Monday, May 26, 2014

Open Water Success (finally!)

It's been too long since I last updated this blog.  It's not that I haven't been out fishing, it's that I haven't been catching much to speak of since ice out.  That changed Saturday for my friends Dave, Monique, and me.  Small pond bass finally got out of their spawn-induced slump and we had figured out what they wanted and how to catch them.

The first pond we stopped at has weeds just starting to form a shallow-water weed line.  Tall grass made casting challenging at times.  I threw a few crank baits early but nothing paid too much attention to them.  It was when I tied on a Z-Man Chatterbait in a bluegill color with a Crabby Bass Crawdaddy trailer I got some largemouth attention.

A nice chunk of a largemouth that hit my chatterbait around four feet from shore; near where a shelf drops off in the pond.  After releasing the bass I made the same cast and slow-reeled the chatterbait back toward the shore.  I was watching the fast-tip of my casting rod do a slow twitching motion in time with the vibrations of the chattering blade.  

My lure should be near shore so I should look down and slow my retrie.....Woah, there comes bass, slow way-down.  The skirt on the chatterbait flares, the claws on the Crabby Bass Crawdaddy flapped, the blade flashed gold, and a big mouth opened up and snatched my lure.

A longer bass and it may be a heavier one.  I didn't bring a scale or tape measure along to measure it.  I was just glad to catch it.  I would catch a few more bass here but fish eluded Dave and Monique.  We decided to hike our way back to the car and head down the road to another pond about the same size as this one.  

The shoreline was mowed and manicured at this pond.  Dave got out his first casting rod; a custom spiral wrapped casting rod with the same specs as the stick I was using today.  It was my way of welcoming him into using a baitcasting reel.  

He had a BPS Egg in bluegill color tied on and 10# Triline Mono spooled onto a Lew's Speedspool. His first cast with the new casting setup he sidearms the Egg in front of a bed of reeds.  I watched as the rod blank arched and loaded up with a bass on the other end of the line. 

A nice bass for his first of the year and the first using a style of reel he was just learning how to use.  Practice casting with rubber casting weights pays off in a day with only three overspins he had to pull out.   Much better than my first time out with casting gear to be sure.

Monique had been using a small paddle-tail swimbait in chartreuse rigged under a float.  I wasn't going to discourage her but I did gently suggest she lose the float and rig the swimbait on a jig-head and cast it.  Off she went to cast at the pond when Dave and I heard her yell.  "Hey, I think I got a fish!"  Soon came confirmation "Yeah, I got a fish!!!!?"

It turned out all she needed was some direction in what to do.  Once she got her thumb in the bass' mouth she learned the fish generally calms down and gives you time to work the hook back out it. She handled it like a pro after that.  When I joked she was in good company kissing fish and brought up Jimmy Houston she looked confused.  I'll have to send her some links of him kissing bass or Sugar-Boogers as he calls them.  

Dave scored the last fish of the day on a really cool and odd-looking little plug.  A Heddon Crazy Crawler.  

It was great to finally have a good day open water fishing.  We had ice late this year so spring schedules got all out of whack as far as spawning has been concerned.  It's got nature all out of whack trying to adjust.  One thing we all caught that we hadn't intended was something that's been out in force this year; ticks.  Each of us found at least two ticks on us.  We did examine ourselves after we got home but it took a second look to find all of the little buggers.

Do please be careful and check yourselves as you go out into nature! Lyme disease is nothing to mess with!  

As the summer comes and the bass move to more predictable spots I'll be getting out in my kayak more.  I want to spend more time this summer yakking rivers and new bodies of water.  If I catch you'll know because I'll write about it.  Since I started this blog my stats counter has passed 18,000 page views.  I'm geeked to get to 20K!  Thanks to all of you for reading about my fishing!