Bass opener was a great success this year. Perfect weather, great fishing conditions, and great company. I decided to spend this long-awaited event at my cabin in Aitkin County. Fishing alongside me this weekend was my Dad, his wife, and my wife Sarah. We brought the pup up and he had a blast spending the whole weekend running around in the Great Outdoors. Below I will summarize what the lures and presentations I used to have a successful MN Bass Opener.
Initially on the first day out, I started the day by fan-casting an area with sporadic emergent vegetation, reeds to be exact, using a white with grey speckled Strike King spinner bait. There was a slight breeze to distrupt the surface of the water, so I thought a spinnerbait would work well as the breeze would somewhat mask my lure. I ended up catching 3 bass, the largest being over 18 inches and I estimate it was around 3-3.5 lbs.
On the following day, the water was a bit calmer and I decided to use my polarized sunglasses to my advantage. I noticed that the water temperature was between 61.5-63 degrees. This is perfect spawning temperatures. I decided to search the shallows to see if the bass had begun to spawn and if I could see beds. The water was stained but really clear, so I could see almost everything in 5ft or less of water. Sure enough, I spotted a few big bass holding to beds, along with many crappies holding to their beds as well. So, I decided to switch from my spinner bait to a bait that would entice the bass to protect their beds, as they would not be moving far off of them to chase baitfish.
I decided to go with a black with red flake salamander lizard soft plastic lure. I Texas-rigged this on a Gamakatsu 4/0 EWG hook with a 1/4 oz bullet weight. I was using a 7 ft medium heavy rod with a Quantum Accurist baitcaster spooled with 17 lb flourocarbon line. Once I had this bait rigged up, it pretty much did the work for me. I would make a medium distance cast where I knew there were beds around. I would estimate that 80% or more of my strikes occurred as the lure was falling off of the inital cast. I would let the bass take it in their mouth for a second, then rear back and set the hook. I literally caught between 10-15 3-lb bass using this technique. I caught a few smaller males that were cruising around as well. My dad was pitching a jig for a bit with limited success, and once I got him switched over to the salamander, he was catching the big ones as well.
I read that bass absolutely hate lizards and salamanders because they are a naturally enemy of their hatch. This is why I decided to use them this day and give it a try. Now I have to restock my arsenal as the bass just demolished almost all of them. Overall, it was a great trip with lots of fish caught. All bass were quickly released and I watch many of them head right back to their spawning site.
I should have a video posted soon, but I want to edit out some of the down time when I didn't catch a fish. Actually, I didn't catch a fish at all on camera, but my dad caught a nice 3 lber on film. He said that he performs well under pressure...
Thanks for visiting!
PS- Sarah caught a beauty of a fish in between reading her books. She exclaimed "Put me on the blog!" So here it is..
Carl "Skip" Spande