Monday, April 9, 2012

Psycho Slabs, and Other Crappie Notes from the Bass Pre-Spawn

Don't be fooled - the channel is about eight feet deep.  A few fish hang out here.

I have to admit, I'm becoming fond of my "near work" fishing spot.  It's been an experiment in progress, but a good one.  I've caught fish every time I've visited the spot, regardless of weather, time of day, et cetera, and on the few occasions that I've caught less than a dozen fish, those "less than a dozen" are bass and pickerel.

As everybody on the east coast has seen, the weather is prompting nature into action from three to six weeks early this year.   Right now, the bass seem to be a little confused. Fishing's hot for a few days and then the bass are nowhere to be seen for another week. And right now, I don't have the time or energy to run all over the Mid-Atlantic to find them.

This is one of those times of the year when I just want to catch fish. Any fish will do, well, almost any fish.  It's an exciting time of year, too - one that inevitably finds me waiting for my breakthrough session, whereafter I'll be content to work on my flycasting because I've already caught 40 nice fish.   I'm proud (and lucky) to say that I really do have those days.  As in, maybe two per year!   But I've packed my fly tackle on at least 5 fishing trips this year......and it still hasn't been broken out.  Soon.....soon (maybe).

I had trouble figuring out exactly what the fish were doing, but decent size bluegill and crappie started hitting a variety of Joe's Flies patterns in brown/gold and chartreuse/gold.  Fair enough.   I fished for an hour, caught about a dozen really feisty black crappie and a few big bluegills like the one to the right, and then figured, "It's time to go home."  Clearly, the bass weren't biting, and how many crappie can one really stand to catch on ultralight tackle?

The short answer is "more."  I thought for just a second about how strong the crappie were hammering my lures, how hard they were fighting, and how much fun it had been.   For really the first time in 2012, I was actually enjoying myself while fishing.  Not just excited, not just amped for the one big fish I caught.  Honestly having a good time.  As I was walking out of the park and its myriad of security precautions, I decided, "Nawww.  I'm gonna fish a while longer."  And so I did.

The fish were receptive to my quest, as several black crappie ran out the drag, went aerial, forced me to work close on heavy cover, and short-struck my lures time after time after time.  It was awesome fun.  With another 15 or so fish caught and released, I started to notice that daylight was getting away from me a little bit.

I kept fishing for a few more minutes - hey, maybe a bass would come shallow for me.  Then, with my polarized sunglasses still on, I caught a glimpse of something bright in the sky, in the wrong direction for it to be the sun.  I looked up to see.....

Oops. A little later than I thought.  I hastily tossed my gear in the truck, and stopped at our local yuppie organic store to pick up a half dozen bright pink gerber daisies for my wife.   All was forgiven.  Or at least, hasn't yet been brought up in reference to another unrelated situation.  I'll take it.


gorckat said...

I'm in the same boat with the fly gear this spring- I've had it but haven't practiced yet.

I almost brought it out this morning hitting the local pond before work, and I'm glad I didn't.

What looked like it might be my breakthrough morning with some splashes shallow turned into a gusty, chilly blank fest.

Devin Angleberger said...

Those Bass are a little confused. While down in Baltimore, a couple fish were on their beds already in Patterson Park. I

I haven't been able to try for some Bass around here,yet. I might this weekend.

Hopefully all the Bass will be on their beds in a week or two. The ones that I caught at Patt. Park were males making the nest, the females haven't came yet, or at least what I saw.

Kirk Mantay said...

I am mortified of being skunked. There, I said it. That sometimes prevents me from getting out there and learning more skills, faster.

Devin, I didn't even know you could fish Pat Park. I guess I assumed it would be fished out by the subsistence fishermen....and I guess I'd be wrong.

T. Brook Smith said...

Nicely done. Good to see a simple fishing post again. Also liked the writing post above, although I confess at times I do feel compelled to write and probably fall into the mental illness category where that's concerned.

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