After a long day on the water already, my buddy Andy and I launched his boat with intentions of getting a night bite for trout. We didn’t really know where to go but we had identified a few spots on Navionics.
The lake was alive with life. There were trout rising everywhere. We were unsuccessful with initial attempts to catch them casting so we motored to our first destination and anchored up. The wind was out of the west so we allowed enough of a tether to get us right over the spot. With the Hydro Glow Fishing Light submerged just below the surface of the water it was game time.
The boat was set up over 22 feet of water but the swing from the wind had us swinging back and forth out over 26 FOW. Before too long, the graph was marking fish from 10-13 feet below the boat. For the remainder of the night. Small pods of fish constantly pushed through.
We fished two different set ups throughout the night. One was a 1/32 ounce jig tipped with a whole crawler and the other was a snelled hook with a small split shot a foot above with a half crawler. We made short casts and let them swing down below the boat. Once we found where the fish were biting, we tied on small pieces of floss to mark the depth so we could replicate over and over. Throughout the course of the night, the smaller fish that we caught were on the snelled hook and no matter what set up was used, the fish wanted it still. The bites were light so being on the ball was key. The best method seemed to be setting the pole up so that it would move with any kind of action on the other end. The dark made it tough to see the bites and you couldn’t keep lights on because of the bugs.
By midnight, not only did we have our limits but we had tossed back several more limits worth. All but the bluegill and brook trout were between 13-20″. Good enough for a first outing!
The crappie bite wasn’t on today. They had been set up on structure for about a week but they had moved off within the last 24 hours. Not only were they hard to locate, the large pods of them sitting on main lake breaks were spooky. Catching one or two on a pass was doing well. While it was hard to stay on them and vertical jig, it seemed like trolling would be the most effective method for the day.
With jointed shad wraps tied on, we sent them back 40-70 feet. The first few passes produced fish in the 45-55 foot range. Each pass allowed us to zero in on where the fish were. 45 feet back seemed to be the ticket at 1.9 mph.
Along with the crappie, some largemouth bass, pike, and sheephead. One of the sheephead was a nice one! As the time passed, the bite slowed up even more so we called it a day early. If only I could make sense of when and why these fish don’t bite!
Not having a plan on where to go makes leaving in the morning tough. Regardless, I hitched up and headed. I would decide on the way. Coming up with a game plan, I decided that crappie were going to be the target for the day.
Arriving at my destination, the water looked good and so did the weather forecast. I made my way to my starting waypoint and got to casting. I went fishless for about an hour even though I was seeing bluegills on beds. I figured that the pumpkinseed here would be easier to catch so I switched up locations and found a secluded hump with about a foot of water covering it.
The fishing started slow. With no breeze, the fish were spooky and I only caught them on long casts. As the wind started to pick up so did the fishing. I was able to make short casts and I caught them on just about every lily pad around. I felt like I had caught the majority of fish on the hump so I left in search of my original target; crappie.
I resumed my pattern of working taller weeds in deeper water and any structure I could see. Still nothing. The fishing slowed down all together other than a few small pike and bass. I thought I was going to get skunked!
I figured if nothing else, I would catch a few more pumpkinseed and call it a day so I headed back to the hump. A few seeds into the pass I noticed a large dark spot moving towards me. I casted at it and pulled the first crappie of the day. Before I knew it though, they were gone.
Knowing that they were there made things more interesting though. I figured now that they cruising the weed edge feeding. While the wind made locating the weed edge from a distance difficult, having the milfoil almost at the surface helped a bit. On my first weedline cast, I caught another crappie. Then another. Then another. Soon I was making sense of what the fish were actually doing. While the outer weed edge was good, the pockets in the weeds were also very productive.
After two hours of catching crappie, I needed to get going to make it home for work. I caught 38 keeper sized crappie that were all released and a pile of bluegill and pumpkinseed on this weed edge/pocket pattern.
While the last couple of trips have been for bass, Bobby and I were able to get out today and chase panfish. The bite for crappie has been tough so we decided that pumpkinseed and bluegills were the way to go.
We found a stretch of flooded timber that was sheltered from the wind so we called it home for a couple of hours. The seeds and gills seemed to be coming in to spawn because there were only short periods of time where there were no fish. Basically, we found that pockets of shade adjacent to trees held, or at least attracted the fish to hug it when passing by.
Even though the bluegill and pumpkinseed were lots of fun, we had to at least try our hand at crappie. We started drifting a large weedy flat that they frequent post spawn. After about a fishless 15 minute drift, Bobby’s bobber took the first dip since the move. It wasn’t a crappie but we hit a mother load of yellow perch ranging from 8-12″. It was one of those times when you could do no wrong. We set the electric anchor on the trolling motor and made 15-20 foot casts for the next 30 minutes. Every cast either yielded a perch or at least multiple bites.
While the bite was great, a heavy rain rolled in and we decided a few perch weren’t worth getting wet at this point in the day so we loaded up and headed for home.
So my scouting trip paid off the other day. After launching my boat, I went and picked off a few fish before heading to pick up Kyle and Kam. We had a quick breakfast and hit the water. It was still fairly calm and the bass were biting well.
We started off on a section of shoreline that is usually first to catch for spawning fish. While the fishing was slow, we saw some nice bass cruising the shallows. As we crept along, the fish worked with us. We started off where I would hook the fish and pass the rod. That evolved into me casting and letting them set the hook. Before too long, they were seeing beds that I hadn’t seen and catching them all on their own with good consistency.
We had one spot where we caught probably 10 bass off of 3 beds. With the lull in wind, we were able to sit pretty much stationary while they picked away.
When it was almost lunch time, I asked if they wanted to head back but they wanted to continue! It was great to see them enjoy fishing the way I do.
With Memorial Day coming up quickly, I wanted to go find some bass so that I could take my cousins out for a successful trip. I launched my boat around 10:30 and was on fish right off. The wind was light and dead calm at times. I had more luck catching fish when the wind was blowing but it was far more difficult to sight fish them during those periods.
I was working the shoreline and found that most of the large fish were slightly deeper. Their beds were highly visible in the clear water and the darker the senko the better. Not only were the darker colors easier for me to see but the fish seemed to prefer them as well.
As the hours passed by, I had fished the entire shoreline so I figured it was time to go home rather than keep pounding on spawning fish. Over the course of 5.5 hours, I landed 68 bass and a few pickerel. The numbers landed should have been much higher but I went through periods when it seemed like I couldn’t hook up no matter what I did.
I got on the water with my buddy Dan around 7:30 am. With no wind yet, we figured that crappie fishing was a better way to start the day than for catfish.
We found some fish early but for the most part they had vacated the shallows. The ones that were still remaining were loyal to trees and shade or if nothing else, dense weed patches. Color didn’t seem to be a big deal as long as it was placed on the sweet spot. With enough crappie in the boat for a good meal we headed out to fish for bait for the bigger fish.
After putting a few bluegill, sunnies, shiners and perch into the livewell, we headed to a main lake point in 6 FOW. We chunked up our bait and started tossing them out using the wind to our advantage.
While the target species was catfish, we also caught largemouth bass, pike, pickerel, pike-pickerel hybrid, bowfin, and bullhead. The catfish weren’t concentrated. It seemed like we would only catch one per spot but the bite usually came pretty quick. On the plus side, there was plenty of action with the other bigger species as well as many panfish while casting bobbers.