First Road Trip
August 11, 2017
After a postponement a couple of weeks back due to the weather, I finally headed to a new lake today to join Nathan. He had asked me to help him figure it out and I had one day to get it done! It sort of felt like practicing for a tournament again, but with limited time!
I arrived at his place right around 7:00 and we hit the lake shortly after. Although Nathan had caught a real giant about a week ago, it was only the third bass he had landed so far this season. He was hoping to figure out why today! As with most northern lakes like this one, the water is somewhat stained in color but pretty clear overall. This lake had bass and musky present and although he was catching musky often, he wanted to be catching more bass.
After a quick orientation of the lake, I decided to try top water & drop shotting in a couple of good looking areas. Nothing seemed to be present and interested in coming to the surface and all I had deep were a couple of perch nibbles. We headed into the bay where he had caught the big fish last week and idled around a bit to check it out. I noticed that this was a deep end to the lake and 40 feet wasn’t too far from most of the shore. It looked like it could hold fish but I wasn’t seeing anything on his sonar that interested me. I decided to move a little closer to the bank and cast to a cabbage weed area with soft plastics and immediately hooked up on one of those toothy critters. Although not very big, this 6 pound musky fought like a champ. I always like seeing their copper color on these Laurentian fish! I removed the hook and released it back to the water unharmed. The next location we tried was near where he had landed his last fish and although his sonar was showing marks, I think they were actually tree branches or wood. I got snagged three times while trying to drop shot and lost two rigs! I quickly realized that if we were going to catch bass, we were going to have to move around more and try to develop a pattern. I tried another small point afterwards that also had cabbage weeds present and was immediately bit off by another lunge. Time to relocate!
I had Nathan move us into a bay that he had never fished before and picked up a jumbo perch on another offshore weed flat. From there I had noticed some good rocks on the shoreline and decided to move really shallow to investigate. It was here while throwing soft plastics close to the bank that I got picked up and set into something large. Unfortunately the weight went light quickly and I reeled in a twisted bait without the fish. I was sure it was a smallmouth, continued along this shore and picked up another one not too far from the first bite. Too bad it was also the last one we had! I even noticed another big one just cruising as I headed out to deeper water to relocate.
We idled around more until I saw something that caught my eye. A really large boulder with some sort of inlet behind that need investigation. In front of the entrance there was a good weed bed and on my first cast, I was rewarded with a 3 pound smallie. Things were looking up! We moved closer to enter the narrow channel and I nailed another slightly larger one while making a really long cast to some cover. A third one also was picked up as we moved along and this was starting to look great! Once we entered through the passage the back opened up and seemed like it had the potential to hold even more. Nathan made a few casts and hooked into something large. It turned out to be the big fish of the day and was over 5 pounds. This was definitely worth the time we spent to get back here! Being a small area, it wasn’t expected to hold tons of fish and we headed out not long after without another bite.
We tried another rocky shoreline along a point and Nathan hooked a 3 pounder that fought great in open water. Too bad it was the only bite we had here before we moved elsewhere once again.
The balance of the day saw us covering plenty more water with limited success, but the potential for most of these places looked great. From shallow water rocks to large gravel points, we saw it all. The cabbage weeds in 4 to 8 feet of water were everywhere and on our last stop over them, Nathan locked up on another musky on a drop shot rig. What a great battle from these northern fish! I eventually netted his catch and released it quickly afterwards. We were officially done!
Although there weren’t too many fish landed today, the overall experience will give him many more options, the next time he heads out. I think this lake just needs to be looked at in a different light. Unlike most bodies of water that have large concentrations of fish in small areas I think this one has them really spread out. By covering water and keying in on specific things at the right time, he should be able to have much better fishing days from now on. All I know was that it sure was nice to have a change of scenery and get back into a search mode again! I might even head back there again sometime this season to explore it even more!