• Shawn the Fisherman


Man. I love where we live.

Looks like we’re entering that funky transition period between Summer and Fall. Both myself and the report correspondents had some difficulty getting on the water locally this week for various reasons. Weddings, remote tournaments, engagements, and work priorities limited Western Mass fishing jaunts. All good, however, as I was able to get quite a bit of info from the crew. First off, here were my kayaking adventures for the week…

My sister’s wedding was last weekend (Congrats again to Brian and Jessica!), and I promised my wife that I’d be using September to knock out as many lingering house projects as possible. Hence, I was only able to get out twice this week. The first trip was to a small pond up ‘da ‘shires that I discovered just this year. Shallow, clear, and clumps of weeds everywhere. I had help in the form of Bobby Roast Beef. Bobby hit for a couple Largemouth, and I wrangled in about a half dozen of the same, all but one on weighted plastic creatures. The loner was on a rare (for me) wacky-rigged stickworm. Wacky-rigging, in my eyes, is just like drop-shotting: I know that in the right hands the techniques are extremely effective. However, with my personal preferences, I tend to use other finesse plastic techniques that produce for me. The level of production is always open for debate, but I have confidence in what I use. Besides, all you drop-shotters and wacky-riggers should be happy that there’s one less angler competing for the fish that will hit those techniques. Keep doing what you’re doing if it’s working for you! The Bass I hooked into were enough to fill out my limit and start culling on my KBF and KTO monthly online state tourneys, so I was satisfied with that.

My second trip was just outside the cozy confines of Western Mass to the George H. Nichols Reservoir in Westborough. (Also known as the “A-1 Site”.) With the insane amount of timber in this lake, I enjoy heading there during the spring before aquatic plants take over. With that timber exposed early in the year, I love throwing jigs around in there, and there’s no shortage of targets. That didn’t happen on this trip. Weeds and low water levels kept me confined to the deeper sections of the lake located near the launch. I did manage to cull out one of my smaller monthly submissions using a weighted creature bait, but the bite DIED at midmorning. I kept going for another 2 hours, then called it quits for the day. I took what I could get, right there.

Now, onto this week’s report. I’ll be taking a slightly different approach going forward and focusing on the correspondents that contribute weekly. Feedback can be sent to the email address below and is greatly appreciated!

As always, 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, Belchertown

Red Bridge Bait & Tackle, Ludlow

Starting off with Jigs & Bigs correspondent Andy, who had a busy week. First, he hit Otis at the tail end of last week and found surface temps in the low to mid 70s throughout the entire lake. He landed 10 Smallmouth, with the largest around 15”, all pulled but 3 from docks with topwater lures. The other 3 he found in open water on submerged rocks. His next trip was over to nearby Big Pond. For those of you not familiar with fishing there, the state boat ramp is located at the end of a long, shallow channel running to the lake. (1/2 mile?) Where the channel widens into the pond, there are numerous large, submerged boulders. If you are planning on fishing there, please take it slow to avoid accidents, personal injury, or boat damage! Once there, Andy caught several Largemouth from shallow water adjacent to drop-offs on topwater lures near the channel mouth. Definitely check out the podcast for my story involving Andy, a Trout, the lengths I went to in catching that Trout, and my youngest son’s opinion afterwards.

Berkshire Brett had a busy week and was only able to provide a bit of advice to Berkshire anglers: water temps are dropping rapidly. Fish while you can! He also noted that with the cooling waters have been increased reports of Trout feeding activity, particularly during morning hours. I’m eagerly anticipating Brett’s news of Pike activity picking up, as getting out with him on the Housatonic for the “water-wolves” was a blast. With the next Chronic Trips multispecies tourney setup for October (registration is now open on FishDonkey), Northern Pike catches will be sure to factor into the final points tally.

Cousin Jon fished a couple Pioneer Valley waterbodies of different sizes this week. The first was a recreational jaunt out at Congamond where numerous Bluegills and Nibbler Largemouth were all over his Ned-rigged plastics. His 2nd outing was a dusk kayak visit to a small pond where he had some major Largemouth success this spring. Unfortunately, he didn’t hit into any hawgs this time, but did report that Pickerel of all sizes were extremely active and hitting a variety of presentations (weighted plastics, bladed jigs, etc.)

Tim Jacques spent this past weekend up at Lake Champlain in a Northeast Bass Anglers tournament, (National Semifinals). Before he left, he did some tuning up on Congamond. He noted that water temps were still in the high-70s, which kept fish deep. Drop-shotting plastics down to them once located with electronics garnered 7 of the 10 bass he landed. Aside from the majority deep, Tim let me know that he got 1 fish off a dock, which has been an unproductive pattern for him this year. His other 2 Bass were caught on weightless Zoom Flukes thrown into Bass busting baitfish at the surface. Always a fun way to land fish!

Some of you may recognize old friend turned fishing report collaborator Nelson from the Chronic Trips tourneys where I dreaded his shark-fishing impact on the standings. After a camping trip to the deep woods of New Hampshire with varying degrees of angling success there, Nelson was able to slip in a particularly unusual outing on a small Rt. 9 pond this week. He managed some action on both topwater lures and a weighted creature bait. However, Nelson came across a turtle that was wrapped up in some discarded fishing line. As he casted the creature bait at the turtle in an attempt to snag and free it, a 3.5’ long watersnake inhaled the lure, and then needed rescuing himself. Nelson sent a video of the shenanigans that I've attached below. Crank the volume for his play-by-play.

Not a skunking, in my book.

Joe at Old Glory Outdoors noted that things were quiet in the Brookfield area. However, he’s expecting two things to get anglers on the water in droves in the near future. The first is the impending arrival of the Trout-stocking trucks from the hatcheries. Joe mentioned that those of you out looking for those newly released Trout will do well by mimicking their hatchery food by using dough baits. The second thing Joe talked about is the dropping temperatures that will trigger most warmwater gamefish to binge-feed. He’s expecting a shallow bite on Spinnerbaits, Jerkbaits, and Bladed Jigs, among other lures, to land both types of Bass. He also had a chance to fish Lake Lashaway this past weekend, and had success running crankbaits along weedlines there, a tactic he and I had discussed the previous week. Bottom line, anglers in New England, the Fall Feed is on its way. Brace yourself!

Finally, Ryan Bogli had a momentous week and it had nothing to do with fishing. He popped the question to his girlfriend Nicole this week, and she accepted! Congrats to the newly engaged couple! Along with that great news came a true tragedy that most of us will completely understand, as Ryan parted with his cell phone during the beach-proposal, and his iPhone 11 is comfortably resting in Davey Jones’ locker. He’s back up and running with a new cell phone, so I’m sure we’ll get more from him next week.

Best report wrap-up pic to date. Congrats to Ryan & Nicole!

As always, please feel free to email Bobby Roast Beef at jigsandbigs413@gmail.com for any input or feedback. He makes sure it gets to me!

Thanks for reading, stay safe and rip some lips this week!


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