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April 5, 2016

Fishing Log: First Fishing Trip, April 5, 2016

Searching for big bass! (Finding None!)

Where: Griffin Beach, Webster Lake, Franklin, NH

Webster Lake: View from the beach
Launch beach: view from my Hobie Float Cat

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.


  • DSC02864
    Ice & snow on the bank

    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)

Results: Skunked!

Didn’t find any bass today, neither big nor otherwise. But the trip was STILL a success!

My Successes!

Got Dressed

Note snow on bottom of boots

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!

Clear water near shore (snow on right)

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

This BassHole’s “Boat”: a 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

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!

Red Eye ShadRES Orange Craw

Yup, my new favorite lure! I have reviewed this lure, so if you are interested in learning more:

==> Click here to read my review of the Red Eye Shad <==

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.

==> Here’s a link to a video about freeing your lure from a rock <==

I cast far, I cast close to shore, I cast all around. But no bass today.

Ice in my rod guides!

Note ice filling the rod’s 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!


My favorite rock! I always probe around this rock on Webster Lake, often with great results!

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!

Tight lines!

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

Catch-Big-Bass http://catch-big-bass.com/ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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The Smiling BassHole

I'm a BassHole!Kickin' Bass and lettin' them go.

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • I love to fish and love your sense of humor! I am always looking for tips and little tricks.
    I saved your website to keep furthering my knowledge and keeping up with tricks of the trade.
    Thank you

    • Thanks, Laura!

      As a recovering standup comedian and clown college graduate, I really LOVE to insert some humor into my writing, even if it’s about a fishing trip through the snow where I ended up not catching anything!

      Glad to share the knowledge I learned while I was laid up after my patella tendon surgery. And glad to be back out on the water, even without a bite!

      Be sure and let me know if you ever have any questions.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

    • Sean,

      Well, THAT’s possible! But actually, I was plenty warm, swaddled as I was in long underwear, fleece outwear, all encased in my waterproof waders!

      Pulling all that gear down to the lake got me good and warm, too. Don’t know how cold the water was, but didn’t notice it thanks to my many layers.

      Thanks for bringing a smile to my frozen face!

      Tight lines,

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • That’s the beauty of fishing for me, personally I don’t care If I don’t catch a fish, it’s just the tranquillity and beauty of being surrounded by nature that makes it a day well spent.
    Would you put your fruitless day down to the first time with the pig n jig, or are you going to stick with it?

    • Dan,

      I agree with the old adage, “A bad day fishing still beats the best day working.” And often I do simply reflect on the beauty of nature around me and my ability to spend some time absorbed in nature.

      That said, the best days always include getting the “stank eye” from a big ole bass en-angered for being disturbed doing her thang.

      I think the main issue was the temperature. It’s still cold! And that goes for the water, too. I didn’t see any bass (as I did last spring) cruising the bank. So my best guess is they are all holed up somewhere in the middle of the lake.

      So yes, I WILL stick with the pig ‘n jig, and eventually it’s the bass who’ll get stuck!

      Thanks for the discussion!

      Tight lines,

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • I am not much of a fisherman but I think we all would have enjoyed a YouTube video of you getting dressed in all of the fishing gear. Of course you would have to blur out any naughty parts. LOL 20 degrees? Your must be a die hard fisherman and I am happy you enjoyed your day 😉

    • Tony,

      Great idea about making a video of me dressing! I had thought of asking my wife to take photos along the way, but I’m pretty sure she would have thought that was “inappropriate.” Wouldn’t need to blur the naughty bits as long as I started in my winter underwear!

      Yeah, it was a bit extreme with the temperature. But hey, how did I know what temp the water was? And THAT’s what matters. Pretty sure now it was still cold, since I didn’t even see a bass. A friend said I didn’t catch any fish because “You froze your bass off!”

      Thanks for making me smile!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hey! I’m not much of a fisherman myself, but grew up with a dad who is, and who loves to tell stories about his trips. I’ll be passing your site on to him for sure, maybe he will even get in contact to swap stories ha! Keep up the good work and adventuring!

    • Thanks, Matt!

      I’d love to hear your dad’s fishing tails! Tell him I’m happy to greet him as an honorary “BassHole” (YES, that IS an honor!).

      Thanks for offering, and I look forward to “meeting” your dad.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Love the humour of this article, I must admit I’ve never been into fishing (never caught anything) but enjoyed the article, will keep coming back or further smiles.

    • Thanks, Paul!

      As a recovering standup comic and clown college graduate, I can’t help but insert humor everywhere I go. Glad you found it amusing! And if you ever DO decide to go fishing, you may want to wait for the temperatures to rise a bit!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • I love your fishing blog man! I love the humor, and i love the content.
    Fishing is for me one of the most relaxing activities i can imagine. I used to always go fishing with my father and we always had fun, even when we didn’t catch anything. As you said, fishing is amazing even when you don’t catch anything.
    Keep going with this man!

    • Thanks, Daniel!

      Yes, as you can see, fishing is a love and passion of mine. I’m sure you have many happy memories fishing with your father, even when you DIDN’t catch fish!

      One thing I’ve learned doing my research (and watching pro fishing shows and videos), is even the pros have slow days. I read an article about how the TV cameras focus on where ever the action is, but that the goal of the pro is to first locate, then land, 5 fish. Anything after that is extra. AND sometimes they don’t get five either!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Is this what’s called ice fishing 🙂
    I love reading your personal entertaining posts. Sounds like you had a good day even thought they were not biting.

    Is there a certain water temperature when bass are more likely to bite? I know you didn’t get your $20 thermometer but just curious if there is a temperature that is better for fishing than others…
    Also should a certain lure be used for these kind of conditions?

    So glad you didn’t freeze your bass off 🙂
    Better luck next time!!


    • Vicky, Thanks for bring smiles to my face!

      No, not quite ice fishing! Though I did have ice in my guides. I went ice fishing once. That was enough (no casting or playing the fish!).

      Yes, the magic number right now for temperature is between 58 degrees and 60 degrees. Those temperatures will initiate the “pre-spawn.” The bass will move toward shallow water preparing for the spawn (when things get a bit warmer).

      That’s when the bass are gobbling up crawfish, AND it’s a great time to land HUGE bass. The females are the largest, and they come in and wait off shore while the males build nests. And once the temperatures rise, the females come in, lay the eggs, and the males then protect the nests.

      So I didn’t QUITE freeze my bass off, but I believe the water was too cool.

      And as the water temperatures rise, different baits will catch bass. Though to be honest, those two baits will catch bass almost anytime.

      Thank you for your kind words! And great luck to you in whatever you pursue next!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • When my boys loves to fish. I can’t believe he’s already been out this year, I thought he was crazy too. I’m not sure what his aim is to catch. Likely anything would thrill him. I must say you have a lot more here than he does.

    I have a good idea of why you need most of the equipment you take a long, except for the flippers. What on earth do these actually come in handy for when your bass fishing?

    • Debra,

      Thanks for the comment!

      If your son loves to fish, you might want to try and locate a “bluegill” pond or lake in your area. “Bluegill” can refer to a number of different fish, and people call them by different names throughout the country (my wife, who grew up in New Hampshire, calls them “kivvies”; I grew up in neighboring Vermont, where we called them Pumpkinseed or Sunfish!).

      Blue gill are scrappy little fish that are easy to catch but fight like the dickens. They are a great fish to start kids out on. And who knows, there may be some bigger fish lurking around there too (bass eat bluegill).

      ==> Click here for an article about catching bluegill <==

      My first fish was what we called a “dace” or “shiner.” And I caught many more of those fish over the years when I was a kid!

      I hope your sons have half as much fun fishing as I did!

      And to answer your question about the flippers: I’m sitting on a pontoon craft with my feet dangling in the water. I use the flippers to propel me (backwards) and get me where I’m going. And to steer. The flippers are a must-have part of any float tube / craft fishing adventure!

      Thanks again for the comment.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Roger,

    Hahahah – sorry I can’t stop laughing from the way you described your fishing adventure. Reading this is like watching a funny movie.

    But at the end of the day, it’s your spirit that I admire – I mean getting ready to fish seems tedious in itself. I don’t know anything about fishing – being a boring person that I am.

    But today I read an article in the local papers (Singapore) that some die-hard anglers are not happy at some irresponsible angler who left his hook stuck on a baby otter. Sorry but I don’t know how that happened. So they’re putting up some measures to protect the otter families around the fishing area.

    Oh, yes, keep up your sense of humor – it’s what makes reading your posts so enjoyable!

    • Thanks, Zailinah!

      I’m THRILLED that you saw the humor in the post! As a recovering standup comic and clown college graduate, well, I like to make people laugh!

      That is so sad about the hook in the baby otter. I’m glad to hear that people are taking action to prevent that in the future.

      Hope you will come back to visit next time you need a laugh! My posts aren’t always primarily funny, but I do try to include humor in each.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hi Roger,
    I felt like I was there fishing with you! Great read, even though I do not fish. I love that you capture that it’s really all about the process and experience and not really whether you get a fish or not. Keep on going!
    Thanks for sharing your adventure!

    • Thanks for the kind words, Sarah!

      I’m amazed over how many great responses I got from this fishing report. Since I didn’t actually catch anything, I wasn’t sure anyone would care!

      But apparently my antics pulling myself into my fishing “uniform” and then pushing myself around the lake while water froze into ice on my rod hit a positive note with my readers!

      Glad you enjoyed the experience I shared!

      Tight lines,

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Roger,

    I think you could spin a yarn about basket weaving and make it entertaining! Warmed all the way up to 20 degrees huh? Now that is what i call a dedicated fisherman. Agree with some other posts, had you not suffered that injury chances are you wouldn’t be sharing your adventures with us. Of course I’m sorry you were hurt , but maybe a blessing in disguise. Pretty sure I’d have pulled the plug when you saw the ice in your rod guides. “you can’t catch a fish if you don’t dare go where they are” – Norman “Roger” MacLean.

    • Kevin,

      Quoting the author of A River Runs Through It! I’m impressed!

      Thanks, but I don’t know anything about basket weaving.

      You’re right about the injury giving me the incentive to research bass fishing for this year, and then deciding to share it with others in my own way (hopefully with some humor included). I’m never that much of a “serious” anything, and since I don’t even eat the fish I catch, well, it’s hard not to see the humor in spending so much time, money, and effort to catch a fish, then let it go!

      I was very puzzled over the ice in the guides. At first I thought it was the reel. Then I finally realized what was happening. I admit that was a first for me.

      Good news: I was the only one out there fishing, so I had the lake to myself!

      Thanks for your comment and your kind words.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Roger,
    I don’t suppose I can sway you to be a coauthor for me after all! You are phenomenal. Your sense of humor is so natural, easy, fun. I love your style regardless of content although I happen to love to fish. I don’t have that opportunity much now since my husband passed away…he was the REAL fisherman lol! Fishing is a relaxant. Just being out on the open water…the smells, the sounds, the calm. I miss it. I don’t know about New Hampshire fishing…LOL!
    I am rather spoiled with our southern Louisiana sweltering heat, humidity and mosquitoes…;)-
    Keep your sense of humor…but then I don’t suppose you can lose it. Sounds like it’s just yours.
    Thanks, Roger!

    • Thank you for the kind words, Rita! I’ve read your posts and so can say I enjoy YOUR sense of humor as well!

      I did live in New Orleans for six months, but escaped before the sweltering heat of summer. Didn’t do any fishing there, either. But there must be some awesome fishing in Louisiana! And I’m sure there are some monster bass!

      Sorry to hear about your husband. My first wife passed away 17 years ago. After that I moved back to Vermont (I was living in San Francisco, where I performed standup comedy for 8 years). After a couple of years, I started internet dating. I posted a picture of myself holding a Thanksgiving turkey. A woman from New Hampshire wrote, “Are you the one on the right or the left?” We’ve been married 15 years.

      If you decide to embark on any fishing adventures, please come back here to share your fish tails!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hi Roger,

    Well very entertaining read…:) I love the photos and the video, it makes your story very easy to read and imagine. I have never fished with rods, but i do have cousins who do that a lot..

    However i grew up in Eastern Europe and i loved spending time with my granddad out in a country. That also meant weekly fishing with nets adventures, i think 25 years ago that was a legal thing to do…:) So every week or so we would go and try catch pike and the bass that lives in a river, they were tiny compared the ones you catch in your photos. And fishing with nets also meant that you will always catch something well we had to, as that was our dinner…:)

    I wish you all the best with your adventures, and keep writing about it. Quality content like yours adds a lot of value to the net, and you will have a big following very quick..:)


    • Thanks, Joana!

      I’ve never fished with a net — I like to cast (hit the spot!) and then play the fish. Which is why I fish even though it’s NOT for my dinner!

      I became a catch and release fisherman after driving 5 hours to fish a spot in Northern California, then after a couple of hours driving 5 hours home. I caught 3 trout, the largest about 10 inches. I realized that at that rate, I was spending a lot more for fish than if I simply bought them in the supermarket. AND then I wouldn’t even have to clean them!

      The next trout I caught, I put it back into the water. As the fish squirmed out of my hand and disappeared into the depths with a quick flash, I was hooked — I was a catch and release fisherman. Since then, I’ve only kept 2 fish, the first 2 bass I caught after joining the BassHoles fishing club. And that was only at the urging of the club president, who had taken me out fishing. I caught the biggest fish of the day on that trip. When I told him I didn’t know how to even cook a bass, he suggested I take them to a Chinese restaurant and have them prepare the fish for me. My late wife’s sister was Chinese (adopted) and her husband was also Chinese. He could speak the language and arranged the feast for the entire family.

      It’s wonderful that you had such great memories and times with your granddad. And should you ever decide to try fishing with a rod and reel, please feel free to contact me to answer any questions.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • What a great story Roger! I certainly understand how it can be difficult to do certain things after an operation like that. What I am really impressed about is how positive your story is despite the lack of fish caught. You still managed to find the silver lining and make the best of it. Cheers!

    • Thanks, James! Your comment about “finding the silver lining” means a lot, coming from you! I know that’s one of your specialties!

      Fisherman have a saying, “That’s why we call it FISHING, not CATCHING.” I read a very illuminating article in BassMasters magazine by a professional bass fisherman who warned fishing fans who watched the tournaments on television that the cameras focus on the ACTION, but often even the pros spend hours and hours NOT catching fish. He broke it down into three steps: 1) Locate the bass, 2) Select the correct lure, technique, and depth, 3) Hook and land the fish! The pros’ goal is to catch 5 fish in 8 hours. I was out for 2 hours, in less than ideal conditions, so I’ve still got 6 hours to go!

      Cheers to you, too!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hi Roger.
    Isn’t fishing just the best thing? I live in Canada and we have a lot of good fishing here and I love it. I like the determination. Carry your stuff and get into those boots and fins. Not an easy task hehe.

    Next time you’ll have better luck and not get skunked!


    • Thanks, Marcus!

      Yes, I’m determined to fish this year! I missed a lot of last year, which is why I was motivated to research equipment, techniques, and strategies. I can’t wait to try them out and see how they work!

      Canada has some fantastic fishing! Be sure and share your adventures so I can fish vicariously through you!

      I’m hoping to get some action on my next trip, but I have decided I will wait for the water to warm up a bit. Meanwhile, more research and more sharing!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

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