As soon as I saw the weather report on Monday I was in a panic. The turbulent weather had played havoc on my entire season but now laid a perfect scenario in front of me with 3 good weather days and one big front as opposed to all bad days and maybe an hour here and there where you weren’t feeling Mother Nature’s wrath at less than DEFCON 4 (depending on exactly where you were that minute). Not being able to take the entire time off of work the focus had to be set on where it would count most…the last day before the @#$% hit the fan. By Tuesday I was calling in favors and looking at a day off on Wednesday.
Reach the water and conditions are beyond tasty. The air temp in the morning was a mild 55-degrees but climbing fast in the open sunlight. Water temps were guesstimated at mid-60’s in the shallows. Right away I see fish and lose sight of the game plan, which was to catch some fantastic sunfish and start casting at anything visible with fins. Early in the game I pull up a smallmouth scrapper.
(Above: Little red-eye bronze that put up a decent scrap for no good reason at all other than to take me away from my green sunfish hunt.)
The small smallmouth bass is released and I toss a few casts at some fish cruising. These fish were fairly selective and avoided anything my presentations. Not have the time to linger I quickly port out and move on to the second pond and start my search for sunfish. Within the hour I was spotting schools of sunfish but nothing above average in size. Most of the fish were bluegill and not the green sunfish that look especially spectacular this time of year. With some additional rowing and scouting I was able to dial in a few.
(Above: New camera and all but the 10.5” Green Sunfish(hybrid?) still looks a bit washed out. Honestly you would think these fish come from the Amazon or some exotic salt-water region. Through snow and ice these fish thrive in many waters.)
One of the ways a Mattsabasser deals with the bass post spawn is to fish for other species that are more active. Sunfish are moving into that mode right now as well as that whole summer time pattern is falling into swing. This is also a good time for me to fine tune the bass presentations as the fish get can afford to be more selective with so much forage around. Make a tweak here, change the color pattern there. Pick up the retrieval speed just a touch and WHAM! Post spawn bucket grabs and holds on.
(Above: Medium\heavy forward hold on a post spawn bucket mouth that shows a few signs of aging. Big head, dark colors and a dense body lead to me believe this fish has seen many summers. It is my wish that it sees many more.)
About halfway through the trip I get a gust of wind when trying to position the tooner over a good spot. Cranking down on the oars I give the boat just enough forward momentum to compensate and keep me on the location. Wooosh! I hear a something going in the water directly behind me.
“Oh no.” I say knowing this sound is never a herald of good tidings.
Turn and see my blue milk crate in the water and all of the contents emptied. After some struggle I manage to retrieve the water bottles, life jacket, air pump and tooner gear bag. What was lost was the crate itself, the handle to the cart and the underwater camera that I had purchased last year with some amazing footage. Fishing for me does not come without its struggles, danger and perils.
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.