Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bass Opener 2014. ...finally.

Wow.  My first post for the year.

I'm blaming the cold for that. 

Lots going on so far this year.  Early this spring, I made a career change that will enable me to pursue my long-term (non-fishing-yet-slyly-related-to-fishing) goals more realistically, depending on your perspective, of course.  Transitioning from working in a very social production environment to an autonomous home office has been daunting, even for an introvert like me, but the dog is happy that I'm here and not somewhere else for ten hours a day.

Excuses out of the way.  I have been able to get out a few times since the ice went out.  I bought a kayak this spring, which will let me get into some lakes that I can't launch the boat at due either to motor restrictions or having a "low maintenance launch."

For Bass Opener this year, my friend Ian and I decided to revisit the same lake that I nabbed my personal best largemouth in last year.  I have to say, at first it was tough.  The wind was gusting out of the south which wasn't too bad because our first spot was on the north end of the lake.  Ian got there a little while after I did and I had only boated one small fish by then directly across from the launch on the east side of the lake.  Once he got caught up we worked our way to the north end and found some fairly consistent action around old lilly pad roots, but the size wasn't what I was looking for.  We had come looking for a big Momma not her rambunctious nephew.

Ian ended up calling it a day early and the fish had stopped cooperating so I paddled to the south end of the lake where things are a little more isolated.  And about 200 yards after I passed the launch, the wind picked up a little more and I started rethinking my move.  I pushed through and made it to the other side of an island of reeds.  The compelling thing about this spot is that the water was 3-4 degrees warmer than the other side of the lake and there were isolated clumps throughout the bay along with pockets of reeds along the shoreline.

If for no other reason than the visual and all the possibility, I was in heaven.

I dropped anchor within casting distance of three separate clumps and started firing away with my usual swim jig.  I didn't have to wait long before connecting with a little chunk.  I caught three more on that same chunk of reeds until they got wise to my ruse, but I had the start to a pattern.

The next area I moved to was a pocket in which I found a single, very small runt mixed in with a bunch of spooky panfish.  I moved again into the next pocket and made a cast, got hit, but failed to hook up.  I anchored again in the middle of the pocket which gave me the ability to fish the entire area.  I started pitching into the little notches and turns and was immediately rewarded with this chunk that went 3lbs 14oz on the scale.

I caught a couple more 2lbers with the same bait before the wind started blowing me around too much to hold position.  But it was fun picking the area apart and really keying on where they were hanging out.  That is part of a technique that I learned on my first trip out on the Miss' in nearly 20 years - but that is a post for another time.

To say that this was my favorite opener to date may not be true, but it was, by far, my most productive.

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