Tag Archives: Smallmouth Bass

3-7-15 – Slush Is No Fun

Does anyone like slush? I don’t think so. The slush today was bad and it got much worse as the day wore on.

We began the day in the dark and set up in a new location. It took a few extra holes to the a good layout of the area but when all was said and done, our spread spanned a depth range of 5-24 feet of water.

The flags started immediately with a few run and drops, bass, and pike. The target were walleye but they sure were playing hard to get.

As the day passed, the action remained slow and flags became more scarce after about 11am. We made a small move with a few tip ups in the early afternoon after seeing a walleye on the underwater camera which my buddy jigged up almost immediately after. The move proved ineffective but it was closer to walking off none the less.

At dark we gave the bait a few more minutes to soak in hopes that the walleye would move in. The final few traps yielded a walleye and a bass. Whether they were on for a bit or us moving closer made them finally move, it’s fun to see a flag spring up under the bean of a headlight!

It was a tough day but even a tough day is good. It makes you appreciate the good days that much more!
0307150854a 0307151830a

1-23-15 – Some More Walleye

I ventured out with a buddy well before daylight today. We set up base camp in a saddle between two humps and began placing tip ups along various contours on both sides. Our depths ranged from 14 out to nearly 30 and as the sun rose we were surprised that the flags weren’t flying. It wasn’t until nearly 7:30 that we got our first flag, and walleye. After putting it back, another flag popped on the other end of our spread. Sled in tow we made our way over and pulled in another walleye within only minutes of the first. With two fish caught and released, we had high hopes that the rest of the day would follow suit.

While waiting for flags, we set up a two man flip over shack on one side of the hump trying to jig up perch, bass, walleye, or whatever else might swim by. The jig bite was slow but we stayed plenty busy chasing flags from end to end. Mostly the action was run and drops so we figured the perch were moving through in small schools. However, the perch that we were catching were tanks!

As the day passed, we cooked up a meal of venison sausage for a lunch. The fish were nice and allowed us to eat in peace with no action. After filling our bellies, another slug of perch came through not giving us time to settle and digest. Could be worse though!

As the daylight started to fade, we checked all of our traps to make sure that we were squared away for a successful evening bite. Again we had a back to back walleye episode as well as several more perch. The night was concluded with an after dark, sure bet on walleye flag that turned out to be a rockbass. After the bite abruptly ended, we decided to pack it up and make for home.

We ended the day with 8 or 9 walleye, a bunch of smallmouth, and a couple meals of perch.

20150123_103048 20150123_111801 0123151525a IMG_1137

7-22-14 – At Least I Can Still Swim!

It was an interesting day to say the least. After a short morning of trolling boards, I headed to Champlain for some crappie, Launching my boat around 11 am, things were as usual. I had my gear loaded, unhitched, and had my rope clipped on to the bow with the excess rope secured in my tailgate ready to back in. Everything went as planned until I hit the water. As my boat started to float, I heard a loud pop and slowly watched my boat float away deeper and deeper into a dense mat of weeds.

Now in my defense, I hate swimming. I don’t go unless it is completely necessary. I actually contemplated waiting for another boat to come in to rescue me. I though for probably longer than most would have before stripping down and taking a plunge into the nastiest water I have every been in. It took me several tries to get in the boat but I made it work. It was a lot harder than I would have imagined! I spent the next few hours in my underwear drying off which lead to a wicked sunburn on my pasty legs.

Fortunately, after my hardships of the day, the fish were willing to bite. I ended up putting together a limit of nice fish over the next few hours with many throwbacks and some nice bass to boot. There wasn’t any color the fish would hit other than white. All my fish were caught on “Live” Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures and the crank bait was dead. With the warm water, it had to be moving slow.

IMG_0765

0722141159

0722141952

0722142032

7-6-14 – Top Water Bassin’

My family has a camp in the North East Kingdom on a lake with great bass fishing.  As my wife and I decided to head up for a few days for the 4th of July, I decided that I was only going to bring one rod with me, and one box of lures, including my top water plugs.  Since I was a young kid I have always fished the bass there on using top water baits.  It’s something about the suspense waiting for that explosion as the bass attacks my bait.

My wife and son went to bed early on this particular night so I decided to try my luck.  Equipped with only a small ten foot row boat, a net, and my gear, I rowed to a nice inside turn that has always produced quality fish at dusk.

I started on the furthest rocky point.  My lure of choice was a torpedo.  I like to make long casts with this bait, quickly popping it back to the boat.  Thankfully the water was calm that night and I was able to drift in the direction I wanted to fish.  After about a half hour of no action I made my way in.  I knew that there was a nice deep weed bed in this turn that shelfed up onto a nice sandy flat.

As I worked my way towards the flat making long casts, the fish lunker of the night slammed my bait and jumped about four feet out of the water.  The hit came from the break line, right where the weeds transition onto the sandy flat in about 5 feet of water.  I took this and ran with it making casts to target that depth.  The first fish I landed was a hog. Only being in a small boat it was literally moving the position of the boat as it made it’s effort to throw the bait.  The bass at here are amazing.  A three to four pound average is not uncommon.  This fish probably was pushing four and a half pounds and over twenty inches.

I continued working my way back towards camp and was able to land several more decent smallmouth.  There was something about this trip and fishing without all of the modern technologies and fancy boats that brought me back to my childhood.  More memories in the bank.

IMG_20140706_200336_247

IMG_20140706_200354_958

5-25-14 – Memorial Day Bass Fishing

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.

P1050589

P1050593

P1050597

5-21-14 – Scouting Trip

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.

P1050565

P1050567

P1050570

P1050577

5-12-14 – Sight Fishing Spawning Crappie And Perch

I hit a new body of water today. Not knowing what to expect, I started off using a pattern that worked well for us in this region last year. Basically, I would replicate fishing for smallmouth but with smaller plastics. After launching the boat, the water temperatures looked a tad cold at only 55.5 but I would try none the less.

For quite a while, my smallmouth pattern of fishing humps and large boulder produced nothing but smallmouth. After about two hours of pitiful fishing, I hit a fork in the road. From where my boat sat, it looked like I could stay shallow and keep searching basically what I had been or I could work a quickly dropping shoreline. While I thought the shallow water would be their destination for the day, the deeper water might have more to offer at this point.

As I started drifting the deeper shoreline, I began to see dark silhouettes of fish suspending over 12′ of water. Below them there was a pine tree with a needles still attached. towards the shallower end, hundreds of crappies sat still in every nook and cranny imaginable.

I quickly backed the boat out and got to catching. I found that most of the fish I caught were males but as I started to work deeper the females started to show up. Little by little I pieced together a puzzle that worked well for the next few hours. I had a few spots that were all similar and I could catch them non stop as long as I kept switching colors so they didn’t get too weary. Also the brighter the better. Mostly I used the fireperch color of the “Live” Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures.

While the crappie bite was great, I wanted to explore another new body of water so I packed it up and headed out. Hoping to have similar success, I had scouted aerial photos the night before trying to locate some points of interest. As I made my way to my first way point, the anticipation built.

Things didn’t look good when I arrived as the weeds had not yet shown up and the water was already 66.8. Regardless, I putted around catching good numbers of perch and bass of both large and small variates. Things stayed the same for this and just about every other section of water that I searched. While I can’t complain about numbers and size, the species were not what I desired.

In time, I will find them in these locations because I know that they are there but until then, catching perch and bass will have to do!

0512140955

P1050541

0512141525

P1050537

P1050561

11-11-13 – Cast And Blast

While the majority of my time in the fall is spent in the woods chasing whitetails, I was able to squeeze out a “cast and blast” trip on Lake Champlain recently. The plan was to hunt until the waterfowl action slowed down then switch to fishing. With high winds predicted to come as the day progressed, we knew that fishing might  be limited.

The morning started strong. While we were setting out our decoys, we had ducks coming in wanting to land in our spread. As legal shooting hours drew near, the action got hotter. Within a minute of daybreak, we had a duck on the ground. A few minutes later another. This one, however, caused some problems. While the bird folded and hit the water hard, it swam out to open water causing us to have to motor out and chase it down. Although we successfully retrieved the bird, a fair amount of time was wasted and we spooked a bunch of incomers. The rest of the morning followed suit.

While we all shot a few, with no other hunting pressure on the water, the birds were not moving steadily after the morning rush. Also the wind didn’t pick up so the fishing looked very enticing! After ditching the hunting gear, we made our way out to fish for some crappie in deep water.

The fishing was decent but we were getting a lot of short bites. We caught a bunch of crappie in all sizes, quite a few smallmouth bass, but only caught the small fish when we downsized and went to ice fishing gear. All those small fish that I mentioned were bluegill and pumpkinseed. The key to catching crappie seemed to be color and a very slow action. The brightly colored “Live” Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures, mainly white and chartreuse glo, are simply irresistible to these fish! By using a slow jigging action of only an inch or two then pause, many fish fell victim.

At the end of the day we were ready for a feast!

2013-11-11_07-58-47_864

P1040923

 

 

 

8-6-13 – Scouting Report Walleye

The plan for the day was focused around getting a scouting report for some waterfowl hunting we intended to do the following morning. Rather than go with just one thing on our minds, my two buddies and I brought along some fishing gear as well.

While the ducks and geese weren’t flying with great numbers, one of my buddies wanted to set up and try out his luck with decoys and calls anyway. After leaving him off in a small cut, we putted out to where we could potentially catch some fish.

The first spot we stopped at yielded a few walleye, smallmouth bass, and rockbass. We were sticking to the vertical jigging in wood pattern that has proved successful all summer. One alteration to our approach recently has been to use a whole crawler, rather than half, but hook it in the middle and then hook each end one more time so that there is a little more meat on the hook.

We fished a few more spots before trying to locate fish in deeper holes. While scanning around we located a pod of fish in 35 feet of water suspending off a sharp break. We made a quick mark and back tracked with the trolling motor. After a few drops we both hooked up. Bullhead! Big ones at that! We caught a few more before deciding that we didn’t need any more.

With the boat suspended over 35 feet of water we started casting to shore. The first few casts produced fish. Walleye too! We were dragging bottom and the fish were smacking them! They were charging so hard that it felt like the jig had gone over a ledge and was free falling. Trying to get the slack up before the fish stole the crawler was a challenge!

We tried to continue this pattern throughout the entire deep hole but once we left the muddy bottom and hit rocks, the species changed and only perch, smallmouth, and pike were around.

IMG_20131006_122829_864

IMG_20131006_130352_960

IMG_20131006_134503_152