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BigOutdoors
05-24-2009, 08:09 AM
Fishing column

By Charles Walsh
CORRESPONDENT
Updated: 05/23/2009 05:26:31 PM EDT






It was the kind of blast furnace sun that could burn off a layer of No. 35 sun block on the back of your neck in 10 minutes. The air temperature was running high, but the TMA area of the Housatonic River above the covered bridge in Cornwall was running low.
It felt like a day better suited for sitting in an air-conditioned bar sipping beer so cold your fingers hurt gripping the bottle than for casting for smallmouth bass in a river that was no deeper than two feet in any given spot.
But since the cool bar was not at hand, I reared back with my ultra-light spinning rod and chucked a small, yellow Rapala toward what looked like a deeper hole three-quarters of the way across the river. The lure landed far from its target but with one turn of the reel handle the water exploded like the lure had hit a submerged mine.
Out of the spray shot a foot-long silver fish that, even from so far away, looked to be more angry than scared.
Smallmouth on!
For the next two hours I forgot about the oppressive heat as smallie after smallie blasted my lures.
Hard to believe that it's been almost a month and a half since Opening Day of trout season in Connecticut. Hooking a nice fat brown or rainbow never gets really old, but by now many freshwater anglers are ready for a change of pace.
Our suggestion is to grab that ultra-light spinning outfit or fly rod and try for some of the aforementioned smallmouth or largemouth bass.
This is fun fishing.
Before going any further here is a question that has bothered me for years. Why is a smallmouth bass called a "smallie" for short, but largemouth is not called a "largie?" If anyone can answer that we'll send them a blue ribbon. Yes it's a minor point, but it's the kind of thing that nags at you when the fish aren't biting.
The Inland Fisheries Division of the State Department of Environmental Protection offers some valuable tips for anglers who are tired of tepid trout bumps and long to feel the no-nonsense strike of a largemouth.
In streams and rivers largemouth bass tend to lie up on shallow rocks or just inside the weed lines. More often than not the fish are found in less than five feet of water. Smallmouth, on the other hand, can often be found hanging out above deeper weed edges.
Dropshotting is a particularly effective system for catching both largemouth and smallmouth in Connecticut's weedy lakes.
The dropshot rig uses a tear-shaped sinker suspended 12 to 18 inches below a hook that has been attached to the line using a Palomar knot that keeps it at a 90-degree angle to the main line, its point facing up. A three-inch soft plastic lure like a Bass Assassin shad is threaded on the hook through the nose so that it also hangs at a 90 degree angle to the line.
Stick baits also work well, while Texas-rigged soft plastic lures will do the job, too.
Spinner baits and crank baits are effective on both species. Lately, hooks tipped with three-inch Gulp minnows or grubs in black or natural colors have been doing well.
Outdoor writer Mark Blazis says male largemouths are terrific stay-at-home dads that are frantically building their nests at this time of year while the ladies cool their fins. Bass spawn when the water temperature is between 62 to 68 degrees, says Blazis. When the water temperature reaches 65 degrees the bass' metabolism speeds up as does their feeding pace. But bass don't spawn at the same time. The fish at the southern end of a lake or pond usually bed and spawn first.
Unlike trout, there is no need for state-run hatcheries and stocking programs to support the bass populations. These fish maintain their own hatchery system.
In Connecticut the season for largemouth and smallmouth bass is open year round with a six-fish limit for both species. (Be a sport, return all fish to the water.) Bass caught in lakes and ponds or in the Connecticut River must be 12 inches long to be kept. Fish taken in rivers and streams can be any length.
Blazis advises matching the lure to the bait that is around. Jerk baits, white spinner baits with chartreuse blades, small, shallow diving crank baits, and spider jigs are killers now.
If you just can't get off the trout bandwagon the DEP says spoons, either Mooselooks in silver or a 4-inch flutter spoon in silver,, have worked well.
When fishing a Flutter spoon make a long cast and let the spoon fall on slack line. Slack line gives the bait its distinctive dying shad fluttering action. Once the bait hits bottom reel up your slack, holding your rod at the 9 o'clock position. Raise your rod to the 12 o'clock or even 1 o'clock position, pulling the spoon well up off the bottom. Some days the fish will hit the spoon when it is raised briskly. Other days a slow steady lift works better.

hammer
05-24-2009, 02:40 PM
Hey Big Outdoors, Good article. I just wanted to mention that the 12" size limit and 6 fish creel limit for Small and Largemouth Bass does not apply on Bass Management lakes and ponds in CT.. Dont want to see anyone get a fine....

BigOutdoors
05-24-2009, 05:30 PM
heres what you talking about,hammer

http://www.ct.gov/dep/lib/dep/fishing/freshwater/bassbroc.pdf

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