Sunday, April 13, 2014

Largemouth Bass Respond to Warm South Wind, Husky Jerk and Rapala Floater

Here in New Jersey the last few days have been well into the 70's, if not above 80 today and yesterday. I got interested in trying a Husky Jerk after sunset yesterday, not because the suspending action of the plug was necessary. I wanted to use it to see what would happen, since I've used it so infrequently. The surface calm, I might have drawn surface strikes, although in recent years I've found the lure of early season surface fishing here deceiving, doing much better on subsurface jerkbaits. I plugged our neighborhood bass pond for 15 minutes, catching two largemouths not much more than a pound each. Both of these hung very close to shore, caught on more or less parallel casts in the same vicinity.

Today I returned to fish at about 5:00 with a Rapala #9 Floater, caught four bass, none more than a pound. A powerful south wind chopped the surface, even though the pond is no more than four feet deep maximum. I cast hard into the wind and tried out from shore, but the hits that led to catches and those I missed came in close. I might have done better with a spinnerbait. Past stints--these measured in minutes, rather than hours--I've done well on quarter-ounce spinnerbaits when a powerful wind drives water against the north bank. And I find bass well out from shore, rather than in close where they responded to the Rapala today.

I don't know why they all have been smaller so far this year. The past two or three years, they've averaged a pound-and-a-half to about two pounds. I was already wondering last year why the average size remained the same, as if the bass hadn't grown. It used to be average size in this pond was about 11 inches, although bass have been here for at least 20 years, and I can't account for the sudden growth. I first fished this pond 15 years ago July.

Chalk it up to two consecutive days with smaller bass. They're surely going to average larger again this year, but it is odd how it feels as if my curiosity in using jerkbaits instead of a spinnerbait got this result.

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