Friday, June 15, 2012

Topwater Largemouth Bass Tip: Changing Light Explained

 University research has shown that largemouths have a visual advantage over fish forage when light changes gradually. Why should I bother citing the source when it's obvious largemouths hit topwaters early and late? They like to look upward and ambush from below, and most of what they grab swims in mid-column or thereabouts, I suppose. But if largemouths use aquatic vegetation growing from upward from five foot flats to hide their presence in clear water, commotion on the surface above is a perfect target.

Only early and late?

Especially during summer, it often seems so. Sometimes I think it is so. But if you get gathering cloud cover in the afternoon, even early afternoon, light intensity is changing and bass move to feed because it's made easier for them so long as that light continues to darken, or begins to lighten again later. But the typical sun in, sun out, of passing cumulus is probably too rapid a change to make a difference. But who knows. I have seen excellent topwater action during summer, 1 p.m., when cloud cover advanced very slowly.

When you see bass move like this, appreciate it. Recognize these creatures are actually responding to objective facts. Otherwise, it's all the same, you just happened to catch a few in the afternoon, and you get no impression of why this is--which means you learn nothing.

I knew someone in my teens who supposedly became schizophrenic. I became intensely curious about what was really going on with him. He had been out of the hospital, on meds, but it was "understood" that he "is" schizophrenic for the rest of his life. I got to the heart of his problem. "Everything's the same," he said. And he described for me and indicated how nothing had reality, nothing had objectivity, factuality and meaning, yet he spoke as one human being to another, an act that defied his claim.
So I thought long and hard, not saying anything for how long I don't know, and came to an insight I knew I couldn't share witth him, because it would make no difference. He wasn't schizophrenic. He had given up. He had seen "enough" (no doubt, his mad episode had seen a lot), and decided to gloss everything over with the lie that it's all the same worthlessness. He was willing to speak to me, but I soon felt that he needed his own determination to come to any truth. We all require society for our verbal facility, but some of the very best moments are not shared, entirely private, vivid, uniquely distinct, and remembered all your life long. A change of inner light that provokes determination to strike out, and that seems to have been the only hope for him. Perhaps schizophrenia really is the awful disease psychiatrists claim it is, because for whatever reason, those who suffer it don't get such good ideas elemental to any sort of opportunity. I don't really believe that. And I've heard of so-called schizophrenics fully recovered.
Bass and the human brain, changing's not all the same, but to draw analogies opens wide vistas.  

How easy must be for people who have given up. If it's all the same old, same old, you don't have to do anything. Oh, no, you just get done to and the lie won't protect.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Walleye Tip for Summer Success: Beat Fall Action!

Steve Slota caught his first walleye on the Delaware in mid-day, clear water sunshine. But walleyes are adapted by the tapetum lucidum retinal eye structure, which is their namesake, for sight advantage in darkness, stained water, and water turbulence.

Most summers flood rivers two or three times. When river levels recede and clarity begins to return, yet producing plenty of excited currents and eddies, the very best summer walleye fishing may be had.

One late June afternoon in full daylight as water level receded, my son and I fished from the bank and nailed them on Rat-L-Traps, the perfect lure, in my opinion, for this situation. Our walleyes staged behind boulders in six to eight feet of water with plenty of current power, and the lipless crankbaits rattled right into range.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fast Action Pond Spinnerbait Largemouth Bass, Round Valley Reservoir

 Went to my walking distance bass pond without my son hoping to catch a dandy. Since it was nearly dark, I brought no camera, just rod and a quarter-ounce spinnerbait. I caught nine bass in under half an hour, two of them near two pounds, another over two, and one of them about three pounds, the rest around a pound-and-a-half--no real dandy, but the three-pounder pleased me, considerably larger than the bass my son photographed (above) a couple of months ago.

Wow has this four-acre pond become a nice bass breeding ground. But although they average between a pound-and-a-half and two since last year, I haven't caught Madam Five Pounder. My son did catch one this big about five years ago when the average size was 10 or 11 inches--amazing how size can mysteriously change in a pond. The pond has been there, full of bass, for 20 years or so.

With the rain and drainage influx, I knew I stood a chance, and nine bass in no time was fun.

Also fished Round Valley Reservoir and Pond this afternoon in pouring rain for almost a full hour, catching nothing. Sunfish took the eight-inch Chompers in the reservoir, but bass situated elsewhere or did not feed--no time to have fished that corner near the ramp which looks unappealing, but sometimes gets frequented. 

Near the end of my stay, I tied on a snag-wired jig with tube plastic and bounced it on rocks along the dike hoping a smallmouth would seize it. This is the second year that from shore both the reservoir and pond seem to shut down after Memorial Day. And I saw two 20-inch browns taken from shore on shiners May 22nd or so. I'm sure they have gone away, and the bass with them? Well, my brother Rick and I fished the reservoir from my boat June 10th, 1977 and nailed bass in 10 feet of water in the back.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Successful Fishing and Geographic Awareness

Just a handful of pictures I've taken recently to help convey geographic range in New Jersey, for example: ocean, inshore estaurine, reservoirs, glacial lakes, large rivers (Hudson--photographed Saturday, next shot below, from the Cloisters, Harlem, & also the Delaware) medium sized rivers (Passaic, Raritan, Hackensack), small rivers (Pequest, Musconetcong, Millstone, others) spring streams and other stream types of freestone and lowland varieties, Pinelands bogs and small lakes, varieties of ponds, all of these and other waterways besides the Atlantic associated with watersheds and the lay of the land.

For the last few years, I've become more aware of the relationship between land and water. I've had crystal clear memories of how poignantly aware of such I was as a boy, drawn to explore my home county of Mercer in New Jersey. I read a fair amount, and read much more in my 20's, but I've never spent hours laboring over geographical texts, although I did search for the likes online a few months ago, but this project never panned out.
All of us who fish are aware of mountains when we're up there; we feel the lift of mood and broadened view, and we're fascinated with the sea when we surf fish. There's nothing too special about this; everyone is influenced by the environment.

But what did pan out for me is significant. I bought J.B. Kasper's Delaware River Fishing & Structure Maps, which he produced himself for sale. (If you google the name, you can get a selection.) As a teen, I also made maps. A friend and I rowed out into ponds in inflatables, and instead of using portable flashers, we just marked off nylon cords, and I had actually step-measured a series of these four six-acre or so ponds. The result still amazes me. We took about 300 soundings for each pond by triangulation method, marking the depths within the boundaries I had measured and drafted by hand. The results? Topographic maps. I connected the dots, and think I still have these maps somewhere, clean and as convincing as if they were done by professional agency.

What moves someone to do the likes of that? According to Aristotle, all men by nature desire to know. However, I think very deep affinities with the metaphysically given world--the material world out there which we don't produce, which just is what it is--exist prior to what we come to know by our efforts, and keep us connected to what we eventually may find.

So this is significant for anglers, if true, and you know it's true if you find it in your experience. If you tap into this affinity with the land and water itself, it will necessarily help lead you to fish. Whether new waters to fish, spots within waters to fish, or individual fish--the maps we produce, whether on paper, online, or in our heads, are representations of what is already in order.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bluefish on Topwater Plugs! Manasquan River & Other Shallow Spots

We caught over a hundred bluefish this morning. Single hook topwater plugs only! (We missed well over 500 hits, but this makes it fun, especially when you account for how quick release is.) My brother Rick's Mako LTS pulled away with he at the wheel, my nephew Kyle, my son, Matt, and myself seated amidst perfect calm, an American flag folded motionless on a pole in the distance, as if at reserve in an atmosphere fit for the vocal recitation of a psalm.

Earlier in May, blues gorged on the annual worm hatch. Today they stuffed themselves on grass shrimp. But they're eager for whatever fish forage, obviously. They'll hit a plug half a dozen times or more, often at boatside. For all the fury, you don't set the hook, which almost never works, and at worst flings the lure back at your face or would ding the boat. We did witness blues break up a school of some kind of fish, possibly spearing, half a dozen blues going airborne in the frolic. Later in the summer, these busts are more common and larger, although the best topwater action is May and June.

There are cocktail blues, mostly ounces over a pound to a few over two. I caught today's largest, close to 3 1/2 pounds, 23 inches. On light tackle it's a thrill every time one's on.

We each got a megadose of vitamin D on the Manasquan River today, but cocktail blues are in all the New Jersey inshore systems--other states too--doing the same thing during the spring migration: feeding on the worms and grass shrimp, and shifting to forage fish later. Look for flats associated with seven to 10 foot deep channels. Many of these blues hit in two feet of water. In Sandy Hook Bay near Shrewsbury River, for example, much larger blues are present with greater depths and bunker. But some anglers go after cocktails in kayaks where creek backwaters provide solitude and frantic action.