At 6:30 a.m. last Saturday, Gerry and Anne Edwards of Cohoes climbed into my Lowe deck boat at the Schuylerville launch for a day of fishing on the Hudson River. At 6:40, we were running to our trucks to get out of the downpour.
About 40 minutes later, we were back in the boat, sitting on some very wet seats, motoring south. We had 14 miles of very good fishing all to ourselves before we reached Lock 4. In the beginning, we were catching bass not much bigger than the wacky worms we were throwing, but Anne broke the bigger fish barrier when she set the hook on what she said was a log. The log turned out to be a 31⁄2-pound largemouth that was hiding under a stump in about three feet of water. And this is how the day went, little bass and the good one.
While fishing a shore near the entrance to Coveville Marina, we worked the rocky shoreline where Anne hooked up with a two-pound-plus, tail-walking smallmouth. The smallie actually grabbed the wacky worm while she was reeling it in, and that day we had a number of both small and largemouth bass hitting slowly retrieved wacky worms.
Around noontime, we headed back toward the launch where I wanted to try a few spots that usually held a bass or two, and they were there. Not far from the launch, Gerry skipped a red shad wacky-rigged worm under a low hanging tree in no more than two feet of water and I saw the white flash of his 3 1⁄2-pound largemouth as it engulfed the bait. That day, I learned that even on the hot days and in murky water, bass hold close to shore. And the best color that day was red shad.
The three walleye that won Dave’s Bait and Tackle’s monthly big fish contest indicate the big ’eyes are back on the Great Sacandaga Lake. The winners in this category were Northville anglers — Luke Olsen with 23 7⁄8 inches, first; Ryan Gander placed both second and third with 21- and 19 1⁄2-inchers. The perch winners, both from Mayfield, were George Keohan, 13 3⁄4; George Albert, 13 1⁄4; and Keohan, 13 1⁄4 inches.
The winning bass catches, all smallmouth, were by Keith Simonds of Gloversville, 17 3⁄4 inches, and Chris Barth of Wells, 17 1⁄2. Simonds also had a 17 1⁄2-inch smallie. The three white perch winners were Jim Looman of Edinburg,
13 inches; Ryan Gander of Northville, 12 7⁄8; and Keith Simonds with 12 inches.
The reports from some of our smaller nearby lakes are also very good. At Cossayuna Lake, Washington County, the panfish bite has been good in the southern end of the lake, which just happens to be one of the areas where a big, live minnow beneath a bobber could attract a northern pike. Bass like to hide under docks this time of year here, but be careful not to bounce lures off any of the docked boats.
I was told that the big island near the boat launch in the north end of the lake is giving up largemouth close to shore in the morning. Move out with jigs and drop shot rigs when the shore bite stops, usually around 10 a.m.
Rubber frogs pulled slowly over the weeds and pads are bringing up the bass on Round Lake right now. Just remember to have a Texas-rigged worm with a pegged 1⁄8 - or 1⁄4 -ounce bullet weight sinker handy. When they blow up through the weeds and miss, toss that worm back in the hole and there’s a good chance the bass is still nearby and hungry. .
In the Saratoga Tackle weekly afternoon Bass Challenge on Saratoga Lake Saratoga, angler P.J. Peculis fished alone and won the event with five largemouth totaling 12.84 pounds. His bag of bass also held the big bass of the contest — 4.80 pounds. The winner received $450 plus $200 for lunker. Second place and $270 went to the Saratoga Springs team of Danny Dyer and Chris Richardson with 10.18 pounds. Third-place money of $180 went to Jim Bubb of Clifton Park and Sean Noonan of Saratoga Springs with 9.50 pounds.
In the big leagues of bass fishing, a New Yorker, Jim Bianchi, from the small town of Rush (3,478 people), invested $1,500 to fish the Bassmaster Northern Division Open on Oneida Lake last week, and won it. Day one, he was in the hunt with a five-bass limit totaling 15 pounds, 12 ounces and on day two his bag of bass totaled 19 pounds, vaulting him into the lead which he protected with a third day catch of 17 pounds, seven ounces to solidify his first Bassmaster win with a total weight of 52 pounds, 7 ounces. For his win, Bianchi got $6,912 in cash and a prize package that included a Skeeter XZ200 bassboat powered by a Yamaha VF200LA outboard, matching dual-axle trailer and trolling motor, vauled at over $40,000.
TACKLE BOX ADDITION
When reviewing the new fishing “stuff” introduced at this year’s 56th International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, I saw a lure made by Koppers LIFETARGETS they call the BaitBall, and the more I read about it, the more interested I became.
Unlike other crankbaits, the BaitBall does not replicate a single baitfish — it replicates a smaller group of three to five baitfish. This ultra-modern control lure is available in Threadfin Shad, Emerald Shiner and Glass Minnow hatches, and includes poppers, jerkbaits and crankbaits.
A few of these will find their way into my tackle box. Those river smallmouth may be in for a mouthful. Manufacturer’s Retail Price for the BaitBall is $17. (www.-livetargetlures.com)