Happy Belated 4th of July Everyone. I hope everybody stayed safe and appreciated their independence. I know I did. My girlfriend and I took a trip up to Ticonderoga for the weekend to do a little boating on Lake George and I was able to sneak in a little fishing.
Let's start with the Lake George boat inspections at Mossy Point. I know this has been a hot button topic for a lot of bass anglers. I was a little nervous pulling into the ramp but I had zero troubles launching my boat.
The inspectors did do a very thorough job of inspecting the boat for invasive species (even checking my livewells and crawling underneath my trailer). They asked me for my lake pass, complimented me on my clean boat and I was on my way. The whole process took no longer than 5 minutes and I was able to launch my boat on Lake George for under $10 on a holiday weekend.
My day started off helping two young gentleman in a bow rider who had broken down. I am always scared to tow with my boat so I stayed with them until another boat came along to tow them in. I tried diagnosing their issue but I am no mechanic so I wasn't able to assist. I am glad they made it back to shore safely.
Saturday was very a very blustery day on the Queen of American Lakes. A strong NW wind blew down the lake at a constant 15-20 MPH. The wind would shift to the West as the day progressed. With the water temps being 73 degrees in the northern end of the lake, I decided to begin my search off shore. I fished an off shore hump that I had located last year and didn't see any sign of life on my electronics.
I then strolled down towards Hague and fished the large hump in the bay. I didn't spend too much time here and it was difficult to maneuver around the hump as there were fisherman trolling every which direction. We have friends that live in Hague we we paid them a visit. Two of them wanted to come for a short boat ride/do some fishing so I took them out for an hour.
I figured I would try to find some structure closer to a spawning bay since my first two off shore ventures didn't pan out at all. I assumed the smallmouth were still transitioning out of the shallows.
Within 2 minutes I boated a decent smallmouth but this area was right into the teeth of the wind. My companions were more interested in drinking than seriously fishing anyway so I took them for a spin and headed back to their camp to pick up my girlfriend.
We boated down to the southern end of the lake to one of my friend's camp. We spent a few hours here before heading over to the Algonquin for dinner. Finally, we headed back up the lake as the sun was beginning to set. I hit a few more off shore humps but the only one that produced anything was again near a large flat and was shallower (20') at the peak than the rest. It also was loaded with bait.
After taking my girlfriend boating and sight-seeing all day on Saturday, she felt obliged to let me fish Champlain on Sunday instead of heading back to George.
I really wanted to get a good grass bite going. I have the Bassmaster Open coming up at the end of July and one thing I have always struggled with in Ticonderoga is fishing grass. I have had great days fishing the grass there and I have had awful days fishing the grass. I need to know why. Why do I have days when I can catch 22 lbs and why do I have days when I only catch 11 lbs?
The water temperatures were in the mid 70's on lower Champlain yesterday. The wind was steady out of the south. The water color was certainly more stained than usual but the grass beds were well protected any many had good clear water. The way I usually fish Champlain is I blow through grass beds in practice and try to find the one that is most productive. If I don't get bit right away, I move on.
Yesterday, I tried to spend at least 2 hours in each grass bed I fished. I wanted to try and pinpoint fish and understand where they located themselves during a south wind with stained water. It is very difficult to do that when you only boat five fish, none of which were over 2 lbs. I caught 3 on frogs and 2 flipping a Texas-Rigger Beaver. To make matters worse, 2 of them came from the very edge of a grass bed, 2 came from directly under a thick mat, and one out of the middle of a grass bed that wasn't matted thickly. How is that for a pattern?
Very rarely do I have a day on the water where I feel like I couldn't get anything going. Yesterday was just one of those days and I am glad I wasn't fishing a tournament. I really struggle at slowing down sometimes. It's just one area of my game I need to improve going forward. However, I am very glad I was able to experiment a bit going into a busy stretch of tournaments.