Brown bass and topwater baits

I’m writing this a little early — Labor Day weekend. Next week will be brutal at Signcom so I thought I’d better get a jump on things.

First, I have to tell you that I got my nerve up and fished my beloved Tuesday Night Tournament last week. I didn’t get in too much trouble for doing that, either. And I won! Maybe you guys should think “rose” on your anniversary….

Anyway, I'm on Oneida Lake fishing for smallmouth with topwater baits. Any of you who know me know that those are my two favorite things to do on the water. This is about as good as it gets.

Oneida is an interesting body of water. It’s called the thumb in what they call The

Finger Lakes Region here in New York. They call this area that because the lakes are all long and thin, and most of them run sort of north and south.

The bass aren’t all that big — a 4-pounder is a monster here — but there are plenty of them. The action is pretty much nonstop for most of the day. You can catch green bass or brown bass and, in most cases, tournaments are won with a mix of the two.

This morning I’ve been catching smallmouth. I’m out in the middle of the lake over some scattered weeds. They’re hitting almost any bait as long as it has a feather for a tail. That’s probably because of the mayfly situation up here. They get used to them and they’ll eat anything that resembles one. I wonder, though, if they’ve ever seen a mayfly as big as a 1/4-ounce popper. That’d be one heck of a mayfly.

It’s weird. All you have to do is toss the lure out and let it sit until the rings disappear. They come up and gently suck it under the water. They’re feeding but they’re not exactly aggressive. You don’t get the vicious attacks that you usually get on top, no splashing water or predatory leaps.

And, if you go to the edge of the weeds, near deeper water, they take a drop shot the same way. Just drop a small plastic down, wiggle it a time or two, and wait to see your line jump.

This is a really fun place to fish. You don’t have to catch giants to have a good time bass fishing. Sometimes steady action is more fun. Note, however, that I said sometimes. I didn’t say always.

In the next week or two, I’ll come back and target largemouth. I think maybe the best way to go after them is to fish shallow. You’ll recall that Dean Rojas won up here on a frog. If I remember correctly, he basically went around the lake fishing small places in the weeds along the shore. If it worked for him, it’ll probably work for me.

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