It feels like April has been colder than December these last 2 weeks, and I'm loving it. It has been nice having the lakes to myself. I'm hoping that these cooler temperatures are going to push the spawn back so I can get some more sight fishing in come tournament season. I'm still not seeing 50 degrees in the places where the shallowest "warmest" water is but a couple days of warm weather and that is going to change quick.
The one nice thing about having an extended cold snap this spring is it has given me more time to work on figuring out where to fish right when the ice comes off. Normally it is pretty easy to figure out, but these lakeshore lakes don't set up for the ice out bite nearly as well as most of the inland lakes do. There is some really obvious stuff that is going to work, but searching around has been a lot more fun when the wind isn't howling. Still have a lot of work to really dial it in (blade baits have been doing well), but I'm finding more and more places where I can see them swimming around down there. We have been out on some pretty miserable days, even a couple times where the temps are in the 20's. One morning we started when it was 24 degrees and a frost layer formed on the whole boat. I've hit the water many times when it's in the 20's but that was the first time I'd seen that happen. The bonus of that is there is no one else on the lakes!
But it seems like we went from one extreme to the other. Amanda said it even hit 80 degrees this past weekend. I went from catching fish out deep to catching them in a foot of water out of bushes pretty quick! Speaking of the bushes thing, I had another example of why the Nemesis Baits bullet craw is so good. I was catching them on a bullet craw pretty good, but for some reason I wanted to switch to a jig. I tied the jig on and went back to flipping, I watched 2 fish go down on my bait in open water and not eat it. Seemed weird but not too out of the ordinary, until I came up on a perfect stretch of bushes. It was small, only about 10 yards, and I knew they had to be in there. I picked it apart with the jig and never got a bite. I immediately went back through it with the bullet craw and got 8 bites. It was crazy the difference it made. The coolest part of that trip was it was Hutch's first bass boat trip. He only jumped off the boat when he wasn't supposed to one time and no treble hooks in him. He is only allowed in the back of the boat and Amanda kept a close eye on him. He seemed to think every bass was a bumper that he was supposed to put in his mouth. It was a blast and I think he is going to adapt to the boat just fine this summer.
The most exciting thing that has happened lately was definitely a trip to St. Clair with Dave Hoeker and Kyle Borst. I was expecting big things and it did not disappoint. I haven't spent much time out there but when I have it has never been one of those awesome days by St. Clair standards. We absolutely went to work on them, even though I brought the fish clicker along (it can be like having a camera in the boat). It wasn't long and it was on, and we were clicking away. I think we had four triples throughout the day and tons of doubles. We did most of the damage on blade baits, tubes, and something we like to call swimbait Sally. By the end of the day we had clicked up to 205 and who knows how many we lost, but it was a bunch. The really exciting thing was the quality of fish we caught, I would say around 50 fish were 4lbs or better. I know we had fish over 5 too, but who knows how many since we never broke out the scale. They just went into a 4lbs or better category in my head. Anyway, it was a beautiful day full of giant fish and laughs, and it won't be one that is soon forgotten or topped.
I've also pretty much figured out what I'll be fishing this season. Once again Shaun Ford and I are going to fish the D&R tournament trail, but I'll also jump into some opens during Memorial day weekend. For sure I'll travel back and do the Oakland Bass Masters Kent Lake Open and maybe the Portage Lake Katchem League tournament. Then I'll be coming back to the westside for the West Michigan Bass Memorial Day Open. Hopefully I'll get a chance to get some practice in for more than one of those tournaments because I'll probably be trying to catch ones I can see. During the week I'm going to switch it up and fish West Michigan Bass Mondays this year with my buddy Cameron. I'll still do some of the ROI Thursdays, but I'd like to qualify and fish for the West Michigan Bass classic up north. I also want to mix it up a little bit on some different fisheries. I'll be looking forward to learning the Grand a little better too (especially how it changes throughout the season) and fishing Lake Macatawa for the first time(even though I never hear anything good about it). I'm sure I'll jump into some other stuff too, like the Hair of the Dog event on Muskegon and August and maybe a BBT.
I've seen a couple new things lately too. I got my first look at the new Dobyns Rods HP series. The little things they did to make them look cool is impressive. The adjustments to the reel seat, new cork, and graphics/texture to the base of the blank makes them look amazing. Looking at the rod it just screams high end and once you have it in your hand so does it's feel/performance. ClearH2O Tackle is a Dobyns dealer so if you are in the market for one Darrin is a great guy to get a hold of.
The other new thing I wanted to talk about is a new website design. It is going to change up quite a bit from what it is now. I got the first sneak peak of it from Brandirawks Productions this week, and I'm excited. Not sure when it is going to launch, but it is coming. Another addition that has come about from the new website is I now have a Facebook page. It isn't something I ever wanted to do, I honestly think that unless you have a TV show or are a true professional angler that no one should have one, but since I can't get a personal Facebook page linked up, this is my only choice to keep the site as modern and effective as possible. I will work hard to make it worthwhile for people to follow, complete with different content than my personal page so don't expect a bunch of double postings. Another little note is that if you haven't been keeping up with the Dock Talk episodes all three westside episodes are now up on the dock talk website.
The last thing I've got is that FishSens is going to be giving away some SondeCAM's. Both Facebook and Instagram will be involved so if you have either of those it will be worth your time to check out the FishSens page and see what is going on.
It feels good to be fishing again and have a little more content to write about. That being said it also means this time of year gets crazy busy between life, work, other responsibilities and fishing. Looking forward to what is to come in 2016.