Fished Highland Lake with Pete on Friday from about 11:30 till 7. The weather was beautiful for us, very light winds, and a mostly clear sky with temps running in the low 80’s. Typically, those real nice days for us are usually the least productive for fishing, and Friday was one of those days. Water temps were running in the mid to upper 50’s across the lake with as high as 62 in the back end of a cove on the north end of the lake. With water temps running that high, it was strange to see very few sunfish near the surface. We did see some Bluegill over the grass beds and a couple more around the docks but not the numbers you might expect on a warm, sunny day.
We started our day working jerkbaits and Rat-L-Traps over the new milfoil sitting in 7 to 10 feet. We caught crappie and perch, but no bass with that tactic. We then spent the next couple of hours throwing a 4” grub and a jig & pig in shallow water with rock, boulders, and docks. We mixed in some diving crankbaits and jerkbaits just to keep things honest and still failed to catch any bass. Now, we had moved through some very prime smallmouth and largemouth waters with nothing to show for it other than some rock bass, and perch
After visiting a couple other rocky areas bordering very deep water and still nothing, we ran back to the north end of the lake and went to the very back end of the cove starting in about 4 feet of water. Pete was working his grub from the front of the boat while I threw a jig from the back while also controlling the boat from the back seat. We had just finished up a discussion about how it is said that many bass hang on the shady side of the docks but in the spring, one would think they would tend to be on the sunny side. I had told Pete how though it may make sense to us that they would prefer the sunny side in the spring, I still catch them mostly on the shady side. A couple of docks later, a chunky largemouth ate the black/blue jig from the shady side of a dock. Unfortunatly, we couldn’t repeat that process.
The day was not wasted though. As the sun began to sit lower we revisited two shallow rock piles in about 6 feet of water that usually produce pretty well in the spring. This time I put down the jig and grabbed the Ned Rig. The little 2.5” Z-Man TRD on a 1/10 oz. mushroom head soon scored another nice 2.5 lb. largemouth. Pete shortly later snapped off his motor oil colored grub and we tied him up the small finesse worm also. Between the two closely located rock piles and, an hour later, a few more bass and a few rock bass later it was time to go.
Both Pete and I were disappointed with our day of catching but, still a nice day. Pete was happy that he learned a few things to try out on his own future trips. The new Minn Kota Ulterra trolling motor is shaping up to be everything I had hoped it would be. The remote control abilities are really nice and I’m sure the features of this trolling motor will shine as I become more accustomed to all the unique features that motor has to offer. Pete and I will be fishing together again this summer at the place of his choosing to give it another go at doing some catching.
Lake Wononscopomuc April 30, 2017
Went to Lake Wononscopomuc in Lakeville, Ct on Sunday morning with my son Jon. The morning looked promising in that it was sunny and just a light breeze from the west. We knew that it was supposed to cloud up as the day went on, but at 8 Am, it was pretty nice. Nice enough where Jonathan put on some sunscreen. We found there was a small tournament going on with 6 boats or so and another couple of boats also bass fishing. Water temps were mid 50’s and the water was stained, with visibility of only about 4 feet or so where it is typically 8 to 10 foot. It seemed like all the more reason to focus our activities in shallow water. Starting on the east bank and moving towards the island is how we set off. We threw a varity of baits at first trying to get dialed into what they wanted and how they wanted it. A jig & pig, chatterbait, 4” curl tail grub, and a small creature on a light swing head jig were all being thrown, but all were being ignored by the bass. The pickerel were liking some of the baits, including the chatterbait but we couldn’t get any real shallow bite going.
With other boats either on, or close to some good stuff around the island, we chose to pull out onto a shallow point that runs a few hundred yards off the bank. 9 feet on the top with some grass and 15 feet on the tip and our only reward were some more pickerel. As one team fishing the derby pulled off of another great spring point, I set the Minn Kota Ulterra to auto pilot and we zipped right out to where we felt we needed to be. Throwing jigs and grubs around the shallow rocks, for the first time ever at this time of year did I fail to get bit from those rocks but, the 10 foot rocks did hold a couple of bass that were willing to eat my jig. Nothing big, but at least the previous boat had left us a couple of fish. As we were meandering around this point, another boat fishing closer to the island was hitting the fish well. As they came a bit closer I recognized the two people in the boat as Tom and Wendy. We chatted a bit with my friends and found that they were hitting some good fish including a 4 pound smallmouth bass. We moved away shortly and went to a large rock in 7 feet hoping to replicate our friends action. I clipped off the chatterbait and tied on a tandem spinnerbait with Indiana blades and proceeded to hammer on the pickerel. It was almost a fish every cast, but I did manage a couple of bass in between. My son got a nice 3 pounder on the grub right on the bank also. That was just before the rain started! Yep. A storm was coming in. And, we had made a major mistake by not bringing any rain gear with us. Guess we were headed off to the ramp.
Wet and cold told us we should wait for it to end and put the boat back on the trailer but, we were there to fish. So, ½ hour later when the rain stopped, we both knew we were going back out. Off to the island area to see if there was anything left after the pounding it had taken before the rain. It wasn’t but a few casts when I got a nice Lakeville chunk on a grub in the shallow 4 feet water. Soon after, Jon nabs a nice little smallmouth, also on a grub. Even though we were still damp and getting chilly, the bite might still be on. NOT! We got colder and only landed those two bass so decided to shut it down for the day. Eight bass between us and a load of pickerel, we were leaving Wononscopomuc feeling we missed what should have been a pretty good day.
July 18, 2017
Summertime! My most productive time of the year. Generally, from late July through August there is a good population of bass that have moved off of the bank and onto and into some deeper water. During the daylight, give me two rods. One rigged with some kind of jig type bait, and the other being a dropshot rod.
Once the fish get out to 13 feet or grater in our area waters, they become easy targets for the drop shot technique. The overall set up is relatively simple. You have a weight attached to the end of your line with a small, thin wire hook attached about a foot above the weight. Attach a numerous array of soft plastic worms, minnow imitators, or crawfish and, you are going to get bit. If not by bass, nearly all other fish see your bait as a feeding opportunity. If you like fishing a Senko weightless, wacky style, the drop shot may be right up your ally. As there are many methods to fishing (i.e.) retrieving a drop shot, the majority of your bites will come as the bait is sitting still. Just as the Senko works best allowed to fall on a free line, the drop shot can often be at its prime while sitting still.
For me, a good drop shot bait has to float. Or at least not sink fast. A bait such as a 4” Roboworm will generally float the light wire hook off the bottom weed or muck. The 4” Lunker City Ribster, and Gary Yamamoto, Shad Shape Worm are also good choices as well as the Z-Man Finesse Shad. All of these baits have a tendency to float and imitate a small baitfish almost perfectly. Enough of the baits. I’ll leave that to the marketers who. By the way do a great job offering us very style and color imaginable. I’m nor sponsored by any of them.
What is the perfect rod and reel for dropshotting? Everyone has their own preferences but, I want a high speed spinning reel (6:1 or greater) in the 200 class paired with a lighter rod in a Medium action with a moderate power, around 7 feet long. I first started dropshotting using 6# P-Line Flouroclear line (which is outstanding light line for ANY application) but moved to 10# Power Pro braided line. This year, I moved to the same line but in yellow. Due to eye sight and many missed fish on the drop I made this adjustment and so far so good. With the braid, especially the yellow, I am tying on the 6# P-Line Fluoroclear as a leader, about 8 feet long, using a simple and fast Uni to Uni knot. I use a Gamakutsu #2 Split shot/drop shot hook. The next size up moves to a heavier wire and changes the presentation. It is absolutely amazing on how well this tiny hook sticks the fish. And lastly, the weight. I prefer the ¼ oz. Linker City Bakudan SKINNY” OR “PENCIL” WEIGHT. The thin cylindrical weight MAY come through the cover better. After the uni to uni knot, and about 8 feet of leader, I tie the small Gamakatsu hook about 1 foot of the end of the line using a Palomar knot. The tag end of that knot will be re-inserted through the eye of the hook dropping downwards and the weight simply pinches to the bottom of that line.
The retrieve, can vary from a slow pull to sitting absolutely motionless. Sometimes they want that bait quivering which you can do by shaking the rod tip on a slack line, while at other times they may want you to cover some ground and pull it slowly across the bottom. The retrieve largely depends on the mood of the fish so let them tell you how they want it. All fish seem to want this bait, it takes a bit of time to figure out what type of bite is a bass bite and which are nuisance fish. Either way, in the summer time this rig will get enough bites to keep your interest level up.
The hook set. Due to the nature of that small hook, and if you are using braided line, your hook set does not need to be violent. Contrary to the typical rubber worm hookset, most times with the drop shot it is no more than a “Lift and reel” situation. That tiny light wire hook often stabs them itself as soon as you put pressure on the line. From then on through the battle is usually up to your drag, and the rod. Crank when the fish is not pulling, and let the rod absorb the shock when they are pulling. Even using a light monofilament line, you usually do not need to give the hook a monster hook set.
The great thing about the drop shot is that it can be used not only in the summertime but the spring in shallow water can be pretty productive as well as the fall and winter when the fish get grouped up on points and sharp drops. All the modern electric sonar units on the market now may give you an opportunity to “video fish”. In the late fall/early winter time, you can mark individual fish on your sonar and drop you rig on top them and most likely catch that same fish. Myself and others have also used the drop shot while ice fishing. It works! Not all the time, but enough to keep me coming back to it but, in the summertime when the bass are setting up on their deep stuff, it is definitely one of my preferred techniques.