Searching for big bass! (Finding None!)
Where: Griffin Beach, Webster Lake, Franklin, NH
I’m pretty sure my wife was convinced I was crazy, but despite the frigid temperatures, I hauled my Hobie Float Cat 75, myself, my rods, and all my gear through the newly fallen snow to Webster Lake here in Franklin, New Hampshire.
Temperature (Air): Cool (below freezing): By the time I got to the lake the air was 20 degrees (warmed up)
- Sky: Sunny & Clear
- Precipitation: 0%
- Wind: NNW @ 13 mph (between a gentle and mild breeze on the Beaufort Wind Scale)
- Humidity: 28%
- Dew Point: 3 degrees F
- Barometer 30.24 inches — Rising Slowly
- Visibility: 10.0 miles
- Water Color: Clear to Slightly Murky
- Water Temperature: Unknown (see below)
Didn’t find any bass today, neither big nor otherwise. But the trip was STILL a success!
That may not sound like much of an accomplishment, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get into all the gear.
There were 2 elements that I wondered whether or not I’d be able to get myself into.
First were my flats wading boots.
I’ve never been what you would call “limber,” my greatest period of flexibility was right after I graduated from clown college (many years and many pounds ago!). Even before my knee surgery, putting on the boots was a challenge.
I first tried using my long shoe horn, which I use to get my shoes and boots on. That didn’t really work out. Then I had a brain wave: I used my sock putter-oner (not the technical name). And I was able to slip my flats boots on over my waders just like they were socks!
The next major challenge was putting on my fins. Same issue. I put my foot on top, then simply snap the straps over the boot to secure the fins. But they’re way done there on the ground, and my arms are not 5 feet long!
I was able to step up onto the bank from inside the lake to get the flippers on. Getting them off was the same routine in reverse. HOWEVER, normally I can reach down to the flippers and release the straps while I’m still in my Hobie. Today I didn’t manage to do that, so needed to step up out of the Hobie, then (using my oar as a stabilizing “cane”) swing my foot up on the bank. I think that issue will be temporary. And yes, it’s VERY tricky “walking” with those flip fins on your feet!
Hobie Float Cat 75
I had already successfully carried my Hobie to the garage (40 pounds on my surgically repaired patella tendon!), and loaded it into the truck. I was able to slide it down to the water, since there was plenty of snow! And picked up the front and put it over my head to climb aboard! The seat is not the original. That seat’s supporting bars bent, then broke after numerous attempts to repair them. Luckily my wife had a stadium seat that clipped perfectly into the stabilizers!
You can see my rods on the left. The yellow and orange pieces are floatation in case I drop a rod. When I reached into the water for a dropped rod last year, I flipped the Hobie and ended up underneath! Luckily my cell phone has a LifeProof (water proof) case.
Lures & Techniques
I used 2 lures.
Pig ‘n Jig
I started out with a Pig ‘n Jig.
That’s a jig with a trailer, in this case a plastic crawfish. Bass feed on crawfish all year long, but in the spring, crawfish are one of the first type of forage available to bass. Plus, some biologists believe there are nutrients in the crawfish the bass require to successfully spawn. So they are on the feed!
I cast out with my new 7 foot Medium-Heavy rod, and reeled back slowly in 3 jerks. That will rile up the silt which mimics the crawfish right after they emerge from their muddy winter lairs. After 3 cranks, I’d stop and let the pig ‘n jig settle to the bottom. When that happens, the claws of the plastic float upward and copy the fighting stance of the crawfish. PLUS, the jig has rattles to emit “clicks” similar to the crawfish clicking its claws.
I’ve never used this very famous and very productive lure combo before, and so far, without success! But I’ll keep on jigging!
Yup, my new favorite lure! I have reviewed this lure, so if you are interested in learning more:
I cast the Red Eye Shad, then let it sink, and pulling it back. I used jerky, twitching movements. I know I was deep, because I hooked on rocks.
Freeing a lure from a rock.
Last year, even before my injury, I saw a great video about how to free a lure stuck on a rock. Essentially, you point the rod toward the stuck lure, pull your line like drawing a bow (and arrow), then letting it go! And it worked! Over and over.
I cast far, I cast close to shore, I cast all around. But no bass today.
Ice in my rod guides!
I did have a new experience today. A few minutes after I started fishing, I noticed the action of my reel was a bit jerky instead of nice and smooth. I thought maybe the cold air was affecting the oil lubricating the reel, but then I noticed that ICE had formed in my rod guides!
I had read about that happening to fly fisherman fishing on frigid days, but today was the first time for me!
So it was a good day. I successfully got everything together to be able to fish my home lake. I managed to keep myself out of the water. And I saw my favorite rock! (I’ve caught a few very nice bass at that rock, but nothing today.)
I don’t know what the water temperature was, since I don’t have a thermometer. I thought about buying one, but they cost 20 bucks, and so I decided I would opt out for the moment. I also tried to find if the water temp for Webster Lake was reported online, but no luck with that either!
I’ll keep trying the Pig ‘n Jig, and keep you posted as the waters in New Hampshire warm up for the spring and pre-spawn, always a good time to catch Big Bass!
Be sure and share YOUR fishing adventures and details to help educate your fellow BassHoles!
Roger, The Smiling BassHole