Sunday, May 12, 2013

What To Do for and Hour or Two

After a long and wonderful winter for the ice fisherman in me the open water fisherman was itching to cast.  I wanted to use a rod longer than my arm and stand up.  I wanted to flip the switch and have the ponds wake up, the rivers move to a wadeable level, and every lure I throw I want to get mauled by hungry largemouth and smallmouth.

Ok, now for how it's really been.  I've been out fishing a lot and have had slow but steadily increasing luck in ponds.  The rivers are still a bit messed up from the April rains that doused the area so I've been leaving them alone for now.

I clean my house for a showing, load my gear and my dogs into the car, and drive in the direction of a pond I know.  A pond where I can fish with two big dogs tied to my belt and not bother anyone or be bothered by anyone.  Only one thing goes through my mind on the drive.  What am I going to throw? What lure is right for conditions?  What's right for fishing attached to two big dogs.

I took a look at the water when I got to the spot and it was clear for a few feet then you lost visibility considerably, there were plenty of wispy weeds, and a decently strong breeze was blowing down the length of this rectangular retention pond.  It was decided.  I was going to fish finesse and fish small.  One #4 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hook, one 23g Raven Sure Shot Lead Split Shot, and one Crabby Bass Hellgrammite in Black with Blue Flake color.

I knew there were nice bluegills in this pond and there were also bass but I didn't know what size to anticipate.  That was part of the fun of this style; I could catch a tiny little largemouth or a great big one but I was more interested in finding big bluegill.  

First fish wasn't a bluegill.

It was a little largemouth.  A decent size to keep catching fun.  If it wasn't this windy I'd use my ultralight rod.  That would make this type of catching all the more enjoyable.  Still the bass ate it.  When you find a bait as far down the gullet as this one was you know the bass are hungry and the bait totally fooled 'em.

I tossed the bass back, straightened my rig out and tossed it back past the weed edge.  I pulled my rod tip down to enable me to see the line on the surface of the water.  I watched two things to determine if I had a bite.  The point where the line enters the surface of the water is of utmost importance to watch.  If the you see the line move left or right you know a fish is running with your bait, reel in slack and set the hook.  The other place I'm watching is a few inches down my line from where it enters the water.  I learned this trick from a sight-fishing ice fishing champion that fishes with Schooley reels and no float or spring-bobber.

The trick was to watch the round spring-like condition of the mono fishing line as it lays on the surface of the water.  The sun would block my view of the point where the line entered the water so I'd reel slack but keep it spring-like.  When the spring straightened out set the hook.  

Sunshine my larger dog has never been fishing with me when I caught anything.  She was very interested in the bass.  I let her sniff one and she tried to grab it.  I corrected her quickly and she let it go.  I guess largemouth bass smell like the fish-based food I feed her.  I'll say this, Sunshine looked at every bass I pulled out of that pond as if I was holding a dog treat that I might give her if she was a good girl.  I didn't give her any, but I did catch a bunch.  Over 20 bass today, and a few gills thrown in.  

I learned after I missed what I thought was a good bite that I pulled away from the bluegills were taking two or three bites to get the 2" Helgie in their mouths.  When I was patient and let them take it I got beautifully colored bluegills too.

I had to be out of my house on a Saturday, I accepted that.  I knew what I'd be doing if the weather permitted.  Fishing happens and I like to be there when it does.  I kept my dogs and myself out of the house when it was being shown, I got out and got some sun and fresh air, and I got something I haven't had in a long time:

I got Bass Thumb!  

Welcome to open water fishing.  It's on until it gets solid later this year!  Let's go out and catch some fish!