Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sight fishing for bass

they're in there...
actually there are bass in the picture, but
they're hard to make out
On my way home today, I stopped by the pond to see what was up. I don't really know how to fish with the constantly changing weather, but I made some lures I really wanted to try out.

This one, which I'll call the bumble minnow, definitely needs another hook. It's way off-balance, and mostly just spins through the water. After a few casts, even using a swivel, I got some pretty severe line twist on my braided line. I spent about 5 minutes detangling it, and I was back fishing.

This guy is my attempt at a clown pattern. After I added the eyes, it occurred to me it looked kind of like a creek chub. Here's a picture of river guru Ken G holding a creek chub (I hope he doesn't mind I stole his picture):

(to read the post this picture comes from, go here)
My clown pattern lure works pretty well in the water, and has a very very tight wobble. At first I didn't there was any wobble, but upon closer examination I could see the feathers moving back and forth. The internet tells me crankbaits with a tight wobble are good for cold water. In the 15 minutes I fished the lure, nobody was interested... but I'm going to try again soon.

I fished an area of the pond far from where I usually fish, due to another fisherman at the pipe. I started casting, and suddenly I noticed a bass just hanging out extremely close to the shore. It was probably three feet from me. Could this be bass on their beds, i.e. spawning? Or getting ready to spawn? I've read a great deal about this, but so far I hadn't seen it happening. The internet tells me bass will attack anything that moves into their nest.

I bounced my wacky-rigged worm about an inch in front of a pair of bass, and they just watched it. They didn't move an inch.

Ok, I decided to try a different tactic. I was pretty sure crayfish liked to eat bass eggs, so perhaps these bass would try and kill something they thought was a crayfish. On my line went a texas-rigged chigger craw.

I bounced it past them, same routine. Another cast, and nothing. Another cast, the plastic critter landed directly on the back of one of the bass. Apparently startled, it moved a few feet and resumed it's hanging out. Another cast, and I let it sit in the weeds for a few seconds. I wiggled it a little. I watched a bass slowly swim over, look at it, and then in the blink of an eye it attacked the critter and immediately swam away. It just nipped the end of the plastic, didn't get the hook.

This was amazing- I've watched bluegill hanging out, but never have I been able to actually see bass interacting with my bait in the water.

I kept trying, and was perplexed by their disinterest. After all was said and done, I got 4 or 5 hits, all of them little nips. Maybe these were warning shots, telling the critter to get the hell away from the eggs. I was surprised the bass didn't just eat it!

Then the rain picked up (oh yeah, did I mention it was raining again? After Sunday's wet experience I don't mind it too much). As soon as that happened, suddenly about a million frogs started croaking. Never in all the times I've fished the pond- probably at least a hundred by now- have I ever seen or even heard a frog.

Where did they come from?

As I walked back to my car, soaking wet again, I thought about how I could make some frog lures. I hear bass love frogs.


  1. Don't mind at all Chris.

    You have inspired me to get off my butt and play around with the lure designs I've had laying around for over a decade. Built and tested the prototypes back in 1999. Recently cut down my neighbors cedar tree, by permission, and have enough wood around to make a thousand or so. Depending on size.

    I used to play around with spawning bass. They'll pick things up and move them away from the nest. Probably what they were doing to you.

    Noticed the same with the tree frogs in my neighborhood. Was warmer at 10:30 PM than when it was raining earlier. They all started chirping in the trees in my back yard.

  2. It's like the circle of life! You inspire me to go catch smallies, I inspire you to make lures with my kindergartner-style lures! Most of the ones I've been making have been cedar, I like how slowly they float back up. It seems much more dense than balsa or pine.

    The thing that amazes me is the bass don't seem to care how "professional" or "nice" the lures look. They'll still attack it! Then again maybe it's BECAUSE they look bad...

  3. Your entire method conflicts me. Ive always thought that if fish are hungry they will jump on anything that flashes past their eyes and Ive always fished that way. Lately with Fly Fishing Ive realized you have to match the hatch more often then not to get them to look your way and Im starting to lean that way.
    Then you land a few pigs with a kindergartners Art project with hooks! :)
    But in the end its all color and action I would assume and your lures are DEAD ON with both.
    Great post as always!

  4. I don't understand either- it seems like there are a lot of different ways to get fish to bite. Being able to SEE them react to my lures has been invaluable! It seems like they' are naturally curious and will investigate weird things in the water. Any luck I have is purely coincidental...!


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