• Shawn the Fisherman


TRANSITION is the magic word around Western Mass this week. The leaves are finally changing, we had our first nasty cold spell, and the fish in the higher elevations seemed to have moved shallow to binge before the nasty cold gets here.

The report correspondents, myself included, also did a bit of moving around to different spots and parts of New England to fish this week. With the resumption of my college classes, I was only able to get on the ‘yak twice this week. My first trip was out to Cape Cod solo this past weekend. I hit 3 of my favorite waters out there and stopped in at Mac’s Fish & Lobster Restaurant in Chatham for lunch. (Also a favorite.) I hit a few bass at each, and a 23.5” Pickerel at one, but the only real item of note was that the eastern water temps are still in the 70s.

The following afternoon, I met Andy on his bassboat up at Lake Buel. I was planning on focusing on Trout with live bait, in preparation for the October Chronic Trips monthly tourney. My plan was successful, as far as catching edible-sized Yellow Perch. It was unsuccessful on the Trout side of things. As I was rigging up when we first hit the water, Andy hooked into a good-sized Pickerel, and, laughing hysterically, swung it onto the boat into the small of my back. Good times. Andy also fished at Big Pond (Otis) before slapping my backside with a member of the Esox family. He noted the water was at 60 degrees, and he was able to pull a couple decent bass in the neighborhood of 16” near exposed rocks on topwater. He also had plenty of hits on a LiveTarget frog shallow and around pads once we started at Buel. One thing I will say, I have noticed that I’ve been getting hits around pads since the cold spell. On both ends of the state. May be something to keep in mind when fishing, as Andy showed, I’m not the only one experiencing this.

All in all, there seems to be a lull while anglers adjust to their quarry’s shifting behavior, and it was a recurring theme this week. My podcast cohort, Bobby Roast Beef, was only able to nab a single Largemouth throughout his numerous adventures. While his friend Pawel had a great couple days with some decent bass action. He’s also an extremely snappy dresser, as seen below.

Owner of Old Glory Outdoors, Joe, a snappy dresser in his own right, also had some info to pass along. First off, he echoed my thoughts on the recent bass slowdown after the cold. He said the only large fish he’d heard of being caught recently was a 4 pound Largemouth by pro-staffer Robbie. Robbie lifted the piggy from Lake Lashaway on a Shakey-head rigged worm. Our conversation then veered to Trout. Stocking started this past week in the center of the state, (Check the Mass DCR website to see the map showing stocked waters.), and Joe and I both heard reports of schools of freshly stocked fish boiling the water surface in the shallows while feeding. If you’re a Trout angler, it’s time to start prowling the lakes! Joe has a 2-day tourney this weekend, so good luck to him, and looking forward to reporting how things went next week.

Berkshires Brett had a quick report this week. The only chance he had to get a line wet was in the Housatonic recently. His target? Pike, of course. Brett let me know that he had plenty of action at small inlets off the main river that were perfect ambush points for the toothy predators. Brett said that the recent cold snap has definitely turned the Pike bite on out west, and I believe him. So much so, that I’ll be making a short trip out there tomorrow to see if I can land a few species for the tournament. I did make sure to ask him for permission first, as the Berkshires are his home, not mine! Tim Jacques took a breather from his big win last weekend at the final Mass Bass federation team trail tourney of 2020, the TOC, at Lake Wentworth, NH. Nice job Tim! And I’m sure he’ll be back on the water this coming week. Meanwhile, Cousin Jon did not win a tourney, and did not buy me chips this week. He did, however, get out to one of his favorite smaller ponds in the Valley this week. There he found the fish to be finicky, only getting hits on weighted creature baits, and finally landing a 12” Nibbler. That creature bait bite just never really stopped for Jon or I this year, and I’m curious to see when the fish while tire of it.

Ryan had the most time on the water of all the “Jigheads” as Bobby and I have begun referring to this fine crew of correspondents. Ryan started the weekend slow, getting on a bassboat with some high expectations. There were fish breaking the surface everywhere, but he only came away with Pike and Pickerel using topwater lures and jerkbaits. That night, he skulked the shore, firing a Bull Shad wakebait into the darkness. He was rewarded with a 21.5” monster bass! That’s the think about such lures: you may only get one fish a night, but that fish is generally not small! After resting up on Saturday, he resumed fishing Sunday. First up was a kayak trip to a small WMass pond that was full of bass up to 16” that were eagle to tackle spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Finally, to cap the weekend, he decided to hit a body of water in Springfield. He said he spent about 2 hours bringing in numerous smaller bass, then he had a larger unknown fish grab a jig, take off running, and rip line off his spool. Ryan said the fish ran for near two minutes while his drag was screaming, and it threw the hook without him ever seeing what it was. I included this part of his adventure because he noted that he’d never seen a freshwater fish take off running like that, and it shocked him to have whatever it was at the end of his line.

That’s all we’ve got for this week. Be sure to check out the Chronic Trips Elevated multispecies fishing tourney that starts October 1! If you haven’t heard Bobby and I talk about it on the show, we both feel that it’s a great, relatively inexpensive first step into competitive fishing, and we recommend it to anyone considering that!

As always, please take the time to visit the following local Bait and Tackle shops in your travels.

BG Sporting Inc., Westfield

Ben’s Tackle Shack, Brookfield

Flagg’s Fly & Tackle, Orange

Granby Bait & Tackle, Granby

My 4 Sons Bait & Tackle, Lee

Old Glory Outdoors, East Brookfield

R&R Sport Shop LLC, Belchertow

Red Bridge Bait & Tackle, Ludlow

Feel free to email Bobby Roast Beef at jigsandbigs413@gmail.com for any input or feedback. He makes sure it gets to me!

Thanks for reading, stay safe and rip some lips this week!


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