Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bass Fishing in May: 2013 Photo Journal - Lake Erie & More

This past weekend I was invited to take part in  the 8th annual Lake Erie/Lake Chatauqua fishing excursion with a group of anglers simply referred to here as "the old guys" (sorry Brian). This was my second such invite, and after a successful first trip, I was excited to use what I had learned last year to do battle on these big fisheries again.. oh what a difference a year makes!

Day 1 was spent on Lake Erie, the weather forecast called for high winds moving in in the afternoon, so we knew we had to get out early and pound'em before the winds sent us scurrying for shelter.

As usual I shared a boat with "Kenny" we spent some early time shallow looking to see if any big females had moved in to spawn. What we found was a large school of Sheephead making a ruckus in the shallows.. Here is Kenny with the first fish of the day

The only one in our group that really hit'em hard on Erie was "Brian". He found the right presentation and the right colour, and even with 4 of us throwing the same bait, he was the only one boating fish, after fish, after fish (sorry, I'm all for giving away my secrets, but cant openly give away my co-anglers)

At the end of the day, I managed one fish on lake Erie, but I'm happy to say it was a good one. this football smallmouth succumbed to a tube jig

Day 2, was a 5am wake up call on Chatauqua Lake. This is a view from my room, and as always the sunrises never disappoint. (just add coffee)

I had the majority of my success in 2012 on a spinnerbait (war eagle of course) and I was bound to give one a run again this year. It was not long before the fish started to take notice (Dobyns DX744 paired with a Daiwa Zillion)

I dont know about you, but I could fish a spinnerbait all day long, something about that dead stop strike or watching the shine from your blades vanish on mid retrieve 

The pattern we found was that the majority of the fish were hanging off the end of the docks, and that by burning a blade at a 45 degree angle across the corners you could easily pull a fish out.

We were surprised how aggressive these shallow fish were, they ignored flipping baits and and soft plastics, but hammered every blade that buzzed by.

Paired up with Kenny again we took to the shallows, and pounded the shoreline and any dock we could see. Kenny landed the biggest fish of our 35 fish caught on Day 2 (see below)

 I loved the look of these busted up old docks, I wished they held more fish, but oh well, they still make for a great photo.

I did get to break in some of my new Reins baits, not many fish were interested in a slow presentation, but I did manage a couple on the Ring Craw

Boat #2 Consisted of Rick and Brian, they headed to deeper water and focused on "quality over quantity" and I think you will agree it paid off,  this is a 6.1lb smallie that gave Rick a new personal best

(Ignore the image date, for a former TV man, Rick is not known for his prowess with a camera)

This was the only time all weekend that the lake was flat, the winds really picked up and night and day there was a constant chop making it hard to hit deeper water or mid lake humps without getting blown around

Day 3, found Brian and I partnered up, and after a success Day 2, we headed back to the shallows to find some fish that Kenny and I missed. The Spinnerbait bite was still on, and Brian and I picked up where Kenny and I left off

The fish were smaller on Day3, but in 2 hours (or so) Brian and I still managed 16 fish from an area in wich 35+ fish were caught just 12 hours prior

Later in the morning we decded to push out deeper looking for big fish, but after getting blown off a few of our secondary sports, we looked to a popular gravel bar and began to work crank baits, lip less cranks, and of course the odd spinner bait. The smallies were quick to oblige us, and the bit was arm-tiringly fast

the lipless crank proved more popular then the spinnerbait so I made the change and stuck with it the rest of the day. The Lipless Crank of choice was the Rippin Rap by Rapala, I picked one up before leaving for this trip, pretty much right after I watched an episode of In-Fisherman and Doug who was using this bait to great success, I'm happy to report, he was telling the truth

Brian and I pretty much spend most of the afternoon either fighting a fish, or netting one for each other. It was a blast and when all was said and done we topped the 35 fish Kenny and I landed on Day 2

We were even surprised by the odd large mouth that came to join the party. This beast hammered my Rapala rippin rap, and fought harder then any of the smallies

Gotta love that shiny golden colour. These fish were all super healthy, and no matter the size big or small they were all well fed.

In 2012 almost all my smallmouth success came from a drop-shot rig, this year, it barely saw the water and when it did, it was useless. It always amazes me how the fish can change from day to day, or minuted to minute

Meanwhile in Boat 2, Kenny and Rick both landed their best Largemouth's of the weekend...

 Day 4 was not my day. Kenny and I re teamed up and he promptly kicked my ass. The shallow bite switched off between a fast presentation (spinner bait) to a slow one (tubes). I was too stubborn and stuck with the spinner bait way to long. When I finally made the change, I still had little to no luck, while Kenny continued to slam fish after fish, the dude is a maestro with a tube jig

In the last 10 minutes of our shortened day, I went back to my spinner bait and mustered 3 quick fish, all in the same hole, a spot a local angler was kind enough to give up the day prior. (thank you)

 After that we packed up and headed home. It was a long but amazing trip. No matter if we are gone for one day or 10,  this is always a welcome site.. it's good to be home

Weapons of Choice:

Spinnerbait: Dobyns DX744 w/ Daiwa Zillion, War Eagle Screaming Eagle Spinnerbait on Daiwa Samurai Braid

Lipless Cranks: Dobyns Savvy 704 (microguide) w/ Dawia Advantage reel. I used 8lb Sunline super sniper FC and the bait of choice was a Rapala Ripin Rap

DropShot: Dobyns DX742SF w/ Daiwa Lexa 1500 Spinning reel, New Gamakatsu SwivelShot hook and Strike King Bitsy tube

Tubes: Dobyns Savvy 703SF w/ Daiwa Ballistic Spinning Reel, and ElGrande Tubes (bluegill)

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