Date: September 22, 2018
Time: Morning to Early Afternoon
Location: Charles River, Waltham, MA
Weather: Cool and calm to start… partly cloudy. Wind picked up as the day went on.
Air Temperature: Cool…
Water Temperature: 60’s ?
I was fishing here today as part of the September tournament for the South Shore Bassmasters.
This was my first year in the club but only the 3rd tournament I had been able to attend. For whatever reason, the tournament dates just kept conflicting with family or other life commitments.
The first tournament I had participated in I managed to catch just a single fish… but, many other anglers didn’t catch any fish at all that day. A moral victory 🙂
The second tournament I had participated in was a learning experience… fish were in pre-spawn/spawn… weather conditions were extremely tough with cool temps and high winds… I struggled to find fish… I had many pickups but zero hookups… Later in the day, I hooked a fish on a spinnerbait… but it jumped halfway back to the boat and spit it out… yup… this is how it was going to be… the high winds were also making rolling waves. I just wasn’t able to hold a spot long enough to target bedding fish… which were the fish that many of the other anglers caught… I zeroed… very humbling but even if you aren’t catching you are always learning…
Anyway, back to this report… I had never fished the Charles River before but had driven by it and knew of it since it’s an iconic part of the Boston area. I had no idea what to expect… was it navigable ? weed choked ? low water ? etc… I found it to be shallow but navigable… and once you got out of the main channel it was loaded with weeds, choked in some areas.
Once the tournament started, I ran up river a ways looking for some type of interesting side pocket to pull into and hopefully start catching some fish. I didn’t realize it until much later in the day, but I got lucky with my initial choice of pocket… I pulled into a pocket on the left side of the river that looked ok to me. I was a narrowish but long pocket that had a lot of large, green lily pads in it and clear water otherwise.
I started fishing this area and hooked a nice 2 pounder fairly quickly. I was just tossing a weightless Senko in, around, over and through the lily pads. In a way, I was using the Senko like a frog in many of the thicker lily pad areas. Yeeha ! That was quick ! This is going to be a good day 🙂
About a half hour later, I hooked another 2 pounder. Sweet ! 2 nice fish in the live well within an hour’s time !
The next few hours were very quiet… the wind also picked up which was aggravating to me as it made sitting in one spot and working it over somewhat difficult. I managed to pick up 2 more small fish. They were both keepers but just barely. I had worked this pocket a couple of times and with the wind blowing right down into it from the main river I decided I’d go looking for some other water.
I motored around a bit but didn’t find any other pockets quite like the one I had been in. Everywhere else I went was choked with thick milfoil and other mats of “stuff”. I didn’t find any other lily pad areas that were also clear of those other matted weeds. I wasn’t equipped to fish those heavy weed mats and as such I didn’t have any luck in those other areas.
The day was progressing and I still only had those 4 fish. I then decided to go back to my original pocket… where I found some other folks now in there fishing… ugh… I kind of hung around that area until the other anglers moved out. I went back in and had high hopes… halfway back into the pocket, I pulled my Senko across a lily pad and let it fall into a gap… I noticed a very slight ‘tick’ and jump in my line… could it be ? there goes my line to the side… YES ! … I set the hook… dead weight… this is a good one… my line starts moving in the opposite direction and this fish is taking some line off my spool too…
Now… I am positioned on my boat about forty feet from this fish… with a large lily pad field between me and it… the fish rips into the lily pads and wraps my line around some of them… the fight stops… I cannot reel in any line as I just using a light worm rod with 10 lb flourocarbon line… I just have to slowly reel in line as I use my trolling motor to close the gap between myself and the now stuck fish… as you might have expected… by the time I got over to the lily pad with my line wrapped around it all I had caught was the lily pads… the monster had spit the hook once it got into the pads… argh ! Damn you fish !
I am convinced that f I’d been able to land this fish I’d have definitely won the tournament. I only had 4 fish and ended up just 3 pounds short of first place. This fish would have definitely been north of 3 pounds.
- Don’t give up on a good spot…
- I should have stayed here and fished it with different baits
- Definitely a jig or frog or swim bait
- When fishing thick lily pads…
- Use heavier gear
- Had I been using braid and a heavier rod I would have been able to horse that last fish into the boat.