Saturday, April 30, 2011

FINALLY the ponds turn on

The ponds I frequent have been slow to give up their treasures this Spring. With the very late warming trend and a lot of cold rain, the spring seems to be compressed into a very short window this year. Which means - you better hit it hard when it gets good.

And I think it is poised to get good in northern Illinois.

My wife, son and I went to the ponds at 4:30 this afternoon. We fished the lower pond for about an hour and upper one for maybe 45 minutes. It was good - real good.

The lower pond is the one with the mixed bag of fish - rainbow trout, walleye, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, channel cat. The upper pond has bass, gills, and cats. Joey hung out and explored stuff on the lower pond, while Stacy and I threw UL spin gear with 1/32 oz. jigheads with 2" Lindy Munchies grubs. In the hour we fished, we landed 7 trout, 4 walleye, 1 crappie, a pile of gills. Hits were frequent and you never knew what was on the end of the line. Stacy suggested we try the upper pond to see if the bass were biting up there. Even though all we had along was UL gear, we went up to try the upper pond.

Well, the fish were ON up there, too. I threw a small (1/8 oz.) spinnerbait while Stacy and Joey threw 1/16 oz. Beetle Spins. the gills and pumpkinseeds were bigger than I have seen recently, and the bass were holding about 10'-15' off of the rock edges that they use to spawn. Most of the bass caught were smaller males, but I got a few nice ones, including one BIG egg-loaded female. An absolute blast on an UL spin outfit!! We probably landed 30 panfish and 12-15 bass.

(Sorry for the picture quality (or lack thereof) - its from my son's phone)

If you have ponds nearby, get out as often ans you can over the next month. It's FINALLY time to capitalize on the pond fish!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Bass

Just a short note about a couple of bass from this afternoon.

The weather stabilized and it looks like another week of washouts ahead, so I walked across the street at 4:30 this afternoon to fish the subdivision pond. This is the pond that usually frustrates me but holds some good fish. I've finally figured out one pretty sure thing about the pond - when the water pours into it, the bass move to the inflow. Its really the only time I can consistently catch anything here.

The water wasn't at a high point today but it was still moving in pretty good. The fish I caught were tight to the inflow. Both came on a small swim jig, and I missed another one. OK for a half hour. Both the bass were nice and chunky - around 15-16".

Meow the cat says "I can't stand anymore of these fish pictures"

Friday, April 15, 2011

A FUN day of fishing on the FLA coast

I had the opportunity on Wednesday to sneak in a day of fishing on a 4 day travel week. A longtime friend and business associate set me up with two of the guys who work at the Lake Mary FL Gander Mtn store for a day on the water. Chris and Jerry couldn't have been more perfect fishing companions. Before we went, i talked to Chris and told him I didn't care what we caught or how we caught them - I just wanted to get out.

Jerry at the Bait dock

Chris tries for some mullet- no dice on this throw

We met at 5:30 and proceeded to to New Smyrna Beach on the east coast of FL - just south of Daytona. We launched Chris' Cobia and motored out to the inlet. We were greeted by swarms of bluefish. LOTS of bluefish. So many bluefish I was catching them on both the front and back treble of the Bomber crankbait I was using. Jerry picked up 2 nice Spanish Mackeral in the same area. I believe that, if we had stayed there , we could have caught 500 blues. Great fun on light spinning tackle. So - why didn't we stay there?? Yours truly gets a little (occasionally a LOT) queasy on rough water. While this was a very calm day, the combination of the outgoing tide and the ocean currents made the boat bounce around quite a bit. I could feel myself getting queasy and Chris graciously decided to leave biting fish and move into calmer water inside the breakwall. And - we all know Rule #1 of Fishing is: NEVER leave biting fish.

Porpoises following the boat

We moved into an area where Chris knew there were some nice sheepshead and starting throwing fiddler crabs into the rocks. It took a little while to get the boat anchored correctly in the strong outgoing tide and adjust the weight so we were deep enough, but we figured it out, and Chris got a big sheepshead.

Chris with a nice sheepshead

Jerry with a Spanish Mackeral

So - why didn't we stay there and catch more?? We had to help rescue a sunken boat. Yep - a sunken boat. We all watched as a boat with a man, woman, and an older woman (one of the folks mother?) motored out to our area. We remarked that the old fiberglass boat looked like it had about 4" of freeboard on the back of the boat. Then - the man anchored off the back of the boat. That boat filled up and sank to the bottom within a minute. The 3 of them were floating - no life jackets in site - toward another boat who grabbed them and pulled them aboard. We set off to pick up whatever we could of their floating remains -a few tackle boxes, a cooler, 2 oars. We gave it to them on the other boat and the Sheriff boat showed up, so we moved on.

Floating debris frome the sunken boat

We moved into an area where Chris had done well in the past. by the time our shrimp had run out, we caught: bluefish,Spanish mackeral, sheepshead, grouper, mangrove snapper, sea trout, ladyfish, pinfish (Jerry was the pinfish king), pigfish, and jack crevalle. We saw rays, porpoises, and 2 manatees. It was an absolutely great way to spend a day on the water with new friends. I can't thank these guys enough for taking me out.



Mangrove Snapper

This is my favorite kind of fishing - go out and see what bites. Nothing fancy, no pre-conceived notions. Just going fishing. It was terrific.