Monday, May 30, 2011

The Old Creek Lake Mystery: Lessons in Clearwater Bass Fishing

    Chances are if you have fished for any length of time at all you've heard at least a few rules casually tossed around by those who know their sport better than the average guy.  Most of these bits of information have to do with lure color.  No matter where you stand on the whole "color" issue, you probably have a favorite color, one that will produce for you when all else fails.  Moreover, you probably agree that certain colors work better at different times.  From here, opinions vary, and most will defend their belief readily, and with persuasive (and heavy!) evidence.
    Nothing is more pleasing than seeing a color pattern play out in front of you, and when it does, it sticks with you. 

    Saturday morning was relatively cool and cloudy on a small lake in Eastern Virginia, and with unusually clear water conditions, fishing was looking good.  I was targeting Largies on this trip, and I started out tossing a three inch, white and chartruese Rapala Floating Minnow.  I was hooking up left and right--unusually.  Fishing slowed around noon, and I changed to a black and silver sinking minnow.  Nothing.
    The next morning was bright and hot, but water clarity was the same.  Now, with the penetrating rays of the tidewater sun exposing the lake bottom near the bank, I noticed a few fingerling sunfish  cruising.  These bass were most definitely feeding on the sunfish fry this time of year.  I unhooked the black and silver minnow and started casting.  Again, I was smacking fish left and right. 
    Finally, I was beginning to notice a pattern.  In the clear, dark water, a bright baitfish imitator was producing.  I concluded that this was because of the high-contrast the white and chartruese offered.  In the clear, sunsoaked water, a smaller, dark-colored imitation was most productive, because of the high-contrast and low profile.
    Again, not that I wasn't aware of this pattern before, but having it play out in front of you like that engraves it into your mind, and more importantly, gives you confidence in it.  This knowledge will definitely come in handy chasing chunky smallmouth in the cold, clear ponds in Vermont this summer!
    On another note, last night, a few minutes before dark, an above average fish for this lake (about four pounds) blew up on a shallow bluegill crater on a shallow point--exciting!  In a deep, dark-watered lake, bed fishing doesn't cross my mind.....but its here.