Week(end) Warrior: The early early fishing season in a nutshell

This is not the most productive time of year when it comes to fishing–but I don’t need to tell you that. Typically at this time, we’re still organizing tackle and tying flies and do our best at preventative maintenance to make sure the boat doesn’t break down 20 miles offshore. Water temps are chilly and the ponds, estuaries and bays are just beginning to stir. But the important thing is, they’re-a-stirring. Here’s what I’m excited for in the next month of fishing.

Trout time

I am not, as they say, a trout whisperer. I could yell at those damn truttas and they still wouldn’t listen to me. But that doesn’t stop me from hitting some Stillwater ponds in March and April. If you catch a stocking right after it happens, the fishing can be stupid. Like 50 fish days shooting fish in a barrel style. The real fishing doesn’t happen until they’ve been somewhat acclimated to the pond and the wasters start to warm a bit. Guess what’s happening this week into the weekend? Yup, a big warm-up. I think by the end of the week, we’ll see some hatches which will give the fly guys something to write home about.

Bassin’ and bluegillin’

I’ve got the Old Town all rigged up with some upgrade–namely a Garmin 7″ with sidescan. So you’d better believe I’m going to hit some deeper spots in the ponds for largemouth and smallmouth. Without sonar, it’s tough to find bass after ice out and pre-spawn (unless they move into the shallow earlier). I’ve got my drop shot rigs, Ned rigs, and lipless cankbaits ready to go. I plan on finding some deep ledges and letting it rip. I know, this is a departure from my ‘throw a wacky rigged Senko into the weed patches’ strategy from previous years, but I’m trying to evolve! Let’s finesse some Larrys.

Crappie and bluegill will start to eat bugs on the surface this week. I love bringing the Brackish Flies 2-weight out and casting to the rises. If you know where to look, there are monster crappie to be had. Look to shallow coves around old weedbeds for the black bass.

Shake the cobwebs out haddock style

If I’ve learned anything the past few years in terms of splash date for the Mal de Mer, it’s that early April fishing trips rarely yield anything fish-wise. But who cares! We usually have a few beautiful flat calm April days around the middle of the month and you better believe we’re going to be dropping in and cruising around to run the old systems check. We may even bring some clams along and drop down on the local rockpiles and mud flats and see who’s home.

The inshore haddock bite the last few years typically doesn’t get going until the end of April, right around when the water temps get to 50 degrees. We found inshore haddock last year loaded with juvenile sand eels, so you’d have to think we have some type of hatch going on in those muddy areas from 120-160′ around the South Shore. When that happens, it’s game on. We start with old school hi-lo rigs and clams, but when we find the schools, we’ll be using Hogy Sand Eel jigs and Daiwa SKs for fast actions. But until we get those water temps, the best we can hope for is a bluebird day and a smooth first boat ride out into the bay. Maybe we’ll find a legal cod or two.

Waiting on the waves

And then, toward the end of the month, it happens. The first pushes of lice-ridden fish enter the bays south of the Cape and it’s game on. I’m getting excited just thinking about it. We’ve got lots of fishing to do before then, so don’t slack! See you out there.

Billy Mitchell

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.