Posts Tagged largemouth bass
Saturday my dad, Dave, and myself went up to Presque Isle Bay because we heard that the smallmouth bass had started to move into the bay. For anyone who hasn’t been to the bay in the spring you have to make the trip. We started by fishing for largemouth straight across from the launch. It didn’t take long and Dave caught one on a tube and I hooked up with a swimbait. I was determined to use the swimbait because I knew the chatterbait would catch a bunch of fish. I managed to catch 3 largemouth on the swimbait through the day. that isn’t impressive, but it is a little confidence builder to keep trying them. throughout the day we caught smallmouth on jerkbaits, tubes, and drop shot worms. We spent most of the day fishing for them. I believe we caught over 20 between the 3 of us and we caught over 25 largemouth. We caught largemouth on brush hogs, swimbaits, chatterbaits, tubes, beavers, and jerkbaits. The water temperature was 58 – 60 degrees. The fish were not spawning, and the males were not making beds yet. I believe in 2 weeks there will be an explosion of fish getting on the beds.
Sunday even though there were bad weather predictions I decided to head to Pymatuning Lake to fish a club tournament. The club I belong to (West Penn Bass Hunters) was launching from Jamestown Marina. With strong winds predicted to come out of the South we were protected from the wind to some degree. I pulled up to my first tree and caught a nice 2.5lb fish. I started throwing rattletraps to my next tree and caught a nice 15 inch largemouth out of a small weed bed. I started work the tree and nothing. I decided to just keeper moving down the shore throwing the rattletrap because I have had some success for smallmouth bass there. It didn’t take long and I had caught 5 more keepers, and lost 2 on the rattletrap. Even though they were keepers I released them all because I feel that stressing 12-14″ bass is unnecessary at that lake. You aren’t going to win with one of them in the well anyways. Jumping spot to spot landed me catching another nice 2.86lb largemouth on a chatterbait. My gut told me to run north, but with building wind and aready high waves I decided to stay in the south. I caught some fish flipping, but decided to try a variety of different tatics with no success. During the last hour I decided to run around the lake and flip every tree I could find. It turned out to be the right move. I culled five bass in the last hour. I won the tournament with 3 fish that weighed 7.45lbs. I also won lunker with the 2.86lb fish. Not a very impressive day, but it was fun none the less.
After a long cold winter we are all anxious to get back out on the water. Here in Western PA it can take a while for the water to warm up though. After the ice is off it usually takes 6 weeks or so until the water comes up to a temperature that is more suitable for bass catching. It’s now the last week of April and the action is heating up on our local lakes. We are fast approaching the best time of the year to be on the water. With water temps approaching 60 degrees or more the bass are preparing to spawn. Pre-spawn bass will group up on staging areas close to where they plan to spawn. These staging areas may be deeper or shallow area but are near deeper water where they can pull back to when the water de-stabilizes. Staging area to focus on include creek channels, roadbeds, and drop off’s. Finding these areas and then determining the cover they are holding on is key (stumps, logs, brush, weeds, etc). I’ve caught a few decent bass so far this year while practicing for local tournaments… but no real giants yet. This fact should change in the coming weeks with the predictability level of big bass movements for the spawn. My suggestion for May is “get out and fish”! No matter what body of water you are on or what species you fish for, May has something for everyone and is the best time of year to hook into a true trophy freshwater gamefish.
I fished both days this weekend at Lake Arthur. On Saturday my Dad and I put in at the 528 launch around 10 am and started fishing up in Shannon’s bay. We got a few largemouth on chatterbaits and spinnerbaits as well as had a few musky that were following our lures to the boat. Next, we ran up to the old 422 finger and fished in the bays across from the launch with no luck. Then we ran back to fish some laydowns in muddy creek with nothing to show for it. We only caught one keeper all day on Saturday so my hopes for doing well in my club tournament on Sunday were not very high.
Sunday we put in at bear run at 7 am and I ran straight to Shannon’s bay where we had caught a few fish the day before. On my first cast I had a musky come up to the boat and bite off my chatterbait. Then I picked up my spinnerbait, made a few more casts and had another musky hooked up that straightened out my trailer hook. Still not having caught a bass, I grabbed my Red Eye Shad and within a few cast it was gone. Something ate it off. I’m guessing a musky. I was getting a little pissed at this point, so I moved in close to an isolated weed patch and started pitching a beaver. After about a dozen flips in a little musky or pike flash on it and bit it off. That was enough of that so I picked up and ran down to old 422. I made a few cast with my chatterbait and caught a small largemouth. A few cast later, I hooked what looked to be a really good largemouth that came straight at me shaking her head but it came unbuttoned. After loosing that fish, I stuck around for awhile but didn’t get anything else. For next few hours I ran around trying all kinds of different spots: weeds, laydowns, piles, ect. No fish. Finally, I ran into muddy creek around one o’clock and started pitching a craw into some shallow brush that I have caught fish off of in the past. I got hit on my first pitch but missed the fish. I made a few pitches getting hit each time but missing the fish. After about 15 pitches, I hooked up with a solid 3.69lb largemouth. I put her in the boat and made a few more pitches and got a 3.5 lb largemouth. I finished out the day fishing laydowns and managed to get my 3rd keeper, a 15″ largemouth. My total weight with a three fish limit was 9.01 lbs. All my keepers came in about three feet of water off wood on a green pumpkin craw.
Results from the Lake Arthur Tournament on April 3, 2010
|Place||TeamID||Names||Net Lunker||Net Wt||#Fish|
|1||176||Tipler / Fox /||4.98||17.08||6|
|2||122||Kopelic / Wade||4.02||16.42||6|
|3||111||Moran / Lambert /||3.56||12.95||6|
|4||205||Hall / Caddy /||5.34||12.53||3|
|5||186||Brown / Brown /||3.19||10.68||4|
|6||123||Knis / Eck /||4.31||9.59||4|
|7||112||Keene / Zurzolo /||2.48||8.95||5|
|8||204||Parkhill / Filipiak||5.11||8.71||3|
|9||145||Bruno / Kristoff /||2.71||8.08||4|
|10||257||Fordyce / DiVito /||3.58||6.91||3|
|11||151||Konitsky / Konitsky /||3.33||6.86||3|
|12||101||Galida / Barkley /||2.12||6.77||4|
|13||208||Richardson / Reich /||3.02||5.82||3|
|14||226||Doerflinger / Kinard /||2.23||5.8||3|
|15||246||Whelan / Allen /||3.75||5.62||2|
|16||135||Getsy / Shutty /||1.78||5.31||3|
|17||244||Snyder / Snyder /||2.38||4.86||2|
|18||133||Wagner / Wagner /||2.6||4.69||2|
|19||557||Harbaugh / Stiegler /||2.97||4.65||2|
|20||141||Towne / Selvoski / Belinda||2.74||4.61||2|
Visit the Keystone Bass Buddy Circuit website at www.kbass.com to see the full list of results as well as pictures from this event.
If you are interest in fishing a K.B.B.C. event you can download an application from there website.
This weekend was much like most of my spring days on Lake Arthur usually go. It was full of highs and lows. With the water temperature and air temperature both dropping I new that the conditions would make fishing difficult. None the less, I would be fishing and there is nothing I would rather do.
Dad and I arrived at the lake around 8:00 am. The air temperature was at 24 degrees with sunny skies. We fished Shannon’s Cove right away figuring to fish high percentage areas until the water warmed up a little. When we arrived in the cove I notice the water temperature was down to 45 degrees! It had dropped a good 10 degrees since the last time I was in the cove. Needless to say our day was less than successful. When managed to catch 4 largemouth bass dragging soft plastics very slowly on a rocky bank. At the end of the day I decided to hit a spot that over the years has produced hybrid striped bass for me. I pulled out a rapala x-shad and made my first cast. When I got the lure down to about 6 feet I paused for about 5 second and bam. The next thing I knew my drag was being run, since I was only using 8lb test. It was a great end to the tough day.
Sunday morning I was only going to be able to fish from about 8:00am to 1:00pm. I did not have high expections because of the day before, but I planned on trying some different areas with some different lures. I started by dragging some soft plastics. It didn’t take long for me to start catching some small bass. During the morning I had caught 4 dink largemouth and lost 3 more dragging a texas rig around. This alone was better than I expected, but I wasn’t done. I headed into Porters cove throwing a lipless crankbait searching for the right water. Between 11:00 and 11:10 I caught 3 bass in a small area, but they were all around the 13 inch mark. At 11:10 it started to rain at the lake and my bite quite completely. It didn’t matter what I though or where I was throwing it. If I had it to do over again I would have tried to fish 8-10 feet of water once the rain started.
I am really looking forward to fishing this weekend. With water temps rising the bite should improve. The KBBC tournament at Lake Arthur should be one of the best weigh-ins ever.
Leo shows us some tips and tricks on how to rig a drop shot rig. He also shows us the different types of drop shot weights available, the different hooks and line, and a few choice soft plastics.
I have always tried to throw lipless crankbaits in the spring and failed for the most part. I always thought I was using the wrong one, had the wrong color, or just didn’t know how to retrieve them. The truth is that it is a little of all of those categories. Over the next couple of weeks I plan on doing a lot of experimentation with them because of the moderate success that I had this weekend. If anyone has any input or advice they would like to share lets use the message board. See my post on the message board for what I learned this weekend.
If you enjoy fishing a lake with a lot of weeds then this is not the lake for you. Weeds are difficult to find in the lake. There is however a ton of lake downs and bushes throughout the lake. It is not unusual to find debris build up at certain points of the lake when the area experiences heavy rains or snow melt off. Depth of the lake varies greatly from end to end. When you come out of the boat launch and head toward the dam (left) you will find deeper water ranging from steep banks and 30-foot depths to shelved banks that drop to that depth at a slightly slower rate. You can often find brush piles and fish habitats throughout this end of the lake. Some lay downs will be locate at this end of the lake and will be loaded with bass and crappie. If you head up the creek from the boat launch (to the right) you will find an abundant amount of lay downs, bushes, and debris jambs. This is a much shallow end of the lake and should be navigated very carefully. The water in the creek is usually muddy because the bottom is comprised most of slit run off from the creek. The dam end of the lake is usually clear or slightly stained in part because of the rocky bottom.
There are several species of fish that are abundant in Crooked Creek Lake. Let’s start by talking about my favorite fish, the largemouth bass. I swear that this lake was built for fishermen like myself who love to flip and pitch heavy cover. Needless to say, that I usually come out of the launch and head to the right towards the creek. This is one body of water that you do not need a gas motor to get to a good spot. Usually, I don’t even fire my gas motor until it is time to go home for the day. There is plenty of cover to flip and pitch all day long by heading up the creek.Some of my favorite flipping lures for the lake are tubes, jigs, beaver baits, and stick worms. Some other lures you should make sure you have with you include: spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, and soft jerkbaits. I have found that sooner or later everyday you are on the water at Crooked Creek you are going to come across schooling fish feeding. You can catch a lot of nice sized bass in a hurry with the more aggressive lures once you see the baitfish busting on the surface.
While fishing for bass on Crooked Creek Lake, I have been able to catch a lot of good-sized crappie. There are plenty of areas to fish for crappie, but the larger schools of these fish tend to be in the 8-15 foot depth range. While fishing the main body of the lake I watch a couple of boats fishing slip bobber minnow rigs for crappie catch so many crappie that I changed my target species for the day. After the day was over I talked to them about their day as they took pictures of a stringer of 12” crappies. The group of guys told me that there was no reason to keep crappie under the 12” size because they are so abundant.
Some other features of this park include a swimming area, campground, picnic areas, spillway, hiking trails, and a horse park. There is a $4 per vehicle charge for use of the park. This includes the use of one or multiple features of the park in the same day. There are 6 pavilions for picnicking and can be reserved through the office. There is plenty of wildlife throughout the park and can be enjoyed while hiking the trails or just sitting in the fields. Campground information and reservations can be made by visiting the Army Corp or Engineer website. If you are looking for a great family location to relax and enjoy the outdoors, remember Crooked Creek Lake is right down the road.
When traveling with the Bassmaster Weekend Series last year I came upon a couple fisheries that are truly amazing. Today I am going to focus on Oneida Lake in New York. Even though we are a Pittsburgh based website and try to keep the lakes local to Western Pennsylvania, I felt that I had to tell people about this lake. I will be the first to tell you that I am not an expert or even pretend to know a lot about this body of water. However, this is one fishery that you don’t have to know in order to have a great day of fishing. Through the article I will touch on the most abundant species, camping, fishing techniques, and geographic features.
First, I feel that it is important to know what kind of lake you are going to be fishing before you get there. Oneida lake is twenty-two miles in length from East to West and is anywhere from one to five miles wide North to South. The surface are of the lake is 50,000 acres. This makes it the biggest lake in New York State. Oneida Lake is located just North of Syracuse and was formed by glaciers during the ice age. Because it is a natural lake the water is clear to slightly stained most of the time. However, you could hit it during the algae bloom and see why it was nicknamed the green lake.
The first thing I noticed about the lake was the pure size of the lake. I had been on some large bodies of water, but next to the great lakes it was the biggest. For its size this body of water is relatively shallow. I fished the lake for 4 days and the deepest water I located was 30 feet. What you have to watch for is the islands and shoals that are thrown throughout the lake. These shoals are not always marked on makes and could be completely submerged if the water level is high. It is my recommendation to get a map or rely heavily on your gps unit while travel on Oneida Lake. Another thing that I notice was that because the lake runs east to West the waves can build very fast and can be very dangerous. High winds don’t necessarily have to seem high at this lake. 15 mph winds will cause three to five foot waves. You add in shoals that are all around and you can have a recipe for disaster.
Located at the South Western corner of the lake is Oneida Shores State Park. They have over fifty campsites which most of which have electric and water hook-ups. The bathrooms and shower house are very well kept. There is also a sand beach in the State Park. Launching your boat is free if you are camping in the campground, but there is a small launching fee if you are just using the launch for the day.
Oneida Lake may be one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries by sheer numbers that I have ever came across. There are many local bass tournaments held at Oneida Lake, but there are a surprising amount of professional tournaments held there ever year. Circuits such as the Bassmaster Elites, Bassmaster Weekend Series, Anglers Choice, and the BFL are just a couple of the many professional bass circuits to come to Oneida Lake every year. This species of smallmouth is somewhat shorter but very heavy. I was very surprised that a sixteen inch smallmouth bass was anywhere from 2.25 pounds to 2.75lbs. What I discovered was that when you found one of these guys there was a pack of them there. Once you turn on that school it was absolutely unbelievable. Prior to my trip to Oneida Lake I had probably only broke a spinnerbait about two times in my life. During my 4 days there I broke 8 spinnerbaits. Most of which were because of how vicious the hits are and how strong the fish are.
For anyone that heads up there in search of smallmouth bass I have a few suggestions as to what depth, structure, and lures to use. Knowing that smallmouth bass are predator fish the depth can vary throughout the course of the day. Also, the time of year will play a part in deciding what depth to fish at. As a rule of thumb, shallow points, points on the islands, or tops of shoals should be fished early in the morning or late at evening. The fish in these areas are aggressive can will hit topwater baits or other moving baits. My recommendation is to throw poppers with a rear red feathered hook or to throw a double willow spinnerbait. You may need to cover water until you find them but when you do watch out. The rest of the morning and the middle of the day I would focus on the eight to twenty foot depth range. I realize that this my seem pretty vague but typically eight to nine foot of water is a weed line that extend to the surface and when you back your boat off twenty-five or thirty yards (a minimum in clear water) you will more than likely be sitting in fourteen to sixteen feet of water. Several techniques seem to really work well in this depth range. I would start by covering water with spinnerbaits. Natural shad colors seem to work best and silver blades seem to be better than gold. Other moving baits that I would try are jerkbaits (hard and soft), lipless crankbaits, and in-line spinners. Yes, I said in-line spinners. These work surprising well up there and got bites when the bite would seem to have died. Dragging tubes and beavers were also effective. Drop shoting a wacky hooked 4” green pumpkin senko is also effective. The smallmouth bass in this lake are not hard to find but when you launch at Oneida Shores, drop your trolling motor and go to the right. There are a lot of tournaments that release a lot of fish there and it is well stocked. Just stay in the 8 to 10 foot range.
There is also a decent amount of largemouth bass in Oneida Lake. The largemouth bass tend to win bass tournaments but they are harder to find. I feel that the reason that they are harder to find is that most of the shoreline is covered in mat weeds and it looks very similar. Plus, the population of largemouth isn’t as high as smallmouth. Unlike the smallmouth I would stay fishing in the mat weeds. I would start by working frogs and buzzbaits overtop of the mat. Once I found an area that I felt would hold fish I would punch the weeds with a minimum of ¾ ounce weight with your soft plastic of choice. Personally, when I flip mat weeds I am using a one-ounce weight with a beaver or tube. I find the sender profile help get it through the mat. Other options are heavy jigs. Something that I noticed was when I can across a log that was in the weeds I typically got bit there. Big Bay and the channel have been known to produce big bags of largemouth bass. If you want to go off the beaten path check out 3 Mile Bay. I had some success there.
Walleye and perch are also abundant. I was able to catch multiple walleye while dropping my senko. I think if I had targeted walleye a little more we could have had a nice bag of walleye at the end of the day. Even more so than normal you are going to need light line because the water is so clear. May is supposed to be the best month for walleye fishing at Oneida Lake.
I found myself catching an unbelievable amount of Pickerel during my time at Oneida Lake. The pickerel were not always big, but they were a lot of fun. White buzzbaits in the shallow water over the weeds really seemed to get them going. Each day I was there I would say that I caught at least ten pickerel. If you like catching these guys this is the lake for you. I know I truly have a blast a throwing topwater and spinnerbaits for them. The first day of my tournament I managed to only land 3 bass, but caught about 30 pickerel. Not something I am proud of because I feel that I am a quality bass fishermen, but that just shows you how many pickerel are in the lake.
If you are heading up I recommend throwing a few other lures. For all of the mentioned species I would try some swimbaits. It is a misconception that northern fish won’t attack these big lures. Give them a try and you might be surprised. Another lure I would try are jigging spoons. I feel that the smallies would eat a lure falling down and hoping across the bottom just was well as a lure being cranked passed them. Don’t be afraid to experiment as well. Burning a spinnerbait over twenty feet of water sounds crazy, but it works and works very well.
The next time you are looking at taking a fishing trip, I highly recommend visiting Oneida Lake. It is close to wine country and offers something for everyone. Not to mention that fishing is some of the best that I have ever experienced. If you have any questions about the lake or information that you would like to share with me or everyone else feel free to add a comment at the bottom of the article or shot me an email.