Each year my aim is to get on the board with a bass before March gives way to April. It may not sound like a daunting task but given work, family responsibilities and fickle weather it can sometimes seem like an impossibility. Fortunately, a warm front coincided with a day off and Spring Break so I was able to accomplish my goal. Although my bass couldn’t quite measure up to young Mr. Junk’s success (see 2011 Fishing - Pond Bass), I still found some healthy and hungry fish.
Date: March 21, 2011
Location: Northwest Lake-Snakeden & Muskrat Lake-Little John Conservation Club
Time: 11:20am-2:20pm & 3:10pm-4:55pm
Weather: Sunny to partly cloudy/windy
Air Temp: 60-65F
Water Temp: not available
Totals: 7 bass (Northwest Lake – 7 Muskrat – 0)
Lures: Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw) – 5 bass, 5” Senko wacky rig (natural shad) – 1bass, ¼ oz jig (black/blue) with #11A pork frog (blue) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-0 (Red Eye Shad)
Top 5 Weight: 8-11 (2-0, 1-14, 1-13, 1-8, 1-8)
Notes & Nonsense
Northwest Lake- This spot features limited bank access due to its typical strip mine layout. As a result, I’d not fished the lake in well over 15 years and never in a boat as I did on this outing.
Man vs. Boat and Terrain – This adventure required hauling my gear and dragging our old 8’ johnboat about 200 yards to the lake and then negotiating around a 15’ drop to the water. I worried about damaging the boat but it came through fine. I’m in the best shape I’ve been since I was a teenager but pushing 44 years old I did experience a few of those “mind is willing but body isn’t quite so sure” moments. On the trips in and out I must admit that I wondered aloud if it was such a good idea. However, now that I survived and had decent luck with the bass, I might just try it again someday.
Why? – 1) This trip has intrigued me for many years and I figured that I was finally in good enough shape to give it a go. 2) Although my time on the water may be limited in 2011, I want to try a few new stunts for a little something extra. 3) The beaver lodge pictured at the top of this post has always beckoned but is tough to access, let alone fish, on foot. If I had to pick my favorite piece of bass structure it would be one of these tangled masses of logs and branches and I could no longer resist.
The Bass – Normally I don’t devote a paragraph and picture to the majority of bass I catch but it’s been a long winter. Besides, this quartet of fish provided a little something extra so it’s only right to give them some press.
Bass #1 – 12:04pm 15.5” 1 lb 14 oz ¼ oz Rattling jig (black/blue) with #11A pork frog (blue) – The combination of me, cold water, a beaver lodge and a black and blue jig and pig has resulted in more than a few bass over the past twenty five years. After a long winter, 139 days since my last bass and dragging a boat around, that telltale tap of a bass picking up the jig was a thing of beauty.
Bass#2 – 12:17pm 15” 1-13 5” Yammasenko wacky rig (natural shad)
I’d cast my Senko just beyond a small tree laying in the water with the aim of reeling the lure up and over the outer branches and then letting it fall. It never made it that far as this aggressive fish exploded on the bait while it bulged under the surface.
Bass#3 – 12:25pm 13.5” 1-8 Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw)
This bass either missed on its initial strike or was possibly the second of a pair after my lipless crankbait. Whatever the case it nailed the lure just as I resumed reeling upon missing a hookset. I’ve always believed that if a bass wanted your lure bad enough there is no way you could keep it away (even in cold water), and this fish provided further proof.
Bass#4 – 12:40pm 15” 2-0 Strike King Red Eye Shad (orange craw)
In another fine example of aggressiveness this bass seemed to be part muskie. As my lure reached boatside and I began to lift it out of the water the fish came out of nowhere as bass often seem to do. Instinctively I plunged the lure and my rod tip back under the surface and the fish totally annihilated the crankbait. I had to disengage the spool and let it run for a bit as I only had about a foot of line out and a rather energetic bass on the end.
The remainder of my haul were pretty standard bites on the Red Eye Shad but exciting nonetheless as they went a long way towards curing a nasty bout of Cabin Fever. My follow up on Little John’s Muskrat Lake was a disappointing shutout but that’s the way it goes, particularly this time of the year. I rounded out my trip by meeting Julie and the kids at the playground area for a picnic supper. We also threw sticks, played on the merry go round and caught some moss with our make believe fishing poles crafted from sycamore branches. Spring has been a long time coming and we’re all eager for more. Talk to you later. Troy
While I have a few things lined up for the new start as a sort of blog spring cleaning, first things first with some catching up on what we’ve been catching in 2011. Although much of the late winter/early spring weather was frightful, some of us did take advantage when conditions were relatively delightful. But such is typical March.
I’m happy to report that family friend Brady Junk is back to harassing the bass in his Henry County fishing hole as he looks to defend his 2010 Top Bass title (more on that later this week). On 3/16 his mother, Lisa (one of my supervisors at work), called me over to check out a newly received picture on her cell phone or whatever you call those fancy, high tech devices these days. The bass pictured above measured 19.5 inches but Brady was without a scale that particular day so I guess it can weigh whatever the angler’s imagination and experience can estimate.
The bass fell to a Mepps spinner which did my heart good. In today’s world of outrageously priced “can’t miss” lures, this old favorite often gets left out in the cold. My dad and my uncle used to swear by the Mepps and a Rapala floating minnow when it came to early season farm pond fishing. Of course, these two guys were the smartest bass fishermen my brother and I knew (actually the only ones) so we followed suit. We weren’t disappointed and I still haul several Mepps spinners around although I don’t employ them near as often as I should. Brady’s catch sure got me to reminiscing and reconsidering.
As evidenced by the second photo, Brady wasn’t done yet. His four pounder above came on a Rat L Trap at the same location on 3/24. Then on 4/3 he hooked the six pounder pictured below. Unfortunately, “hooked” is a literal description as the bass was actually snagged in the back when it took a shot at the lure. All of these bass were released to fight again.
It’s a great start to the year for the soon to be teenage angler and sets the bar for another exciting Top Bass battle among family and friends. I’m back tomorrow with details from a trip to Snakeden Hollow that was my first outing of the year. Talk to you later. Troy
“If I had ever been here before I would probably know just what to do.” – David Crosby
Well, I have and sometimes I don’t.
So, being from the “dance with who brung ya” school of thought I’m going to stick with the formula that eventually landed me here in the first place. And that consists of whatever outdoor related stuff (some topics more remotely related than others) crosses my path or my mind.
“Meandering” started elsewhere almost exactly a year ago with the warning that “I have a writing problem.” Still do on a couple levels and I’m in need of a fix or perhaps even some fixing (as in put right or corrected).
To those who are familiar with that first incarnation of “Meandering”, I hope you will give me a second chance.
To those who aren’t, it’s worth a try, right.
To those who may have heard any of the ugly rumors and reviews, remember that you can’t believe everything that you read on the internet.
Except for my “fish stories”, of course, which I assure you will strictly adhere to my version of the truth.
“Fish stories” are where this new and improved(?) version of my blog will begin as I get caught up on 2011 outings as well as recapping 2010. Beyond that I’ve got a brain full of ideas and a folder full of notes and nonsense both in various stages of disarray.
I’ve always had some trouble with introductions so this will have to suffice.
By the same token sometimes I don’t know when to quit. And whether it shows or not, I do indeed put forth considerable time and effort when it comes to feeding my writing habit. I feel that the wild haired, eccentric, genius of confectionery, Willy Wonka aptly describes this creative process in stating, “Invention, my friends is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation and 2% butterscotch ripple.” Actually, that used to be 2% Old Mil Light but anymore a couple cans of liquid inspiration just makes me tired. Speaking of sleep…Talk to you later. Troy