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.


TexWisGirl said...

Red looks great (well-loved), the catch is nice, but you had me at 'seasonal monsoon'... {sigh}

Dean K Miller said...

Matt: great read with the diagrams. I've enjoyed a couple nice bass days this summer on a friends lake. I know the feeling you're talkin' about.

Give old red a kiss for me. A good friend like that is hard to find.

Coloradocasters said...

@TexWisGirl: I am so glad that I stumbled across your blog You have become one of my better supporters…thank you so much for putting up with me. Colorado has been blessed this season with afternoon rain showers that temper the heat on a daily basis. We set our clocks by the clouds. “It’s raining again…it must be 6PM.”

@Dean K Miller: Thank you for the comment, Dean. I am a huge fan of that river in your neck of the woods. The more that area gets serious about trophy fish management, the better fishing will get. Awesome stuff over there at by the way.