- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 3, 2002

Steve Price, a prolific writer and photographer who has turned out some of the best fishing books in recent memory, offers something new for the most discriminating bass hounds among us. His latest effort, Big Bass! In Search of Trophy Largemouth (Fishing Hot Spots Publishers, Rhinelander, Wis., $19.95, paperback, 192 pages, www.fishinghotspots.com) is jam-packed with information, maps, tips and techniques specifically geared for the truly serious bass fisherman, particularly one who doesn't mind spending heavy bucks in pursuit of a trophy largemouth the most popular gamefish in North America.
The award-winning Price's superbly detailed articles have graced every fishing publication in this land, especially Bassmaster Magazine, for which he is a senior writer. Price is no armchair author. He has fished from the steaming jungles of Brazil to the frozen prairie lakes of Canada and pretty much everything between. His expertise and insight become obvious as he tackles the top trophy bass lakes in America.
Yes, California's Casitas, Castaic, Clear Lake and Lake Perris made the list, as did Florida's Lake Tohopekaliga (better known as Toho), Lake Okeechobee, Rodman Reservoir and Fellsmere Reservoir. And we can't overlook Texas with its Lake Fork trophies, or those from Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend. Price generally keeps the trophy bass game confined to California, Texas and Florida, with a little Louisiana and Oklahoma thrown in, then followed by a few Mexican mountain lakes that were stocked with American bass some time ago.
Nobody will argue with his choices.
Once Price goes through well-illustrated paces concerning lures, pro angler tips and methods, he'll enter the magical world of waters that one day might shatter a 22-pound, 4-ounce bass world record that has stood since June, 1932. (Oddly, it was caught in Georgia, yet not one Georgia water body made Price's list for the book.)
Unlike tournament anglers who shun the use of live bait like the plague, Price also enters the arena of live bait for big bass and well he should. You'll learn about "trophy-sized" shiners, crayfish and water lizards. Of course, artificials receive a thorough treatment, too, especially those that have found favor in certain areas of the U.S. and not in others. That is followed by the effect the moon has on your fishing, the weather in general, and how to seek out bass-hiding structure.
Each of the premier bass lakes is accompanied by a page-size map, including detailed information about the physical makeup of the lake bottom, the available vegetation, natural forage for bass and other fish species that share the water with the largemouthed fighters.
It's a wonderful effort by the premier writer on the subject. We recommend it to serious bass hunters but warn you that this is not a "how to fish in your neighborhood pond" book.
More than 300 projects to keep you happy Well-known local fisherman/author Keith Walters has the perfect gift for the do-it-yourself tackle and boat tinkerer in your family. His latest book, The Ingenious Angler (McGraw Hill, N.Y., $16.95, paperback, 166 pages), is a delight for tidal river, bay and ocean fans, although quite a few of the 303 projects are perfectly suitable for shoreline and small-boat freshwater anglers.
Walters, who lives on Maryland's Eastern Shore, is one of those fellows you'd be eternally happy to have as a neighbor, especially if you're a klutz like me. He knows how to fashion a fish-cleaning station from a five-gallon plastic bucket and a piece of counter-top material. He'll show you how to make your own bucktails for pennies apiece. He knows how you can make a fishing rod travel case from tough PCV pipe that is better than any you can buy from a tackle shop or catalog, and he'll do it for one-third the cost of a factory-made rod case.
Walters will show you how to repair broken rods, add new rod guides and tips when the old ones come apart or become the victim of a slammed trunk lid. He'll teach you how to put rod holders on a boat, or even turn an aluminum car-topper into a decent-working bass boat that will do very nicely when you enter shallow water that a $30,000 fiberglass machine wouldn't dare venture into.
Now add turning old lures into shiny new ones and how to rig your trolling gear for rockfish, or whatever else you're after in the Chesapeake Bay, as well as showing you how to anchor properly while fishing, and then add hundreds of other great ideas you wished you'd thought of. All of it is vintage Walters including photos that show his excessive fondness for snap swivels tied between the fishing line and the lure. He loves them; I don't. It's the one thing I'll take exception to in this or any other fishing book.
"The Ingenious Angler" is nicely illustrated with good black/white photos and sketches that are easily followed. This book is a great deal and a great deal of fun. Definitely worth every nickel of the asking price.

Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Friday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]



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