Thursday, August 29, 2013

Round Valley Reservoir Smallmouth Bass on Jigs and Topwater Plugs

Felt like we had Round Valley Reservoir all to ourselves. The far back cove behind Ranger's looked so good with equal patches of vegetation down to 20 feet or so and sandy bottom with branches and stuff that I felt perplexed at no hits on our plastics. We motored down reservoir to the right a mile or so and began fishing jigs 15 to 23 feet down. At 15-18 feet or so we had some minor problems with vegetation, but the bottom was pretty hard with some stuff on it. I got snagged three times. Another time I came up with the smallmouth photographed. The jigs with synthetic leeches yielded both of us some rock bass and Fred missed hits. Mostly, the outing involved catching up on how life had been since Fred told me back in April he was headed out west. He had an amazing 3700-mile drive full of hiking adventures and fishing the Yellowstone River after landing in Phoenix with his wife. I've always meant to get out west and have a few times in relatively superficial ways. Plenty of time is left ahead for ranging further and deeper. I've been dallying a lot on the East Coast and have a curiosity for comparisons of commercial fishing Maine to Florida, having been in the commercial business for 13 years. But the likes of this can get too bound to seeing things in a certain way, like how I was getting interested in Highlands New Jersey as if it comprises enough of the world--before we left for Ocracoke this summer. I should reach out westward just as I had meant to as a 20-year-old.

The sun slipped behind the western Cushetunk Mountains and all was so peaceful we could hear a pileated woodpecker loudly clear across the water on the eastern side. When real darkness began to fall, I tied on a Hedden Torpedo with just enough light to guide my clinch knot. On the first cast, the plug got blasted right over the vegetation about 12 to 14 feet deep. I reacted to try and set the hook immediately--you have to let a bass take for a split second. The next cast got two hits. Fred tied a popper onto his second rod. No more hits came. Then, when Fred was finished with the jig, he guided the boat very slowly with the electric up the shoreline, popping his plug. This was the right idea. It yielded a smallmouth for me and I lost another over the weeds and, I suppose, rocks. I was in the forward position, so I was advantaged. I noticed that when action stopped. We also came in very close to try right up against the bank as if bass may have moved in to rush baitfish.

It was dark. Clouds we had watched had moved in. Lightning flickered so Fred pulled the starter cord. It always makes me nervous to have deep clouds over me when a thunderstorm is forecast because lightning has to begin somewhere. In the distance, it already had. And a thunderhead can spawn a new beginning as a surprise. But I just figured that if lightning began to strike in our quarter, there wasn't anything we could do but continue to head for the ramp, so I relaxed. I've had some close calls--lightening strikes within feet of me--and so has Fred. When we had the boat trailered, it began to rain very lightly, but we sparked up more conversation having forgotten about the storm that apparently forgot itself--no rain here 20 minutes away--and forgot the tension hooking some fish, all the persistence and hope to catch more. But I think Fred's idea of fishing topwater plugs in among the rocks of the dike near the ramp at night is a good one. It's a good one at least to try.

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