Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jumping the Gun 4/9/12

I love bass.  I really love bass.  I don't know what it is, but there's just something about them that does it for me like no other fish.  So every year I find myself floating around in butt numbing water in my float tube thinking I should have probably waited a couple more weeks.  Well, yesterday was better than the first couple of bass trips last year, but still pretty slow.

I mulled over my options for bass containing waters in the area, and settled on the one that has been ice free the longest.  I arrived and saw a few trout dimples on the surface, so I thought I could always chase them if the bass didn't want to cooperate.  I pulled up to a spot that seemed to be the right kind of water and in an area that should warm the earliest.  I was a little disappointed to see the water was a bit murky.  Not chocolaty, but only two to three feet of visibility.  I got all my gear together and the batteries in my socks, and I was ready to go.

As I eased into the water I was pleased to find the temp at 50 degrees.  Definitely warm enough for some largemouth to be active.  I got a new rod over the winter that I really wanted to give a try, so I started with it.  I really love throwing jerkbaits and small lipless crankbaits, and this is the perfect rod for it.  It's a Fenwick HMG 7' medium light, medium fast action spinning rod.  It has a nice parabolic bend so that the fish can engulf the lure, and once hooked they don't pull free as easily.  I was delighted to find that it casts the lure a mile too.  Within the first few casts I hooked a strong fish on the little Lucky Craft LV100.  I was burning the bait in a couple feet of water parallel to the bank when it clobbered it.  My rod flexed and arced right to the butt as the fish dove straight down under the tube.  I finally caught a glimpse of it through the cloudy water and was thrilled to see it was indeed a bass.  I scooped it up and was soon holding my prize.

Not a monster, but a good chunky little guy.  The skunk was off, and I was happy to have caught a bass a month earlier than usual.  I continued fishing the crank through the shallows but wasn't getting any more action.  The wind was beginning to kick up and I drifted into a shallow cove with some flooded brush.  I thought this might be the perfect place to find some foraging fish, but they just hadn't seemed to have moved in that far yet.  I fan cast the cove with the Lucky Craft, but all I hooked were old lilly pad stems from last year.  I was afraid I was going to lose my lure several times, but luckily I pulled it to safety every time.  I also pitched a 5" Skinny Carrot around the brush, but I got  no takers on that either.  I decided to go back to where I started because the drop off was more abrupt and closer to shore there.  I fished a deep diving crank and a Lucky Craft Staysee 90 along the drop, but nothing happened.  I don't think the off color water was helping the jerkbait bite.  It's usually my bread and butter when the water is this cold, but the water is usually gin clear then too.  Finally, about 100 feet up from the first bass, I got another good whack.  For a second I thought it was more dead weeds or brush, but then it started pulling back.  I got it near the tube and it dove straight to the bottom like the first one.  I had to dunk the rod tip in the water and pull of line so it didn't snap my 8lb test.  Despite the cold temps, these fish were fighting very well.  I netted the fish and admired my catch.

 A bit longer than the first, but much skinnier.  I continued to fish the LV100 up against the brush.  It was in the Florida Bass color, a ghost largemouth pattern, and I thought perhaps a little more flash would produce better in the murk.  I switched to a Spro Aruku Shad Jr in Magic Shad.  No takers.  I switched to an LVR Mini in Aurora Bass, bringing in the best of both the lures I had previously fished, but again, no dice.  I ended up back on the LV100, but I had no more love on it.  I also fished several different jerkbaits as well as a Crystal Bugger on a type II line, but again, nothing.  With the wind churning up the water, the temp had actually dropped a degree.  I thought about rigging up a dropshot and fishing the break, but I was nearly out of time, so I settled on a chunk and wind for the next little while.

As I was packing up my car, fish and game stopped by to check me.  It's odd because I fished a lot last year and never got checked.  This was only my second time out in Idaho this year, and I was already checked.  Weird.  Maybe it's a good omen as I had my license checked a lot in 2010, and that year was amazing for me.

Overall it was a pretty slow day and I probably should have stuck to fishing one of the trout streams in Cache Valley, but at the same time it was quite satisfying to have caught a couple of decent bass in early April.  I also had the lake largely to myself, except for the hawk that was circling about much of the day, and the pair of curious loons that shared the lake with me.  I'll take that kind of company to the power squadron that shows up later in the year.

Fish for trip:  2 largemouth

Fish for year: 177 fish

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