Author’s favorite pastimes /hobbies/interests

          You could say I have as funny a background as many other folks. Born in Texas to ranch raised Navel officer dad and country gal mom parents. I grew up on a Dairy, poultry, pig, horse and cattle farm in Arkansas. Recovered from polio. Recovered from severe tick fever with chemo treatment no less.

A quick look at my life interests from youngster to currant;

Lots of farm animal care and horse training and riding.

Fishing, in farm ponds, creeks and river, now Beaver Lake.

A few tries at bull riding and bulldogging…….not much success.

A little football, tennis,chess, hunting. Farm work took a lot of time.

College at the University of Arkansas….engineering and education

Hay hauling, school bus and school janitor  to pay some of above.

                        Teaching at U of A

Teaching in local public school 6 years…set up Vo Tec program

In business; building and designing homes and remodeling homes.

Writing children’s books; 30 years and spoke in schools as author

I still write, build some, garden a lot, fish some, care for humans and animals in need.  Robbie and I have raised raccoons, we still have four, squirrels, dogs and cats and even 1 buzzard that comes back to our oak tree every day. No cows or horses on our little farm now.

I hope the following fishing hints from my experiences help some folks have more success in fishing. They have worked for me and beginning fishermen and added an idea or two for existing fishermen to try on their next outing.

“Everyone please enjoy the outdoors whether fishing, hiking, cycling.”

“If not my books, please read someone’s books to your children.”

                                     Floyd P knipe    author Thistle, Forest, Trackers, Smillee

Hints to “Always” catch fish in a reasonable time and cost.  

Sounds ‘fishy” right? For ten years plus my fishing has been limited to a couple hours in the evenings. Some weeks I go2 to 3 evenings. Other weeks I only go one evening. I don’t fish on rainy days or coooold days any more. It has to be above 55 degrees and not very windy for me to enjoy my boat and fishing. I love to watch the animals from beavers to Osprays and they like nice weather as well.

My point here is during the year only fishing a couple hours at a time and not in every weather or looong 8-12 hour days I caught a lot of fish, usually every trip out.

2 lures will do it.  Minnow crank and June bug finesse worm.

            First lure of my choice.

Spring fishing. Fish are feeding on small perch, young fry, small young hatched fish of various kinds. I find crawdads in their stomachs as well.    The Berkley FLICKER SHAD cranked through the water is like brushing an M&M peanut candy under my nose to a fish. The small minnow color, silver with grey/black  back, works for me every spring. You can try other colors as I have done with some fair results.

My favorite is size 4…. Flicker Shad …1/8 oz…dives 6 to 8 feet. 

            The above lure works well and is a good price.

I use 12 pound, 8 actually works better, or less line and change my speed of retrieval

I am a bass fisherman but crappie will hit it as well especially bigger crappie.

You can put a weight a foot in front of the lure, let sink to 12 feet for example by counting slowly 12 seconds and crank in crappie or bass holding at 12 feet.

Three important success tactics in fishing, any sport or hobby, even business.

The first is don’t give up…Throw 100 cast with above lure then 100 more.     You WILL CATCH FISH. It is a minnow. A fish’s favorite food.

The second is adjust to the lake/river/pond etc. Fish in the shallow, against the bank,out in the deeper water, BY LOGS AND BUSHES EVERY TIME YOU CAN. Change your speed of retrieval. Early Spring in cold water crank slower, veeeeerrry slow, may work the best. Add a weight in deep water. I even Jerk and let set and crank a bit, jerk again crank again to stir up a bite sometimes.

The third…..Talk to, ask questions and listen to other fishermen. Not all of them are liars. Most, like myself, will say something like “Man, the bass are up on the banks today.” Meaning bass are feeding shallow. Try shallow first.  If they say “nothing is biting” think of me and throw that minnow crank a 100 times in shallow 25, deep 25 times and 5 to 8 foot depths 50 times then go home and dress the fish……lol. One Spring a guy coming in as I was going out said “ Halfway down the lake and on the north side has 3 degrees warmer water. I had better luck there.” I fished where he told me one and a half hours and caught 20 plus fish up to four pounds. I go there every Spring and sometimes repeat the first year’s catch just from paying attention……most on the minnow crank by the way.

Second lure of my choice;

            The famous WACKY WORM. Over the past 5 years wacky worm fishing has accounted for 7 of every 10 fish I have caught in late spring and summer  including  bass up to 8 pounds. Lots of 2 plus pounders that fried up well.

It’s looks real simple to beginning  wacky worm fisherman. Just hook the wide mouth hook in the middle and let it quiver as it falls through the water column. Again, practice, don’t give up and listen….to me here…..then decide what works best for you.

I use a june bug color 6 1/2 inch finesse Zoom worm with a 5/0 wide gap hook Ordered from Tackle Warehouse, 25 at a time.   Some use a 3 or 4/0 hook. I get a better hook set with the bigger hook.


Use no sinker in summer for shallow fishing. Use a sinker against bluffs to keep the worm in against the holes and hiding places in the bluff longer. Just barely quiver it by bluffs so not to pull it away. Look at the worm beside the boat and you can learn the quiver you want and how to get it with your rod action. Just a tiny twitch on a stiff rods does a lot to the worm.

I usually place my hook about an inch from the big end of the worm, not in the middle.. Try this and you may like the action you get too. On a slow day I try hooking about an inch from the small end. Sometimes the hook change produces like crazy.

I have big perch, big crappie and big goggle eye hit the wackys.

Wacky worming is great to use from the bank or boat. Fish right against the bank. I mean 4 inches from dirt, by every log, branch or rock/bolder.

Throw it out on the bottom. Let it sink to the bottom and just barely quiver it …..count to 10….quiver again……count to 10… many times. Change the light quiver to a violent quiver then 10 count like above……works well sometimes too.

No weight on worm thrown out and violently quivered and fastly cranked in  on top of the water sometimes brings a mean ole bass 2 feet out of the water …… exploding strike.

I have trouble teaching some folks to wacky fish by…  ……….feeling or seeing a bite on the line……..drop the rod tip down for a second…….test for the fish on……THEN SET THE HOOK.  You cannot…..feel a bite…..and set the hook immediately.  The fish needs to suck the worm in and the hook before you set the hook.  Most newbees to wacky worming jerk the worm right out of the fish’s mouth ………the fish say “CLOSE…..…BY BY” AND SWIM AWAY.

If you are a crank bait fisherman you will have to practice not setting the hook so fast. I had the same problem. But let me tell you wacky worming produces a lot of fish and WITH cheaper lures especially in heavy brush cover.

The worms and hooks are reasonably priced…..20 cents a worm…..30 cents to a dollar a hook. Crank baits can be $8 to $30 dollars.  I, many times, catch 10 fish on one worm and hook set up.

Note; I do use a garlic or other fish spray on my worms and Flicker lure. Again by listening to other fishermen, even a couple pros, and trying it myself I have proven it works. One thing I am sure the sprays do is mask  hand scent……..hand lotion……gasoline…….smoke if a smoker….and .just human scent.  The second thing is fish hunt food by smell as well as sight. The garlic, shad, or whatever smell may ring the dinner bell for them.

I have actually had a slow day and started spraying every bait, usually after every 20 casts or so, and step up my catches enough to say it works.  It’s not a magic trick but I am sold on using the stuff. And, by the way just use a dab. A drop  is enough on a lure or worm. If I get extra on my fingers I wipe them off in a bag of fresh worms.

By the way a paper clip hooked on an old spark plug, big sinker, bolt, big nut, anything heavy will knock your lure loose from an underwater branch etc. Just clip onto your line and let the weight slide down your line and knock the lure loose. No cost here huh? I have probably saved a hundred lures this way. A used spark plug does work best for me. Bend the electrode over on the paper clip. You usually get the lure AND the plug back.

If the drop down doesn’t knock the lure loose back off 10 feet or so, let your line be pulled down by the plug before jerking. The plug will be jerking down from under the lure. Many times this works well.

In NW Arkansas we start catching nice sized bass in mid March. Crappie began to do well in late February.

With the above 2 lures and some practice you can catch fish when most folks are not.  Enjoy all the baby animals you can see in the spring. They will be the Mammas and Poppa animals next year.

It’s April  6 today and I see turtles popping up from hibernation. Many are still covered in mud as they come up by the boat. Thursday a mamma goose was hiding by a tree while setting up a nest as the daddy goose watched me go by. I’ll watch that nest and maybe  get to see the goslings first swim lessons. The fuzzy babies swim under mammas wings at first. Last year I saw two baby mink run up and down a bank. And I saw a white squirrel last year as well.

I hope you enjoy fishing as much as I have since I was 7 or 8 years old.

Being  outdoors whether biking, fishing, canoeing, hunting, walking or watching the animals is good for you…..enjoy. Thanks to my readers.   

                        Floyd P Knipe… Thistle, Forest, Trackers, Smillee