A mid-summer bass trip

Last week my nephew Sam and I took our annual bass trip to west central Minnesota. We’ve been doing this for about ten years and have only missed one year. Sam was in grade school when we started doing this, this week he heads off to college. Time flies.

In all those years, bass have always been the focus of our attention. Largemouth are usually fairly easy to catch, and young and older anglers alike just like to feel something pull back. Also, when you’re bass fishing you’re usually casting, so you’re always doing something.

The first thing I noticed on this trip was that there was already some color in the trees along I-35 as we traveled north. Not a lot, but certainly more than there usually is this time of year.

We arrived mid-afternoon at one of the lakes we usually do well on. The wind was blowing from the north, the worst direction possible for this lake. We caught a bass or two at every spot that we stopped at, but only a couple per spot. Some of these spots usually provide at least ten or twelve fish per spot. We fished deep and shallow. Jig-worms were the best producer, as usual, on these lakes. Impulse Dip-Stick Worms on eighth ounce heads were best.

After a couple of hours we switched lakes to another body of water a few miles away. This lake has provided lots of action from big bass in years past. It has lots of shallow water cover, and late in the day the bass in that shallow water cover like to get caught, or at least they have in the past. We caught some bass, and they were all nice ones, two and a half to almost five pounds. Not as many as in the past, but nice ones.

This particular lake for the past several years has had a twenty inch minimum on bass, and you could only keep one. This year, that rule was done away with. According to some friends who fish that lake a lot, the relaxed limits have already had a detrimental effect on the bass fishing. That’s too bad. Anglers had a lake that provided lots of action from big fish, now they don’t.

The next day we hit the water early. We tried a lake that has produced in the past, and it produced again today. Lots of bass and more northern pike than usual. On this day we threw jig-worms, Jungle Jigs tipped with plastic bodies, and #6 Salmo Hornets: That Hornet in the #6 size is a heck of a bass catcher. We would go maybe ten minutes without a bite, then we would get on a school of fish and we would both have a fish on at the same time. We would catch five or six fish off a spot, go without a fish for a few minutes, then catch five or six more.

We tried a couple more lakes and caught big bass on Jungle Jigs and plastic on the edge of the rushes, then it was time to head for home. Despite blowing a tire going down the highway and slower than usual fishing, Sam is already planning next year’s trip. He says we need to go earlier in the year, and I agree. The bass bite best in June, and we will try to prove that in 2015.

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