Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hot summer bite and cotton…take the good with the bad.

(Above: Here’s a shot early in the morning. At about 9AM the sun kicked in and it looked like it was snowing.)

Mother nature rarely hands out a freebie. As soon as weather gets warm she hands you high winds or something else to keep the level of challenge in play. Right now the cottonwood trees are laying a heavy layer of white fluff across the lakes and small ponds in Colorado. At first glance it doesn’t look to be a problem. Then your gear gets mucked up on the first cast. I spent half the day just pealing off cotton. Mosquitoes are rising up in squadron formation and the shoreline cast or gear up can be an assault just above the “no-see-um” level.

But the fishing is good. Take the good with the bad.

This was the Saturday of the Father’s Day weekend and everything was hot! The fishing, the weather and even my drinking water was toasty warm by 10AM. Once I got a decent pattern dialed in the fish just seemed to jump onto the pontoon boat. This pond is a ways down the trail from the parking lot so lugging all of this gear was a bit grueling. Once on the water though it was sweet-summertime-tasty.

(Above: Average size slot bass for the day and around 14 or 15-inches. Not huge fish but better than a sharp stick in the eye.)

The bass seemed to be schooling up a bit and I would catch them in clumps. These fish were on the hunt for forage fish. They were busting in the middle as well as the shallows. Moss and weed structure were hot spots that produced a handful of decent fish. Cast, nail one fish and then cast back out to get another. Cast one more time and then spend 5 or 10 minutes peeling cotton off the line.

(Above: For some reason I like these “bass half in the water” shots but have little explanation as to why I am throwing skirted jig combos in heavy weed-matte.)

As you can see above I still managed to pick up a few on the jig combo. However the weed matte starts to limit this lure greatly as the summer season develops. I throw the jig combo out of habit more than anything in the summer time when I should be relying far more on baitfish patterns. But the fish still love the combo when I can sling it properly.

(Above: Broke the camera holder on the tooner…again…tried this shot with the camera propped on the tackle bag. Risky!)

The bass seemed to be very active and willing to chase a lure down within reason. Quick lifts and drops as opposed to my early year sow-go presentations would trigger strikes more often. Nothing too erratic just the occasional fleeing motion as if the fish was darting away from a predator or lashing out at a small morsel in the water.

Some anglers might use the same presentation with a lure every time they throw. Adjusting the presentation until you find exactly what the fish are looking can make a lot of difference. I tend to adjust my lure speed with the water temperature and hot weather allows for faster speeds.

(Above: Check out this smallie with the broken tail. This guy still had a lot of fight for its size!)

Warmer weather may also lend to the use of bigger baits. I use larger baits this time of year to help fend of the greedy smaller fish but this is not absolute. In fact bigger baits only work a smaller percentage of fish or not at all. Sometimes the fish are eating size specific. Transitioning the size of your bait up and down on a second rod will help you find the most desired size, which is generally based on the most common sized forage slot.

(Above: The bluegill are not very large in this pond for some reason. Or it may be that I haven’t found the larger ones yet.)

(Above: Amazing sunfish with yellow and green hues. Awesome fin color!)

When I see the fin coloring and shape like this I will tend to identify them as green sunfish. However hybridization is so common that I often see color and characteristics from both in most of the sunfish that I catch. Here is a good web reference with pictures of actual fish rather than artwork for identification.

There are many species listed here and even though a few pictures are less than magnificent, it is always good for a quick look when I get stumped on something.

As I am picking off sunfish I look and see a thin fish with green hues and almost zebra looking stripes. It was not big but was in contrast with everything else that was swimming. Cast out with the micro presentation and wham! Nailed me a little yellow perch. This is another type of fish added to the list to make a total of five warmwater species on the day. That wasn’t really my plan but kind of a cool thing when it happens.

(Above: Yellow perch, this rounds out a 5 species day. Not the biggest fish I ever caught but counting it anyway.)

Hot and grueling day weather-wise and the cotton were painstakingly annoying. But the bite was so hot that I had to keep going. Most of the fish were “average” and not worth an endless photo stream. Hopefully my smattering of the most impressive or more select species will pacify the fish p0rn junkie for the moment.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.


Anonymous said...

Satisfaction is in the eye of the reader here, Matt. Good stuff!

Not often that a guy gets a (5) pack on any water these days.

Shoreman said...

I see you have the long sleeves to keep the sun and bugs off. Not a bad idea.


Coloradocasters said...

Yes indeed, Mark. I wear the hoodie protection year round to avoid all sorts of problems. I actually think covering the skin is better long term than suntan lotions. Not the most comfortable fishing outfit but works for me.

Really dig the comments folks. Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

Fish porn rocks!!

Chris Ricci said...

great stuff..did'nt know Co. had any bass.