Though our bass opener turned into a day of pike fishing, Darrell and I have since managed to get into quite a few nice bass. We spent several days of our vacation chasing both largemouth and smallmouth bass, with varying degrees of success. Since returning to work we’ve had to make do with less fishing time, but we’ve made the most of it and the bass have been outstandingly cooperative at times. Patterns have developed, new water has been explored, and our bass fishing skills are shedding the rust.
We live in area where most of the towns have ponds, many of which are stocked with trout. But the bass are in these ponds in good numbers and offer a great destination for a quick fish. They’re our fishing spot of choice when we want to get the dogs out for a bit and take a few casts.
As usual, we took part in the Grand River Bass Derby, held July 4th-5th this year. The flows were high thanks to rain in the days leading up to the event, and with the drive now being closer to two hours, we decided to save some gas, take the car on the first day, and just fish from shore at a few favorite spots. Fishing from shore turned into wet wading, with the water taking my breath away after the first couple of steps. It had been a long time since I walked in water that cold without my waders on.
If you ever want to have an enjoyable day, head to the Grand River on a sunny summer day, wade up the river, cast about, and chat with all the people floating by in canoes and kayaks. It’s really quite fun. A few small bass, a couple small brown trout, and one big creek chub were the extent of our catch, so though we had a great time, we caught nothing large enough to take to the measuring scale.
While shorefishing is fun, there is nothing like spending a day in the boat, and we spent the second day of the derby fishing out of the boat, on a stretch of the Grand with an incredible amount of floating weed drifting downstream. The visibility was poor in the morning, but cleared up through the day. We caught nothing of note and had to content ourselves with enjoying the beautiful day and testing out our ability to fish many lures through the weeds. Still, it’s always a great event to fish and lets us chat with many other anglers.
Our most success for bass this season has been on some local lakes. The fishing has been so much fun that I often wonder why there are so few boats out there taking advantage of the incredible fishery, then I remind myself that I am grateful to have the water largely to ourselves.
While we have used spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, swimbaits, dropshotting, and flipping, the vast majority of our bass this season have come on a wacky rig, whether using a senko or some other version of plastic worm (my favorite has been the Power Team Lures Finicky Tickler). It is absolutely phenomenal how effective this incredibly simple technique can be. If you’re not familiar with the technique, check out this video from Wired2Fish:
We fished the rig weightless, finding that fish preferred the slow drop with a subtle twitch. It helped us fish around vegetation and docks without getting snagged in anything. In the mornings we have usually found the fish under cover such as docks and deeper stumps, but as the day progressed they would move up to the shallows and start feeding in the vegetation and wood. Much of the time we were able to sight fish them, and it’s hard to beat the adrenaline rush of watching your lure hit the water, seeing the bass shift it’s attention, then watching your bait disappear into it’s mouth. I find it hard to keep myself from setting the hook too early.
This technique has been so effective that it really doesn’t matter what colour or type of plastic worm we use, the fish just can’t resist that twitch. We’ve had double-headers, had one fish on with another chasing, and have caught a fish after it’s gone for the lure several times. Here are some of the bass we’ve been lucky enough to get pictures of:
Likely the biggest bass I had on so far this summer actually bit on a dropshot. I cast to an area where the water colour changed from dark green to light green. It wasn’t long before a freight train was tugging at the other end of my line and I started reeling. Just as I was watching my rod tip bend over and thinking about what a nice fish it was going to be, I heard a ‘ping’, saw my line flutter into the air, and the fish was gone. I learned a valuable lesson that day about always double-checking your drag. I had needed to do some work with the reel the day before, and forgot that the drag had been tightened down. What a reminder.
While I truly am a multi-species angler – I have trouble choosing a favorite fish species to catch, it’s usually the last one I was catching – I have to say that bass never cease to provide me with a thrill. Hooking into a nice 3 or 4 pounder and watching them fly out of the water, and spook at the boat and peel line, is always a fun way to spend the day. Catching small ones will entertain me for hours, and catching the big ones will actually leave me shaking.
Chasing bass is such a great way to spend the summer, and the season has really only just begun. I look forward to many more awesome days on the water!