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Lunker City Fishing Specialties

Geezers working too damned hard.

Jimfish and I were a couple really busy geezers today.

We put the boat in the water at Tyler Pond just after 6:30 this morning, after waiting almost 10 minutes for the guy who had the entire ramp blocked putting his canoe in the water and loading his gear into it. If this guy took much longer, we might not have gotten the boat wet at Tyler at all.

We rarely spend an entire day at Tyler and had already decided that we’d pull out and head for East Twin if the fishing sucked or the barefooters came out early. The guy occupying the entire ramp with a canoe almost became reason number three to head for greener pastures, but we waited him out.

The fishing didn’t really suck, but it wasn’t fast and furious, either. In 2/3 of a pretty thorough circuit around the pond, we managed to put 5 decent bass in the boat between us. That didn’t seem like enough action, so a little after nine, we were on the trailer and ready to leave for Twin. Jim got all three of his Tyler bass on a PanHead Jig. I got one of mine on a Grubster and one on an old 5″ Black Grape Phenom worm rigged on a jighead.

We got to Twin before 10. And immediately noticed that something had changed drastically since I was there with Ryan Adams just a week ago. The normally clear water was dingy green, and there was a yellow-brown algae bloom coating much of the surface. We soon found a lack of healthy vegetation in areas that were pretty weedy last Wednesday, too. Did they give the lake another dose of poison in the last few days? I don’t know, and there were a few areas where the weed growth seemed OK, which leaves me more confused than normal. But pretty much the entire lake had patches of that nasty scum on top.

This ain’t the East Twin I remember.


Anyway, the bite at Twin was almost non-existent. Serves us right for breaking rule #4 from Fishing 101. Never leave biting fish to find fish. As old as we are, and as long as we’ve been fishing, you’d think we wouldn’t make a dumb mistake like that. In 4-1/2 hours at Twin, Jim got two decent fish and I got one rat. All on the heavy jig. Not sure what’s wrong there, but something definitely is.

By 2 pm we had the boat on the trailer, and were plotting plan C.

Knowing we would be short-timing it wherever we went at this point, we opted for a small waterbody.

Very small.

We went to West Side Pond. All 42 acres of it.

Don’t remember what year it was the last time I fished West Side, but it wasn’t in this century. It was one of the ponds that the late Hank Millard and I would occasionally hit when we did our “How many different lakes can we catch a bass out of in one day?” routine. That would have been in the ’88 to ’93 time frame. I fished it once after that, definitely prior to my heart attack in ’95. Lets call it ’94 and make it an even 20 years ago.

2014-08-27 14.06.30West side has a tiny ramp. The access/parking area is two cars wide, and there is barely room to park two vehicle/trailer combos. When we got there around 2:30 there were two cars parked in the parking area. No trailers, just cars. Two dimwit young ladies had parked crosswise in the trailer parking area. It almost seemed like they had strategically positioned their cars to block as much of the parking area as one could possibly block with two little cars. They almost managed to make it impossible to park even a single trailer. In the photo at the right, my truck is actually sticking out into the road. I took the photo when I got out to see if the rest of the distance I had behind me was enough to get the nose of the truck out of the road and into the lot. Luckily, it was.

These young ladies parked there to use the boat ramp as their private beach, by the way. It occurred to me to take their shorts, tops and towels that were laying next to the ramp, and dump them in the lake. But I’m not the kind of ahole they seemed to be. Anyway, I didn’t want to come back to a flat tire.

West Side has changed a bit in 20 years. There’s only a handful of houses on the lake, but most are new and of the “way out of any kind of realistic price range’ variety. The lake is pretty much bowl shaped, with a shallow shoreline rim (mostly covered with pads) and a steep drop just outside the pads into the basin. Last time I fished here, outside the pads was a thick wall of broadleaf pondweed and coontail mix that grew out pretty solidly to 12 to 15 feet. The band of submerged vegetation varied from about 15 foot wide to maybe 40 foot, but it presented us with a nice, clean, visible weed edge to fish. Today, there’s more pads than ever, but only about 15% of the cabbage/coontail there used to be, and those nice, solid beds are now just scattered patches of vegetation. Water is still clear with a deep tannic stain.

Only other boat on the lake was a kid (teenager?) fishing from an aluminum row boat, who seemed to be trying to develop a new means of propelling the boat, by beating the oars against its sides. Never heard anyone row so loudly.

The change in the lake’s vegetation appears to be related to some kind of aquatic vacuum or pump system mounted on a triple pontoon craft at one of the few docks on the pond.

We fished our way 3/4 of the way around the pond, then back again, concentrating on the sections that provided some action on the first pass. Caught 5 or 6 micro-bass, all on the PanHead jig. I finally got a good one (2¼ or so), but then lost my PanHead to a toothy critter. We only had a couple hundred feet or so of weed edge to cover back to the ramp at that point, so rather than retie, I picked up another rod — this one with the heavy jig. Certainly not the tool I’d choose to fish this scattered weed cover at the edge of the pads. But on the second cast with the BIG JIG, I got the biggest fish of the day. Go figure. That led us to spend a little extra time pitching the heavy jig around the are of the lake near the outlet stream, and both Jim and I were amazed at how well it came through. Evidently, there’s none of the low growing scrub weed commonly mixed in with this type of cabbage bed present at West Side.

We ended up combining for 10 bass from 3 different lakes today. Launched and retrieved 3 times, and spent a lot of time dragging the boat down the road instead of fishing. Seemed like a lot of work for 10 bass, but the fatty at the end of the day somehow made it seem a lot less like work and more like fishing! Here’s some fish porn.

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