• Shawn the Fisherman


Summer may be unofficially over by next weekend, but the fishing is just starting to heat up. Many species are starting to put on the feedbags in preparation for the coming winter, and that means I’ll be trying to get out as much as possible until then. Normally, I start and end my kayak fishing year at the Cape. Due to the coastal climate, some waters there don’t freeze over, and as long as I take care to dress properly and aim for shallower waters, I can fish out of my kayak for nearly the entire year.

For now, though, WMass fish are still accessible and willing to bite. I returned from vacation this weekend and was able to get out early to a small WMass pond with a rep for stunted Largemouth. The night prior, when planning this mini adventure with my co-angler, I laughed and said that I’d probably pull out a hawg. Turned out that I’d apparently seen the future. I landed my lengthiest Largie of the year (21.25”, 5lb 10oz) after being on the water for about 10 minutes. A bass jig with a creature trailer did the trick. That fish did a whole lot for me in the three tourneys I submitted it in. Moving to 1st in the August KayakTournamentsOnline.com event, cementing the win in the Largemouth category for the Chronic Trips Elevated Multispecies tourney, and bumping me up a spot or two in the Maine Kayak Bassing “Big 5” yearly tourney. Putting that with the 20” I caught at the Cape last week, I’ve had a nice little run to start the Autumn fishing season. Hope it continues!

Little pond, big fish. A couple things I want to mention before I head into the report. Two unfortunate incidents happened this past week in my vicinity. Both were entirely preventable, and one could have ended in an injury or worse. I noted in last week’s report that I had met Andy at a small Berkshires water one afternoon. What I didn’t mention was that there was a 2nd bassboat on the water while we were there. Around the time the other boat pulled off the water, Andy’s truck alarm sounded. We were a bit confused to say the least. Long story short, Andy discovered that the other bassboat’s owner apparently hit Andy’s parked trailer while backing down to the ramp, set off his alarm, and damaged his trailer wheel well. Accidents happen, as we all know, but the other boat’s owner did not alert Andy, apologize, or even leave a note on his truck with contact info. Real classy.

The 2nd incident was infinitely more dangerous. While at the Cape, I brought our tandem kayak for our neighbors from home (who were also staying at the Cape) and my son’s kayak. The four of us went out last week at one of the Cape’s larger kettle-hole ponds for some Smallmouth. When we arrived, I noticed a boater in some sort of a one-person crew boat, doing laps around the lake. We got to our spot and started casting. On his next pass, as he was getting closer to us, I wondered if he was going to completely ignore etiquette and pass to close to our lines. I looked away and landed a short Smallie. As I was re-rigging my lure, I heard my neighbor yell “HEY, WATCH OUT!”. I turned just in time to see the crew boat slam into the side of my son’s kayak. I threw a few choice words out loudly and headed over to see if my son was okay. As I neared, I heard the boater apologizing profusely to my son, who was shaken but unharmed, and paddle off to the other side of the lake. The kayak was also not damaged. Aside from the bout of swearing directed at the boater, I managed to keep my composure and handle the situation as rationally as possible. I know this was an accident. However, this is an example of someone not paying attention to their surroundings and could have injured someone badly.

I’ve been advising patience for all of us that spend a lot of time on the water when dealing with the recreational and newer crowds that are on the water since COVID-19 hit the U.S. Now I’m going to advise the new crowd to take a look at safety laws and etiquette while on the water. I’ve been planning on a blog entry with numerous resources for boaters and anglers in Massachusetts, and this has accelerated my efforts. Please keep an eye on the site for some valuable info soon, and also keep an eye on everyone you’re sharing the water with. Prevent any accidents you can, and stay safe out there.

To end this intro on a good note, I’ve been meeting a large number of people at ramps and on waters, and as they now know, I’m not shy about introducing myself. I’d like to say thanks to Adam, who I met at the Cape last week and kept an eye on my gear while I parked my truck and walked back. At the small pond where I hooked my year’s lunker, I met Don and Haley on the water, and John, with his sons Ricky and Gael at the ramp as I loaded up to leave. Finally, at one of my Berkshires haunts, I talked a bit about fishing with Johan. Unfortunately, I was unable to give all those folks Jigs & Bigs stickers, as we’re cleaned out and just ordered a small quantity (test run) from a new supplier. If I mentioned you above and you read this report, please send us an email and I’ll be sure to send you a couple once they arrive. It was great meeting you all and thanks!

Now, onto this week’s report...

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

Jigs & Bigs correspondent Andy was a little tied up with a bathroom remodel project this week but managed to get away one morning to hit Otis Reservoir. While he was out at sunrise, he said that the bite really didn’t pick up until around 9am. From that point, both Smallmouth and Largemouth started hitting topwater lures, small jigs, and crankbaits. Andy located aggressive fish around timber and rocks. He noted he was unable to get fish out of weedbeds, even with an abundance of baitfish seeking refuge there. Finally, Andy noted that numerous retrieves had hungry Trout closely following his jigs back to the boat.

Berkshire Brett also had limited opportunities to fish this week but made the most of his time on the water. He chose to fish one of his favorite waters, a medium-sized body with populations of both bass species. Brett let me know that this particular location is normally good for at least 1 decent 2-3 lb fish per trip but wasn’t the case that day. Using bladed jigs and stick-worms, Brett said he had 2 hours of nonstop action on the water but didn’t hook into the quality fish he was looking for. He landed a dozen Nibblers and reported nearly another dozen spit the hook on the way to the boat. I’m sure the cooling mountain temps (a couple nights in the 30’s) and the September’s full “Corn” moon have contributed to the increased appetites.

Joe at Old Glory Outdoors is primed for the fall bite. This week, he’s been hitting both Lake Lashaway and nearby smaller ponds that have higher water levels thanks to recent rains and are fishable again. Joe let me know that he’s been able to land some quality fish in the 3 lb. range, but the monsters have been elusive. Topwater lures, such as buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers have continued to produce during low-light hours, and stick-worms (Senkos, Dingers, Stik-Os, Ochos, etc…) have drawn strikes throughout the day. Joe did note that he’d heard of a 6+ lb fish being taken this week on a swimjig in the Brookfield area as well. Joe also wanted to pass along that he expects the bass bite to pick up with fall on the doorstep. He anticipates that spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and paddletail swimbaits will be extremely productive in the shallows as the season wears on.

Starting them early!

Ryan Bogli fished when and wherever he could in the Brookfield area this week, launching lures from bassboat, kayak, and the shore. Right off the bat, he let me know that his highlight of the week was watching his girlfriend bag her first fish on a frog. Nice! Continuing on the topwater subject, he let me know that he was still getting a good topwater bite, and had expanded his lure variety by substituting buzzbaits and Spro and Bull Shad Rat wakebaits instead of his ever-reliable Whopper-Ploppers. He didn't report any massive fish (this week's recurring theme) but did say that there were plenty of quality fish willing to bite on top. He and I had a brief discussion regarding spinnerbait use during last week's call, and he said that he had success with them at evening hours after incorporating them into his repertoire. "Trying new techniques." was his mantra for the week. He and I may have something in the works for the coming week, and I'm looking forward to hitting the water with him.

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



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