After this steady warm weather and no rain, there is no denying that we have officially entered into the ‘Dog’ days of summer. This being said, Kevin and I decided to mix it up a bit and target a species that most anglers attempt to avoid; Dogfish!
Bowfin, Grindle, Swamp-Muskie, call em’ what you’d like, all I know is that if you’re looking for a change in pace, these guys are more than willing to attack a variety of baits and keep your drag squealing!
Locating Dogfish this time of year is relatively simple, focus on backwater areas off the main river channel, for us, the Vermillion River. Look for low to no flow areas and focus special attention on shallow shoreline banks (1-3ft) that drop off into slightly deeper water (5-6ft). While scouting, keeping your eyes peeled for jumping minnows and swirls/breaks on the surface. This can be very helpful in locating an active group of feeding Dog’s. Don’t be surprised if you catch a few northern, gar, and bass as well.
Our gear was kept simple; consisting of Med-Lite St Croix spinning rods spooled up with 8lb power-pro. This setup made it easy to throw small crankbaits long distances, and really made fighting these fish an absolute blast!
For tackle we mainly used shallow running crankbaits, but I’m more than confident that they would hit about anything. For us the RapaIa SR5’s and Bomber 4A’s seemed fit the bill and worked just fine. When using the SR5’s, I preferred to remove the stock hooks and replace them with a slightly larger size helping increase my hook-up ratio. Casting the baits tight to shore was crucial as many of the fish bit in 2FOW or less. Also creating as much racket as possible, literally dredging a channel to the boat with your bait, helped triggered these dogfish into attack mode.
One word of caution that should be noted when entering and maneuvering around the small river’s and backwaters of the Mississippi, Please Go Slow. Well… This is unless you enjoy a visit to the prop-shop
Log’s and submerged timber seem to always be moving around, much of which happens just under the surface. I’ve watched WAY too many folks come flyin’ along, only to run into a pile of stumps
All that can be said about specifically targeting dogfish is hold on tight and really… don’t knock it till ya try it! While I do consider Dog’s to be a nuisance fish at times, when the goal is to specifically target them, it can be a lot of fun! Dog-Fishing is a great option to change it up and explore new water. It’s also a great alternative for guests in your boat that are looking for fast action and don’t care the species! Our average size fish was right around 5-6lb’s, give or take. They strike your bait like an out of control freight-train and fight like a pike on steroids! The best part of all is that anybody can do it, and more than likely you’ve already got the equipment and tackle to do so.
If you’re just looking to spend an evening out on the water catching fish and you really don’t care what kind, Dog-Fishing is something you’ve truly gotta’ try.
We’ll see ya out there