Sportman’s Corner: A good morning of fishing

Published: 8/25/2022 4:03:34 PM
Modified: 8/25/2022 3:59:58 PM

Bass fishing seems to be picking up as the summer peaks. There are many factors, including water temperature and level, moon phase and fishing activity.

For a number of reasons, this writer has not done as much fishing this summer, but last Sunday, my brother-in-law Norm McDade was staying with us at the pond. We had hosted a mini-reunion of friends from our years at Salem State College. My wife and her twin sister Pam McDade were fellow SSC grads and a crew of 19 alums and spouses gathered and enjoyed fellowship, food and a lot of stories. Next year will mark 50 years since graduation.

Norm and I both were up at dawn and were ready to do a little fishing. It was a good sign when Norm caught a bass when he cast from the dock. Once away from the dock, we both hooked up to nice bass in the 2-pound class and all signs pointed to a good morning.

What was interesting was the fact that we were both taking fishing what we call “outside” — that is, away from shore and structure. Instead of finding fish along the shoreline near rocks and lily pads, more bites were coming in 10 to 15 feet of water.

As we moved around the pond, that pattern held true. Norm was throwing a soft “jerk bait” that stayed close to the surface while my fish were coming on descending Gary Yamamoto soft baits, mostly Senkos. Color is always a question and green, black and gray all worked while chartreuse with a white bottom was best.

The action was steady and after an hour and a half we had landed about 20 nice bass. It was obvious from a quick examination of each fish that they were in great shape. Most were chunky, and the distended bellies indicated that the fish were actively feeding. Whatever triggered the frenzy, we were glad to be enjoying great action. With a couple of exceptions, all the fish were between 2 and just over 3 pounds on the Berkley digital scale. It was as good an outing as either of us could remember.

During our ramblings, we were reminded of an earlier outing at the pond when a bass that took my Senko had eaten a mouse that it was regurgitating as I unhooked it. It was fun trying to imagine the scenario that led to that happening. Over the years, snakes, newly hatched turtles and lots of small yellow perch had also shown up in bass. My father told a story of watching newly hatched goslings swim past his house on the pond and being amazed as a bass grabbed the last one in the line. A fish has to eat, and big fish need big meals!

The calendar reminds me of things that must get done as summer wanes. Time to rent the pond house, move back to Orange, get the hunting gear sorted out, do some clay bird shooting and get the dogs in shape. This week the dog work began in earnest for Laney while Dinah gets a lot of slack as she approaches 15. Grouse seasons open the last week in September in New York, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, and Oct. 15 in Massachusetts. Woodcock season opens in Vermont on Sept. 24 and all the other Northeast states on Oct. 1. This writer is looking forward to a getaway to Tim Pond Camps in Maine during late September for some grouse hunting and relaxation, and maybe some trout fishing as well.

Other great September destinations include Lake Ontario, where fall fishing is outstanding. It is prime time for big Chinook salmon (kings), and the trout fishing is also very good. The Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine coasts are known for fall striper fishing as they are fattened up and heading south. Unfortunately, the drought conditions may cause a delay in Massachusetts fall trout stocking. Lakes and ponds should still get fish although it may be later than usual.

Massachusetts early Canada goose season, aimed at the resident nuisance goose population, will open Sept. 2 and end Sept. 24. This year, for the first time, shooting hours, for the early resident season only, will be from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. That is different from all other waterfowl seasons, which end at sunset.

Mike Roche is a retired teacher who has been involved in conservation and wildlife issues his entire life. He has written the Sportsman’s Corner since 1984 and has served as advisor to the Mahar Fish’N Game Club, counselor and director of the Massachusetts Conservation Camp, former Connecticut Valley District representative on the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board, has been a Massachusetts Hunter Education Instructor and is a licensed New York hunting guide. He can be reached at

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