Pontoons aren't just for pleasure boating
With record snowfall hitting New England this winter and with the potential of another storm coming this weekend I figured now would be an excellent time to talk about some great summertime patterns. I'm sure this will be good for both of us! Anytime I am on a lake that has both species (Largemouth & Smallmouth) you are in luck because you can take your pick of how you want to fish. For me the deciding factor besides the water body is how the weather is. If it's windy I know the smallmouth will be biting so that's my choice but if I have a bluebird sky day with little or no wind and I am on a lake I feel like I can win with largemouth then I'm looking for greenfish. I have a two pronged approach for largemouth on days like this and they both involve one bait; a Samatis Baits Samastick in 5." The Samatis Baits Samastick is a senko-style bait but is locally hand poured and trust me when I tell you there is a HUGE difference. Buy local and check out these awesome baits and more at samatisbaits.com
My first plan is to look for the pontoon boats. I check marinas and isolated coves; you don't need a ton of docks with pontoon boats but the more you can find the longer you can run this pattern. I like to really target pontoon boats that look like they haven't moved in awhile. If you see some algae, grass, or anything surrounding the boat; chances are it hasn't moved. That stuff surrounding the pontoons whatever it may be will attract micro-organisms which will then attract the bluegill. Once the bluegills show up you know the largemouth won't be too far behind. I like throwing black with blue flake here and ocasionally will mix in the green pumpkin. My go to is black and blue because I think the shade gives the bait a nice silhouette in the water. Rigging options can either be wacky rigged or texas style weightless. For wacky applications I like an Owner no.1 wacky hook in green camo. For texas rigging I like a 2/0 owner offset worm hook. I run both of these setups on 8 lb PLine mono. I like using a 6' 10" Medium Denali Kovert spinning rod paired with a Team Lew's Gold Spin 1000 series. This longer rod allows you to pick up a lot of line when setting the hook and I like personally skipping docks/boats with a little bit of a longer rod. The mono really allows me to skip that bait far up under the boats and not have problems back at the reel. The rule of thumb here is the tighter the place the better. My first cast needs to always be my best one and I shoot for as close to the middle of the boat as possible and try to get right under the transom. This will be the spot that offers the most shade and is a great ambush point. If I don't get bit I move to the other side of the transom, and then finally move to the outside edges of the pontoon if no bites occur before I move on. From experience most of my bites on the outside pontoons come on the side closest to the dock; just be mindful of any dock lines, bumpers, and chains that could be hanging off the dock. This is a great pattern to run and not only will give you bites but you can get some big bites in these areas as well.
Now if you didn't burn through all of your Samasticks running docks all day, my next best summer pattern for high pressure sunny days is deep outside grass lines. Here I will make the switch to a baitcasting setup; my choice here is a Denali Kovert 7.2" Med Heavy Worm & Jig Rod paired with a Lew's BB1 Pro 7.1:1 reel. I also switch to a 3/0 Owner offset worm hook here for a more stout hook to make sure the grass doesn't work against you. Like using weights with any soft plastics the best rule is to use as little weight as you can to still get the job done. Use what you are comfortable with but my choice here is a tungsten 3/16 oz and sometimes up to 1/4 oz. My color choice here for my 5" Samastick is strictly green pumpkin. I find these outside grasslines using my humminbird electronics and make blind pitches into the grass. Use your electronics to stay on the outside edge of the grass. I will try to position my boat inside the edge pitching out and then on the outside edge pitching in. Try both until you can key in on where the fish have positioned themselves. Outside grass lines can come at a variety of depths so keep an open mind and an open eye. Depending on the lake we could be talking as little as 8-10 foot or sometimes 15-20 foot. Your best grass lines no matter the depth will be in an area where there is something a little different. Bass fishing 101 is that if you can key in on the spot within the spot. So what you should be looking for is grasslines that make an abrupt turn, or maybe adjacent to a significant dropoff, point, or in an area with some rock. Try these two approaches next time you find yourself on the lake with bluebird skies and no wind but make sure you have plenty of Samasticks to last you the whole day.
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