Sort of. The trees know it’s autumn. Not sure the lake does. Surface temp is still 65. And it probably got warmer than that after the wind let up while I was getting my boat out around 2:30.
The lake closes for the year the end of this month. Just once, I’d like to get to fish there under post-turnover conditions. Got close to the opportunity to do so once a decade or so ago. Water temp on Halloween was mid-fifties, and the lake was in the throes of turning. Turnover fishing can be tough, but it was better in the midst of turnover that day than it was a few weeks ahead of the turmoil of turnover yesterday.
I tried to force the issue with the big jig. They were having none of it. Not even the pickerel seemed willing to hit the one ouncer. Same deal with a swim bait. A five inch SwimFish on a jighead used to be one of my primary weapons at Lakeville. Not sure I’ve even caught a bass on it there this season. A few pickerel, but this trip, not even the toothies were willing to run down a moving bait.
I did get bit off by a pickerel on a smoke Sassy grub, but other than that, every hit I had came on the drop shot Ribster. And for the most part, those hits could best be described as timid.
My most productive tactic — and I’m stretching the definition of productive about as far as I can here — was tickling the deep weed edge with the drop shot. If I worked too far outside the weeds, odds were good that any bite I managed to get would be long and toothy. If I cast too far into the vegetation, well, a dropshot rig isn’t the most weedless card in the deck, and the odds of getting it outside the heavy stuff cleanly were not very good.
Four of the five largemouth I caught came on casts that landed a foot or two into the vegetation, then jiggled the rig out of the milfoil into the scattered, low growing sandgrass.
Just about every bite was the kind of deal where I felt a light resistance and had to test it with a little tension to try and figure out whether I was dealing with a fish or a strand or two of vegetation. Even with a pretty experienced hand at turning light bites into hooked fish, I swung on more weeds than fish, and a time or two, I recognized a bite only after feeling the fish spit the lure as I was testing it. That’s a slap-yourself-upside-the-head moment, right there.
Ended the day with a dozen pickerel and five bass. The first pickerel was a genuine Lakeville lake snake in the >5# class. The rest were nothing to write home about. Four of the five bass were in the pound-and-a-half class. The other was a decent fish — maybe 2-3/4.
The one outlier bite that wasn’t off the deep weed edge came when I cast the drop shot to a small weed patch in shallow water, and hooked up with another pound-and-a-quarter, maybe pound-and-a-half largemouth. That dumb, aggressive little guy made me waste a lot of time casting to “spots” on the shallow flats. Never got another hit doing it. Sigh.
As (comparatively) active as the pickerel were, I felt good about only losing one dropshot rig to the toothy devils. Also lost a smoke grub to one oddball that attacked it on the sink. About the only aggressive hit I had all .