Cabin Fever !!!

An OLDIE but goodie… 6 pound Bowfin from Black Lake, NY

Ok it’s getting towards the end of February 2019… here in the Northeast it is still winter… I sit here in my chair on the weekend and now with this new MLF Bass Pro Tour etc. I am taunted… all the time… by dudes fishing tournaments in Florida while it snows outside my window…

Anyway… re-rigged my rods today… with help from my cat, of course,

Here’s a few fishing photos from the past to help get through the next couple of months of cold air and hard water… Spring will be here sooooon….

Fishing Report: Ricker Pond, Groton, Vermont / October 4-7, 2018

Date: October 4-7, 2018

Time: Daytime

LocationFishing Spot – Ricker Pond, Groton, Vermont

Weather: Cool, changeable…

Air Temperature: 50’s

Water Temperature: 50’s


Notes:

Took my semi-annual camping & kayak fishing trip to Ricker Pond this past October.

The weather was great for that time of year. A little bit of rain but not too much. Cool but not cold… chilly nights, nice campfires and great company.

Oh, and the fishing was pretty good this year too. You never know what the fishing is going to be like here. It can be on or off depending on the weather, water temps, time of year etc.

Typically, it’s the smallmouths that are biting, if any fish are. I typically end up with at least one nice 4+ pound smallmouth.

This year, it was the largemouths that were biting. I caught more largemouth this year than over the course of the prior 5 trips to this place combined. I got a 4 pound Larry and several more in the 2-3+ range.

Oh, and I did manage to land a few smallmouths. None quite as big a 4+ but one that was was 3 and 1/2 and another at 3. Good fighters too !

The go to baits for me this trip were: black football jig with blue craw trailers… havoc swimbaits and weightless creature baits or senkos.

Nice Fatty Sally !!!
And a fun Larry

Fishing Report – Charles River, September 22, 2018

MEM-JG

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 ?


Notes:

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

Lessons learned:

  • 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.

Fishing Report: Belleau Lake, Wakefield, New Hampshire, July 7-13, 2018

Date: July 7-13, 2018

Time: Afternoon

Location:ย Fishing Spot: Belleau Lake, Wakefield, NH

Weather: Beautiful…

Air Temperature: 80’s and low 90’s

Water Temperature: 76-80


Notes:

My family’s big vacation this year was a week on Belleua Lake in WakeField, NH.

We took the kayaks as well as the Nitro Z-18 bass boat to switch things up a bit. As this was a family vacation and not week away for me to just fish all day I wasn’t able to fish every day or for more than a few hours when I did get the chance to go out and fish.

I had never been toย Belleau Lake before so I did some research about it. You can find some of my information about it here. The information I could find was scant and mostly targeted towards real estate and home ownership on the lake. The fishing reports stated Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, Pickerel etc..

And, according to a couple of the locals I spoke with on the lake, there are BIG fish in this lake… of course there are ….

I found the lake to be shallow in a lot of places. The water also seemed to dark/muddy/very stained… it left a very grody scum ring around the waterline of my boat.

I even managed to find a rock that wasn’t marked in any way. Luckily, I was just cruising around mapping some sections at barely more than idle speed when I looked down my electronics and noticed the depth rapidly rising from 6 feet to 5 to 3 to… clunk ! WTF !

I didn’t find a lot of underwater structure or weeds either. On the North-Eastern part of the lake, I motored through some shallow water and into a small cove area. The center of the cove did have some fairly deep water which I found interesting. There was also a very nice stretch of lily pads along the undeveloped side of the cove. My first day through here, I didn’t catch any fish although the water was the most promising I had seen here on the lake thus far. I worked the middle of this cove as well as there seemed to be a hump of some sort there. Nothing. For the first few days, I spent my fishing time on the north/top part of the lake. I hadn’t caught any fish…

Later in the week, I decided to try the southern end of the lake and see if anything was biting down that way. At the southernmost part of the lake, I found some promising water… there was what looked like a very large floating bog of some sort… lots of lily pads and little islands of sticks & grass. I felt hopeful… I worked the outer edges of this bog mass as well as every off shore lily pad island… An hour later I was very frustrated… I started talking to myself… if this lake has Largemouth bass in it then they should be here… RIGHT HERE…

At that time, I was almost to the end of the main bog mass. I made a deal with myself that I would fish the next 90 feet of so of water and then pack up and head back to the dock.

I casted my Senko to a very loosely put together area of smaller lily pads… not the mat but a larger area with a lot of smaller lily pads close together… now, I hadn’t had a bite nor so much as a nibble in days… when it finally came on this cast… I was a bit late with the hook set as I had mentally checked out… I lost the fish… it’s a good thing that nobody was recording me right then… Again, I had a chat with myself and got my head back into the game…

Another cast of the Senko to the same general area… wait… wait… nothing… twitch… twitch.. nothing… curses begin forming at the back of my brain… reel up some slack… hmm… that feels … H E A V Y… time to SET THE HOOK !

Got him… landed a beautiful 3 pound Largemouth bass

I would end up catching THREE, count ’em THREE, Largemouth over that last 90 feet of bog mass… zero fish over the prior tens of acres of water yet three within an area that could be covered by a long cast… not complaining but this place is hard to figure out ๐Ÿ™‚

In this same general area, I came across another local who had lived on the lake for many years. He too stated that there are lots of nice fish in the lake. I asked him what he generally catches. He said he always catches Largemouth. He’d never caught or seen a Smallmouth in the lake but they are supposed to be in there. He was shocked when I told him that I was just blindly casting off of the boat dock the day before and had lost a Smallmouth bass when it jumped and tossed my swim bait before I could reel it all the way in.

The last day, I went back to the bog area… I only managed to land a single Largemouth in the 1-2 pound range. BUT, I did catch one of those elusive Smallmouth bass too…

Bell-06

Pretty fish and a mad fighter even at that small size…

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing Report: Black Lake, Hammond, New York, June 23-29, 2018

Date: June 23-29, 2018

Time: Afternoon

Location:ย Fishing Spot: Black Lake, NY

Weather: Variable…

Air Temperature: 70’s

Water Temperature: 72-74 ? Can’t be sure as I was on a friend’s boat and didn’t pay too much attention


Notes:

I’ve been to Black Lake twice prior to this trip. It’s a fantastic fishery for Northern Pike and Largemouth Bass.

The weather wasn’t all that great during this trip. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t great either. Cooler temps, some rain and windy conditions throughout the week. The water level was also very low and even dropped throughout the week. We could tell because by the end of the week we were stepping down into the bass boat from the dock whereas at the beginning of the week that wasn’t the case.

The fishing was either on or off… we’d motor up to a spot and start fishing. One of two things would happen… we’d start hitting Northern Pike almost immediately or we wouldn’t… it got the point where if we didn’t hook something with the first ten casts then the next thousand casts weren’t going to produce any fish either.

It was truly the week of a thousand casts/day. Even my back and shoulders were feeling it by the end of the week.

The bait of the week was a spinner bait. We could cover a lot of water and work them over, around and through the weedy sections of the lake where we tended to focus our efforts.

I lost a few nice Northern Pike in the weeds too… they’d hit my spinner bait and then run right down into the thick weeds… the bigger pike tended to run further and wrap a ton of weeds in my line… so much so that they were able to break off… ARGH !

I did land some nice pike though. My buddy took biggest fish of the week (twice !)… he landed an 8 1/2 pound Northern Pike and an hour later he hooked into 7 pounder !

Here’s a few fish photos…

We stayed at Fisherman’s Landing this trip. Nice folks and generally nice, clean cabins.

And, we eat well on these trips too ๐Ÿ™‚

Fishing Report: Silver Lake, Barnard, Vermont, June 21, 2018

Date: June 12, 2018

Time: Afternoon

Location:ย Fishing Spot: Silver Lake, Barnard, VT

Weather: Sunny, Clear, light winds

Air Temperature: 80’s

Water Temperature: 78 degrees


Notes:

This year’s annual camping trip to Silver Lake allowed for one afternoon out on the water in my Kayak. The weather was great and if I was concerned about anything it was too great ! ย Bright sun on a hot day usually results in a slow day on the water…

I also like fishing here since this place is deeper and much different that any of the places I fish locally. It forces me to try different baits and approaches to fishing. Another reason is that the fish that you typically catch are quality fish. This isn’t a place that’s loaded with 1-2 pound fish but it does hold some big fish.

I’ve had trips here where I’ve been able to catch a dozen pike on Friday and then catch nothing but water the next day. It’s just one of those places.

This day, Silver Lake was nice to me ๐Ÿ™‚

I was able to catch six Northern Pike. All over 3 pounds. Two were over 4 pounds and one was nearly 6 pounds. Nice !!!

As you can see in the above photo, I was using a crank bait today. Quite a change from my usual shallow water Senko fishing in my local ponds.

Another thing about today is that I was hooking these fish ‘just anywhere’ on the pond. Deep, shallow, ledge, flat and even amongst the chaos of swimmers and kids horsing around on rented paddle boats ! The photo below on the right shows this…

I used to also catch a fair amount of Largemouth Bass here as well. But, in recent years, all I’ve managed to catch have been Northern Pike. I’m not sure of the Largemouth are declining or are just tougher to catch in late June which is when I always fish here. On this day, too, the lake gave up a nice 3 1/2 pound Largemouth too ๐Ÿ™‚

SilverLake-06212018-04

It was also a great day for sunburn on the legs…

Lastly, here’s a very unprofessional video of me landing one of the 4+ pound Norther Pikes…

 

Silver Lake State Park offers an excellent camping experience. We like to stay in the leanto’s … they are great !

SilverLake-06212018-07

And, like the weather all over New England… just wait a minute and it changes…

 

Fishing Report: Norton Reservoir, May 20, 2018

Date: May 20, 2018

Time: Afternoon

Location:ย Fishing Spot: Norton Reservoir, Norton, Massachusetts

Weather: Overcast. Light wind.

Air Temperature: 60-70

Water Temperature: Did not record


Notes:

Another quick trip out to Norton Reservoir. Today I had my daughter with me and she kicked my butt… ! She hooked this 4 3/4 pound monster on a senko about a foot from shore.

I hooked a few today, 3 I think with my best bass weighing about 2 pounds.

Some Photos of the Day:

Oh… and the forecast called for a light, passing shower… NOT !!!! (love my auto bilge)…

NortonRes-05202018-05

 

 

Fishing Report: Wequaquet Lake, May 11, 2018

Date: May 111, 2018

Time: 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Location:ย Fishing Spot: Wequaquet Lake, Barnstable, Massachusetts

Weather: Sunny and calm to start… but the wind came up and was whipping 10-15 mph. I got lots more practice on the trolling motor today.

Air Temperature: Mid 60’s

Water Temperature: Low 60’s


Notes:

This was the second tournament of the year for the South Shore Bassmasters.

Wequaquet Lake was another new lake for me. I’d never fished here before but I still felt confident that today was going to be a good day for me. The weather had warmed up a bit. I’d done some research online about the lake and felt that I had a workable approach to the day.

I had a feeling that there would be fish up shallow and on flats either spawning or getting ready to spawn. I started the morning by casting a spinner bait and a swim bait in 4-8 feet water on a calm flat. I was seeing smallmouth bass following my spinner bait a few times but none of them would take the bait. I wasn’t having any luck with a silver swim bait either.

I trolled around a point and started using a black jig and blue trailer combo along contour lines in about ten feet of water – which didn’t turn up any fish either.

I figured I’d move closer to shore and try to see if anything was up close or around any docks or walls etc. This was when the WIND STARTED BLOWING… argh I hate wind while fishing… The wind was incessant and becoming stronger and where I was on the lake gave the wind a clean shot at me.

I moved out into the middle of the lake to a location where there were some humps that came up from 20 feet to 4-6 feet. If I was going to get blasted by the wind I could at least make it work for me by using the wind to float me across the humps. I dragged the hums with same black jig and also a jerkbait. No luck…

Next I moved to spots on the lake that were behind points or islands that would block the wind to some extent. It was really blowing hard and was incessant. There were no breaks. It just kept blowing.

As the day wore on, I cruised around a bit and tried a few more locations. I managed to find a few fish but for whatever reason I couldn’t seem to hook the ones that counted. The seemed to be picked up my bait but not ingesting it. I’d feel a fish on the line. I’d set the hook. The fish would let go… I lost my best fish when it spit my spinnerbait when it jumped about ten feet from my boat.

I really struggled today in the high winds… I have a 70 pound thrust trolling motor on my bass boat. It has 5 speeds, 1 thru 5. I typically have my trolling motor set to 4 as it provided enough thrust to troll me around under most conditions. Today, not so much. At the 4 setting, I was unable to hold my position in the wind… the wind would slowly push me backward such that I was unable to actually sit on a spot an work it at all. Setting 5 is like hitting a rocket booster when you push the petal down. It’s so strong that it’s difficult to use as the initial thrust will knock you off the boat if you aren’t ready for it. You also have to constantly steer as the high speed takes the boat off it’s line rather quickly.

Most fish caught today during the tournament, and there were some big fish and bags caught, were bed fish… the anglers were able to either drop their power poles or utilize their stronger, high tech, gps-enabled trolling motors to be able to work a spot and catch those bedding fish.

The 2 fish I did land didn’t count… the first was a smallmouth bass that wasn’t much bigger than the black senko I caught it on. The second was a nice 4 pound Pike ! I’d zero’d for the tournament but not for the day ๐Ÿ™‚ And, again, I learned a lot and saw a new body of water too !

Some Photos of the Day:

 

 

 

Fishing Report: Whitehall Reservoir, May 6, 2018

Date: May 6, 2018

Time: Afternoon

Location:ย Fishing Spot: Whitehall Reservoir, Hopkinton, Massachusetts

Weather: Overcast, some wind but not much.

Air Temperature: High 50’s

Water Temperature: Did not record


Notes:

Went out for a few hours on my friend’s bass boat today. We had high hopes for today as there was little wind and the water temp was somewhere in the 50’s I’d expect. We managed a few small bass over the course of about 3 hours on the water. Dark Senkos and dark swim baits did the trick. Typical Whitehall in our books !!!

Whitehall-May6-2018

 

 

Fishing Report: Norton Reservoir, May 5, 2018

Date: May 5, 2018

Time: Afternoon

Location:ย Fishing Spot: Norton Reservoir, Norton, Massachusetts

Weather: Overcast. Light wind.

Air Temperature: Don’t recall exactly but high 60’s ? I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts

Water Temperature: Did not record


Notes:

Just a quick trip out on the reservoir for the first time in 2018. My daughter and I caught a couple of small bass and a pickerel.

My best bass weighed about 2 pounds.

All fish were caught on a black Senko

Some Photos of the Day:

Norton-May5-2018