Here it is the middle of April and I’ve been so preoccupied chasing stripers that until today, I hadn’t been fishing for freshwater bass. Figured it was time to change that, so I joined Jimfish for a day on the pond.
With bass likely in early prespawn mode and some pretty strong winds forecast for the day, I got myself in a jerkbait mindset, even though my three primary presentations for this place regardless of the season are an Ozmo on a Titleshot jighead, a panhead jig and a Sinking Slug-Go. Sure, I had those three options rigged and ready, but I had a Rapala BX Minnow jerkbait tied on a fourth rod, too. I fully expected that to be my most used rod today.
But launching on a nice, calm pond, I grabbed the Sinking Slug-Go first, and put three quick fish in the boat with it. Little guys, but kind of gratifying to pop the freshwater cherry for the year that quickly. By the time we got to the rocks that would be our first real spot, the wind was sneaking up behind us. I tried sticking with the soft stick bait, but the wind made that skate too much. Switched to the jerkbait with no takers. Meanwhile, Jim got his first fish off one of the rocks with his PanHead jig.
The wind kept building. The jerkbait was clipping the weed tops enough that most casts were ruined by picking up a clump of decaying milfoil after a few jerks. Would have been worth putting up with that if the jerkbait was getting bit. It wasn’t.
I put the Ozmo on a heavier head and pretty much alternated between that and the jig for the rest of the day.
There are two casting targets you should never pass up — an anchored floating buoy and a pipe. Only takes a cast or two to fish either, and turns out to be worth it a surprising percentage of the time.
This was one of those times. My next fish came off a floating buoy. Felt the pop as the PanHead swam by the rope that anchors the buoy to the large block of concrete at the bottom (the rope always leads to something substantial on the bottom, which is what you’re really casting at when you fish a mooring or marker buoy) and set the hook. The rod groaned and the tight drag grudgingly gave a little line on the hook set. The subsequent boil on the surface was enough to get Jim excited. “Pig,” he said!
When the bass stuck its open mouth out of the water, I was thinking seven. Then I saw the rest of the fish, and dropped my guesstimate down to five. Three jumps later, and I had a grip on her lower lip and was swinging her over the side. She really did have the mouth and head of a 7 pounder; My fist easily into her mouth. She wasn’t really skinny, either. Just short. Didn’t measure her, but I would guess that she wasn’t much more than 20 inches long. Giant head and mouth, but only weighed 5-4. Still, toadly enough to make me happy on my first largemouth excursion of the year.
We ended the day with a total of 27 bass between us, almost all caught on either the PanHead or the Ozmo. All of the better ones were jig caught fish, but if you find that surprising, you haven’t been paying attention to your lessons, son.