Two Trip Fishing Report Part 2: Big bass, first cast

Saturday was another flat calm day in the Bay. We’ve seemed to have a lot of these this year. The forecast called for light and variable until around 9am, when it shifted to a fairly hard east blow, so we made the call to fish the outgoing tide in the Three Bays.

On board the Mal de Mer was Jeff, my boss, and his son, Andrew. Throughout the week, I had received numerous texts from surfcasters talking about blitzes happening out of casting range in the Warren Cove area.

This is where we’d start our trip, while the Dulamon (captained by Sean) would head out to the front to start the hunt for mackerel. With Johnny Mack on board, this didn’t prove to be a long hunt at all.

At dawn, we cruised along the beach searching for the surface action I’d heard so much about…but saw nothing. Should have been here yesterday, some annoying voice in my head kept saying.

We began seeing small schools of pogies scattered throughout the cove, and we searched each school for signs of discomfort. The pogies remained very comfortable.

Just when we were about to give up hope and join the mackerel brigade, we marked a lone streaking fish near a pogy school. I cut the engine and readied the rods with a Doc spook, Guppy, and a Magic Swimmer.

Just then, a big broom tail swirled behind the boat, and a bass erupted off the bow, blasting pogies into the air.

Jeff hurled a cast into the fray with the Guppy and made two pops before the bass found it. The drag screamed.

I made a cast off the stern and hooked up, but it spit the hook almost immediately.

Jeff handed the rod off to Andrew, and the fight was on.

Andrew fought the fish and landed it, a fat 39 inch, 20 pounder. This striper seemed to be enjoying the all you can eat pogy buffet.

We couldn’t find any more surface action that morning.

At the “one” we loaded up the mackerel and moved back toward the beach. We decided to troll the mackerel around, which is a great strategy to use if you can’t find holding fish.

After a few trolls one of the mackerel got picked up, and drag screamed from the reel. Captain Bill worked the rod out of the holder.

“Big fish,” I said, as the backing peeked through the braid. I started the boat, at the ready to chase the fish down if we needed to.

Eye witnesses have varied reports of what happened next. All I can say for sure, is that a drag was tightened, and the fish broke us off at the 50-pound flouro leader.

We ate homemade sandwiches to make us feel better. This was round 2 of the sandwiches, by the way. We may have set a record for early sandwich time.

We shadowed massive pogy schools for the next few hours but couldn’t find any bass. The schools would occasionally spook and jump out of the water, and I’m positive there were bass underneath them, but getting them to eat a snagged pogy or an artificial was impossible.

As the tide continued to run out, we downsized our expectations and headed deep into the Bay, where a narrow channel sets up on the outgoing, and bass line up, eager to take a fly or a small swimbait.

We spent the rest of the morning catching schoolies holding deep in the current. Jeff stood on the bow launching deceivers with the fly rod onto the drop-off, where the feisty schoolies waited.

The sandwiches were finished off, and we headed back to the harbor.

Billy Mitchell

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