Monday, May 28, 2012

Annual Memorial Day Mentor Lagoons bass hunt still great

With a curl and quick recoil of his right wrist Mike McCoy ever so softly rolled a slinky black-colored plastic worm into a crevice tucked inside the rotting concrete bulk work.

The worm descended rather swiftly, towed to the bottom’s gooey muck by a stub of a lead pencil sinker.

A jiggle of the fishing and a couple of cranks on the handle of his Ardent spinning reel and McCoy brought the plastic worm to life. Enough life, in fact, that a three-pound male largemouth bass could not resist the temptation.

Like the men folk of so many other species in this world male largemouth bass go a bit crazy when it comes to the arena of progeneration.

Maybe the bass was simply trying to move the fake bait off a spawning bed or perhaps the fish wanted to teach the thing-a-ma-jig a lesson. Whatever, but between a razor-sharp hook, properly matched tackle and McCoy’s professional fishing experience, the largemouth didn’t stand a chance.

“Nice fish,” McCoy said as he only briefly admired the healthy bass before releasing it.

I replied that all bass are nice.

“Yeah, but as my youngest daughter says ‘some bass are nicer,’” McCoy replied.

And so they are, including those bass found within the claws of the Mentor Lagoon’s several fingers that poke their way back from Lake Erie.

These lagoons are among the most unique of their kind in the Great Lakes.

Populated seasonally by hundreds of boats of all kinds, the Lagoons also are the home to a wide variety of fishes: Carp, drum, black and white crappie, bowfin, sunfish, and northern pike.

Yet for anglers like McCoy the Lagoons are Bass Central Station.

But don’t get the idea the fish are everywhere, are simpletons, or can be cropped for the fry pan. They aren’t, they’re not, and they can’t. Not if the Lagoons’ bass fishing is to remain the most poorly kept secret zippered shut by area anglers.

And each Memorial Day holiday weekend for the past five years McCoy has let me occupy the rear deck of his Ranger bass-fishing boat. During these outings we’d spend the day tossing drop-shot-rigged plastics into various Lagoons’ nook and crannies.

This year was no different. Except, that is, for the record-setting heat and the relatively cool reception from the bass.

McCoy piloted his Ranger along the seam where the Lagoons me the bulk work, docks, indentations and such that provide cover for the fish.

“Yesterday the bass were on fire,” McCoy said, stumped that while we were catching nice fish there was – for him anyway – too wide a gap between bass.

Traveling back and forth through a couple of the Lagoon fingers we worked at finding fish. Some usually good spots were unusually void of bass, however.
“Maybe this is an afternoon bite,” McCoy said.

A good professional bass-fishing angler McCoy always has his brain wrapped around the angling whiteboard, analyzing the whys and wherefores that separates his tribe from the rest of us weekend wanna-bes.

Don’t get me wrong. I was having a ball, catching a couple of respectable bass in the process and pleased that I wasn’t embarrassing myself by pitching less than precision-like casts.

All too quickly and our annual bass-fishing retreat was over. The bass weren’t the worse for wear and McCoy kept his considerable angling talents honed to saber sharpness.

Me? Given all that’s happened lately health-wise I think I came out ahead the best.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

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