It finally happened. That magical day that all anglers dream about. That incredible perfect outing where you're hooking into fish all day long. But not just any fish, BIG fish. Fat nasty mean green monsters that crush your bait with very bad intentions. How crazy of a day am I talking about? How about over 120x bass boated, 25lbs+ for best 5 anchored by a 6.5lb largemouth and a 5lb+ smallie....Oh yeah, THAT kind of crazy!
I hooked up with good pal and Lake Champlain practice partner, Dobyn's Rod pro-staffer Dennis Fontaine for this Champlain adventure. Water temps read about 50 degrees with a forecasted 14 degree air temp and 15k winds from the NW. It certainly did not take long to hook up as the first cast of the day produced a decent 3lb LMB off the main point next to the launch. In fact, we would proceed to catch another 6-7 bass on cranks before we even really began our day!
With the crazy up and down we've been getting paired with the relentless North wind, the fish have been scattered and a little unpredictable. But on this particular day, it was quite evident as to how the bass were setting up. Warming water temps mean hordes of baitfish beginning to move shallow. That important shift of water temp from 50's to 60's represent an incredible opportunity, if you can figure out how to harness it. We found them on hard bottom flats, 2-4ft depth. The key was stained water colour and emerging vegetation. This combination proved fruitful throughout the lake as Dennis and I literally slayed them every time we could duplicate this pattern.
Presentation was key as well. A square-billed crankbait such as the one pictured below was the ideal weapon of choice for this scenario. Keeping constant contact with the bottom while bumping and deflecting off of structure is what triggered the bites. The fish were in feed mode and simply could not resist a tiny erratic crankbait ripping through their turf. I use a 50/50 graphite/fiberglass custom built crankbait rod handcrafted by my good pal Aaron Cohen paired with an Abu Garcia Revo MGX spooled with 12lb Trilene 100% fluorocarbon line.
Many touring pros claim that the crankbait is a big fish kinda bait. Well on this particular day, it most definitely was. Thanks Dennis for being a part of this truly memorable experience. It will be interesting to see how the pattern will change over the next few days with water temps on the rapid rise.