“Plenty of fish, but no size!”
That’s what I’ve been hearing from most of the anglers venturing out on Saratoga Lake. Pound-and-a half bass are all over the lake, but it’s hard to find those three-pound-plus largemouths.
I haven’t been out there, but when I go, I’ll be concentrating on 10-plus feet and deeper water.
This is definitely a good time to use a depth/fish finder and locate deep weeds, especially on the weekends, when the lake is very busy. Running and gunning isn’t one of my favorite ways to fish, but it could produce on Saratoga Lake. I still won’t give up my wacky worm technique, but I’ll alter how I rig it. At the end of the line, I tie on a one-quarter- or three-eighths-ounce weight, depending on wind, and about eight to 10 inches up, my hook, making sure the point is up, and hook the Stik-O-Worm through the middle, as usual.
Once I find the weeds, I slowly drift over them, pitching the drop shot wacky worm and letting it go all the way to the bottom. I let it sit a few seconds, and then lift and drop it back to the bottom five or six times, then reel in and toss it out again. I’ve used this technique for smallmouths in deeper water in Saratoga Lake, the Great Sacandaga Lake and Lake George.
Several years ago, Bass Pro Shops began offering a 104-piece Stik-O-Kit that includes 80, 53⁄8-inch and 24, 41⁄4-inch worms in a variety of colors packaged in a plastic tackle box. It sells for $19, less than 16 cents a worm. Find it at www.basspro.com.
The 23-boat field in last week’s Saratoga Tackle Bass Challenge on Saratoga Lake struggled for big fish in its Tuesday afternoon, five-bass tournament. Winners by just .14 pounds were Ballston Spa anglers Travis and Nathan Roberts with a 12.64-pound bag that also included the lunker, a 4.10-pound largemouth. They received $518 for the win and $220 for the big bass. Second with 12.50 pounds was Tony Pascucci of Saratoga Springs (who fished alone).
Saratoga Springs anglers John Jenkins and Dave Munger were third with 10.54 pounds. Second and third places returned $310 and $207, respectively.
The Adirondack Bass Club traveled to South Bay on Lake Champlain last Sunday. Corinth angler Joel Marcotte won with five bass totaling 14.87 pounds. Mike Galcik of Schuylerville was second with 14.06 pounds, and Ben Grieco of Greenwich was third with 12.99, and won big bass honors with a 4.08-pound largemouth.
Oneida Lake hosted several tournaments earlier this month.
Schenectady Elite sent off 25 boats, 23 of which returned with six-bass team limits, and the top three teams were less than one pound apart. Leading the way with 19.49 pounds were Jenkins and Munger. Andrew and Jeffery Daubert of Albany were second with 18.95 pounds, and Albany County anglers Pat Lenny and Jason Cappola were third with 18.85. Big bass honors went to Tom Kail of Burnt Hills and Jason Norton of Troy for their 4.19-pound tournament lunker.
The national Forrest L. Wood Bass Fishing League’s Northern Division tournamentlast Saturday attracted over 100 boaters and an equal amount of non-boater partners. Boater entry fee for this one-day event was $200; non-boaters, $100. The two categories fished against only those in their division. The boater division was won by Pennsylvania angler Jason Shipton with a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 15 ounces. Sal Messina of Connecticut won the non-boater category with a five-bass limit of 14.11 pounds.
Based on the leaderboard of the Mohawk Valley Angler Club’s recent contest at the Great Sacandaga Lake, bass are still biting, but not the big ones. Eighteen teams brought in 17 five-bass limits. The difference between the top three places was just .33 pounds. Rotterdam’s Floyd and Tim Squires were first with 9.87 pounds, followed by Michele and Randy King of Johnstown with 9.75 and Rexford anglers Larry Andrews and Craig Comley with 9.64 pounds. First through third paid $265, $160 and $140, respectively. The King team had the lunker, a 2.92-pound smallie, worth an additional $90.
Last week, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced it’s considering some changes in freshwater sportfish regulations based on existing fish populations and discussions with anglers, fisheries biologists and fisheries managers over the past year.
The purpose is to adjust angling regulations to enhance angling experiences and enjoyment consistent with the status of fish populations. These changes would include increasing year-round trout fishing opportunities at specific streams and adjusting daily and minimum size limits on selected waters.
Warm-water highlights also include the increase of statewide minimum size limits for muskellunge and eliminating certain daily creel and minimum size limits for walleyes. This was temporarily established as part of DEC’s multiyear effort to establish walleye populations in candidate waters. Other changes being considered are adjustments to gear and equipment .
Based on public feedback and further evaluations this summer, DEC will advance proposals. These will be made available for formal public comment, and input will be accepted through Aug. 16.
The potential changes can be viewed at, www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/91959.html. Hard copies of the list of changes being considered and instructions on how to submit feedback by mail can be obtained by contacting Shaun Keeler at NYSDEC, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753.