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An interesting development…

Seeing as this was the weekend to over sleep, then change plans at the last minute, (see yesterday’s blog entry, below) I hit the snooze button on the alarm twice this morning, then just shut it off the next time it tried to get me up. A quick check of Weather Underground when I finally got out of bed pretty much spelled the end of my plans to head for the mouth of the CT River to fish for stripers. As late as I’d be leaving, it made sense to stay close to home anyway. So I opted to go to Lillinonah and catch some crappies.

I guess it was about 10AM when I got to Lilli, and 10:10 when I got my first crappie of the day. Found them biting good in the upper branches of a bunch of trees laying off a sand slide bank. Easy fishing — just drop a 2.5″ Fin-S Fish on a 1/8 oz head down about 10 or 12 feet and hold it steady until a crappie ate it. Problem was, they were dinks. Started experimenting, and found the bigger crappie at the base of the wood pile, 35 feet down. Not too bad a situation if you can fish them straight up and down, which I could do in the dead calm conditions.

The dead calm lasted long enough to catch 4 crappie in the 1.5 to 2# range. Then the wind came back, and put an end to my ability to fish straight up and down. Just a few feet of drift, and there was no way you could get a jig back to the surface through the maze of branches. I decorated the trees with jigheads and plastic for a little while, then decided to go do something less frustrating.

Hit a few of my favorite bass spots, but knew it was too early for them to be on. Water temp was still around 60. I don’t usually find the bass stacked in these spots until well past the turnover, when the water temp is in the very low 50s at the highest. Upper 30s to low 40s is best.

Caught a couple shorts, and a couple barely legal bass on the little Fin-S I had been using for crappie, and a couple more on a drop shot. Eventually, I had managed to break off everything I had tied on, except my heavy jig and PiggyBack. Might as well go rock-knocking, I decided, and headed for a steep, rocky bluff bank. Sitting in 40 to 50 feet of water about 25 feet from the bank, I’d pitch the jig into 15 to 20 feet, then bounce it around among the granite slabs and chunk rock, feeding line as the jig fell off one ledge or boulder after another, until it was straight down under the rod tip. The stiff casting rod and 14# Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon worked with the 1-1/4 ounce jig to make for a really good feel for the jig as it banged around in the depths, hopefully attracting the attention of any nearby bass.

And much to my surprise, the were quite a few bass within hearing range of that commotion in 20 to 35 feet or so of water, and they were more than willing to slam the jig like it was the last meal they might see until spring! The only reason I was surprised, was because this pattern doesn’t usually produce until the water’s in the 40s. I didn’t start doing it until about 2 pm, and I had to be off the water by 3. In 45 minutes, I managed to catch 8 bass — all just about this size, although I did have one follow the jig to the surface that looked to be a couple pounds heavier.

And here’s the package I was banging around the deep rocks to catch them. 1-1/4 ounce head, extra bushy black & green skirt and a 4″ black Piggy Back. Makes for a pretty big mouthful, and keeps all but the most determined little guys at bay.

Amazingly, I didn’t lose a single jig to the rocks during my rock knocking efforts. I felt like I could have caught a few more if I made another pass down the same stretch of bluff, or maybe a whole bunch more if I had the time to run to a few of my other favorite deep, rocky bluffs a bit farther down lake. But eight fish in the 3-1/2 pound and better range in the last 45 minutes sent me home satisfied with my day, and for some reason, I didn’t particularly mind heading for the trailer with fish left uncaught. I do wish I had tried that pattern a bit earlier in the day though.

2 comments to An interesting development…

  • “…It seems like you tend to opt toward the lighest line that will accomplish/accomodate the above…”

    You have precisely captured my philosophy regarding line test. With few exceptions, I have always gone with the lightest line that I could get away with in any situation. Water clarity has never been the issue that has driven or steered my line choice decisions. I simply want the line that interferes the least with the presentation and with my sense of feel. In most situations, that equates to the thinnest line that will not put me at a disadvantage given the cover it will be faced with, and the abuse the line will take as regard lure weight, etc. I am thinking more about effective presentation (IE, my ability to generate as many bites as possible and to effectively recognize every bite) than about my ability to land the fish once the bite has been converted to a hookup.

  • Nice chunks Rich. I catch them good on a much more downsized jig presentation but on similar banks when the water gets good and cold, just not nearly as deep, and usually not nearly as large 🙂

    Which reminds me…I’m always fascinated by the relationship between lure weight and bulk, depth being fished, line weight, rod action and good hook penetration (line stretch). It seems like you tend to opt toward the lighest line that will accomplish/accomodate the above with most of your presentations. In the above report example, I’d probably default to 16-20# fluoro myself, predominantly due to possible abrasion as well as lure weight in this instance.

    Any enlightenment you can provide on your thought process here? Is it more a water clarity factor that drives the lighter line decision for you?


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