When I pulled into the Schuylerville boat launch last Saturday, I wasn’t too happy with the fishing conditions.
The water had risen considerably, the runoff had muddied the clarity, the current was moving faster than usual and the wind was blowing. Not exactly what I would call ideal fishing conditions.
With me that day was 11-year-old Guan-Luca Ubillo of Schuylerville and his dad, Rodrigo, who were eager to hook up with some of the Hudson River’s bass, and the young angler didn’t waste any time in catching what he said was his biggest bass.
On his second cast to a shallow dock, he and I both saw the flash when his wacky worm hit the water and was quickly engulfed in the fish’s mouth. I’m not sure who was more excited, his dad, me or the young angler, but Guan-Luca worked that four-pound largemouth right into my waiting net like a pro. All this excitement was followed with a quick lesson on how to hold a bass and then a number of camera clicks.
In the next few hours, the young bassmaster pulled a number of largemouths from the shore weed lines, sunken rocks and fallen trees.
The key to fishing the Stillwater/Schuylerville area for bass is to find the weeds, rocks and wood. It was then time to introduce him to the exciting antics of a river smallmouth once it realizes it’s hooked. In this stretch of the river, smallies are generally found on rocky points and shoals.
It wasn’t five minutes after I shut the motor off near a large river point that we heard, “I got one.” I turned just in time to see the smallie come straight up out of the water, and again the young angler looked like a pro bringing the smallie to the net. It was truly a fun and very satisfying day, not only for the youngster and his dad, but for me, also.
Before we ended the day, dad and son hooked up with a number of large and smallmouth bass and four chain pickerel measuring in the mid-20-inch class. Back on shore, I gave Guan-Luca a handful of Stik-O Worms and hooks that he said would be used in grandpa’s pond.
Speaking of Stik-O Worms, I received an email from Jim Ruth of Waterford that he and his 12-year-old son, Collin, had a great day fishing on Round Lake. They caught a number of largemouths, the largest taken by Collin weighing three pounds-plus, and all were taken on “six-inch wacky-rigged BPS Stik-O Worms.”
The Saratoga Bass Challenge’s tournament recently produced what I believe is the biggest five-bass limit of the season on Saratoga Lake. It was caught by Saratoga Springs anglers Dave Munger and John Jenkins, who weighed in 18.72 pounds that included a 5.26-pound largemouth lunker. The win returned $518, the big bass another $230.
Second place and $310 went to Todd Senecal of Gansevoort and Rob Robinson of Saratoga Springs with 13.32 pounds. Saratoga Springs anglers Jay Fedor and Lenny Pike were third with 12.68 pounds, and received $207.
I’m told a few walleyes have been pulled out of the depths around Snake Hill. All were caught trolling with spinner-worm harnesses and deep-running Rapalas. A few smaller pike in the 20- to 25-inch range have been caught, all on live bait. There are plenty of panfish in the shallows, and a garden worm, tiny tube, etc., and bobber should get some.
The walleyes at the Great Sacandaga Lake are still in the 20- to 25-foot range and following the bait. Trolling is the best method, and the worm harness is the best lure/bait. Anglers are reporting smallmouths have gone deep, especially with the warm weather.
In the recent Greenbush Bass Association tournament held there, Ballston Spa anglers Mike Garbo and Shaun Nolan won the $580 first-place cash with a five-bass limit of 13.12 pounds. Second were Indian Lake anglers Tim Paraso and Matt Lieberman with 12.48 pounds. Saratoga Springs anglers Chris Gaziano and Jeff Trogan were third with 11.89, and Bob Mizurca of Earlton and Bill Kosed of Westerlo were fourth with 11.86 pounds. Second through fourth places returned $320, $270 and $200, respectively, and Paraso and Lieberman received an additional $250 for their 3.51-pound lunker.
Last Monday, Department of Environmental commissioner Joe Martens announced the freshwater fishing regulations will extend through March 31, 2015, and new freshwater regulations will be available from all license sale vendors at that time.
According to Martens, the change was made based upon the change to the effective dates of freshwater fishing licenses. In the past, fishing licenses, like hunting licenses, were effective Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.
Fishing licenses now are effective 365 days from the date of purchase, and it made sense to adjust the effective dates of the fishing regulations to coincide with the April 1 opener of the statewide trout season, which is considered to be the beginning of the freshwater season.
Anglers should continue to refer to the 2013-14 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide through March 31, 2015, and the DEC wants to remind us combination licenses are no longer available. Those who want to fish in New York must purchase a separate fishing license. Be aware of the expiration date of your fishing license, since expiration dates now vary depending upon when the license was purchased.
On a recent trip to Ballston Lake with Mike Galcik of Schuylerville, I learned a new way of pulling bass out of the heavy vegetation. It’s called the Slither or Punch rig, and it works very well. Its design includes, from top to bottom, a bobber stop, tungsten weight, Boss Skirt Hub, snelled hook and whatever craw or creature bait you like. The design allows tossing the bait and sliding it into the little openings in the weeds, lily pads, etc. We fished all day in the rain, and our best five bass would have totaled over 20 pounds.
My fish tale for that day was a bass I believe would have weighed more than six pounds had it not broken my line. I don’t understand how it broke the line, which has only been on the reel for about five to six years.