Got to to Sunnyside at the crack of dawn this morning. First boat in the water. Surface temp 53 and change. Kind of expected it to be higher, given yesterday afternoon’s warmth and sun.
First spot came up dry.
Marked some sizable fish, and what I assumed were small pods of herring at the next spot. Tried topwater for a solid half hour before resorting to a small bait on a 1/4 oz head. First bite with the small stuff produced a barely. As in barely 28″. Right at the bottom end of the slot size, but chunky, with a hefty belly. Yeah, I guess that really is a bunch of herring down there.
Caught a smallish schoolie a few casts later. The smaller one wasn’t particularly chunky. Just a typical 18″ schoolie. That pattern seemed to hold true, at least for the meager sample size I was able to produce. The bigger fish were stuffed, the under 20-inchers weren’t.
Steve came by and we compared notes, such as they were. It wasn’t too long before he went off in search of greener pastures, but I committed to hanging in on the bite I’d found — slow as it was — for at least another hour or so.
I kept trying topwater every time I moved a few yards — especially after I saw something – presumably a herring — get eaten off the surface. Couldn’t raise a thing. Next, I tried a heavier (3/4 oz) jig with a slightly larger bait, and worked it dead slow. Caught a fatty of 29-1/2″. Big ol’ herring tail sticking out of its throat. I think these things fed well last night.
After spending the next half hour or so casting and retrieving with no further action , and seeing fewer fish (but more bait pods) on the depth sounder, I went off on my own wild goose chase, looking for more and/or bigger fish. Had three more traditional early May topwater spots that needed checking.
Turned out that no, they really didn’t need checking. Marked a few fish and more bait pods at one of them, but never had anything exciting happen at any of them. Unless you count a wire on the steering motor of my Terrova breaking as exciting.
Because that happened.
Yeah, you can still use it, turning the power head by hand to aim it. When you’ve fished with spot lock and autopilot for the past dozen years, going back to steering the electric by hand is no fun at all.
Especially when you’re not getting bit and not marking any fish, anyway.
So I ran back to the only area I’d caught anything at all in, and got there right about the time the tide was changing. Caught 3 little schoolies and a slot fish in training in a half hour or so, before the outgoing tide became enough of a factor that it made hand steering with a motor not designed for hand steering too much of a hassle to contend with. Stowed the gear and headed for the trailer.
I was off the water by 10:30.
Took all of 20 minutes to repair the Terrova once I got home. Time for a nap!
Steve called just as I pulled the boat up the ramp, to tell me he’d found some topwater fish. He caught 4 slot fish in training before they shut down when the last of the cloud cover disappeared.