Tuesday, July 7, 2009


My face is sunburned, my legs ache, my back is throbbing and it looks like my memory card for the camera is fried. This was a tough day of fishing. It seemed like last week I could do no wrong. This week was another story. Sunday I decided to try the flip side of PX, the M Ponds. Park the truck, unload the pontooner and then haul it about a mile or so to reach the first of three ponds. Halfway through the day my camera beeped with the message, “Memory card requires formatting.” I lost a lot of great footage. Luckily there was time in the day to put some pictures on the base memory of the camera itself.

On with the post…

Sunday at M Ponds

Sunday was hot with a mix of patchy clouds. Wind would be gusty and then nonexistent. The walk in with the pontooner is not an easy task. It feels like carrying a loaded wheelbarrow behind you. As soon as I reached the shoreline I saw swarms of bluegill spawning. Of course I plinked and released a few before putting the boat in. These were impressive on the average at 4 to 6”…a kid in a candy store.

The boat was pushed off and right away I was getting into bass. But all of them were hitting in the peewee league. Even when I sized up the lure…Dink, Dink, Dink. More fish from Tiny Town. The bigger fish were more reluctant. Even one or two of the bigger fish that I would spot seemed to brush off my lure temptations.

“Last week you would have hit that on a dead run.” I muttered.

I worked a nice smallie off the edge that was 15-inches and sturdy looking. Then a really nice 16’er bucket came along. The pattern was starting to form and things were looking really good. Then I ran into a patch of quality bluegill. Plan A went right out the window and I started hammering those panfish. Great specimens in the 6 and 8” range.

Then I spot one that was enormous. Wham! He hit the panfish rig on the first cast. The photo op was spectacular. I even threw on the tape measure, which says a lot because I don’t think the time has been taken to measure a fish by me in nearly two years. After taking care of my fish jones..I went back to the big fish hunt. Hooked and landed another quality bucket and when I went to do the photo op the card goes kaput. I tried a few times to remove, insert and restart. Same thing. I pulled the card out, stashed it in a secure place in the tackle bag and moved on. The memory in the camera would have to do for the rest of the day.

“That sucks. At least the camera still seems to be working fine.” I took a second to be disgusted and then looked forward. “Just have to catch more fish.”

I moved off the western edge and started working the weedline on the eastern side. The weed matte forms a lot of structure and the bigger fish tend to select ambush points on the edge of the large open pockets or lie waiting in the center bullying anything that passes. With fish a bit on the jittery side, I elected to fish the pockets from a distance. A few more casts and Wham! Instantly I could tell it was a smallie. Not a big one but a decent fish with great color.

(Above: This is my Never S.O.L. smallie shot with the base memory from the camera Check out those markings!)

The same rig I was using for buckets was also picking off smallies. Sight fishing for big fish was out. By this point in the day that was a lock. Throwing blind and search casting I started picking apart the weed structure and deep-water pockets ahead of me. Swimming the bait and letting it drop in and out of the weed matte seemed top work the best when the water was calm. When there was more wind it seemed to matter a lot less. The conditions made it perfect for a combination of sight and search fishing…even if it was always the reverse of what I wanted at the time.

The wind would kick up and I would battle it for a moment or drop anchor. At one point I let my course roll past the dogleg structure and moved into the cove. Once floating in the cove somewhat sheltered from the wind I started casting into the rough water created by the wind. I ran my bait as if it was a fish looking for shelter. As soon as the lure moved from the chop into the calm…WHAM! A jolt hit the line and the battle was on. This guy tried to run under the boat, around the oars and made several runs towards the thick weed matte. Luckily the wind had pushed us off into deeper water. I was able to work him in without having to dig him out of the weed muck.

(Above: Stocky smallmouth bass with dark, dark color pattern. These fish love to fight!)

Storm clouds started to build around 4PM. Keeping one eye on the weather and being prepared is essential when you are a good distance from any man made shelter. As the clouds got closer, the closer to shore I began to fish. As the rain came in I was able to port out and hunker down with the plastic umbrella. Luckily the big dark clouds rolled to the east and I just had to deal with some moderate rain and gusty wind. When the clouds cleared, the rain stopped and sun came back into the picture. The largemouth really seemed to get active. I was clobbered once as I threw under some trees but missed the hook set. Careless mistake caused by lack of focus. The heat and weather was taking it’s toll. Dink, Dink, Dink…More @#$%^& dink fish.

“They only make one size bigger and that @#$%^ is for alligators.”

I throw out again and feel a solid bite and a heavy pull on the rod. The line rose to the top of the water and a solid green bucket gives me his best surface break/water fountain aerial display and then Sploosh! Right back in. I would like to embellish more on this fish battle but that was pretty much it. He ran right at me and then the grab.

(Above: Decent bucket with the extra forward grab. My face may look a bit disgusted in this picture but really I am just waiting for my POS 12 MP camera to start beeping at me with some other excuse to trash me out here with no backup.)

Losing the spectacular bluegill footage began to wear on me. One was around 10” with a dark blue color pattern. I decided to go back and make another run through the pack of larger gills that I could find. I managed to pick one of them off after a few minutes. The larger, darker ones had longer tails and their back fins were split. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen this before. Note: The larger bluegills are absolutely crucial to the forage base. Must release!

(Above: This is a solid pattern bluegill in the 8, maybe 9-inch class. Really nice for Colorado.)

As the day wore on the daunting task of hauling the pontooner out began to linger in the back of my mind. Was there enough gas in the tank so to speak to make it back to the truck? I filled my head with visions of beer and food to propel me and the boat to the shoreline. Port out, tie down and haul out. Step, step, step. I felt like a mule of sorts toting around some fishing rickshaw from hell. There are times when I reach the truck and could almost kiss the tires. It was like someone actually stretched the trail or something.

Saturday (the day before) was not as successful and required so much more effort. By Sunday I was not crazy about the idea of walking the boat all the way back in to the M’s but really needed some good fish. The trip back nearly killed me. Even with all the pain, strain and memory card failures…it was soooo worth it.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

1 comment:

Don said...

Crazy markings on that Smallie Matt. Just goes to show how these fish can adapt to there cover!!! Very cool shot and great catch!