Autumn in Lakeville

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 .