• Shawn the Fisherman


A busy week at the StF household led to minimal time on the water. On top of that, the fishing Gods taught me a harsh lesson on one of the two days I got out. On the other day, Bobby Roast Beef came to a realization of his own.

But first, the report is being published a bit late this week. Yesterday, my closest coworker, supervisor, mentor, concert wingman, fellow Jerky Boy aficionado, and friend paid WMass a visit. He reached his military retirement date during the lockdown this summer, and we were unable to give him the proper welcome to the civilian world. With his visit yesterday to get some personal items from a coworker, a handful of us gave him a quiet, socially distant retirement farewell around the firepit in my backyard. I’m sure he felt 20 years went amazingly quickly, and just want to pass along the biggest CONGRATS and THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE that I can. It was an absolute honor to serve with him.

Along the same theme, Saturday was a big day for the Jigs and Bigs family. Myself, Bobby Roast Beef, and crack fishing correspondent Andy were joined on Big Alum Pond in Sturbridge by the owner of Old Glory, Joe, and Wild Bill, repping the Hookset Hoodlums. Our game plan was to fish Alum for a few hours, then head over to Old Glory for a special podcast recording session. It was windy and clear that morning, and while most of us landed Bass and a few Trout, Bobby felt some tourney pressure after having a bad day. (Feel free to catch this week’s podcast for more details and the following on-air therapy session.) I threw a Ned-rig for the entire day, knowing that the conditions and the popularity of the lake for anglers prompted finesse applications. I was rewarded with a small cluster of Largemouth willing to bite on the windblown side of a submerged point. From that spot, and with the lake crowding with Trout anglers due to the recent stocking, I headed back towards the launch. I helped a group get their diving platform to shore for winter, then managed to land my largest Tiger Trout to date, putting me (unbelievably) in front of Mark Huard in the Chronic Trips’ tourney Trout category. There was only one thing left to do after landing and loading my kayak into my truck, and that was give Andy a hand loading his Bass boat onto his trailer. Things went horribly awry, and you can find out what happened on the podcast.

From there, I stopped to grab ice for the Tiger and the two Rainbows Andy had caught and saved for me in his livewell. Once at Old Glory, Bobby setup and stepped behind his portable recording station, and I hosted a Veterans’ Roundtable discussion that will be airing for Veterans Day. Andy, Bill, Joe, and myself were joined remotely by Berkshire Brett and we had a blast talking about where and how our military careers and outdoor passions met and affected each other. I’m really looking forward to getting to relisten to the conversation, as it seemed to be over in a blink. Hope you all enjoy it as well.

Sunday was a bit of a shock. While I did cover it extensively on the show, I’ll give a brief recap here. Nelson, Cousin Jon, and I went looking for Pike way up da’ ‘shires on the Housatonic River. What happened was the aforementioned fishing karma. Most folks know that I love my crankbaits and are generally successful with them. Well, Sunday, the tables were turned. Nelson and Jon each caught personal best Northerns with Nelson hitting three pike at 25”,26’, and 27”, while Jon bagged a 31” about 20 minutes into the morning.While I did manage to get a Smallmouth on the tourney scoreboard with a crankbait, and upgrade a Yellow Perch with a jerkbait, I found myself pretty much junk-fishing and losing lures for most of the day. I was finally able to land a small Northern on a “Clown”-patterned suspending jerkbait, and that’s when we called it a day. The crankbait-guy couldn’t land a fish on a crankbait, but his partners did. The fishing deities ensured I drove home a humbled man.

That’s about enough of my week. Here’s what our correspondents had to share regarding their Western Mass fishing adventures…

Andy focused all his fishing of the week at the Big Alum outing. Aside from the Rainbow Trout he picked up on a lipless crankbait, he laid out a Nibbler Smallmouth with a topwater bait early. After the recording session, he finally scratched a long-term itch and picked up a rod and reel from Old Glory for topwater frogging. He’s been talking about picking up that specialty rig for some time, and was happy to find what he wanted (13 Fishing Rod, and a high speed reel that I didn’t catch the make of). I have no doubt he’ll put it to good use!

Berkshires Brett sent me a quick text this week during a schoolwork break to make sure that anglers know about the trout stocking up da’ ‘shires has been going strong this week, and to check the MA DCR stocking page to see if your favorite waters have been stocked. He also wanted to pass along that recent rains have done wonders for water levels at the higher elevations. Water temps have dropped with the rains and triggered any remaining hesitant predatory fish into starting their fall binges. Hit the water, says Brett!

Cousin Jon only gets a picture this week. Along with a congratulations for his personal best Northern Pike!

Nelson had a weekend for the ages. He did some camping up da’ ‘shires with his family and was able to slip away to fish on a couple occasions. Saturday morning he laid waste to a couple Largemouth up at Prospect Lake in Egremont. Sunday morning was the Housatonic PIKE-POCALYPSE where he and Jon revoked my crankbait privileges. Nelson also managed to hook into a Nibbler Smallmouth and two Nibbler Largemouth on the river. He noted that he cycled through around 10 different baits before keying in on a small Bluegill-replicating crankbait that did the trick. After putting up those big tourney numbers on the river, Nelson finished the evening back at Prospect. He hit a Perch quickly on a bladed jig, then switched over to a natural-colored weightless stickworm. The change resulted in a 23” Pickerel, a 16” Largemouth, and a 19” Largemouth. He also regretted missing another Pickerel in the same size range as the first. Seriously, what a day for him. Nelson quietly finished the week with an unsuccessful trip to the Swift River to put some Trout on the board. Unfortunately for him, none paid any attention to his Rooster Tails or worms. Unsurprisingly after Sunday’s fireworks, he’s now seated in first place of the Competitor Division in the Chronic Trips tourney.

Tim Jacques got out to the Connecticut River Oxbow this week, where he delivered strange news. There was a skunk in his boat. With the water at 60 degrees, he threw spinnerbaits and squarebills relentlessly, but only managed a follow on a squarebill and a Smallmouth make a run at a spinnerbait. The skunk won out. The next day at his home waters of the Congamond Lakes, Tim hooked into numerous quality fish deep between 15’-30’. Drop-shots, Ned Rigs, and deep-diving crankbaits put the fish in the boat. Gotta love redemption!

Old Glory’s Joe had only one outing this week, the Alum adventure. He did provide some details on his catches. Eight Largemouth fell to a drop-shotted flatworm. While none of the Bass were of size, he and Bill did manage to land a couple aggressive stocked Rainbow on crankbaits. Joe noted that the Trout were attacking everything, so if you’re targeting them, get out there soon before the ones that aren’t harvested become lure-educated.

That’s all we’ve got for this week. Be sure to take a look at the Chronic Trips Elevated multispecies fishing tourney that started October 1, Still plenty of time to enter and do some damage in the standings!

Of course, 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

As always, please feel free to email me at jigsandbigs413@gmail.com for any input or feedback.

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


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