Lake Z, MA After driving around the metro-west area and Wellesley for 1 hours and finding 0 open water, Mr. Awesome and I ended up at Lake Z. This place was wide open but shallow everywhere. We hit the north end since its been out of the cold north winds and the warm wind was blowing in that direction.
The water was 46.3 degrees. Pretty unbelievable given the weather we've had. We started out "deep" but it wasn't working.
I finally caught one on a spinnerbait but it was probably the smallest of the day. First bass of 2015 though and we figured things out after that. Mr. Awesome banged a crankbait off a sunken branch and the lunker of the day at around 4.8 lbs. absolutely choked it.
We noticed a few spots had small rocks and wood / branches in 3' of water with a sandier bottom a little off of the shoreline. This is where most of the fish were and they were absolutely stacked. The next 2 hours were lights out. We caught fish every other cast for 2 straight hours. We lost count but easily boated 30-40 fish mostly between 2-3.5 pounds. We didn't catch a single non-keeper the entire day. All but 2 of the fish were in an area totaling around 150'. We caught 10 in a row off of a single stump.
The weather and 46 degree water played a huge part but we found the needle in the haystack and had them completely dialed in. Most fish choked the entire lure. All but 1 were caught on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and lipless cranks. I caught a few that had the entire spinnerbait in its throat including the line tie.
We made some small adjustments that made a huge difference. We fished as slowly as possible but kept the bait moving. It had to be bumped off of structure and needed a little color. Crankbaits had to have a tight wobble and flat sides.
We caught so many fish we decided to experiment to make sure this wasn't a fluke. I switched to a square bill with a wide wobble and while I still caught a few fish, they were barely hooked on the rear treble. Mr. Awesome threw to the same spots and he caught more and got his bait got choked. I switched spinnerbaits to one with bigger blades to slow it down and only then consistently caught fish on it. We kept switching lures, colors, and presentations to keep them fired up.
I guess fish sometimes do go shallow in cold water.
I've had a few nice trips over the past 3 weeks with Mr. Awesome with a lot of nice fish including countless 4 pounders and 4 over 5 pounds but I can't get another 6.
Some key factors played into finding the bigger fish and were true at every place.
We struggled at the first place which was in the immediate post spawn and could only catch some decent fish in deeper pads around bait. The bait was concentrated in certain spots and it was the only place we caught fish (pics 1 and 2).
The place in picture 3 was on the post spawn rebound. The fish were all over the bait but the water was really low. We found the deepest green weeds and caught a lot of solid 3-4 lb. fish pitching plastics and cranking. When the wind kicked up, the frog and buzzbait bite turned on. Even with 0 clouds and bright sun. It had to be a wind blown shoreline though. A Lucky Craft Sammy worked when the wind was lower.
Picture 4 and 5 was at a clear water place that's only about 8' deep max. It was a tough day figuring them out but once again, they were around bait and in the deepest part of the pong with green grass. Even though there was great looking pads, the biggest fish were offshore. The weather completely changed too. The first one was just over 5 in wind blown pads and the other was just under 6 at 5 lbs. 14 oz. in offshore weeds. At this point, there was 0 cloud cover and it sucked but all of the bigger fish were concentrated in this one area.
The last 2 were from shallow places with heavy cover. The fish were absolutely buried under some nasty stuff and we had to punch with 1 to 1.5 oz. weights. Both places suffered from weed kill and it concentrated the fish. The bigger fish were all in the cover that was in or around "deep" water as in 6" to 1' deeper than the rest of the same looking stuff. We also learned that those floating brush islands really are floating and the fish get right under them and don't move. You needed to drop bombs on them and gt a reaction strike. Same theme: bigger fish were in or around deeper water. The last one was another 5 lb 14 oz. hog that hit a 1 oz. punch set up and had to be ripped from under a floating island and thick cranberry bushes.
Here's one of a few trips I'll be posting that will hopefully give some useful information and tips. I have the distinct pleasure of being able to fish a private lake every year as a guest on someone's lake house. This year's trip was earlier than normal so I wasn't sure what to expect. It was pure post spawn blues but it was cool to fish for 4 straight days and literally follow the fish along their post spawn migration routes to where they hang out in the summer.
The place is relatively shallow with some 12' open water, some rocks, docks, boats, points, boulders, and pads. It's pretty flat though without a lot of offshore grass.
I started off fishing the spots I usually find productive. Oh right, they just did a massive weed kill. In fact, the day we arrived was the first day people were allowed back in the water. Fortunately a big storm was coming in so I went to the mouth of a river that connects to the lake and has a lot of pads. It's strange because the fish aren't really in the pads here. I've figured out that they really only use them as a feeding station since it's so shallow. I must have timed it right because I got to one section with wind and caught a 4, then a 3, then a 5 in a row on the frog. I got some nice GoPro footage of the 4 I'll try to put up. After that, I went to a rock pile near the mouth of the river and caught a few 2s and 3s cranking. This spot is always good when there's wind. The fish set up on the back sides of the rocks.
Quick side note: all of these spots were on the northern end of the lake where they primarily spawn. On day 2, the same spot was dead so moved to the next spot which is a big weedy cove....no weeds and no pads. Dead. On the way out to the main part of the lake I stopped at another rock pile and caught a bunch of solid fish on a spook. I even caught a nice 2 lb. smallie in 1' of water. I heard they were in thee but have only caught ultra dinks before and never really targeted them.
The next day, I fished all these spots once again and caught a bunch of fry guarders around boulders near the mouth of the river on a Lucky Craft Gunfish. But they were gone for the most part. I kept moving south and spotted a bunch more fry guarders and caught a lot of fish on a topwater popper.
So I literally followed the fish as they moved out and hung on whatever major structure or cover there was as they made their way to the southern end of the lake and the docks they usually hang out under. Just to be absolutely sure this wasn't just something out of a Bassmaster magazine, I fished these docks a lot and even threw a worm. There was nothing. Not even any bait.
I figured out that these fish were either just done spawning or close to recovered. I caught a lot of fish guarding fry and they were in the mid range depths. The water was in the low to mid 70s so they weren't shallow or deep but in the mid range.
I didn't get crazy numbers of 3 pounders like I usually do here due to the post spawn phase and weed kill, but it was interesting to fish over a 4 day spawn and follow them as they moved away from the spawning areas. It was a solid learning experience as well being able to piece all of this information together and make the best of it.
Hit a few spots on the Cape for smallies but ended up with a mixed bag. Tough day with changing weather, cold water, and technical difficulties with the fish finder.
The fish seemed to be suspending out deep for the most part around white and yellow perch schools. Our fish were caught on finesse baits or a reaction strike with crankbaits. We didn't have many bites but made them all count. Probably ended up with around a 16 lb. bag. No real consistent pattern...largemouth were caught in about 4', 10', and 40'! Smallies in 2' and about 15'. Very strange day.
At least I got my personal best smallie at 4.7 lbs.
*Landmarks and location edited to make trip lurker-proof*
Bobby and I hadn't been out in awhile so we met up for a trip on Pond X in northern MA. We got a late start since as soon as we hit the water, the sky opened up with thunder, lightning, and a lot of rain. Better safe than sorry, we waited for it to pass.
Since we've never been this Pond X before, we did a lot of searching but it didn't take too long. We crushed them for awhile on buzzbaits, walking the frog, and cleaned up with texas rigged creature baits. I had a good one hit the buzzbait so hard it mangled the blades and wire. Another blew a hole in the front of the frog. It was nonstop fish and blowups for a few hours.
We then found a nice offshore weed bed and Bobby crushes two 5 pounders in a row on the spinnerbait! This weed bed was pretty much the only one in the place since there was definitely a weed kill. Green chemicals, chunk, slime, and dead weeds were everywhere.
Other than the slobs, we caught a bunch around 2.5-3 lbs, a lot of 2s and only 1 non keeper. Most fish were off the bank in flooded brush. There were fish on any small stick, bush etc.
We tried hitting this same pattern on the bank where the wind was blowing and thought they'd be there, but they weren't. We think this was because the wind and waves were pushing all the chemicals down that way and you could see it cover the water and entire shoreline in those areas.
Went out to a local spot for a few hours before running some errands. Started fishing the edges of cover and pads and caught 2 early on a double bladed buzzbait. After that I cruised around and threw everything...spinnerbaits, crankbaits, mini slammer, spooks, etc. and couldn't get a bite. Tried it in open water as well. Nothing.
After about 2 hours I started pounding the shoreline cover up tight. The place was pretty flooded with water back where it would normally be shoreline. That's when I started catching them. I couldn't believe since I thought they'd be cruising or on the edges with the weather the way it was.
They were way back in the thickest cover and the main pattern was flooded brush at the base of a tree. I ended up pitching weighted plastics and hollow body frogs. Both worked but the frog really worked for some reason.
It had to be right dropped against the tree or in the dead center of the brush.
Ended up with about 25 and covered the spectrum. A bunch of shorts, a bunch in the 1 range, a few 2s, a 3, a 4, and a 5.
First of all, huge thanks to jbigun for the advice!
Had last Friday off and hit a local pond. It was cold with falling temperatures from the previous day, overcast, and relatively windy. Not the best conditions but I was rewarded.
I found fish in shallow brush and the big ones at the bottom of the steepest rocky dropoffs where the wind was blowing. Dragging texas rigged plastics pegged with a tungsten weight did the trick. The bait had to be dragged very slowly. When targeting shallow cover, they wouldn't hit it on the drop. You had to just dead stick it.
Ended up with a 5 lb. 5 oz. beast with a giant head, a 4 lb. 1 oz chunk, and several 3.5 pounders. Smallest fish was still over 2 lbs. Didn't take pictures of all of them but it was a great day. I haven't caught quality like this in awhile. The quest for a 7 pounder continues though.
Hit the river today for a bit on a miserable day featuring falling temperatures, some rain, and wind. I'm not a big jig guy unless it's pitching to or into cover but was determined to catch some fish on them. Lipless cranks and jerkbaits just didn't work out and I was actually mostly hoping for a giant pike. I got 2 nice fish on jigs instead. Both were on steeper river bank dropoffs. The first was about 3.5 pounds and the second hit the scale at 4 lbs. 1 oz.
Decided to take a mid-week trip with Bobby. After some scouting around the area and getting iced out at a few places, we found some open water in the Natick area.
The day started off with some mechanical issues as my finder wouldn't work. Oh well, time to just go fishing. Then I lost the handle nut cover to my Abu Garcia Revo Premier. The water still had ice in a few spots and needless to say, was freezing. After failing at a few of the usual spots, we moved into a shallower area when the sun came up. The water was a little warmer and we finally got a pattern going. Bobby had them dialed in with shallow running jerkbaits and lipless crankbaits so we ended up cranking in the 2-5' range most of the day.
The fishing was slow for the most part but you can't ask for a lot this time of year with ice still on the water. We ended up with something like 6 bass and only 2 slime darts. Bobby caught a lean lunker with a big head. The day ended with me telling him how I never catch anything on this one dock...Then I pitch to it and hook into a decent fish only to have him shake off right near the surface. So it's still true.
Great day when the wind wasn't howling and nice to finally catch the first keepers of the year and get a limit. Jon boat courtesy of team Beaver Fever.
Edit: after seeing dhutch's review, i thought it would be useful to add some more details. you could tell the fish we found in the shallow area had moved up. they weren't up there early but only when the sun was up and warmed the water a bit. it wasn't just bass but also the bait which you could see.
after bobby's flurry, everything disappeared. we moved back out a little and we caught some more fish. again, you could tell they started moving out deeper as it got cooler. after that they were completely gone and moved out deeper for sure. this is where not having the finder hurt since we couldn't find dropoffs, bait, or mark bass.
as for lures and technique, bobby was mostly yo-yoing the lipless and ripping it off of the sparse weeds. i was deflecting cranks off of weeds and any random sticks or structure in the water. that's when they bit.
i'm usually not insane about lure colors but i do know that i have the most success at this place this time of year using something that's mostly white or silver / translucent. maybe it's coincidence but we caught our fish on lures with these colors. worst case is that the color just gave us confidence but it's great using these small things to put a pattern together in tough conditions.
Hit the Charles with Smokecity today for a few hours. It was freezing out and the water was just as cold. Sunny, no wind, cold water...terrible conditions. We got 3-4 keepers in the boat, but one was a late fall fatty on a spinnerbait - probably about 4 pounds. Smoke made sure to keep putting fish in the boat...yellow perch. He must have caught about 20 fat yellow perch along with a crappie and a few pickerel. Still great to be out on the water and at least I caught one that was worth it. I think this is the latest in the year I've caught a bass.
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