Riege: Big Smallies at Andy Myers Lodge

Published 6:24pm Wednesday, June 4, 2014

By Bob & Ginny Riege

Andy Myers Lodge is well known for its rustic, meticulously maintained lodge and cottages, beautiful setting and excellent fishing. The camp is hidden away in a quaint location on a bay named after Andy Myer on beautiful Eagle Lake, just outside Vermilion Bay, Ontario Canada.

Besides being committed to making your stay as comfortable and relaxing as possible, there is a strong emphasis on providing you with fishing information. Owner, Steve Herbeck, has developed a reputation as one of North America’s top guides and fishing instructors.

Your week will begin with an orientation seminar complete with marked fishing maps, demonstrations on productive patterns and techniques to help get you started catching fish. All guests and staff are introduced so everyone feels welcome and at home. This is followed up with a Wednesday night gathering to discuss any new or changing patterns and techniques that have developed during your stay.

This summer my wife, Ginny and I will be at Andy Myers Lodge the week of July 5 –July 12th. One of the species we will be discussing with clients at the lodge is bass fishing. Especially, cold front bass fishing, because that is what we experienced a lot during summer months.

There are many factors that affect our success as bass fishermen, but one of the most perplexing can be passing cold fronts or cold water conditions. Bass will always react to these changes in their surroundings. However, you can catch big bass in spite of these negative conditions. Here are a few things I consider when pursuing bass during the cold front conditions.

Slow down – A slow, deliberate lure presentation is often the only way to entice strikes under cold conditions. There is no such thing as fishing too slowly. The idea is to keep the bait in front of the fish as long as possible and to make multiple presentations to the same fish.

Since bass are cold blooded, their metabolism is slow in the cold water. They are not capable of chasing fast moving lures. Jigs with hair and living rubber dressings are both effective, and black and brown are proven colors. I tip my jigs with Berkley Gulp or a 4-inch tail of a plastic Power worm. Jigs of 1/4 and 3/8 ounce will handle most situations, though you may want to use the lightest jig possible.

Work your jigs down drop offs, lifting them a few inches off the bottom and letting them fall back down. Most strikes come as the jig falls, and they are extremely light, so you may not feel all of them. Watch your line closely for any slight twitch or movement. Fluorescent monofilament lines are easier to see. Whenever you lift the rod and feel a mushy sensation, as though your jig has snagged a leaf, snap the hook home hard. Chances are that lunker bass is just mouthing your jig.

Slow-rolled spinner baits are also great to use in these situations. Reel the bait as slow as you can and still make the blades spin. If you are fishing around grass or rocks, allow the bait to sink until it contacts the cover. Then reel a little faster. When you can’t feel the cover, slow down. A 1/2- or 3/4-oz. spinner bait seems to provide the right thump. Berkley Tournament Strength Power worms are another way to slow down in cold-water conditions. Scaling down to spinning tackle and light line often works during severe cold spells. The key is keeping the bait in contact with the bottom. A slow drag-and-stop retrieve is best. Use tube jigs around rocks and in clear water, I like to fish these baits on an exposed jig head. Simply insert the lead head into the tube and fish it on 8- to 10-lb. test line. This is especially deadly for smallmouth.

Bass move less in cold water, they position themselves in an area that provides easy access to deep water, exposure to sunshine and a readily available food supply. Since most lakes have only a limited number of these textbook spots, the fish tend to concentrate in large numbers. Some likely places to find these big schools of bass include bluff banks near feeder creeks and points.

Bass burn fewer calories during cold weather because bass move less; because of this their need for food decreases. So, we need to adjust our expectations. If you expect to get 100 bites, you are going to be disappointed. Four or five is more realistic. The good news is that big fish seem to bite better in cold water than small ones do.

Bass are more relaxed in shallow water when skies are cloudy, and that makes them easier to sneak up on. Once a fish sees you, it becomes very difficult to catch him. Therefore, I prefer to use my Pinpoint trolling motor to take me into the shallow water, staying as far out as I can while still being able to see into the water. Good pair of polarized sunglasses is recommended. Stealth is a must in bass fishing and any shallow water fishing.

Bass react differently in cold water. Adjusting your method often makes the difference between a slow day and a good day.

When you catch one bass, concentrate on the general area where you found it because bass tend to gather in loose groups at this time. The warming water starts bass into their springtime ritual of feeding heavily on crawfish. This feeding frenzy makes crawfish-colored crankbaits extremely effective. Three of the best colors I have found are red, green and brown crawfish patterns.

A suspending lure, like a Rapala Husky Jerk, is easy to throw and produces the best results. It also allows you to slow down and even stop your retrieve.

The retrieval can be executed a variety of ways. This bait is effective whether you simply cast it out and reel it back, go at different speeds or use a stop-and-go retrieve to allow the bait to suspend. This lure works well because it stays in the strike zone longer. Change your patterns and presentation along with varying your retrieve until the fish tell you what they want.

One of the ways certainly to take bass is to cast. Casting a small lure to a decent distance can be tough. A good spinning outfit will help, and a G-Loomis six-foot medium- action rod is a good choice. Your line is another vital key to success. Line for sight fishing needs to be almost invisible, but still strong enough for instant hooksets.

The lighter the lure, the more likely you are to fool a big, wary bass. In fact, for really finicky fish, you may have to throw the lures with no weight at all.

Line is an essential tool in any fishing situation, but in shallow water fishing it is crucial. Berkley fluorocarbon line Vanish has almost the same refractive index as water and essentially becomes invisible when submerged. I love it for bass fishing because it gives me low diameter line, which is easy to cast; it also provides me with high tensile strength to rip those bass out of heavy cover.

When fishing for bass, learn to use a variety of different approaches and styles, don’t stick to one single approach all day long. This will allow you to catch bigger and better bass. Better yet, why don’t you contact the new owners of Andy Myers Lodge, Julian Kalka & Nicky Pollard at info.andymyerslodge.com and reserve your next stay while we are there this coming summer.

 


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