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Lunker City Fishing Specialties

Revisiting one of my old haunts

Congamond used to be one of my favorite places to fish. I started fishing there in the ’70s. In the ’80s, I used to trek up there at least a few times a month from April through October. Then, in the mid-nineties, Half-Day Frank and I would hit it frequently and hard.

It had a lot going for it. A solid population of good sized bass that seemed predisposed to spend a lot of time in deeper water being a big part of its attraction for me. The things I liked to do the best — light line, small lures, deep water, etc. — worked exceedingly well there.

Not sure what exactly led to me not fishing there as often, but in the last 15 years or so, trips to Congamond have become increasingly rare.

Oh, wait.

I think I know.

The awful mess that is I-84 Westbound through Waterbury every afternoon may have something to do with it. When the 70 minute ride up there started to become a 2½ hour ordeal in traffic on the way home, it became a lot less nerve wracking to just  find somewhere else to fish.

But lately, I found myself thinking more and more about a trip up there, and Wednesday morning, I picked up Jimfish early, and we headed up to the Massachusetts border. Went right into ‘old days mode’ and started right where I would have started 25 years ago. Hooked and lost one on my first cast, too.

Caught some decent fish on the most classic spot in the middle pond, but not as many, nor as big as my fond memories suggested we should have. Worked my way toward the entrance to the North pond, where Jim & I did well the last couple times we fished the place together. But before reaching there, I decided to hit a shallow point that turned out to have a surprisingly good cabbage bed on it. I didn’t have a hit there, while my partner went into PanHead Jim mode and put 3 in the boat in short order. The fish seemed anxious to eat Jim’s green pumpkin jig and twin tail trailer, but wouldn’t touch my green pumpkin creature bait? What’s up with that?

When the bite there died, we wasted about 45 minutes or an hour driving to and fishing the North pond. Came back out and hit the cabbage patch again, and sure enough, ol’ PanHead Jim caught him another one.

We each got a fish off the next spot we stopped. Then we tried a couple mid-lake spots to no avail, before riding over to the South Pond to close out the day. We each caught a pretty good fish almost as soon as we got started over there, before what had been an occasional, distant roll of thunder, grew into a much closer and more frequent warning from mother nature. Tried to ignore it for a few minutes, but the sky to our northwest started to get ominous looking as well, and we decided that discretion, as it always is when dealing with lightning, was the better part of valor.

Headed for the trailer, and were off the water and safely ensconced in the tow vehicle with the trailering cover on the boat by 2pm. And of course, we never had a storm on the ride home, which even with our early departure, lasted more than 2 hours, thanks to I-84 Westbound through Waterbury.

We ended the day with 14 bass between us, with Jim taking 9 to my 5. He beat me by those 4 fish that just couldn’t resist a PanHead being thrown by PanHead Jim, himself. For my part, I got one on a smoke Grubster and 4 on the drop shot, while Jim got 4 on the PanHead, a couple each on a motor Oil Pepper SwimFish and a small grub, and one on the drop shot. Most of the fish came from 8 to 15 feet or so of water. Oh yeah. I also got the biggest pickerel I’ve ever seen from that Congamond. Not Lakeville big, but certainly in the 5# range. And a bullhead. SIGH.


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