Thursday, April 26, 2012

Some revelations at the local pond

The pond

After my short but awesome Chicago river trip on Friday, for whatever reason I didn't make it out on the weekend. Often my longest and most involved trips happen on the weekend (me and most fisherman I think) but this time it didn't happen. I was going to hit up the Fox at Algonquin with a fishing friend on sunday, but ended up feeling messed up on sunday. To make up for the lack of fishing, I've been busy this week.

Tuesday after work I hit up the pond for a half hour, trying to find a balance between enough fishing time and not too much the wife gets angry. Especially now that she knows my commute is longer when the pond isn't covered in ice… The water was unusually clear, even though we've had a lot of rain the past few days. The water level was about 6" up from where it usually is; I wondered if the recent addition of new water helped clear the water.

Lately I've been changing lures more quickly than I ever have- last year I'd stick with one lure for a half hour or even an hour at a time. My thinking was "this fish should be here, I must not be working it right." The past few weeks I've grown more confident in finding fish. When I get to a place that I believe has fish, I try a variety of lures and retrieves, trying to let the fish tell me what they want.

(So to speak- I'm pretty sure the fish DO NOT want to be hooked in the lip and dragged to the shore. Especially since  it's spawning time, if you know what I mean. They have other things on their mind.)

Although I always wonder if I should switch lures after one unsuccessful cast, I've been giving each lure about 10 minutes to prove itself. This technique might not be the best, but hey, I'm learning. Tuesday I cycled through almost every lure in my tackle-box-backpack without so much as a tiny bump. Then I tied on a skinny green and white crankbait, and first cast, connected with a nice fish!

This was one of the first moments I was aware that the fishing itself was more important than landing the fish. I played the fish a little, watching it, trying to learn. I got it 10 feet in front of me, we might have made eye contact. I calmly watched as the largemouth shook his (her?) head and my lure gently floated away. The fish returned to the depths.

I wasn't angry or frustrated- I hooked a fish! I figured out what they wanted! At least that one. I worked that lure for 10 more minutes, but nobody else wanted to play.


The next evening after work, I did the same thing. I started with the crank since it was already tied to my line, and made my way through all the lures. Crankbaits, jigs, tubes, plastics, and then I snapped a homemade spinner to my swivel. After catching baby brown trout in Michigan on a little silver and chartreuse spinner, I made a bunch more in a similar style. This one had a red treble hook instead of a red circle hook.

Very first cast with the spinner, I let it fall a little, then with a jerk I got the blade moving. As soon as that happened, there was suddenly a bass attached to my lure. I reeled in my line, this bass stayed on the lure until it was picture time.

Another lure I made caught a fish! Awesome.
I thought about the lure that both little tiny trout and big largemouth bass want to eat. I tried to think of how many times I'd read of people catching bass on inline spinners, and there weren't too many I could remember. At least on local message boards.

It made me think that just like music, and maybe everything else, you really just have to find your own way.

Just because an inline spinner might not be the go-to spring bass lure doesn't mean I can't catch bass on it in spring! This was a minor revelation to me. In my music, I do everything my own way, often disregarding the "rules" and "conventions" because I like the way it sounds.

Well I like fishing with inline spinners, and hate fishing with lipless crankbaits.

Perhaps it's no coincidence I've never caught a fish on a lipless crankbait, but have caught many fish of many species on spinners! Although lipless crankbaits seem to work for everyone and their mom this spring, maybe they're just not for me,


Early this morning I returned to the pond, of course with my spinner tied on. It wasn't until I cycled all the way through my lures, again, that a bass hit a wacky-rigged (and bullet weighted!) stick bait motionless on the bottom. I like fishing wacky-rigged worms.

When I went to set the hook, my line snapped. The line simply fell apart at the point where I tied two lines together.

Looks like I need to practice my knots!

The lure of the day (Wednesday)


  1. Nice Bass! It's a great feeling to catch fish on lures you have made yourself.

  2. Why did you have two lines tied together? I can't think of why that would be done. But that's might just be me.

    Time to convince you to go with PowerPro and tie things on directly. 8-10 pound test, 2 pound diameter. All that stuff about tying on any kind of leader is nonsense.

    I stand on my front porch and watch all the rain clouds pass by just to the north. We can use a good down pour or two.

  3. May that looks like a great area to flip a jig, I bet there are some good ones hanging next to the cover.

  4. I tied two lines together because I only had about 30 yards of line on my reel, but didn't want to just trash that before spooling on more fireline. Maybe nobody else does that.. I don't use leaders (except a few times when I tried fishing for pike I had some little steel leaders) and mostly tie the lures directly to my line (except for inline spinners and crankbaits sometimes, I use a swivel)

  5. I used to tie my old fireline to the new fireline, just make sure it is a knot that doesn't slip, works fine.

  6. you never ever use swivels with spinners. tie directly to the line. make sure the weight of the spinner matches the weight of the line, along with the rod and reels weight and everything will work like magic when you reel in at appropriate speeds. keep it up.

  7. I've had issues with line twist when I *don't* use swivels. Huge birdsnests and very frustrating outings! I've also caught plenty of fish on spinners with swivels, so I don't think the fish mind too much...?


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