Conesus Lake 10/26 + Seneca Lake 10/27 Watkins Glen
Got out onto Conesus Lake for a full day trip with Greg. Greg’s booked a lot of trips this year and had read a lot about this lake and its bass fishing over the years. I grew up near Rochester and have a bit of experience on this lake (going back to 1977.) But I don’t guide it – apart from a special request here and there. I know the lake “OK” but not great. That being said, we’ve caught our share of big walleyes, nice pike and nice bass on this lake over the years.
We started on the south end and worked north. It didn’t take long for Greg to nail a few decent northern pike. Swim baits did the job. We saw a few good pike swimming near the surface in very shallow water over weeds – weird behavior. We covered a lot of water but didn’t encounter any aggressive bass. One reason I don’t do a lot of “year round” bass guiding is that bass can get tough to catch in many situations. When their strike zones shrink and conditions get tough, a jig ‘n pig can be the way to go. I’d say that 95% of weekend bass fishermen I encounter don’t pitch jigs. (I worked at Bass Pro Shops for a year and a half and had a lot of conversations with anglers and got a chance to see what tackle they were buying while working registers.) Many pros and tournament anglers throw jigs, but a surprising number of them don’t. It’s thorough fishing but it can be boring and requires concentration and patience.
So I told Greg that we’d have to go to the jigs. My buddy Craig happened to call me while out on the water. Craig’s been fishing BASS tourneys for some time now and is doing better every year – he mentioned it and was absolutely right. I had brought along two flipping sticks for that very reason. Greg was reluctant to go to the jigs, since he’d never seen a fish caught on one in person – just on TV. He wanted to see me catch a fish on one first. So I grabbed a jig rod. We worked down a protected bay (from the wind) and he worked superflukes and spinnerbaits shallow while I pitched a 1 oz. Black and Blue jig with a plastic trailer. Within about 20 minutes I had a tremendous hit near the boat. What a fish!!! It was 20″ long but clearly the fattest bass I’d ever caught. It looked like a 6lber but was probably smaller than that, but incredibly fat and hefty looking with a “double gut”. We took photos and I’ll get them up (along with about 8 months worth of photos) when I get some time. It was probably the heaviest largemouth I’ve ever caught with a huge mouth that could easily fit a big fist!
After the monster bass, Greg went to the jig. It didn’t take long for him to get into a fish – a nice 30″ northern followed in his jig as he brought it to the surface. It’s easy to see where Doug Stange at In-Fishermen got the idea to throw jig ‘n pigs for northerns and just reel them in! After that he missed a hit and then caught his first largemouth on a jig. I kept fishing and also caught one. Two areas produced all the fish, but we decided to keep working new water. Near the north end of the lake I had one big smallie chase a swimbait, but that was it for the day. A cottage owner on the lake told me he trolled up a nice walleye a couple weeks ago – so they are around. Water temp was 60. I’d say the fishing was alright – kind of tough, but worth it for the persistant angler.
Saturday I went out on Seneca with my friend Jess. We had a great time catching pike. The weather forecast called for 100% chance of rain but we played things by ear and got very lucky. Not much new to report on the Seneca northerns. They fought great – water temps are starting to hit the 50s and they hit hard. Big fish were starting to enter the picture too. My best one was 38″ long and hefty! All fish were released unharmed. Swim baits worked best as usual.