March 20th, 2008
A near skunking!
Brilliant sun and high temps (65F) forecast –awesome heating day. I was gonna KILL ‘EM!!! But Mother Nature threw me a curve; No confusion –just another fascinating day.
When I arrived I stopped to chat with a fly-fisher. He mentioned that it was supposed to get windy. It was absolutely calm as we spoke and I replied that I hoped it would hold off for a while. We said “goodbye”, and I turned around and walked right straight into a very stiff wind! I started running! I hit one favorite spot screened from the wind and tallied a 13”, then ran to a second, where I rose a big mama I know very well. By then the water had only just begun to heat up and she was tentative (and educated). I also reacted tentatively and was rewarded with a large flash beneath the water as she let go of my lure. “AWWWWHH! ...Good morning Mama. Go back to whatever you were doing. Rats!!!”
By then there were whitecaps across the water, and I watched as water temps eroded all the way around the pond as the cold deeper waters rolled up. Heating never happened. And I fished hard, in a very uncomfortable wind, just to see if I could pull something together. I couldn’t. I finally abandoned the pond and headed to another I thought might be protected –it wasn’t, the water roiled and cold. I failed there too, and I'd had enough -not worth trying to eek out a couple bites.
March 25th 2008
Warm spell following good cold front. Monday was to hit mid 60’s but a strong wind came in that made me decide to hold off a day. Tuesday was calm, and promised 65 and sun, which was realized. I was almost trembling in anticipation.
I started early, to watch the pond heat up. And it did, but slowly. I measured 49F at 10AM –the air was chilly. I spent the time fishing and observing. No bluegills were seen in the immediate shallows –yet. I didn’t turn a fish from 10AM ‘til I broke for lunch at 1pm. And I even began to let a few doubts creep in. “Could I be wrong? Could something else be happening?” But I quashed ‘em.
After lunch, at 2PM, I started my rounds again. I got 52F at the upwind corner, and 56.5F at the downwind a half hour later, and spotted little fish (1˝ ”) along the cattail roots and shoreline flotsam. I do not know what they were! Wish I’d had a net. They were predacious and even chased my lure moving in quick starts and stops like bass or sunfish. They must be late summer born sunfish –likely greens. Heating had begun.
I talked with one of three anglers who’d been there all morning. He’d caught 2 “little ones,” he said, and was headed home.
From there the day began to heat rapidly and the temps of the downwind side reached 60F at 5PM, then fell back to 56F by 7PM. Bluegills had lined the bank, and soon after, the heavy boils and thick wakes of large surface (and bluegill) oriented bass appeared. It became pure carnage as big females rolled in to pick off those concentrated ‘gills!
My tally was 11; The 6 largest in order of capture:
20” even. Jerkbait. On 8lb line I had to backreel and backreel again and again. I had no idea how big she was going to turn out to be. I had my scale but forgot to use it! She would have been shy of 5lbs. Healthy but not a “barrel”. Look at the tail on her. Man did she use it!
Gorgeous 17ľ” Jerkbait.
Gorgeous 19” Jerkbait.
Thin 19”. I switched to a swimbait, as the bass were onto my jerkbait. This one chased to the shore and I ran out of water! So I killed it in 8inches depth, and she sucked it off bottom. She had several old hook bruises, and was very thin. I would have liked to kill her and check stomach to see if she was impacted with a plastic bait. But I didn’t have the heart.
Gorgeous 19˝”. Swimbait. She took a ways out (in amongst a pod of ‘gills) and was a handful to subdue (12lb line).
18˝”. In-line Spinner. Last fish of the evening. A very strong fighter –lots of back-reeling on 8lb line.
The Jerkbait. This one I made from a Bagley’s “Topgun”, by belly weighting. It’s a much shallower running plug then most others, which allowed me to fish it higher, and over the dead weeds and algae –less hook cleaning, more effective attraction and triggering time. A very buoyant plug, it took me some practice to get ‘er to twitch and flash just right. As you can see, color is low on my list of priorities.
Took about three hours to catch these fish. They were not pushovers. Seems bigger bass rarely are, especially if they’ve seen lots of lures as they do in this public water. You know, if I didn’t keep a journal, these days would be remembered as me catching bass hand over fist, losing the real effort put in.