• Shawn the Fisherman


Another week in limbo here in western Mass. Skim ice forms overnight and is gone by midday, open water fish are still biting, but fishing can be feast or famine, and a weekend storm is on the way. Love late fall in New England!

Unsurprisingly, I don’t have anything to report personally this week. I’ve been buried in writing assignments, prepping for the holidays, and catching up on a couple long-standing house projects. The December Chronic Trips Tourney spun up Tuesday, and while Brock Jenkins and Mark Huard wasted no time in getting various Pickerel and Trout on the scoreboard, all I could do was verify their fish and keep typing for class. In fact, aside from this report and a “business breakfast” with my partner in crime, Bobby Roast Beef, at the illustrious Mrs. Mitchell’s Kitchen in Holyoke, I’ve had absolutely no fishing activities this week.

Then I sent out my weekly text to the best team of correspondents a guy could have.

I got some great responses from the team, as almost all of them wet some lines this week, and a couple even brought in some trophy fish. (I definitely talk to the right anglers when it comes to getting out fishing regardless of the conditions.) So, without further ado, let’s see how they made out this week…!

This morning, while Bobby and I were pounding coffee and plotting all things Jigs and Bigs, I got a text from Tim asking me to ID a fish...

...which was an incredible Brown Trout from Tim’s home away from home, Congamond Lakes. As a primarily Bass angler, the hooked snout had thrown him for a loop, and I passed along that it was my belief that he had hooked a male in some stage of the spawn. He also reported that water temps were still in the mid-40s, and he located fish deep down to 25’. The Trout was his only catch of the day, and it fell for what seems to be a specialty technique of his: jigging a blade bait. Beautiful MA catch and release pin fish. Congrats, Tim!

Jon hit a smaller local water this past Sunday and managed a couple keepers on different techniques. He landed a couple Largemouth, at 13” and 15”. The larger of the two inhaled a shakey-head rigged creature bait, while the smaller attacked a lipless crank bait. Per Jon, both fish were skulking around in the shallows, in the neighborhood of 2’-6’.

Nelson stopped at one of his favorite locations to launch a few shore-casts on his way home from work one day this week. He noted that water levels have come back up with the recent rains we’ve had, and he decided to work a weighted creature bait through the dying vegetation, hoping that there’d be something hanging around hungry. Creature got (and I quote) “no love” and was soon snagged and lost. He switched quickly to a small, lipped crankbait, and after ripping it through the weeds violently, he found a Nibbler-sized Pickerel had been hooked. And with that 11”+ Pickerel, he’s now leading the Competitors in the Chronic Trips tourney.

Joe had a ton of Bass action at an unnamed waterbody out in the Brookfield area. While he didn’t land anything of size, he reported that smaller fish were all about Ned-rigged plastics.

Brett has been keeping his eye on lakes for ice forming, Andy is waiting for Brett’s report.

Finally this week, Ryan let me know he made one last open-water outing until the fishable ice forms. He’s been throwing some big swimbaits to end the year and running with the “fewer but bigger” theory that accompanies that technique. It delivered, as he landed a monster 21.75” Largemouth near some submerged timber. Now that’s the way to send 2020 out. Nice job, Ryan!

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 tight lines!


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