Sunday, March 15, 2015

Adjusting to Changing Conditions...

Photo by: Rob Choi 

Some days you hit it…

The weekly temps were in the 60’s and with longer days I was looking forward to getting back on the water.  With a big front predicted to hit the area I was pretty sure Saturday could be epic.  I wasn’t the only one with that idea, my Werner and Kokatat team mate Rob Choi contacted me on Friday wondering if I wanted to join him for some bass fishing.  Rob is an awesome fisherman and it is always a good time when you are out on the water with him.  We made plans to meet on Saturday morning. 
Saturday came and it brought rain and wind but, it also brought warm temperatures in the 60’s.  I met Rob and we made our way to the lake.  Shortly after I launched I was taking a few test cast with a square-bill crankbait when I hooked up with my first fish.  I landed the small 15” bass and told Rob, “It’s going to be a good day”.  Within 15 minutes I had four bass in the yak, three hit a jig near some structure.  All of these fish were in less than five feet of water, but for some reason that didn’t register with me.  I proceeded to hit all of my deep spots with no luck and the day slowed down.  I went back to the shallow pattern looking for some action and caught a nice bass on a jig.  I switched back to my square bill, and picked up another small bass.  Rob also caught a few bass on his jig.  We kept picking away at a few fish here and there, but the action wasn’t hot.

Kokatat kept Rob and I dry all day.
Photo by: Rob Choi
   Rob decided to duck up into a small cove, and I stayed in the main lake picking at a few bass that were moving up on to flats.  A few minutes after Rob left he sent me a picture of a nice 19” bass.  I paddled over to check out what was going on when he told me he caught six bass in six casts.  While he was telling me about the action, I watched him set the hook in number seven.  I quickly pitched my square-bill into the fray and it was instantly nailed.  Rob pitched back in and also hooked up.  My bass was a good 20” fish and Rob’s fish was another nice largemouth.  We took a few pics and tried a few more casts, but the blitz was over so we moved further into the cove.  A cast later, BAM hooked up again.  They hit everything we threw; square-bills, swimbaits, jerkbaits, and soft plastics.  After about half an hour the bite stopped and we moved on, but now we were on a pattern; shallow water.  We hit every shallow flat and picked bass off each.  One spot in particular looked really good; it was a small channel that cut into a flat.  It was 7 feet deep and the perfect place for bass to stage.  The first cast produced a decent bass, then another, then another.   Rob was also hooking up.  We had stumbled up onto another school of hungry fish.  One after the other we caught bass.  Most of the fish were between 14” and 16” and were a ton of fun on my crankbait.  The bite was slowing down, when my crankbait was nailed by a good fish.  A tail walking bucketmouth broke the surface of the water.  This fish was much nicer than the others in the school.  I landed the fish and measured out to 21.” This seemed like the perfect time to call it a day. 

21" Pre-Spawn PIG
Photo by: Rob Choi
The Pre-spawn can be hit or miss, but when you do hit it's awesome.

Some days you don’t…

The following day I was greeted with tough post-front conditions.  My Dad joined me with hopes of repeating my success from the day before.  A stiff west wind made the fishing tough.  We saw plenty of bass, but getting them to bite was tough.  I picked up a few on jerkbaits, crankbaits, and jigs. 

 I went back up into the small creek that produced so many fish the day before.  I saw plenty of fish, but they were incredibly skittish, and not hungry.  While I was playing with a small bass attempting to convince him that the jig I was using was a crawfish, I saw my arch nemesis, the bowfin.  Ever since I saw my first one several years ago I’ve wanted to catch one.  I have lost bowfin in every way imaginable, from pulled hooks, to broken lines.  I pitched my jig on 6lbs test line in front of the prehistoric beast just like I have so many times before.  The fish ate my jig and the fight was on.  Bowfin don’t fight like other fish, they do a death role like a crocodile and jump like a bass.  After a sweet fight I landed this awesome fish.  It measured out to 25.5”and had some sweet colors.  Most people consider bowfin to be a junk fish, but I disagree.  They fight hard and will test your skill, unfortunately some anglers kill bowfin thinking that they are snakeheads.  There are plenty of identification guides on line to help you tell the difference.  I released the fish and went back to bass fishing.

  We kept picking at a few more bass on crankbaits and jigs.   We never found a consistent pattern, but the fish we did catch had moved back to deeper water near structure. The wind continued to make fishing difficult so we called it a day. 

Spring’s changing conditions offer great fishing opportunities, but you need to adjust to the changes.  Just because something worked on one day is no guarantee that is will work the next day 

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