Saturday, June 2, 2012

FISHmas Last Gasp

Another day and another fish-venture. Taking one of my last FISHmas PTO days, I chose to hit some big water as opposed to my usual small pondin'. Water temp for this 150-surface acre lake was at 61-degrees when the boat was put in. Air temperatures were much higher and would reach 80-degrees by midday. I expected the fish to be staging in prime prespawn\spawn mode with the smaller male fish nesting and larger females cruising nearby. This was not the case at all. Once again I was either too early or too late. A few fish looked as if they were starting to stage but the fatty bass were nowhere to be seen. This shifted my game into two modes: structure and search.

(Above The red line indicates the zigzag pattern of the boat in relationship to structure and nesting fish. The orange circles reference the cast radius, which is greatly out of scale by the way. Nesting areas were given a much larger range than shown.)

The structure would get focused casts within a small radius. 3” or 4” grub patterns rigged weightless or Texas-rigged with a 1/4oz weight or less tends to be my favorite in this situation. Selecting the size and color can be the key for timid\pressured fish. If this doesn’t work I will start working the edges with baitfish and creature patterns. Approach the structure very slowly and cast ahead of you before moving in to spot fish.

The fish shown above is an estimated 19-inches in length and about 4lbs. Crawdad presentations in black and blue were getting attention but orange\brown combinations worked much better. In this case I am throwing a 3.25” Yum crawbug in “crawdad” color, which is a two tone, green and orange pumpkin. This is dressed with a ¼ or 1/2 oz jig head hook.

When I come upon a nesting male the casting range was increased dramatically. Spinnerbaits, swimbaits and even crankbaits were thrown in varying speeds hoping to lock into the mega-bucket that is hopefully cruising nearby. Occasionally my lack of self-control would get the better of me and the nesting fish would get nailed. The fish can’t help itself and I should know better. Quick handling and release makes this behavoir a little less shameless but not much.

By noon the wind was howling and a small land hurricane was forming. Juice on the battery was getting low so we made a dash over to the sheltered edges and worked our way back to the landing. Whitecaps were crashing on the shoreline by the time we made it in. The Minnkota 35 and battery gave us all she had. Don and I would have preferred a two trolling motor setup but I still haven’t replaced mine from the storage unit break in of 2011.

My hopes for big prespawn bass in 2012 have been more or less reduced to ashes. Didn’t get out enough and my timing was slightly worse than terrible in regards to the right spot at the right time. Sure I may be catching fish but the results are far more ho-hum than spectacular. Rather than reach for my bag of excuses I simply have to fish harder. Most of my fish are caught on luck with a lot of determination.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

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