• Shawn the Fisherman


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! As expected, the number of anglers on the water has dropped with our seasonal conditions. Some higher elevations are seeing (dreaded) skim ice every morning, but that doesn’t mean the fish aren’t biting when the water opens up as it warms.

I was able to get out with Nelson and Cousin Jon to the small backwater that I landed my largest Northern Pike from in October. I had hope for a Nibbler Largemouth, which would have put me at 600, a bright spot of the abyss known as 2020. The backwater is divided into a couple sections with a channel running between, and the part we launched at already had 2 kayakers and a gent on a Bass Buggy fishing it. Jon and I paddled over to the other section, where we didn’t garner as much as a nibble for 30 minutes or so. The Bass Buggy moved over to us, freeing up space, so we headed to Nelson. As I began to probe a beaver lodge with a jig, I got a text from Nelson. A pic of him hoisting a 20.75” FAT Largemouth (which resulted in me hurling some well-intentioned obscenities his way). The other anglers had departed, and we ended up having the water to ourselves until dark. Water was hovering between a brisk 40 to 41 degrees, but the Bass and Pickerel were more than willing to bite jigs and crankbaits. I ended up pulling my best, a 16” Largie, from the aforementioned beaver lodge, and finished with 7 Bass and a Pickerel total, with another half dozen or so “long distance releases” to end the day with a whopping 606 Largemouth from Massachusetts this year. Most fish taking a jig being bounced through the remnants of weed beds on drops at 5-7’ of water, however, an individual inhaled a lipless crankbait. Nelson landed 3 Bass and a Pickerel himself, all on a smaller model of lipped crankbait, and Jon dodged the skunk by getting a Nibbler into the kayak.

Moe, Larry, and Curly have confirmed: the Bass are still hungry.

The lesson to be learned here, and contrary to popular belief, northern Largemouth don’t stop biting when the temperature drops suddenly in the Fall, then suddenly begin feeding again when ice is formed overhead in the Winter. The fish feed throughout the year, and as long as an angler can (a) tolerate the elements and (b) find open water, Bass will still aggressively attack lures. And as Nelson showed this week, trophy-sized Bass.

Here’s what our correspondents had to share regarding their Western Mass fishing (or hunting) adventures…

Cousin Jon and Nelson have their fishing activity chronicled above, but both may be heading out for some waterfowl action before we get solid ice. To which I would like to offer them both my services in ensuring that anything they harvest is properly prepared for eating. It’s good to have someone taste such vittles to ensure they highest quality, and I’ll be happy to take one for the team there.

Neither Joe, Andy, nor Ryan have been out this week, and are knocking out various responsibilities while patiently waiting for some solid ice. Not uncommon ‘round these parts lately.

Tim, on the other hand, is as passionate an open-water angler that can be found in Western Mass, and possibly, the nation. He headed out twice this week, once to fish the Connecticut River, then up ‘da ‘shires to an unnamed location. He noted the water temps were in the low 40s at both locations, prompting him to fish blade baits deep (down past 20’). He let me know that numerous quality Bass were biting at the River, and at his mystery lake, he landed only 1, but did have plenty of action. Tim, you’re a trooper.

Finally, I texted Brett this morning with a holiday greeting and a request for an ice update in the mountains. He let me know that while skim ice has been forming everywhere daily, the mild daytime temps, combined with the rain we’ve been getting sporadically, have ensured it’s gone by the afternoons. So, looks like we’re going to wait a bit for the ice season.

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 and once again, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving from both Bobby and myself!


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