• Shawn the Fisherman

WMASS FISHING REPORT: 10/22/2020




Friday’s cold front put a damper on fishing all over the state for a prolonged period. While I spent my weekend camping at Cape Cod, I did manage to get out once this week in WMass, in the hopes of upgrading tourney submissions.

I covered my Cape Cod exploits on this week’s Jigs & Bigs podcast. I didn’t exactly have a banner trip, as a massive cold front moved through Friday night, and the Bass had shut down by the time the rains passed midday Saturday. I was able to get a couple good-sized Pickerel to hammer plastics, but that was the only highlight on the fishing end of things. Monday, I was able to get a couple hours out on the Connecticut River Oxbow over in Easthampton. I saw plenty of shallow blowups, but the only thing I could convince to bite was an undersized Bluegill. Adding to the misery was that I felt a cold coming on, which has kept me off the water since. Miserable week, but these things happen. Luckily enough, I’m still sitting atop my division in the Chronic trips tourney after all that. Especially since my major Pickerel numbers never came to pass, and Mark Huard’s major Trout numbers inevitably will!

This week's report is brought to you by campfire Largemouth bass pizzas. So, where are we at for fishing this year? 2020 has been undoubtably the most pressured year for water bodies in anyone’s memory. Retailers completely sold out of fishing gear. Recreational and novice anglers covering water due to COVID lockdowns. (That’s not a bad thing. People getting out fishing and growing the sport is a positive!) And now, we’re at the final stretch of weather warm enough to sustain open water. Surface temps have dwindled down to the 50s and low 60s, and fish are still feeding heavily to sustain themselves over the winter. Waters have cleared of the summer and COVID traffic. And hunters have taken to tree stands or swapped their rods for waterfowl gear in their boats. That’s where a couple of our correspondents, Berkshire Brett and Cousin Jon have found themselves this week. I’ve been watching Brett’s tree stand videos and hoping that Jon saves me a choice cut from one of the ducks he’s harvested recently. They’ll both be passing fishing tidbits along between now and safe ice, I’m sure (see Brett’s entry this week), but I just want to thank them for their reports during this inaugural report season and wish them well hunting. See you on the hardwater, gentlemen!

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

Berkshires Brett just wanted to pass along that while fishing has slowed significantly up da’ ‘shires, Trout anglers will find an increased bite and waters all to themselves if they venture west. Waters are still open, and Trout have been stocked. He advised enjoying the peace and quiet, whether from shore or boat, and get on the Trout before ice-over.

Andy hit his favorite nearby water, Otis Reservoir, a couple times this week. His first trip was during a bit of rain, and he was able to nab a good-sized Largemouth that was lingering on a grass flat using a lipless crankbait. Andy saw numerous fish on the deep sides of islands and points but was unable to coax them into biting anything. His next outing there was from the shoreline, particularly around docks. He noted the water was still in the low 50s, and he kept yo-yoing a lipless crankbait around nearby weedlines. The technique proved effective to a handful of Largemouth and a 17” Brown Trout! Once the stocking trucks depart, you never know what you’ll hook into.

Nelson sent me a small novel regarding his fishing this week. Which was awesome. As most of you listening to the podcast know, he’s been on top of the leaderboard of the Competitor Division in the October Chronic Trips monthly. He added points this week by targeting Trout in freshwater, and anything that has gills in the salt. Nelson started in a small WMass pond for Trout, which he relayed was frustrating due to the light hits. A dozen swiped at his small crankbait, but only four were landed. While landing that many Trout was a good thing, Nelson wasn’t very pleased with the amount of fish left in the water. Understandable. He finished the week with a trip off the coast of RI, where he landed Black Sea Bass and a few schoolie Stripers for tourney upgrades, noting that one of the Blackfish hit so hard that he nearly went for a swim! Great job employing strategy for the tourney by him, and good luck to everyone in the division with him. They’ll need it!

Tim Jacques, a master of consistency, continues to catch fish deep at Congamond Lakes. He passed along that fish haven’t moved much from the 15-30’ depths they’ve been hanging out at. Drop-shotting plastics has been his technique of choice to get them in the boat when water is still, then switching over to jerkbaits and lipless crankbaits when the wind picks up. One unintentionally hilarious note, Tim texted me yesterday with some realtime updates. He sent a message that he was tiring of the parade of 14”-15” Largemouth, then a pic of a rod rigged up with a large, segmented swimbait and let me know he was swinging for the fences. Exactly 10 minutes later, he sent a follow-up picture of what appeared to be a 7” Largemouth that had attacked the bait. I found this to be hilarious and felt Tim’s pain, as I’ve had numerous small fish over the years manage to somehow impale themselves on the large treble hooks on Zara Spooks. To the point where I’m convinced I’d snagged a couple leaves. Once again, proving the point that Bass will eat anything they think is a meal.

Ryan Bogli hit the road for one of his normal WMass run-and-gun trips AFTER the front moved through the area. He said he made three stops, and the only catch of note was a 2.25 lb. (!) Crappie that was apparently feeding after the rain. Other than that he only offered up a resolution that he’d be back on Bass soon enough.

Joe at Old Glory hasn’t been on the water since the tourney he hosted at Lake Singletary last weekend (details on this week’s podcast), but he wanted to pass along congratulations to the winners on a miserably tough day of fishing, Jay from Boag Hog Baits and Ryan of the Lunker Lads. I know how tough it is to fill out a limit during post-frontal conditions, so nice job by both. Joe also passed along some varied reports he’s getting from customers. Barea bass continue to hit crankbaits along with Texas-Rigged plastics, and smaller soft swimbaits. Alongside the red-hot Trout bite all over the area, Joe said he received word that landlocked-Salmon action at Wachusett Reservoir has picked up in a couple areas as they may be getting ready to spawn. Joe’s been getting more positive reports as last week’s front gets further in the rearview. With another front scheduled to work its way through midway through the weekend, its a good idea to head out for any species while you have the chance.

That’s all we’ve got for this week. Make sure you check out the podcast, as Bobby and I have been offering up some great giveaways and plotting future listener events!

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!

-StF

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