Opening Day for Ducks/Fall Bass

What a great weekend.  An invitation to go Bass Fishing at Lake Manawa on Sunday, and Saturday was opening day for ducks in Nebraska. 

Opening day is not usually one of the best days our club has, but it is great fun and there are a lot of local birds in the area.  I was amazed at the number of Pintails, and of course we had lots of teal zipping past the blind at low altitudes.  Sometimes they decoyed, but most of the time it was pass shooting.  The action all took place at the opening bell and continued right up till mid morning.  After that the birds stayed high and did not decoy well.  It was a great morning.

Sunday, it was time to fish for bass.  I had an invitation with a long time friend to do some fall fishing, and the weather was just too nice to pass it up.

We arrived before daylight at the Fish and Game Club to launch the boat.  The strategy was to work along the north to northeast shoreline where all the houses are located and fish the docks.  This would also stay the darkest when the sun came up.  It was just showing some light in the east when we started.  I was casting a Johnson Silver Minnow tipped with some pork rind, and my friend, Pat, was using artificial worms. 

I would cast close to shore, let the bait fall and then slowly lift it off the bottom.  Reeling it toward me, I would let it fall back down and then pick up the retrieve.  Pat would also lay the artifical worm almost on the shore, but right next to the dock.  Reeling it in letting it fall and repeating this over and over again was the strategy.  He kept the lure really close to the dock pillars lifting it up and letting it fall.

The weather could not have been better.  Fifty degrees air temperature, and the lake had a really clean appearance.  You could tell the pleasure boaters had not been on it recently.  It was calm when we started, but then a light breeze developed out of the southwest.  This was just perfect.  A high pressure, southwest wind, and a light breeze made this a great morning.

We worked slowly.  When I fish walleye, I am always on the hunt to find them and keep moving at a more lively clip.  Not today, it was go really slow, and take a lot of time.  At times Pat gently lifted the worm onto the dock, and then pulled it off into the water and let it sink right by the dock.  About 90 minutes went by and we worked several of the docks.   Then Pat had a really nice hit, but missed.  Flipping the worm back on the dock, he gently pulled it off and let it sink to the bottom.  When he lifted it up, Mr. Big Mouth was there and could not resist a tasty morsel.  A nice three pound black bass was landed.

The minute he landed the bass, I knew it was time to switch baits. I put on an artificial worm.  Working the shore line and the docks, I had what felt like some taps, but nothing was taking hold.  In the meantime, Pat smacked another fish in about the same weight range.  These fish are really healthy.  They are firm with the usual dark green to almost black color and really packed. We had now been at it for about two hours, but had covered very little of our goal.  That is to fish all the docks along the shoreline before 11 AM when the sun would start to light up the area. 

Finally, after about three hours, I had a taker in the two pound range.  Pat had landed another fish, but not as big and we had only covered half of our goal.  It was 9:30 AM.   We only had one and one half hours to go.  With that in mind, Pat moved the boat to some docks that were sticking out farther in the water.  Deeper water and more cover should produce more fish. 

The strategy worked and I scored another fish.  It was not big, but it was a keeper.  Pat was not getting any hits and it was not 10:30 AM.  We decided to quit and come back in the evening and fish the west bank of the lake along the rocks. 

This was a really great weekend.  Good fishing, good hunting, and good luck  Hank

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