So I had another day that I had taken off work and on the heels of a productive outing with another day of relatively stable weather in the works, the decision was easy. Rather than yard work or grocery shopping or actually taking my vacation day back, I headed out again for the strip mines to try and fool a few more bass and perhaps give my Top 5 one final boost. All good on adding some bass but fell short on beefing up my Top 5 creel.
Date: November 11, 2016
Location: Little John Conservation Club (2 lakes)
Weather: Sunny to partly cloudy/very windy
Air Temp: 44F-52F
Water Temp: 53F
Totals: 4 bass
Lures: 5” Senko wacky rig (electric shad) – 2 bass, Strike King Red Eye Shad (sexy shad) – 1 bass, 3/8 oz. Jig & Pig (black/blue) with #11 pork frog (black/blue) – 1 bass
Top Bass: 2-1 (Jig & Pig)
Weight: 2-1 (only one bass 12” or >)
First Bass 10:53am 6.5” Red Eye Shad - I understand that genetics trump common sense in this species but I still scratch my head over such fine examples of a vicious predator.
Notes & Nonsense
Shutout Averted – Though the weather was heading in the wrong direction for my return trip it still provided pretty decent conditions so I figured that I could get at least a few more bites. Even so, I did ponder how bummed out I’d be if I found that I “went to the well once too often” in the quest for those last bass of the year. Fortunately, the skunk was gone after only 18 minutes on the water although the catch wasn’t a whole lot bigger than the bait. But a bass is a bass, especially when I know that I am in the midst of my final casts. There’s an old baseball saying that it “looks like a line drive in the boxscore” although a firsthand observer would indeed know this one was equivalent to a “swinging bunt.”
Top Bass 12:03pm 16.5” 2-1 Jig & pig
One Last “Good One” – I dig any catch but unofficially set the bar on a “good one” as a bass that meets or exceeds the two-pound mark. This time around I found one more that qualified as I bounced a jig and pig around a downed tree. While I was wishing for something to top the 3-6 that resides on the low end of my Top 5 it wasn’t meant to be and it looks like my final creel will tip the scales at a very respectable 21-3 for 2016. My standard goal is a 20-pound stringer and I managed to eclipse that mark before the end of June but wasn’t able to bump any fish the rest of the year.
So Much for Stealth or Style – Prior to hooking my 2-1 Top Bass, I had simply let my boat drift into the end portion of a downed tree that extended above the surface, using it as sort of a natural anchor. Now, I know that conventional wisdom would deem it unwise to collide with and shake the structure you are fishing but sometimes in an eight foot boat equipped with oars you do what you gotta do. I had to laugh too as I actually had a branch under my left armpit to help keep things steady as I flipped my jig out parallel to the trunk roughly fifteen feet away in about six feet of water. Hey, it worked, right? Sure there are fancier ways to get it done but a $50,000 rig won’t launch in this lake and will not fit either in my budget or my garage…it’s all good.
End of the Line – I’d hoped to fish one of my favorite lakes as a finale but for whatever reason the water clarity had been out of whack since summer and seemed to have both me and the bass out of whack as well. I was hoping it would clear up late season but no such luck so I hopped to a rather clear and steep lake primarily due to proximity over potential. In fact, I hadn’t been on the upper end of this lake for many years and kind of chalked it up to doing some exploring to wrap things up with any more bass simply being a bonus. I spent just over an hour struggling a bit and fighting the wind winding up with two short fish on a Senko wacky rig to end the day.
One last look and photo after loading the boat as the once bright, sunny, warming day had turned into something more typical of mid-November. Always a bit sad knowing somewhere around a 100 days until my next bite but also a chance to say thanks to Mother Nature for the enjoyment provided. It began on March 12 with that first bass, only a couple hundred yards from my farewell photo and was again quite a rewarding bunch of casts, miles and a few bass in between.
There you have it, another year of fishing reports in the books as I suspect none of the last forty some days of 2016 will be spent on the water. As always, another good batch of pics, words and memories for me to wander through during those Cabin Fever days. Got some ideas for a recap or two before 2017 fishing kicks off for me likely next March
and always have plenty of writing projects in the works should I find the time. Talk to you later. Troy