WMASS FISHING REPORT: 7/30/2020
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
July is on the way out the door, and hopefully takes its oppressive heat with it.
At least I continued to catch fish this week, and turn in a couple upgrades for an online monthly tournament I’m in. First, I got out to a longtime favorite WMass lake of mine at night with my cousin Jon and a couple friends. This lake has been getting hammered badly over the past couple years by both competitive and recreational anglers, and I’ve learned to temper my expectations whenever I head there. That being said, the 4 of us spread the fish around. I was the “quantity” guy, hitting for 7 unspectacular Largemouth, between a spinnerbait and a black 6” stick-worm. One of the other anglers out with me was the “quality” guy, boating a 20.25” and 16” pair, with a dink or 2 thrown in. Funny thing was that the rest of our party caught nearly every fish frogging the top, and had issues drawing subsurface strikes. Meanwhile, I got zilch on top and all action underwater.
That’s fishing, folks.
A few days later, I ventured out to a small pond in the Berkshires I’ve never fished before. I hit the place with a friend extremely early to beat out any recreational boaters. The place was relatively shallow, so I concentrated on drops near the deeper parts. I only hit 4 bass, but was able to Catch-Photograph-Release (CPR) the largest (17”) for a small upgrade in the tourney that I’m currently being slaughtered in. Had to, a matter of personal pride at this point. The fish all responded to creature baits on the bottom, echoing my recent reports. If you’re interested in hearing what else happened on my time at this picturesque little mountain pond, check out the StF story on this week’s podcast. It’s a doozy. That night, I visited my neighbors’ new dock again, and pulled out a few tiny bass that couldn’t resist a 4” stick worm. My neighbors had made a pilgrimage to Cabela’s in Hartford that day, so the kids were sporting new combos and throwing both lures and corn with varying degrees of success. Kids love catching Bluegills. It is an undisputable and timeless fact.
The main event of the week was Monday’s jaunt to a small pond in the eastern part of the state. Bobby Roast Beef, Todd Grub (Fishing GrubbZ on YouTube), and an old military friend, Phil. Bobby and I covered the details on this week’s podcast, but Todd had himself a great day throwing Whopper Ploppers around pads. I stuck with my creature baits on the bottom, and we both hit 4 fish, with Todd’s largest breaking 20”! The biggest news of the day was that Jigs & Bigs’ very own Bobby Roast Beef is now deemed “seaworthy”, as he launched his newly purchased kayak on her maiden voyage. He managed to land a small bass and banished the skunk from the boat. Great way to wind down July!
Bobby Roast Beef: yak-owner
Finally, just want to throw out one last reminder that the August Chronic Trips Elevated Multispecies tournament is starting on Saturday. There has been a change to the scoring system (Again, covered in this week’s episode, which is located under the “podcast” tab on this very website.) that will level the playing field between freshwater and saltwater species. I hope that everyone takes a look at the event, and we can get as many anglers involved as possible. I’m also looking forward to reading the standings on the show for the August episodes. Good things coming at you from your guys at Jigs and Bigs!
Now, onto this week’s report.
As always, I’d like to thank the following Bait and Tackle shops for their gracious voluntary participation in this report. Please take the time to visit them in your travels and mention that you got their report from our site. I don’t want anyone to burn a spot or technique, but please try to relay any fishing info you can to the shop owners. We’d all like to keep this report coming!
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, Belchertown
Talked with Brett (as we’ve started referring to him here at Jigs & Bigs HQ, “Berkshires Brett”) from My 4 Sons out in Lee to start things off. Brett has been hitting numerous Berkshire waters for Bass and recommends continuing the “low and slow” approach with plastic creature baits on the bottom for success. He noticed that there has been a definite deep midday bite doing that. Smaller ponds have been producing at dusk on top. We did discuss, at length, how healthy Berkshire fish seem to be this summer. Zach Zerbato, a friend of Brett’s, hauled in 3 healthy bass over 4 lbs. this week, with the kicker at 6.39 lbs. That’s one helluva week! The 2 fish over 20” that I saw caught this week were both emaciated, and both from central Mass. So, if you’re an angler that prizes weight over length, checking out some Berkshires Bass might scratch that itch. With the next Chronic Trips tourney starting Saturday, I made sure to ask if he’d heard anything about Northern Pike. Brett responded negative, but we are still planning on getting out in August to target them. On the Trout front, Brett noted that even the stream behind My 4 Sons has been vacant of Brookies. The shallow water Trout are becoming more difficult to find and catch as they’re seeking cooler temperatures. He recommended trying deeper waters for them. My 4 Sons has plenty of shiners, worms, and crawfish for you live bait fishermen, and are expecting a shipment of Yum and Zoom products to expand their plastics section, along with more jigs.
Zach Zerbato with his 6.39 lb. KRAKEN
I got in touch with Bill at BG Sporting in Westfield later in the day. Bill noted that not much had changed for Bass recently. Otis and the smaller Berkshire Mountains ponds are all still producing, with Whopper Ploppers being the most popular selection. Which I witnessed firsthand on Monday. Trout in Otis Reservoir and Littleville Lake are deep in the 40’-45’ depths, and trolling lures and baits deep will increase hookup chances. Bill also let me know that there has been some rain getting into the Westfield River to bring the levels up. He expects the bite to pick up there soon if it hasn’t already. BG is stocked up with lures and worms if you’re on 20 heading “up da ‘Shires”.
Rich answered my call to R&R Sports in Belchertown this week. He let me know that reports have dried up since this week’s most recent heatwave hit. Regulars are still fishing and visiting R&R though, and they continue to pass along tips for getting shiners down to the thermocline (around 50’ deep) for Quabbin’s Salmon. The Salmon bite has continued to be good at those depths, and the Smallmouth have also retreated to deeper waters to beat the heat. Rich said that the Bronzebacks have been hitting a variety of bait and lures at 30’-40’ depths. He also let me know R&R is stocked up with both bait and lures, so be sure to stop in for your multispecies needs if you’re in or around the shop!
I was able to get Paul Jr. at Granby Bait & Tackle on the phone briefly today. Due to my reporting and their business schedules being a bit conflicted, I wasn’t able to chat with anyone there over the past couple weeks. Luckily, he had some time and info for me. He did comment on fishing activity and reports slowing down due to the excessive heat, which will be the recurring theme of this week’s report. He also noted that there has been a nationwide large shiner shortage due to increased demand of anglers during the pandemic. As far as fishing locally, most of the angler feedback he’s heard has concerned Quabbin. Lakers and Salmon are more than willing to bite shiners down at the thermocline, which is another recurring theme. Granby is well-stocked with lures and bait, particularly Yamamoto lures.
Joe at Old Glory Outdoors had a different approach to finding Bass this week. His recommendation is for anglers to find the darkest shade you can! He has been having success in shady, shallow waters by punching the pads with creatures when the sun is above and frogging the top during lowlight conditions. Dragging jigs near deep-water ledges and humps has also been productive. For Trout, both the Swift River and South Pond continue to produce. Joe said he’s seen pics of numerous Browns out of South over 5 lbs., with 8 lb. and 10 lb. specimens as highlights over the past week. Once again, fishing the thermocline with shiners is the best way to attract them. Old Glory recently restocked lures and bait and will be happy to talk fishing if you have any questions. Stop in!
Ben’s Tackle Shack’s Fishing Team member, Ryan Bogli, and I had an in-depth conversation. He and I have fished the same waters over the years, and a topical conversation at the start did not stay that way for long. He’s spent a lot of time on the Congamond Lakes recently and passed along that big swimbaits have been key for his success there. Around the North Pond’s Lily Pads, he’s been getting numerous blowups (He estimated 3 out of every 5 casts!) on the big baits, and also gotten bites throwing Bico jigs along the pad edges. Ryan also hit Webster Lake this week, and relayed that he’d found a hot Smallmouth bite on various Ned-rigged plastics. He focused on deep ledges and recommended natural colors to get bites. For area small ponds, Ryan has been throwing Spro Rats and Bull Shad lures. Ryan and I talked quite a bit about the Springfield metro area fishing spots we’ve both hit and will probably continue to do so in the future. So, expect more to come on that front.
Rodney let me know that it’s been a quiet week at Flagg’s in Orange. Like “someone had turned off a switch” on fishing traffic. And the heatwave is the primary suspect. Regular Quabbin Lake Trout and Salmon anglers are still going about their business at the thermocline. Salmon at that depth are falling for dodgers and streamers, and Trout hitting shiners. Smallmouth are still hitting plastics, particularly Yamamoto Senkos, and live crawfish, offering another option for anyone braving the heat. Rodney reminisced about last year’s high-water levels at the Swift. So high that Salmon were using the overflow from Quabbin to get into the river. This year, while the water levels aren’t as high, they’re still productive. Mainly due to their cold temps. Fly anglers are having success with Brook, Rainbow, and Brown Trout species there. Finally, he noted that the Rohunta Largemouth bite, while steady, is not seeing as much pressure as well. The largest shiners you can find were his recommendation.
Please feel free to email Bobby Roast Beef at firstname.lastname@example.org for any input or feedback. He makes sure it gets to me!
Thanks for reading, stay safe and rip some lips this week!