• Shawn the Fisherman


Autumn fishing is here and in full swing! The 20-degree temperature drop that hit Western Mass just before this past weekend has let fish and anglers alike know that we’re all on the clock for open-water fishing. I was able to get a line in the water 4 days this past week and while I didn’t hook into many quality fish, I got some numbers. I also got a reminder to slow down and take time during a tournament, which I’ll get into in a minut

First off, I’m going to talk about the lengths I went to when getting a picture of a fish. As most of you know, I live on a pond, and I do try to get a cast in every now and again. Especially if I’ve just respooled a reel and want to take a couple practice casts to make sure I’ve got the tension and brake tuned in. I respooled my reels on Friday, in preparation for Saturday’s MAKB tourney out at Lake Maspenock in Hopkinton. Two of my baitcasters were sending line out down to the backing line on casts. I got my crankbait combo ready to go, tuned up, then did my jig combo. During it’s test run, I walked over to my neighbor’s lawn (Yes, I have permission.) and threw a jig at the submerged tree off his land. I felt the jig pull over a branch, then get smashed by a fish. I got the good-sized bass in, and as I went to swing it onshore (there’s now a steep two-foot drop from shore to water due to the lack of rain), it threw the hook and landed in the shallow slop. I stared at it for a second and realized that it was blind in it’s right eye and couldn’t see me reach at it. So, I did the obvious thing that any dedicated angler would do. I dove as gently and quickly as possible onto the ground and lipped the fish. Then I realized I was in a precarious situation. I was slowly sliding headfirst into the shallow muck. I had the fish lipped, and slowly shifted my legs to the right and did some sort of a half-hybrid-fishfisted pushup to get on my feet, delivering a number of cuts to my torso in the process. I walked the bass to my house, asked my wife to grab a Hawg Trough from the garage and meet me at our dock. I held the Bass in the water, had a photoshoot, got the 18" piggy back into the pond, and the results are below.

Sometimes, you gotta get a little dirty to get your hands on a fish.

Now onto Maspenock in the cold. I recapped this tournament on this week’s podcast, so I’ll keep it brief here. This tournament provided a tough bite for most of the anglers involved. The cold had settled in, the wind was picking up, and bluebird skies were present the entire day. I managed to catch and land a bag of five legal fish, but I only submitted four legal fish. The fourth bass I caught that morning was able to flip off my Ketch board to the freedom of Maspenock because I rushed and didn’t setup my net off the side of my boat. The fish wouldn’t have put me in the money, but it would’ve made the difference between the 13th place that I finished in, and a top 10 place. For more on that (mis)adventure, take a listen to the podcast.

Following suit with the tournament, I covered my Sunday morning trip to Lake Buel (Monterey) on the podcast. This was the second day of the frigid overnight temperatures. Nelson and Cousin Jon accompanied me out there, and we caught plenty of Largemouth and Pickerel while out there, and Jon even had a line out to see if there were any takers among Buel’s Trout population. Unfortunately, there weren’t, but I’m planning on returning before the ice covers up Berkshire waters next month for the October Chronic Trips multispecies tournament. Again, I covered this one on the podcast, so check it out for more detail.

Finally, I returned to Buel at dusk on Monday to see if there were any bigger fish looking for a dinnertime meal. I tried both basins and had success for a couple Largemouth on weighted creature baits dropped along deep weedlines. I saw plenty of baitfish (Bluegills, Perch, Shiners) at the surface, but they seemed to be going about their business without being bothered by predatory fish, so that’s when I decided to stop throwing a Zara Spook and seek bites in the deep. Neither of the fish were of any size, so I ended the monthly KBF MA State Challenge with a top 10 finish at least. A confidence boost with the weather we dealt with recently. Always have to look at the bright side, right?

Now, onto this week’s report. 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, Belchertow

Red Bridge Bait & Tackle, Ludlow

Andy had some time restraints this week due to work requirements, but he did report that he was able to get onto some of the docks at Otis Reservoir. His first trip there, he landed a Smallmouth near a weedbed while “yo-yoing” a silver lipless crankbait. His return trip wasn’t as fruitful, as he only had Largemouth follows on a Texas-rigged creature bait, and nothing in hand. Given that Andy was only able to get out after work and the days have shortened, he was a bit down on his angling this week, but is looking forward to getting on the boat this weekend, with yours truly as his copilot. Already looking forward to next week’s report for that trip!

Berkshire Brett and Ryan Bogli were both bogged down with work and school this week. More to come from them in the near future.

By this point, you’ve hopefully listened to the podcast to hear Cousin Jon’s adventures this week up ‘da ‘shires. He also scored a new flyrod setup at a tag-sale (garage sale/yard sale for you non-New Englanders) for under $10 this weekend and decided to give it a go yesterday. Apparently it was not the greatest first attempt, but he let me know that he’s sticking with it, so I can expect fresh Trout on a regular basis in the future. Thanks in advance, Jon!

Nelson had a family and friends kayak adventure down the Swift River this weekend prior to the Berkshires adventure with Jon and myself. He reported that there were plenty of Rainbow and Brook Trout visible during their trip. With water levels low combined with the Swift’s crystal-clear water, it probably won’t come as a surprise to regular Swift anglers that so many fish were visible. Landing them can also be challenging, but it’s another place to check out for patient area anglers. The next day, at Buel, Nelson said that he had a classic “junk fishing” day. He caught bass on spinnerbaits and weighted creatures shallow and was able to land fish deep with a Rapala DT16 crankbait. For anyone heading there, be sure to bring deep crankbaits and check out a depth map prior. Nelson’s last fishing for the week was at a couple of the small ponds he haunts somewhere on Route 9. He said that he wasn’t able to entice anything to hit but saw plenty of small Largemouth cruising the shallows.

Tim Jacques had a report from his favorite body of water, Congamond. He said that his pattern of catching fish deep (20’-25’) on Ned rigs and dropshot rigs. While most of his dozen fish were Nibbler-sized, he said that three of his Largemouth were between 1-3 pounds.

Joe at Old Glory Outdoors was excited to let me know that he was prepping for two upcoming tournaments this weekend at Congamond and South Pond. This past week, however, he hit Big Alum Pond on a friend’s boat. Despite the cold, they pulled in 20 fish over a three-hour timespan, mostly on dropshots. He and I talked about the spinnerbait bite picking up in the Brookfield area, with crankbait action a close second. He reiterated a point from last week’s report: be sure to do your homework on whichever water bodies you fish, especially when it comes to forage species. This should help you make the most of your time on the water.

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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