|Where'd the bass go?|
My brother T was in town for 24 hours, structured around an Orioles vs. Yankees matchup at Camden Yards. He showed up and the weather was atrocious.
The Chesapeake Bay was like chocolate milk and most of the rivers and lakes look the same. With a weather forecast that was sketchy at best (80% chance of rain), we headed up to northeastern Maryland to try fishing a long-forgotten spring fed pond and creek surrounded by forest. I found this pond by cyberscouting last spring, although I'd driven past it a thousand times before that without even knowing it was there. The fact that it's surrounded by forest is important because as I saw last year, the forest doesn't erode much soil into the pond at all. The springs also don't contribute any sediment. And the old, old dam prevents the muddy high tide from the Elk River to climb back up into the pond. It was worth a shot. I was pretty sure the bass were still spawning. And even if they weren't, it was mid-day and wouldn't be biting. Wrong.
|Biggest fish I've caught on this 4" BPS Crystal Minnow|
|First bass ashore in three weeks!|
Bass, mostly 11-15" and less than two pounds, would occasionally find something they'd like and just punch it. They were hitting surface lures. Beetle spins. Pink worms. Bumblebee worms. Crystal minnows. Poppers. But in each case, the "right" bait had to be just right.
Rainstorms came and went and we kept fishing. T didn't bring his boots, so he wore my LaCrosse agIon knee boots and I wore my Danner Upland boots and just accepted that I was going to swamp them, which I did. Think we had ideal casting conditions?
|T works the edge of the reeds with a hot pink twist-tail grub|
Like my first two trips to this spot in 2010 (here and here), we somehow lucked into some dinosaur-looking, monster-sized bluegill around the time the bass bite turned off (noon...can you believe it?). I mean look at this monster:
Or this one!
Look at 'em! And after another trip of catching as many bass like this as we wanted......
|Big lure, tiny rod, mediocre fish|
It finally occured to me that this "fishery" is not managed properly (actually, I'm pretty sure it's not managed at all). I've fished here four times and have never had the problem I had a few weeks ago at Liberty Reservoir, which is that my lures get gobbled up by 4" and 6" long bluegill. No sir. Not here on the Upper Elk River! On the other hand, I've never caught or even seen a bass over two pounds here. The spot seems to be full of bluegills in the 8-12" range and bass in the 10-14" range. I don't know what they're eating, and either I'm not fishing correctly for the even bigger bass that are out there, or they aren't out there at all. Since it would be nearly impossible to get a kayak in here, I don't even know how to get out to deeper water (if it's really that much deeper at all).
Eventually we had to get moving to our "Outdoorsman Challenge" of my new Cooper Discoverer AT3 tires, so that mystery will have to remain unsolved until I get back to the Elk River again.
|Generally known as the Bear Grylls of Southern Virginia, T scuttles up a steep mountain laurel bluff while eating termites for his breakfast|