Monday, May 30, 2011

The Dog Days of...Spring?

Nothing like fishing on a nice spring day except when the temperature was 100 degrees.  Huh?  A fishing buddy and I ventured to one of our favorite bodies of water despite the hot weather forecast.  As a weekend warrior angler, I don't have the luxury of choosing my fishing trips based on solar lunar settings and optimal fishing weather, so I have to get out when my calendar permits.  Often that means dealing with adverse conditions of some sort.  Honestly, I think over the years it's helped me as an angler, having to adapt to adverse conditions to catch fish or risk getting clobbered by the skunk monster.  It's been a long time since I've been skunked and I had no plans start today.

We started at one location where the water was very murky due to recent rains.  Two weeks ago I did fairly well with numbers of largemouth but not size.  The water clarity then was much clearer.  So, today not only did we have to adapt to adverse weather, but also it's aftermath.  I tried my search baits using my baitcasting set up to no avail.  After hitting prime spots with casts that, by law (LOL) should have produced a hit and didn't, I had to find a way to get some strikes.  My buddy caught a small one on a drop shot worm, so I put on my thinking cap and went to a high confidence bait especially for this location.  Anyway, I opted for something a bit more finesse, not something that I'd go to under such conditions, but we're talking post spawn and I had to try something to trigger strikes. I used a 4" plastic green pumpkin worm on a Gamakatsu size 2 offset shank hook, and a 1/32 oz. bullet sinker, using 4 lb. diameter/12 lb. test Spiderwire Fluorobraid.  Normally shoreline weed growth and cover will hold bass this time of year, but like my last trip the bass seemed to be focused on weed growth and/or wood away from the bank.  The tactic paid off and I landed 6 bass with two pretty decent ones, not huge, but the fun 2 to 2.5 pounders.  The rest were around the 12" range.  My buddy was using the same basic lures but using mono 8 lb. test and not getting the quality bites that I was getting.  The only real difference that I could see was the fishing line.  Fishing was slow and the water levels were dropping, and we decided to try a different section of water.

Here's a pic of one of the better bass from the first spot:

We moved North to a much weedier, woodier, bassy looking area but the water was crystal clear.  We found bass to be more numerous but not with the size that we found at the first location.  My buddy had 5 bass landed before I had a legitimate hit.  What the heck?  I figured it was the line, so I switched to 8 lb. Seagar fluorocarbon and instantly had a hit.  It wasn't long that I was catching them at a decent rate.  However, the fish seemed much smaller.  I know this spot holds bigger fish, but, today we just couldn't locate them. At about 3 PM the heat was getting to us and we started losing focus.  I don't know for sure if that was it or the fish seemed to shut down, but I'm thinking it was us.  We found ourselves basing our fishing on where it was shady for us more than the best cover for the fish!  Perhaps that's why we didn't get any real quality fish there.  That said, it was interesting to me that in the same body of water, I had to adapt and change fishing line to get bites.  This really is a rare occurrence here, but hey, ya gotta do whatever you gotta do to produce strikes.

Here's my friend with one from the second location...yeah, he's acting goofy for this blog:

OK, now here was something weird...we saw two snapping turtles really battling it out.  It wasn't the type of thing where two of the same species fight for dominance without risk of injury, rather, it really appeared that one of the snappers was trying to kill the other.  The bites were downright ferocious.  We hadn't witnessed that before.  Could that have actually been breeding behavior? Or, was it males in a territorial dispute?  I don't know, but it was a pretty awesome seen.  It went on for a good 15 minutes.

Here's a video of a short part of the snapping turtle fight:

Anyway, we beat the weather today and caught fish, but then again, we quit early so maybe it actually beat us.

Until next time, tight lines.

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