Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lake John…back on the board September 3rd

(Above: B&W photo from 1999 to give this article that rustic feel. Or maybe the Google satellite shot had a big #$%^ cloud over the lake right when I need a good screen shot.)
Once again I bring you news of another northern Front Range lake getting some much needed attention. Lake John is a fishery with an abundance of potential. Unfortunately common carp that entered the system began to overcrowd the situation and the stocked trout survived at a fraction of the quality that we regularly see here. Water turbidity and other elements that too many carp can bring to a water impoundment made it difficult for sport fish to reach their optimum.
Removing the carp and better controlling the water source could quickly remake Lake John a premier trout destination as the high level of plankton that exists here fatten the trout up quickly. It also sounds like they stocked a few serious brooder trout making a few of these catches in the OMG section. The summary stocking breakdown goes something like this…
130,000 rainbow trout in the 4-5inch range
50,000 snake river cutthroat 5-8inch range
40,000 rainbow trout in the 6-9inch range
35,000 cutbow\bowcutts in the 10inch range
1,500 trout in the 3-7lb range with most of the fish averaging 4pounds and 16-22”…that is what I am talking about!!!
Lake John is managed as a bait and take fishery with primitive camping sites on the shore. Boating is allowed and ramps are located at north and south ends of the lake. Species are mainly rainbow trout that are routinely stocked but the rumor of a few brown trout still persist. The keep is limit is 4 fish but I highly encourage everyone to cut this in half and only take out two trout especially if one or both is adequate size. If you see a stringer with four-7lb trout take and send me the picture so I can ridicule that fish monger on my blog. Legal don’t always make it right or the best thing to do and Lake John could use a little moderation now for future trout development. Just sayin’.
In my view Lake John is a great family\weekend destination but mostly for the folks that don’t mind a primitive camp setting and looking primarily for a stocked trout\baiting scene with big fish opportunity. Lake John also takes some of the angling pressure off of Delaney Buttes, a premier trout destination in the state managed as Artificial Fly and Lure only with very limited take restrictions.
Here is a peak at the news blurb from Colorado Parks and Wildlife Insider. To get these updates and more, go to their announcement website and enter your e-mail address into their DOW Insider feature. 
Start entry-
WALDEN, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife has completed a reclamation project at Lake John, setting the stage for a rejuvenated fishery that will be open for angling in early September.  Lake John is located northwest of Walden along CO Road 7A.

“The success we have had with the reclamation is like a reset button for Lake John," said Kurt Davies, aquatic biologist for the northeast region. "The lake will be back online by the first week of September and back to growing fish at its maximum potential. The fish we are planting now will see tremendous growth before the lake is even iced up and with the large brood fish we are putting in there, there's the possibility someone will hook into a real trophy.”
-End entry
Good luck and good fishing

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Squeezing the last drops of August

August in Colorado tends to resemble a typical summer month but signs of fall start to creep in as we draw closer and closer to September. The transition from lush greens to dry browns is slow at first and I feel it sneaking in already. Sure things may still look and feel like July but the subtle changes such as dried grasses and brown leaf edges remind me that summer doesn’t last forever. The clock is ticking and I need to get in those last tastes of summer and look forward to fall.
(Above: Not too shabby bucketmouth swindled off of a patch of August cattails with weightless plastics.)

Bass fishing can change with the season in a few ways. The fish are more educated by the end of August and a large percentage of fish will become wary. On the other hand existing forage such as shad, other baitfish, frogs and even insects will start to drop off. Spawning has stopped for most of these fish and predation will have taken a big chunk out of the equation. Once overnight temperatures fall below 45degrees a lot of smaller fish will die, as their bodies are not developed enough to withstand the fluctuation. Large fish will start to run out of those plentiful summer food options on a lot of Colorado waters by the end of August.

Shallow water this time of year will contain a few baitfish and smaller bass still cruise in and out looking for prey. Larger fish however move to deeper ambush points which was not only the case on this day but more or less the trend on most of the smaller ponds that I fish with consistent shoreline fishing pressure. Cattail sections that are still thick and healthy provide excellent ambush cover as well as oxygen. These are great congregation areas for fish both large and small. It pays to key on these sections casting as close to the edge as possible. For this situation I like a 4” weightless green or dark colored tube jig fipped with a 7’ rod and 6-8lb line.
(Above: Hybrid sunfish\bluegill leaning more to the sunfish side of things with amazing green hues on the body and bright fin markings.)

My late August lure patterns are still the spinnerbait or other baitfish presentations. Baby bass fluke run weightless or Carolina rigged depending on the cover is one of my more reliable backup presentations. Creature baits like crawdad, lizard and stickbait will get more attention as things get colder. One lake is always different than the other so this isn’t exactly written in stone. I find myself experimenting far more in late summer\early fall than any other time of the year simply because the fish have seen a lot of the standard fair.

The key to August in Colorado is getting that last taste of summer and beginning the transition into fall. A lot of things will change as we roll into September and beyond. Not being able to control the seasons I more or less try to roll with whatever comes.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Attack the trash! Annual cleanup on the Colorado

Truth be told I might do a little trash pick up now and then. The idea is to pick up the areas you frequent and pick up the trash you see when and where you see it. Just a little bit here and there goes a long ways. When the momentum is sustained year after year nature has a chance to flourish or at the very least sustain itself and the myriad of organisms that may rely on the many microcosms that dwell within. These microcosms are the foundation for any ecosystem and can often make the difference between good fishing and none at all. Keeping a good ecosystem thriving these days is a constant battle it seems.

The good folks of Grand Junction wage a war against refuse annually along a section of the Colorado River that astounds me year after year. With the help of local rafters they manage to pull out a good deal of trash left by less than scrupulous humans, wind or even wildlife scavengers. The final amount of refuse they retrieve is measured closer to tons than pounds along the Colorado River. 

This trash haul attack was launched from three ports; Fruita, Grand Junction and Palisades covering every scrap of refuse that could be found. They filled up three city dumpsters during this operation making my minor trash hauls look like mere skirmishes. Well done CDOT, Mesa County, local sponsors and over 150 volunteers that help make a real difference.

Janelle Ericksson over at KJCT8 covers the story with some local flavor along with some live footage of the cleanup project itself. No dumpsters were hurt during this trash cleanup excursion and we love the media support.   

Organized trash haul whoopdee doo’s on a one-time basis are ok I guess but getting those that care engaged routinely is where victory stands in regards to overall long term fight to save whatever scraps of good earth are left. Draw the line now my friends. Fight to the last breath. Warriors of the earth rise to meet the challenge as they hear the call.

Good luck and good fishing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gray morning bass

Drive out to take a slice of some early morning summer water under cloudy conditions. This has to be one of the few times where the weather forecast actually matched what the talking heads said was going to happen. Rather than being a near 100-degree scorcher like the day before, the weather was a fall-like 60-degrees to start the day.

By 6AM I was on the water with the tooner after an hour drive. Circles formed on the water from smaller fish cleaning up some of the bugs that had fallen during the night. Most of these fish were bluegill, sunfish and even small bass. Occasionally there would be a large boil of a predator fish attacking one of the smaller baitfish. If this happened close by I would give out a toss and wait for the strike. Buzzbait was used the first thirty minutes before switching to the spinnerbait. Second cast with the spinnerbait got clobbered. That is kind of shame as I really wanted to land a big fish on the buzzbait this summer. Spinnerbait buckets on a gray morning will just have to do.
This particular lake has a decent population of aggressive bass in various sizes. In this situation to avoid wasting time in dink city it helps to start with oversized baits and downsize only if needed (I have more or less the opposite view on heavily pressured water at times). In this case I am throwing 1/2oz spinerbaits and 5-6 inch plastics. A few swimbaits in the 4-5 inch section are ready to go if the other stuff fails. Luckily enough hits came on the yellow\green double blade keeping me from having to reach for other options.
By noon the morning clouds of gray surrendered to the now fully risen sun. The circles on the top of the water ceased and the boils vanished as well. Moving to the shady areas was a likely place to search but this came up empty as well. It was as if the fish had moved to deep shelter to await the next feeding shift. Just like the gray clouds of the morning…I chose to surrender as well.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Silly Kids…Saturday is for fishing

Saturdays in my book are almost always reserved for fishing. There are a few exceptions however and two people in this world (my daughters) get veto power over my planned fishing excursions. Admittedly I may be terrible at relationships but my kids are downright awesome. We always try to plan at least one whoop dee do in summer to celebrate this awesomeness as well as wreck one or two of my fishing Saturdays.

Rather than do my usual bla bla write-up I decided to toss together a video montage of sorts. Just a few tidbits here and there from our trip to Elitch Gardens. It has been a while since I have been here and they tricked me thinking that we were going fishing.

(Apologies for the few bad sound splices on the outdated mix track.)

Concession prices were a shade below extortion but this is pretty much what I expected. Still managed to get a beer and some food after paying for tickets getting into the place. The kids had a great time and that makes it all worthwhile. Please know that I was only crazy enough to pay for one beer and the designated driver was in full deployment on the way home. After all...the 10-year old has to learn how to drive sometime.

Another thing that I noticed is that nearly every person above the age of 10 had to do an update\check-in maneuver of some time on their cell phone immediately after getting off of a ride. While waiting in line for rides they would check in at 5-minute intervals with friends or simply update a status of some sort in various social network platforms. I can’t help but marvel at how advanced our collective “Borg-like” society has become. It really looks quite fascinating to me and would be more appealing if it didn’t seem like it would cut so much into my fishing time.

I want to say special thanks to the kids for putting up with Dad and his fishing obsession. Normally I spare them any embarrassment and adhere to their many requests not to post about them on my fishing blog but this trip was actually a lot of fun. Hopefully my one or two regular readers are willing to endure a few filler posts when the kids pull out the fish plan veto.

Good luck and good fishing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Photos from the field

Through my adventures photos are taken that never seem to make it into specific fish posts. So much of my fishing goes unseen or heard. Even though these pictures may not be ready for prime time fishing posts, I have found a way to fit them in an excerpt called “Photos from the field.”

Isabell…the fickle mistress

(Above: High altitude fishing is often a gamble of timing and luck. This photo was taken on a trip that was heaping with visual splendor but the fishing was very tough. Sometimes the view is worth more than catching fish. All things considered a fish would have made this a prime time post as opposed to a mere photo splash. Next time.)

Taunted by fish

(Above: A shot of the 2-pound-ish looking rainbow trout that followed the lure but wouldn’t strike on the Platte. Most of the fish here come with a master’s degree and are highly educated. Usually they just laugh at me staying low in the current. This one literally taunted me by coming in and out of the trough once or twice shaking its head in disgust.)

Some fish are just a blur in the back of my mind

(Above: Brown trout slipping back to the water. The motion evidently was blurred in the shot resembling all of the fish my feeble mind can barely recall. Some fish barely stand for the photo op and one picture like this is all I get.)

Big Splash

(Above: White water rafting this year has seen some decent CFS action giving the seasonal industry a bit of a boost and a few extra smiles. Not too shabby.)

Going Overboard

(Above: Not everyone made it through the set of rapids and the rafting guide had to be Johnny-on-the-spot in order to rescue one of the rafters in the smooth stretch. Good thing I had already covered that spot with a few casts.)

Thank you so much for your views, comments and rates. This blog is fueled by your support. 

Good luck and good fishing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Musketcreek interviews Mattsabasser

My blog doesn’t get a lot of attention from the mainstream media so when anyone takes notice and reaches out to me it really means a lot. When the good folks at Musketcreek.com asked me for an interview it was a welcome surprise. It gave me the feeling of being slightly famous like those more prestigious fishing\outdoor blogs. I highly recommend taking a web surf over to http://www.musketcreek.com/blog/ to check out their exceptional site.

While you are there you might also want to check out the interview\write up Adam put together on the ol Mattsabasser. Great stuff. 

Adam over at Musketcreek has done an amazing job in regards to layout for this interview along with the site’s look and format. I imagine my blog would look something along these lines if I knew what the heck I was doing.

Once again I want to extend a huge thanks and message of appreciation to Adam and Musketcreek for stopping by Coloradocasters. The interview opportunity was really cool and pleasantly unexpected for this curmudgeon in the making.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Crowd on the hot tip

Who let the word out on the hot tip? Maybe it is just seasonal traffic but typically I have to share this section of water with hikers rather than anglers. Not that I am opposed to sharing the water…this was not at all what I expected.

8AM arrival and the parking lot were full. Fishing spot #1 was taken by Billy Bobber and his buddy in a wife-beater\vest style shirt. Fishing spot #2 was occupied by a couple having a picnic on one of the few flat sandy areas near the water.

“Just head straight up and work our way back…maybe this will be open on the way back.”

The hike up is a little over a mile with the morning sun bringing air temperatures even with my frustration in regards to the unusual level of traffic. Reaching the top of the section it is evident that I only have a few anglers to shuffle around. Grab a small slice of water and go to work. Second cast through and a small brown trout comes to the hand.

Climb up the steep bank and my feet are once again on the main road. Move up about a hundred feet and have the sweet spot all to myself. Cast, cast, nothing. Clearly the sweet spot has already been worked. No time to despair even though I want to. Nothing to do but move on to the next spot.

The area is green from summer rains and the wildflowers are still busting out all over the place. As much as I try to stay frustrated with the crowds the beautiful splendor can’t help but sweep my anger away. Of course people are out enjoying the wild in droves. I would be foolish not to take advantage of open spaces and lesser-known waters.

Water clarity was good but not perfect and can vary by the day right now. Heavy rains can make the water murky in an instant so clear skies were a welcome sign. The extra light helped with the photo quality, which is rare for me. Flows are strong so the fish tend to hide on the edges, behind rocks and wait for those slack water pools to form later in the year.

No love on the minnow spin pattern. I flipped a few fly casts with the ant pattern but the current would rip the presentation past me at high speeds. Switch to a beaded nymph and spent the next few minutes digging it out of rocks or picking off moss. Most of the fish today came on a no name, low down and dirty spin pattern.

Talking with the ranger he stated that no one has EVER suggested this area be AFLO\C&R. This was surprising, as I have sent several e-mails, a few phone calls and made my usual half-assed attempt at changing bureaucracy. This is the second time in a month that a ranger has told me this. Either management is trying to stifle attempts to change regulations where we fish or anglers are not being nearly vocal enough. According to a lot of wildlife officials…80% of Colorado fishing license holders are bait and take. Waters will continue to be managed as such if this perception continues. Where is your voice?

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Improving Mayhem for better fish habitat

 (Above: Stock photo of the creek. This is not from the Mayhem section but looks very similar in regards to terrain. I don't have time to run up and grab a shot before going to work...this will have to suffice.)

Trout Unlimited once again steps in to improve fishery habitat where no one else seems to care. Even in troubled economic times T.U. is being the CAN DO solution. Just imagine if PETA and other pretend-friend to animal groups made a fraction of the attempt.

Wildlife conservation starts with improving habitat and such projects are not easy no cheap. Where others reach out for legislation and taxpayer dollars…T.U. comes to the table with their own volunteers and donated funds.

Mayhem gulch is formed by a small seasonal drainage that empties into Clear Creek. The section just above this is little more than a chute offering very little in regards to healthy fish habitat. That being said I still find fish refuge here when all other stretches are crowded. Improvements will include forming roll over dams and holding pools that are more ideal for fish habitat particularly in low water periods.

Clear Creek has taken a lot of abuse starting with the gold rush days. Now the creek suffers sewage spills, tailing washouts from old mining areas and that occasional driver who misses the road and lands smack dab in the middle of the creek. This isn’t the first Clear Creek project from T.U. and it definitely won’t be the last.

PETA has tried to stop fishing in recent years but offers nothing for the fish in return. T.U. projects are always “Fish First”. Before supporting an animal or nature group ask “where is the money going?” If they tell you it is for commercials or shock and awe campaigns say, “No thanks…my donation is going to T.U.”

Link to source article from the Denver post:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pack Your Trash…coming to an outdoor area near you.

As the integration of Colorado State Parks gets underway more locations are likely to fall under the “Pack Your Trash” management style. This is nothing new in Colorado and means the removal of trash receptacles along with the costly upkeep at certain outdoor locations. The visiting public will be expected to do their part or ultimately lose access to the wildlife area.

(Above: As you can tell, this sign has been around for a long time. Most adhere to the low budget solution but a small percentage couldn’t care less and still cause damage to natural habitat. That small percentage is a large part of the problem.)

We see these signs currently in many remote areas were it isn’t feasible to maintain routine trash pick up. Trash cans also tempt scavengers such as raccoons, bears, ravens and even squirrels into developing bad habits. These creatures simply empty the contents back onto the ground anyway when given the chance. It makes sense in a lot of wildlife areas to remove the trashcans for many reasons. There is only one catch…the public has to cooperate.

Some locations during this handover will be given one chance and one chance only to become more in line with budget needs. If the public does not cooperate, these places will be shut down temporarily or altogether. We have lost fishing spots due to poor behavior even in the best of budget years. Now management will have more of an itchy trigger finger to shoot down public access and the cost that goes with it if all they see is trouble. Access to these locations is literally in the hands of the public and many of these areas are hanging by a thread right now. Lack of cooperation and excessive littering will be the deathblow.

More cost cutting measures undoubtedly will be on the table. Some jobs will be cut and some places will be closed. Maybe they will return in better economic times but for now my mode is going into “brace for impact” in regards to Colorado’s natural areas.

In closing I urge that we all cooperate with the “Pack Your Trash” signs along with being more vigilant about litter in our wildlife areas. Packing out your own trash is a common philosophy shared by most Colorado outdoor recreationalists and in a lot of areas you simply have no other alternative. The majority of the recreational public in Colorado is very respectful. In most cases it is a very small few that have little or no regard for rules, signage or other people’s outdoor experience. The majority can compensate by zero tolerance and picking up what others leave behind. Future visits may depend on it.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Almost magically delicious

Flows are still high but the water is clearing. This makes conditions almost magically delicious and I can’t wait to get out there. Saturday plans were already booked so for this trip I was looking for a low-pressured Sunday venue on the creek. Everyone is practically chomping at the bit to get into some clear moving water action and my guess is that everyone may or may not have already worked the best sections of the creek the day before. So I dusted off one of the lesser quality but also less pressured areas in Greenway Park in Georgetown.

Slack water would is in short supply along the creek as the CFS flow is running through most sections like a raging bull. This area starts out with a huge slice of flat and smooth water unfortunately it is clobbered by the bait and take crowd. The good news is that most of the area above this is untouched. The bad news is that there is about half the pockets to fish compared to normal flows.

Moving my way up I pick behind rocks and run the presentations along the side edges. These are the areas that provide refuge for fish from the flowing torrent of water. First I run the minnow pattern and then I sort through the various colors in the PM collection. Gold started to get follows, a few bumps and then this little guy.
A couple more patterns were tried and eventually I decided to stick with the brown trout minnow presentation in 1/16oz. This worked great to attract attention from the fish but they seemed to bully it more than commit to the strike. Fish that did commit would come off in the current or just before reaching the hand. It is a roller coaster of emotions as you feel that thump, work to get the fish in and then the sinking feeling when it slips away. This adds to the excitement and drama of fishing.

Then I find a section of shoreline with a slow moving pool of water and sand bar running the entire length. One cast in and a decent brown trout takes a solid swipe and gives up a fairly good tussle for its size. I step into the water for extra gentle handling before the release.
This pool had a few fish holding up and I managed to pull out two smaller ones as well before moving on. We are not talking huge fish here, just some decent fin-slappers on the cold-water side of things.

Cross the bridge and work the last few open sections between business establishments long the water. I miss a few more fish that were possibly in the 14-inch range and try my best to shrug it off. A few minutes later I pull in a quality creek fish. This brown trout had that spectacular yellow tint that can be quite striking visually.
The real trick for in-town sections on the creek is fish the areas that are obviously open and respect property owners’ privacy in the process. Private areas are well marked for the most part but you don’t want to proceed in areas that could be questionable.

It wouldn’t break my heart to see this stretch become AFLO\C&R. The change would go a long way to help support better fish populations. Folks can still harvest fish from the frequently stocked lake but what is caught in the creek should stay in the creek.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

The battle over wildlife areas and the economy

Matt’s Rant: Where do I start with this one? Bad enough that every scrap of open space is being reviewed for possible mineral and oil exploration but now reporters and political groups are trying to label wildlife conservation agencies as “environmental groups”. This language whitewashes the effort of organizations such as Trout Unlimited with the likes of PETA and Earth First movements that dwell on the lunatic fringe. In my view this is meant to weaken the fight and open the door to exploitation. “Save the children” has now turned to “Do it for the economy”.

Outdoor sport groups and wildlife enthusiasts are losing a lot of ground in this fight. I see the tables turning in this country like they never have before. In some instances politicians and journalists will skew the labels to make hunters, anglers and even bird watchers look like they are part of the problem. Go after the EPA if that is your gripe but stop eyeballing protected natural areas to hand over to the mineral and oil crowd. There will be no going back once these areas are all #$%^& up. Even the managing agencies both at the state and federal level oppose this new measure and consider it a serious blow to wildlife areas.

Bottom line: I am not against domestic exploration but have seen too many instances where the environment suffers greatly as a result. Limiting (or effectively ending) a state’s control over wildlife areas is an extremely dangerous move. Some things you have to fight tooth and nail. Otherwise what you love becomes nailed and toothless. Colorado has so much to lose.

Below is the actual article that got me all fired up:

Colorado hunting, fishing, bird- watching and other environment groups rallied Friday to oppose federal legislation that they say would hurt Western economies and natural resources.
The legislation — a spending bill pushed by House Republicans and up for a full House vote next week — would allow uranium mining on public lands near the Grand Canyon, limit the government's ability to set standards for controlling greenhouse-gas pollution and grant exemptions from laws to protect air and water. It would cut $2.1 billion from Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Interior programs that heavily affect Western states.

"What we have here is a recipe of toxic ingredients that'll make for a very foul stew," Colorado Wildlife Federation director Suzanne O'Neill said at the event in central Denver.

Colorado Trout Unlimited president Sinjin Eberle said the bill would weaken protection for rivers and landscapes, including the Black Canyon, just when they need greater protection. "This is a giveaway of our great outdoors," he said.

Supporters of the bill have targeted the EPA, in particular, accusing the agency of regulatory zeal that kills jobs. They contend the legislation is necessary to reduce spending, increase certainty for companies and encourage creation of jobs.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Me and Red-Still Toonin’

Guess I am still having a hard time giving up my Fish Cat Streamer XL. Nothing wrong with the Sport LT as a kickboat but when I need more of a tooner, “Red” is always ready to hit the water…with a little extra TLC of course. After many years of use the red tooner is showing signs of wear. Eventually I will have to move on to something else but until that day comes Red and me will continue to give all we have in search of fish

Reach the parking lot and do the morning Saturday gear up. Accessories for this run include umbrella, PFD, front rod holder, camera holder unit, flat deck and wagon unit. A bungee cord was added to the wagon to replace the top of the handle that was lost on a previous trip. This modification is actually more functional than the metal handle and I actually kicked myself a little for not trying this sooner.

Once I reach the water there is a second gear up phase required to transition the tooner from wagon-roll mode into pre-launch status. A more patient person wouldn’t lament the gear up\roll\gear up again action but as fish rolls and swirls in the middle of the lake made my patience vanish faster than stocked trout at a kid’s fishing derby. Pulling rods and other items from the wagon and setting up the tooner was torture as precious seconds of morning ticked by.

Finally I am out on the water. There is still a large shallow flat that I need to row over before the casting can begin. The gears in my mind start cranking with the first row stroke.

“Do I search cast with spinnerbaits through the big open pool a few yards in front of me?” Mumble words from lips scanning the water for signs of fish activity. “Or do I go straight for the weed beds with the fantastic plastics?”

The decision is made to search the pool and then work the weed edges. Searching the open water turned out to be a no go so I moved to the weed bed. Right off the bat I stumble into a cloud of perch. The entire bottom of the pond seemed to move underneath me in this one area. After a quick change up to the 1/8oz jig in chartreuse I was bringing up samples in the 6 to 7-inch range. I spent the next hour harassing these prickly-fin fish in bite size length hoping fat Betty bucketmouth would stop by. Rarely things go as planned.

“Can’t waste my day with you little fellas…” I said pulling up anchor and moving on.

The thickness of the weed structure often determines my approach. For thick areas I work the weedless presentation with a slim profile that glides more effortlessly through weed cover. Open areas that I pick a line to retrieve through will get a toss with the spinnerbait. Generally I like to work the outside edges of the weed bed before running the lure over the top. The premise is here to pick the easy outside fish before going into the heart of the weed bed for the trouble fish.

The top slide more or less represents the weed bed as I approach from deeper water. Fishing the outer edge before moving in and then working the area slowly avoids spooking fish. Flipping the lightweight plastics close by and using the heavier baits to search far distances maximizes the advantage of each lure type.

The fist cast will often get a surface run over the weed bed at just enough speed to keep the lure above the weed line. Making the fish look like a slightly panicked or fleeing fish tends to get a reactive strike near the water’s surface.
When this fails to provoke any results I will run the same presentation deeper into the weed structure. Sometimes the fish just don’t feel like chasing the fish and other times they do especially in summer. Varying up the speeds really makes a difference for me in summer.
As the day went on the numbers started to add up with a bass coming from about every other patch of weed structure. Sometimes the fish came from the outside and sometimes they came from the center. The ones in the center generally put up a ruckus within the weed matte and more difficult to finally pull up to the hand. Maybe that is why I fish the edges last.

Most of these fish are the 14’er common slot and most fish over 15-inches get hauled out of this place. But just as I take off my hoodie to vent some perspiration a huge thump echoes through the line to my hand. After a slight tussle in the weeds I get a solid 19’er brute. Really the fish was closer to 18-inches and about 3 pounds but still not too shabby for this place.
With the seasonal monsoon pattern underway I find myself attacking the early sunrise shift and then fishing until the heavy dark clouds roll in. Conditions are picture perfect summer time weather for bass action in the AM. Very little wind makes the water flat and a lot easier to read. Water temps are hanging at 70-degrees with air temps ranging from 60-degrees in the AM to a sizzling 95-degrees by noon. Bass are moving out of post spawn sluggishness and feeding on a more regular basis. All of these elements combine to create that fabulous fin slapping bass action that I love. Not sure how long these conditions will last so I try to make the most of it every weekend. I know anytime I need to get offshore “Red” is willing to answer the call.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.