing season doesn't really begin until June. They have a short season.

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