150 fish per two consecutive days!

S
Senkosam
I'm sure many of you have had banner days when right place/right time allowed some record catches and we've all dreamt of being that lucky. And so it went Tues. and Wed.

In the northeast, we had a record amount of rain in a short time that raised water levels like crazy in all lakes and rivers. In the lake I fished yesterday, the lake was up 2.5 feet affecting the spawn locations of yellow perch - one of the first fish to spawn in spring. Where perch spawn, most fish follow to eat their eggs. I'm talking about four to five other fish species that are in dense, mixed-species schools in water no more than 3' deep. I'm talk'n crappie with perch and sunfish; white perch with crappie, yellow perch with crappy and a few bass in the same school.
wetland channel I had to row to get to schools of fish:


Granted, a child could catch fish-after-fish in that scenario, but one thing it allowed me to do is to discover and rediscover more things about lures - particularly about soft plastics on light ball head jigs. When fishing a wetlands shallow water pattern, it pays to work lures slowly, mid-depth. To do that 1/32, 1/64 and 1/24 oz jigs are a must along with hook sizes to match. A lure can be 3" on a 1/32 oz jig but the hook size/gap must be at least a #2 hook, like this example of a 5" plastic worm that caught all kinds of fish yesterday - many on the same lures:

perch, sunfish and bass caught on the same 4" plastic worm:


Float fishing isn't my forte and especially not in 3' of water, but when you find dense schools of very irritable fish, anything is possible. When I tried a small cigar float it opened doors as far as ultra-slow fishing using a rod pull & pause presentation!! Cool was seeing crappie attack the float once it plopped down, at times jumping out of the water! Many lures worked under the float and one that excelled over all others was the Mojo grub made from using clear plastic:

Used under a cigar float:

I've poured clear plastic shapes before, but the clear plastic Mojo - even in murky water - did as well as any color! The thin, straight tail flutters with the least motion imparted.
White perch on a clear plastic Mojo grub:


Another find was the Chubby Grub made from cutting 2" off the front of a plastic worm (like the one shown above), blunting the end with a lighter: Nothing says, come & eat me like the wagging of a Chubby Grub rigged on a 1/32 oz jig!


Having been a bass angler for years, I can understand staying with heavier lures. But light tackle fishing has a lot to be said for it - regardless of freshwater species.
 
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S
Senkosam
I try to learn new things on every outing. Lure craft and tackle in general, allow me to correct the misinformation I believed for years reading or watching fishing shows. What I learned or confirmed from those two days:

1. the potential of clear plastic lures (as if I didn't know that from years og catching bass on clear plastic surface lures like the Zara Spook and PopR.)
Clear soft plastic lures are like chameleons constantly changing color depending on light and background in the water, plus light is reflected from the upper surface and within the body's internal bottom surface for easy visualization by fish in moderately clear/colored water. Note the differences in the photos. It is a subtle color that goes beautifully with the small-float slow & subtle presentation.
2. small cigar floats with pegs top and bottom to fix the line length beneath the float, has zero line tangles above the float like experienced using light jig heads.
3. float fishing is a valuable presentation when used with jigs and certain lure designs such as the thin-tail Mojo. I used it to catch 40+ fish in 3.5' and will be able to do the same in deeper water when fish are found deeper.
4. the Chubby short stick had a great action: body quiver and wobble that caught fish after fish.
5. Thin 3" worms - of the tapered design shown - had a unique whip action that caught 5 fish species. In fact all lures used that day caught at least 5 species of fish.
Key was using a light jig - 1/32 oz, and #4 hook that enhanced the action. Any heavier jig and/or shorter or longer hook would not have allowed that lure action or the slow mid-depth presentation in 4'.
6. Don't take good days in early spring for granted. Soon after, the weather got nasty and stayed nasty: 20's at night, daytime highs in the 40's, constant clouds, torrential rain on some days and worse than anything - high winds that gusted to over 25 mph for a week. The days I went, it was sunny, 58 degrees with wind that never gusted over 12mph.

Everything indicated above was discovered by trial & error.
 
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NKlamerus
NKlamerus
Love the technique

I still use small 3" natural colored worms and 1/64oz ball head jigs for rainbow trout here.

But I heavily heavily realied on a similar setup for inshore fishing down south, clear "matrix shads" with a 3/8oz ball head jig were one of the few things finesse enough to fool trout and redfish on blue sky days in a foot of water. I would custom order the jigheads with heavy duty Gamakatsu hooks off eBay, in packs of 50.

The shads are 3" and the jighead was just enough to make long casts to potholes but not spook anything. Great thing about a jighead is you can change your whole presentation without retying, their slightly stained version of the same shad with a green pumpkin back would absolutely smoke them as well

10# line, 7' light action rod was a blast

Have you ever seen a castaic jerky J? Very similar shape to your stinger tails, maybe a little less action. Great minnow imitation though

 
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S
Senkosam
Thanks so much for your detailed reply!
I went with a partner yesterday and from 9:30 am - 2:30 pm we caught a total of 126 fish with two more species added to the above - including a 1 3/4 lb smallmouth bass - that the lake wasn't supposed to have. (I did put smallmouth from a local river into the lake over 20 years ago. Could some have spawned?)
SM and the spot caught at the base of the chimney.

Larger LM bass were caught and the coloration of the pumpkinseeds was amazing - far more so than last time!
The lake changed since my last visit and so did fish concentration locations. The same cove produced over 30 fish in 3' but one straight shoreline held over 40 fish along a 30 yd. stretch adjacent to the wetlands in 3'. The lake dropped 3/4' so I guess the shallow wetland activity is coming to a close.
I went to a lighter jig (1/32 oz) and smaller soft plastics to be able to slow down the retrieve just a bit. It seemed to increase the number of consecutive catches - again, of all species. A Crappie Magnet caught over 30 fish - including the smallmouth in 7' near a building chimney (It usually holds LM bass).

I have used the Castaic Jerky J and Mann's Shadow (similar in design) for bass - no jighead. They are great jerk baits in shallow water but limited to larger fish. Guess I am after numbers vs size, though I wouldn't refuse to catch the quality of fish you showed.

A perfect weather day with some clouds and little wind. The pads are growing and at mid-depth soon to surface. Different structure will hold more fish other than yesterday's spawn-related locations. Guess the lake is finally coming back after years of 3700 grass carp damage introduced over 12 years ago.
 
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