Between work, softball practices and games, soccer practices and games, Tae Kwon Do lessons, year-end school functions, birthday parties, graduation parties, a JDRF walk-a-thon, several field trips and a Heart concert with my daughter, Carly, it has been a crazy month since my last chance to make some casts. Why, in the first 21 days of May leading up to this fishing trip I counted 44 different items on the calendar. No wonder me and Julie are so tired. And, by the way, thanks to her for taking one for the team so I could get out and make another fishing report.
5:51am I’m back with my first bass in 34 days, no shutout and leaves room for improvement
Date: May 22, 2016
Location: Mautino State Fish & Wildlife Area (3 lakes)
Time: 5:45am-1:15pm (6.5 hours fishing, the rest relocating)
Air Temp: 57F-80F
Water Temp: 64F
Totals: 16 bass, 1 green sunfish
Lures: Senko wacky rig (purple w/ emerald flake or green pumpkin black flake) – 15 bass and 1 green sunfish, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 3-9 (Senko)
Top 5 Weight (only 4 at 12” or better): 8-12 (3-9,2-12,1-8,0-15)
11:07am Top Bass 19” 3-9 Senko
Notes & Nonsense
Gnats – I don’t know about anybody or anywhere else but the gnats around here this spring have been quite annoying. They pestered me the entire day constantly in and around my shades, on my ears and yep, a few up my nose. Same thing at some recent kid softball games causing a few hitters and hurlers to back off and regroup. Guess it’s better than some other pests that visit on my fishing outings like mosquitoes or ticks. I was happy to avoid the latter after a decent length scouting hike to end this day in search of a couple lakes off the beaten path.
Topless – This heading is my version of what is called a portmanteau, one of those words that is created by combining parts of two other words (sorry to disappoint). You know, like “spork” combines spoon and fork. In this case I am melding “topwater” and “worthless” as the surface presentations I geared up for to start the day were a complete bust. I had one small bass take a pass at my Zara Spook and nobody blew up a buzzbait. In fact, I pretty much went all in on top at my second stop but called it quits and moved on after about an hour of futility. I was all set to report on how fun it was to go old school and tear ‘em up with the Spook just like me and my brother did back in the late 80’s but I guess I’ll have to put that on the shelf for another day.
11:19am 18.5” 2-12 Senko
Mass Bass – This year I’ve gotten into the habit sending picture updates to Julie while I’m on the water kind of like the real Bassmasters do these days. She says she enjoys following along whether I’m outsmarting a few or vice versa. Well, on this outing I received a text regarding the wiseness of sending fishing pictures while the rest of the crew was attending Mass. Briefly had me worried about the source of the text but I did verify that it was sent by Julie as opposed to coming from upstairs. And just to clarify, Julie asked that I point out that she was not checking updates until after Mass had finished.
Upgrade Streak – One of my annual fishing goals is to get at least one outing in each month beginning in March and ending in November. So far so good and actually got a pair in both March and April while it looks as if this will be my lone May trip. It’s all good as life keeps us pretty busy so any casting is really icing on the cake anyhow. Another item I enjoy tracking is seeing how many consecutive outings in the new year feature an upgrade of a Top 5 bass. And so far so good on that front as well. Each of the four trips after my March 12 debut filled my limit have seen a bump in weight and this outing featured two bass joining the creel to the tune of an increase of just over three pounds. Granted it gets tougher as the year wears on but I count ‘em as I catch ‘em and this year featured more than a few qualifiers on the low end of the scale thus it hasn’t been too tall of an order to cull. After this outing I now have a 1-13 as the low fish of my Top 5 so still a possibility in my world to keep the streak alive come my June outing.
11:34am 13” 0-15 Red Eye Shad, another “keeper” and the only bass all day not caught on a Senko
One That Got Away – My first stop featured five bass all 10” or less and lake number two was a murky water bust, throwing me a shutout so I bailed after an hour. Ten minutes into my final stop I set the hook on a Senko wacky rig on something that did not move…initially. However, when it did there was one drag stripping run followed by a second line busting burst. I use ten pound mono on a spinning rig for my wacky rigging and this is the first time I recall it coming to such an end but it happens. I’m torn whether it was good or bad that I didn’t get a look at the fish. Fortunately, the 3-9 and 2-12 over the next forty minutes or so helped to soothe the pain. Those fish also helped to boost my Top 5 weight to 17-1 but left me wondering what might have been in terms of achieving my annual goal of a 20-pound limit. With my lowest bas at 1-13, the one that got away would have needed to weigh 4-12 to get me there. I’ll never know, and, of course, that fish can be as big as my imagination. In all honesty though, after thirty plus years of catching bass, I am positive that it would have made the mark with room to spare (what am I supposed to say, right?).
12:19pm 15” 1-8 Senko
Not sure what’s on the horizon for that June bass outing but sounds like there’s some panfish to be pursued with the kids. Julie replied to one of my on the water text updates that our oldest boy, Jayce, stated that he “wants to go next time, he is old enough.” I jokingly replied that he has to be seven years old as that birthday rolls around this Saturday. Cool though, that he is interested and wants to hang out with his dad. However, Julie also reported that Jayce didn’t even realize that I wasn’t around all morning until they got to Mass and he asked, “Hey, where’s Dad?” Geez, Julie steps down to the basement to do laundry and everybody around here freaks out wondering where Mom went. I get it, Moms rule. Talk to you later. Troy