CTF Name: Dsouth Real Name: Dan Southwick Age: 50 Current City: Millville, Mass Hometown: Millville, Mass Family Members: Mother, Jean Occupation: Production Manager for Keyfilters Inc.
1. You've posted some impressive swimbait reports on ctfisherman.com. How and when did you get started fishing swimbaits? My first swimbait fishing started in the fall of 2002 and the first bait I bought was a 12" MS Slammer perch color. The plan back then was to target CT pike, but on my first outing working a long point that had deep weeds, I was nailed by a 7-pound, 2-oz. largemouth. I have been addicted from that day on.
2. About how many swimbaits do you have in your collection? What are some your favorite models in terms of fish-catching ability? What are some of your favorite models just because they are cool to look at? My hard bait collection is around 125 and my rubber swimbait count is around 30. Favorite models is all about the time of year your in. Ice out in the springs rubber baits like the hudds and baitsmith baits worked very slow. As the water warms baits like the 3:16 1-up ($150 bait) and there new real deal perch pattern are big bass producers. The day after opening trout day in CTin 2006 I landed a 7-poound, 14-oz. on the 3:16 1-up is why its my all time favorite swimbait. When summer sets in its wood wake bait time. Nights and low light days and time are always best.
The three I like the best are: 1. Woodtail made from a friend in CT called Joe Adams 2. 3:16 wake-Jr black and blue. 3. MS Slammer 2X black with a char tail.
As far as cool baits the real snake my friend Joe makes stands out and swims like no other snake bait I have ever seen. It's sweet.
For an angler looking to fish a swimbait for the first time for largemouth in Connecticut, what set-up would you recommend for him (rod, reel, line)? What specific swimbait(s) would you recommend he start with? Good gear is a must and can get very $$. Rods 7'6"-8' are best. A rod rated 1-4oz or 1-6oz will handle most of your needs but a good meat stick that's rated 3-8oz or 4-10oz is nice to have for the big 5oz plus baits. For reels, Shimano 300 D + Es are hard to beat. Lines I use are Gamma copolymer and Maxima and Big game all in green and all 25lb.
As for a first time set up, here's what I started with:
Reel Shimano Cariff 300 for around $110 is a good 1st reel.
Rod My first rod was a Okuma Guide Series Big Bait 7'6" heavy rated 1-5oz and was also $110.
Line Line Big Game is low cost and works.
So a full starter set up is around $230 but now you need some baits. LOL.
Perch BBZ-1 and sucker musky BBZ-1.
4. Besides bass, you've caught some impressive northern pike on swimbaits. What specific tips can you offer for catching pike on a swimbait? What is the largest pike you've caught on a swimbait? I love working CT waters for pike with BIG swimbaits and musky plugs. Late summer and the fall are my best times to be OTW. Pike love bad weather days with wind and rains. Bring on a good noreaster and I am CT pike fishing. That always turns the big girls bite on big time. Working swimbaits and musky plugs fast with stop and go mixed in will always get bites. Your CT pike program is one of the best here on the northeast.
My PB on a rod is 18 lbs. 4 oz. but that was on a super spook. PB swimbait pike is 17 lbs., 4 oz. on a windy rainy Sep day in 2007. That was my best pike year with four over 15 lbs. and 11 in the 10-14.5lb range.
5. What appeals to you about chasing steelhead? It's a rush fishing for NY steelhead with long light rods and light lines with small flies. I have put in my time up there (27 years) and know the river like my back yard. Most of the local guides up there have given me the nickname of stony because of the # of fish I have caught over the years on stone flies. I love the area and after my working days are over my plan is to move there for my golden years but I will always be a Soxs and Pats fan.
6. Tell us about some of the smallmouth fishing you enjoy. What is your personal best smallmouth? What are your top three tips for catching a trophy smallmouth in the northeast? Pre-spawn cold water smallmouth is the smallie fishing I enjoy the most. Mass Cape ponds and lakes the Quabbin Res VT waters and CT Candlewood are my favorite places to fish SM. PB is 6lbs. 5oz. and is one of my proudest fish.
6-pound, 5-oz. smallie.
Three tips? #1 Tubes #2 Hair Jigs #3 Perch colored hard and soft swimbaits.
7. You've enjoyed bass fishing in Mexico. How would you describe the experience to a bass fisherman who has never done it? I fished Lake Baccarrac for 5 days in Nov of 2007. The area in the mountains where the lake is breathtaking and the fishing is world class. I am not a big fan of air travel and the Mexico airports didn't help me feel at ease. Coming home, our plane had a touch and go that still gives me bad dreams. I think my plan is to keep my feet on the ground and work New England waters.
8. What are some of your dream fishing trips and/or destinations? Like I said before, my feet are staying on the ground now. My dream fish is a 10lb+ LM on a CT, RI or Mass water. There is a short list of fishermen in Mass that are on the 10lb list and joining that club is a dream.
Another is a 20lb+ pike on the rod in CT or Mass. A NY Musky trip is another thing on my to do list but I am happy working the great waters we all have here in New England.
19-pound Mass pike.
9. What can you say about the importance of quality fishing gear? The way the quality gear changes year to year makes it hard to keep up with. Lines, Rods, Reels and baits improve year after year but the cost can put you in the poor house but the bottom line is quality gear is a must I feel.
When and how did you first get interested in fishing? I always fished as a kid growing up, but mostly trout and panfish and a little bass. My last year of high school (1978) is when the bass bug hit me and made me a hard core LM guy I am today.
11. What is the most “Beyond Addicted. Just Plain Sick!” thing you’ve done in the pursuit of fish? On a eastern CT lake a few years ago I fished 75 hours straight looking for a few big swimbait LM bites. My 17’8” V-Hull boat has room for a small sleeping cot for short cat naps. One night I hit Foxwoods for a little Texas hold'em poker with the boat in tow ready to go after my poker fix. I ended up hitting Long Pond at 2:00 a.m. for a little summer time MS Slammer wake bait fishing. Come 4:00 a.m. I hit the cot for a little cat nap. Before I hit the cot I cast the big floating wake bait out and left it out there dead sticking and drifting around while I napped. At 4:30 a.m. I was awakened by a big splash and I was on. Ended up being a nice fat 6-lb. 14-oz LM. I have always read about long dead sticking swimbaits so when ever I take a brake I cast and let it sit.
Another sick thing when I was younger was driving five hrs and NY steelhead fishing all day and drive the five hrs back home and working the next day. That steelhead bug when it hit you, that's all you can think about.
12. What are some of your tips to a successful ice-fishing outing? I only ice-fish for trophy pike and my best advice is to scout weed lines in the fall that have drop offs close by. Confidence in the area you fish is key. I am a big believer in confidence, but having good fresh big pond shiners and large fallfish always helps in building my confidence. Being able to go days without a flag is very hard to do but the reward of a 20lb+ HOG pike is worth the flagless days.
22-pound, 4-oz. pike.
13. Is there a particular fish that you lost that still haunts you? Yes there is, and it's a CT LM bass I lost this past spring on a 5-oz. Hudd swimbait. This fish came unbuttoned boat side as I was reaching for her with the net. I relive that day in my mind everyday and think of what I did wrong. It was the biggest LM of my life and I pray that she gives me one more shot at her this up coming spring.
14. What are some species of fish that you’ve never caught but would like to? Maybe a false albacore. Other than that, my list is full.
World record channel catfish! This recognition was issued by the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. The fish species was confirmed by CT, DEP, Inland Fisheries Division. Dan caught this 26 lb. 8 oz channel catfish on 2/26/2005 out of Mansfield Hollow Reservoir to set a Division #4 - Ice Fishing, Tip-Up (Heaviest (only) Line Test Class) World Record.
15. What do some of your non-fishing friends and family think of fishing? 90% of my friends are also fishermen and understand my fishing addiction. My family members think I am nuts for spending $200 on a swimbait and $600 for a top of the line rod and reel set up. Being a single guy and having a good job helps me big time when it comes to buying big dollar plugs and gear.
16. You’re going on a wilderness fishing trip. What three CDs do you take with you? What three lures do you take with you (for catching the most species)? 1. Neil Young, Harvest 2. Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Greatest Hits 3. Grateful Dead, Two from the Vault
3 baits? 1. Gold Salt water supper spook 2. Woodtail Perch color swimbait 3. Jig + pig. Black Jig with a super pork brown.
17. Outside of fishing, what other hobbies and activities do you enjoy?
I have three.
#1 is fish
#2 is eat
18. Without giving away any secret spots, what are some locations in the northeast that you recommend for catching trophy bass & pike? All New England waters offer trophy bass and pike fishing. Info about the state you live in is always available if you look for it. I have fished CT waters for the last 8 years and it only took one call to the CT DEP to help me out. There are also some great books at the DEP store. I love working virgin CT swimbait waters for LM.
19. What is the toughest hardship you’ve had to overcome in your life? Back in 1977, my dad past away at the age of 37. The family business was left to me and my mother to run. It was hard times back then and we both lost everything that my father worked 7 days a week to build. I am a happy man now but back then there was a few hard years to live through. I think back about the hard times and say to myself and ask why? I guess there is a reason for everything, at least that’s what I am told.
20. What are your fishing goals for 2009 and beyond? #1 is to land that CT LM I lost last spring. #2 is to land a pike over 20 lbs. on the rod in Mass or CT.