WMASS FISHING REPORT: 8/20/2020
And just like that, it’s sweatshirt weather.
The recent downturn in temperatures has continued to keep fish active and aggressive. I’ve been trying numerous waters for a variety of species. A couple days this past week, I went out looking for Largemouth to cull in any of the 3 yearly/monthly Bass tourneys I’m currently competing in. Keeping with the pattern I’ve been on for a few weeks, I continued to toss weighted creature baits with varying degrees of success. The majority of my catches were too big to be called “Nibblers”, but I can’t report landing anything of notable size.
I did make 2 jaunts that were outside of my bucketmouth comfort zone. The first was to Chicopee State Park with Bobby Roast Beef and my sons. Chicopee Reservoir, located inside the park, is the impoundment of Cooley Brook. Having grown up in Chicopee, I remembered going to the park with a friend sometime around 1990 and following the brook upstream. At one point, there was a beaver dam that had formed a large, timber-strewn backwater. It was full of Trout. Fast forward to this week, when my sons are now the age I was at that time, and we decided to roll the dice to see if the pool was still there and try to get some trout on the board for the Chronic Trips multispecies tournament. After a long hike in, we found the dam gone, and Cooley Brook now meandering peacefully through a timber-strewn field. No dice. We fished the way back and landed some Nibbler Bass and my sons put a dent in the sunfish population. Not what we hoped, but good stuff either way.
What gets a small sunfish off a hook? Teamwork.
The other outing was again with Mr. Roast Beef and included my cousin Jon and his brother-in-law Russ. We hit a Berkshires waterbody that has been a bonanza for multispecies fishing this summer. All present caught small Largemouth and Smallmouth, but the story of the day was Russ. New to fishing, his friends had busted his chops and put his over/under fish total for the day at 1.5. Russ caught 2, but the story was the 2nd fish, a 16” Smallmouth that smashed his plastic at the boat. He managed to swing it onto the kayak and we made sure to get some pics. Fairly sure he spent the rest of the morning texting his doubting friends that they were wrong to doubt his abilities.
He had great guides. I bet the over.
Also, be sure to check out this week’s podcast if you haven’t already. I had 2 other fishing adventures this week that Bobby and I covered, a trip out with fellow CannAthlete Mark Huard Jr. for some Largemouth at Lake Rohunta in north-central MA, and a Mass Kayak Bassing (MAKB) tournament trail stop at Snipatuit Pond way down by the Cape.
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
Berkshire Brett from My 4 Sons in Becket had an up and down week. The high point? He notched the current longest fish in the Chronic Trips tourney with a 33” Northern Pike. The low points? He let me know that it’s been a slow week for reporting. Particularly no Trout reports. Along with that, he said that he’s started seeing an inconsistent Largemouth bite. While dawn and dusk have still been the most productive fishing times of the day, he’s been catching most of his fish “junk-fishing” with no discernable pattern. Finesse-rigged plastics, bladed baits of all types, and cranks have all gotten bass to the boat. Size-wise, he’s in the same boat as I am: no yearlings, but no trophies, either. Hopefully this week’s new moon gets the bigger fish motivated to bite. Brett did want to pass along that My 4 Sons has restocked about 80% of their plastics, so make the scenic drive on Rt. 20 up ‘da ‘Shires if you’re in need.
I spoke with Bill at BG Sporting this week, and he was excited that the cooling temps combined with continually rising water levels (however slowly) are getting Trout anglers back on the water. Reports have also been slow in getting back to BG, but Bill has noticed an uptick in Trout live bait business, as crawlers and Trout worms have been flying out the door. Seek them out in deep lakes and pockets in moving water. Bill has heard rumblings of the Bass bite (of both varieties) picking up at Big Pond and Otis Reservoir. Topwater and plastics have been getting the job done. No surprise here, but Whopper Ploppers continue to be a hot seller, alongside Jitterbugs, and BG has restocked their Yamamoto inventory.
Up in the Otis/Tolland/Sandisfield section of the Berkshires, correspondent/coconspirator Andy has been hard at work evaluating the capabilities of his new boat by getting out on Otis Reservoir whenever possible. This week, he purposefully tied on a new lure after every fish to both build confidence in new techniques and establish some Bass patterns. He had some interesting results. Topwater baits of all types (Whopper Ploppers, Poppers, Floating Jerkbaits) were the overwhelming favorites of Otis’ finny denizens. Weedless, weightless plastics were next, then Crankbaits. In his texts, he chastised himself for not trying out Chatterbaits. (Forgiven, buddy. Forgiven.) Andy noted that the deep sides of weedbeds were still where feeding fish were located. Considering that most of his catches were Largemouth with a smaller number of Smallmouth sprinkled in, that makes sense. He also noted that mid-sized fished were prevalent in his bag, which seems to be this week’s recurring theme.
PIONEER VALLEY/QUABBIN REGION
Joe at Old Glory Outdoors in Brookfield had a great week, putting up more than a few qualifying fish across a few species in the Chronic Trips tourney. He primarily fished nearby Lake Lashaway, getting into some dropshot-receptive Smallmouth and hitting Largemouth on reaction lures in the form of crankbaits. He was also able to provide some info on Singletary Lake, as he took a trip there with Jay from Boag Hog baits for dawn. They took advantage of the dawn topwater action and transitioned to crankbaits for the Smallmouth there. Seeing the recent action on speedy retrieves, Joe recommended to use search-style baits (crankbaits, bladed jigs, spinnerbaits) to locate the fish, then slow down and use a finesse approach to really find out how many are in the area. He also passed along that Old Glory has recently received a shipment of 13 Fishing (tail end of this week’s podcast for more info), Jackyl, and Radfish products, along with a new selection of saltwater bait for you ocean-bound anglers.
Ryan on Ben’s Tackle Shack Fishing Team was only able to get out once on his johnboat this week but made the most of it. He started at Buffumville Lake (Charlton) where he found the water levels a bit too low for his liking. After a quick lap, he relocated to a smaller, cartop vessel-friendly pond in the area. Fishing the heart of the day, he landed upwards of 30 fish (with 2 kickers north of 4 lbs.) on a combination of jigs, plastics, and large swimbaits. He was a bit disappointed, however, that the pond didn’t seem to have any fish willing to take a Whopper Plopper during his time there. He also wanted to pass along that Ben’s has restocked their shelves with several plastic brands, including Doomsday and Yamamoto, and their premium custom crankbaits and swimbaits are available.
I’m happily putting a cap on this week’s report with Rodney at Flagg’s in Orange. Before I got into this week’s business, I let him know that I’d recently fished Lake Rohunta and had landed a 14” juvenile Northern Pike. As anyone would, he asked if I was positive that I hadn’t misidentified it as a Pickerel. I let him know that it was, in fact, a Northern, as I’m no stranger to Pike with my years of fishing central Minnesota. He then relayed a story that had me laughing. 5 or 6 years ago, a customer stopped in with an enormous Pike he had freshly pulled out of Miller’s River and was looking to weigh it for a state pin. (Flagg’s is a certified weigh station.) Rodney said the Pike was in the neighborhood of 48” and immediately maxxed out his 20 lb. scale. After a brief discussion with the angler, they decided to try a local supermarket that had a larger certified scale. They called ahead, and Rodney said that there was a small crowd on hand “to watch us weigh that giant, slimy fish” that hung around for quite sometime talking with them. (As he was describing this scene, all I could picture was the dock scene in Jaws after the posse of fishermen capture and kill the Tiger shark.) The Pike ended up breaking 29 lbs. and went down in Orange’s lore. Going forward to this week, he noted that this week has been very quiet for reports, and what he has heard are similar to recent reports. Salmon and Lake Trout are still hunkered down in at the thermocline at Quabbin. Minnows and streamers will be the ways to tempt them. The Reservoir’s Smallmouth bite has been fantastic, with one recent angler boasting a 100+ fish day! Yamamoto plastics and live baits (shiners and crawfish) are your best bets to light them up. He did note that he’s awaiting a shipment of Yamamotos, so call or stop in to see if they’ve arrived.
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!