Archive for Saturday, May 18, 2002

Fishing this spring has been fabulous

May 18, 2002

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Spring's hot-cold bounty can be grand for fishermen.

The heat can lead to massive hatches of mayflies and other aquatic insects at the reservoirs.

This spring, the fish that gamboled along the reservoirs' rocky and shallow shorelines feasted upon the larvae as they ascended to the surface to hatch.

Fishermen who were afloat during these hatches with the correct lures and presentations enjoyed bountiful catches of crappie, channel catfish, drum, largemouth bass, sauger, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, walleye, white bass and wipers.

There was a run in late April and early May when the weather turned windy, cold and damp. On these days of unseasonably cool weather diehard anglers were forced to don winter garb again.

Nevertheless, several area fishermen caught fish galore.

During the first two weeks of spring, some species exhibited a preference for a delicately twitched Smithwick Rogue or a Lucky Craft Pointer.

On windy days or calm ones, cloudy or clear, warm or cold, these lures inveigled lots of big largemouth bass, spotted bass and smallmouth bass on shallow rocky points and shorelines of Melvern and Lone Star lakes.

Steve Ortiz of Lawrence and two friends caught and released 17 smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass that weighed more than 60 pounds at Melvern. On another Melvern outing, a Rogue lured a five-pound, six-ounce smallmouth.

After the Rogue and Pointer's effectiveness waned, anglers switched to a lightweight jighead adorned with either a three-inch tube or twister-tailed grub. These lures were affixed to a spinning outfit spooled with eight-pound line.

At Coffey County, Lone Star, Melvern, and Pomona lakes, anglers wielded these two lures along many miles of rocky shorelines by casting them to the water's edge and slowly retrieving them. On occasions the fish wanted the anglers to stop the retrieve for a second and give the lure a subtle twitch.

At other times, especially when the wind was brisk and exceeding 15 mph, the best tactic was to work the lure at a steady pace as the wind pushed the boat along the shoreline. Even during the windiest and most unsettled weather conditions, the tube and grub enticed an incredible number and variety of species.

Here's an abridged list of what several area anglers caught by using a tube and grub during the last couple of months:

Alan Geiss of Lawrence and a friend caught and released 51 white bass and 27 wipers in mid-April at Pomona. The largest weighed five pounds.

On an exceedingly windy April day, Bob Laskey and a friend caught and released 66 largemouth bass and 33 crappie at Lone Star. Ten of the bass weighed a total of 30 pounds and all of the crappie measured over 10 inches in length.

Two days later the wind continued to howl, and Dick Bessey of Shawnee and a friend caught 44 bass and scads of crappie at Lone Star. The biggest bass weighed six pounds, 11 ounces.

Four days later the wind blew at only 16 mph, allowing Bessey and his friend to venture to Melvern, where they tangled with 32 smallmouth. The biggest weighed four pounds, 11 ounces.

Several days after Bessey's catch, Marc Sherrell of Overland Park and a friend caught 125 fish and seven different species at Melvern.

On the day Coffey County reopened, Walt Tegtmeier of Kansas City, Mo., and a friend caught 89 smallmouth, 11 walleye, 10 big crappie, two channel catfish, two largemouth, one drum and one white bass.

And on the next day the wind roared, but that didn't stymie Cameron Roth of Lawrence and two friends who caught and released a potpourri of species, totaling 175 fish.

Since all of these catches occurred before the bulk of the crappie and the channel cats invaded the rocky shorelines, anglers speculate that the tube and grub will remain effective for perhaps another three weeks.

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