It’s all about dat bass (or is it?)
Where: Griffin Beach, Webster Lake, Franklin, NH
Back to Webster Lake with my Hobie Float Cat 75.
No snow this time! And no ice in my guides!
Thanks to the fellow Franklin, NH, resident who took this photo of me sitting in my Hobie Float Cat 75! I met him on a spring fishing expedition to Webster Lake last year, too. He comes with a metal detector to search for rings, bracelets, coins, and other treasure. So thanks, sir! (I never did get his name!)
- Temperature (Air): 35 degrees to 70 degrees!
- Sky: Sunny & Clear
- Precipitation: 0%
- Wind: WSW @ 1 mph (Beaufort Wind Scale)
- Humidity: 18%
- Dew Point: 28 degrees F
- Barometer 30.31 inches — Falling
- Visibility: 10.0 miles
- Water Color: Clear to Slightly Murky
- Water Temperature: 53 degrees (thanks to a passing fisherman!)
Results: Skunked (AGAIN!)
Weather conditions today were greatly improved! Very comfortable. But the water’s still not up to 59 degrees, so who knows where the bass are?
But there were other fishermen! They didn’t appear to be fishing for bass, though. They were all trolling. I overheard two boats discussing landlocked salmon and trout. And the gentleman kind enough to give me the water temperature said he caught some trout.
Pig ‘n Jig
I started with the jig. I’ve never actually caught a bass on a jig, simply because this is the first year I’ve ever tried fishing it! But as I said in an earlier post, the “pig ‘n jig” mimics crawfish, which the bass will feast on before the spawn (and, it turns out, any other time they can find them).
Result: Zip (no bass)
Kevin Van Dam on Jig Fishing:
Red Eye Shad
You can see the transition from the cove area to the deeper part of the lake: it’s where the waves are rippling in the photo!
Right at the tip of the photo is where the rock ledges begin. And just behind the brush (where you can’t see right now) is where I caught a mess of “smallies” (small mouth bass) last spring. So you KNOW I’m looking for those smallies to return!
Kevin Van Dam on the Red Eye Shad
Results: No bass (smallies or otherwise!)
As I was headed back to the beach, I saw a fish “roll” in the water. By now I knew the water was 53 degrees, 6 degrees cooler than the magic number of 59 degrees, when the bass start their pre-spawn dances. So I figured the fish rolling was either a trout or salmon.
Since whatever it was, it was on top, I decided to try a jerk bait. These are baits I learned a little about last year, but have seen a LOT more during my recovery. This one is like a rainbow trout, as I know there are rainbows in Webster Lake (I caught a fat one last year on a Red Eye Shad!). It runs about a foot under the water, and I used the “walk the dog” jerk retrieve, hoping for a fish to smash it from below!
Kevin Van Dam on the Jerk Bait
Result: No bass, no trout, no salmon.
Since I’d seen the fish roll on the top of the water, I ended my attempt with a Pop-R.
I flung it far away, and “spit” it back to me, again, hoping there was some feeding frenzied fish who would hit that lure and make my day! I covered a lot of area, but even though this lure sure looks like an injured perch, nobody came to crush the prey.
Result: Lots of spittin’, but no hittin’
Scott Martin on a Popper
Conclusion: No fish = No fun? No way!
Naturally, I go fishing to catch fish. Even though I always let them all go! But even though I didn’t catch any fish today, it was still a productive outing.
Sights & Sounds
I saw other fisherman trolling with their boats, the water was beautiful, the weather was lovely. I heard people banging around their homes / camps along the shores of Webster Lake, bringing out deck chairs, getting docks ready, and working on repairs. Winter’s grip on New Hampshire and Webster Lake is breaking up, and today’s temperatures rose to the warm climes of 70 degrees!
Spring has sprung.
Expanding my casting skills
In addition to the techniques I mentioned above with the lures, I also practiced casting. I have a new Medium-Heavy rod. I’ve always had Medium rods, so I got to practice casting the new rod without having to worry too much about accuracy.
I also tackled casting with both arms. Normally I simply cast with my right arm, but I wanted to expand my skills, so practiced using both arms to fling those lures out to try and find those rolling fish!
Chris Myers on casting a spinning rod
Equipment Modifications: Wrap Used Lures!
On my most recent trip to my local BassPro Shops (I was going to say on my “last” trip, but since I KNOW that trip isn’t the final one, I decided not to put it in those words) I bought a lure wrap.
It’s designed to keep your lures from sticking to everything (like the boat carpet, your fishing bag, and YOU!) while you are transporting your rod. I bought a small mesh one to try it out, and I already love it!
But then I found another use for this wrap. I hate putting my wet lures right back into my box, since then when I get home I need to open the box and make sure it dries out completely to avoid rusting. So as I took off the Red Eye Shad and then the stick / jerk bait, I simply swaddled them in the wrap! Since it’s mesh, the lures get plenty of air circulation. And then I can slip the whole kit and caboodle into a pocket of my bag, and pull them out to dry when I get home.
BassPro Shops has larger versions in the mesh, so I’ll invest in one of those. Plus they have wraps that are NOT mesh, and I’ll get some of those too. In short, I love the wraps!
PT (Physical Therapy)
When I was doing physical therapy, I explained to my therapist how I propelled myself around in my Hobie Float Cat 75. She said, “That would be great therapy!” So, even when I’m not catching fish, I’m strengthening and stretching my knee and patella tendon.
I saw a “neighbor” (well, fellow Franklin-ite) I hadn’t seen for a year, I met some folks and their dog in a canoe (though at a long distance), and I met a woman and her son who were kayaking (it was his first time solo in the kayak). Indeed, when I hauled out my iPhone and removed it from the zip lock sandwich bag, she mentioned to her son, “He remembered his plastic bag.” So I gave her the bag, as well as my fishing advice to visit Hawkins Pond later in the spring for some awesome bass fishing.
So even though I didn’t catch any fish, I did have a great time, and I got some important experience in.
What do YOU do when you aren’t catching fish? How do you turn a SKUNK day into a productive, rewarding experience? After all, it’s NOT all about dat bass! It’s about BassHole growth.
Be sure and let your fellow BassHoles in on your secrets!
Roger, The Smiling BassHole