Monday, May 7, 2012

Bass Fish Like a Pro - Central Maine

Red Fin Almost Cut in Half By a Strike!
It is certainly no secret that central Maine contains numerous truly epic lakes and ponds, each filled to the brim with large and small mouth bass. Topping this listing of impressive waters are Messalonskee and Cobbosseecontee Lake and Long, Great and North Pond. While bass are certainly thriving in these locations that does not mean you will necessarily be successful in catching them. A number of factors including time of day, you ability to locate promising bottom structure and lure selection are just a few of the variables that will need to be carefully considered.

Time of Day 
Early mornings and late evenings certainly top my list as favorite times to fish. These times of the day typically see less boat traffic and are less abused by high winds that build later in the day. Add to these benefits the possibility of viewing beautiful sunsets and sunrises and it isn’t hard to understand why a day on the water usually starts or ends in the dark. All things considered, however, excellent fishing can be had at anytime of the day, given you locate the fish and feed them what they want to eat. When the conditions are right and the fish decide to bite it sometimes seems that nothing will keep them off your hook.

Bottom Structure 
Depth maps and fish finders will assist you in studying bottom structure and finding fish but nothing can compare to general first hand knowledge of the area you are planning to fish.

Knowing where to find beaver lodges, underwater weed beds, sunken logs and stumps, rocks, shoals, ledges, drop offs, islands and other such areas will put you leaps ahead of other fishermen. Wearing a pair of polarized sunglasses, with bright sunshine and the benefit of calm water, the process of finding areas containing ambush cover for hungry bass and pike is greatly facilitated.

Mark these areas with a GPS or write down locations and you will be served for years to come with fishing hotspots.

While any of these waters may be fished from shore with success, reaching the best fishing spots requires breaking free from the crowded boat launches and accessing areas that see little fishing pressure. Canoes, kayaks and all manner of larger watercraft can be used as long as care is taken to respect the anticipated weather conditions.

Many central Maine lakes are notoriously fickle and a beautiful day on the water can quickly turn life threatening. Always wear a life jacket, as water temps even a month after ice out will only allow minutes of survival time before your body will fail to function and you will drown.

In the spring of the year, as the water temperatures begin to slowly raise, bass will become more and more active. This can lead to great fishing in as early as April, with the activity remaining steady up to the end of June. By slowly working a mixture of flats (staging areas), weed beds, under water holes and heavy cover, anglers can expect to find many fine specimens in the 18-20 inch range, with fish over 20 inches occurring at regular intervals. While larger fish are always a possibility, extensive time and luck will be needed to find them.

Go with #4 BF
Lure Selection and Presentation 
For the bass fisherman looking for a unique experience, they should try using live red fin shiners (3-4 inches), 2/0 hooks, 45 lb steel leaders, large bobbers and 20 lb braided line. This set-up is effective on both small and large mouth bass and the heavy hardware ensures that if a massive northern pike is caught, it will be unable to escape. *Please note that you are not allowed to keep bass in the state of Maine caught on live bait until after July 1st. Also until July 1, you are only allowed to catch and keep one bass and it must be over 10 inches.

For many, pitching a bobber and staring at it all day long is not going to prove to be the most exciting of fishing endeavors. For the search and destroy crowd, who like to cast, sluggos, blue foxes and terminator spin baits are all capable of eliciting brutal reaction strikes, during the early spring. Securing these baits to your line with a protective steel leader, will assist in making sure pike can’t break free.

Fishing two poles, one for bobbing and one for casting is a great way to maximize your presentation by keeping two baits in the water at all times. This set-up allows you to fish live bait while the second line is cast and used to locate fish. This system is very effective anytime during the fishing season.

The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer is a fantastic tool for locating boat launches and hand carries to allow access to the various lakes and ponds mentioned above. Also the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has organized a fishing guide driven by Google Earth that provides vital information.

When fishing please be sure to monitor and clean your lures, motor, anchors and boat trailers of the invasive underwater plant Milfoil. Milfoil has the potential to destroy many of Maine’s premiere fishing destinations. Do you part and check for this evil little hitchhiker!

Remember as the water and air temperatures warm up a bit, it becomes the perfect time to introduce youngsters to the joys of fishing. To assist in this endeavor please read the following past blog posts:

1. Hook Kids Into Fishing – Introduction
2. Hook Kids Into Fishing – Hooks and Lures 
3. Hook Kids Into Fishing – Putting It All Together
4. Hook Kids Into Fishing – What If We Catch Something
5. Taking A Kid Fishing Yields Happy Memories

Also, for those of you chasing Salmon and Togue this spring, be sure to read:
1. Spring Fishing Techniques – Trolling

LASTLY, for those of you who would like to see me receive a public FLOGGING please read:
Frayed Friendship and the LOCATION of Lake X!


  1. When the student becomes the teacher through online courses, the old teacher no longer teaches the student who has now become the teacher. This old dog will no longer share new tricks- Duckfucius

    1. DDH, For SHAME!! Now don't you feel bad after reading Rhonda's remarks below! Her son is going to enjoy reading this article and our tutelage might one day help make him a pro bass angler! You better start playing nice or else . . . else . . . else . . . well, I will think of something!

    2. Picturing a fish head at the bottom of the bed Rabid.... Just putting it out there for ya :)

  2. Great info Rabid, my son will enjoy reading this... he is starting to really get into fishing. Wants to be a pro fisherman. He'll eat all of it up... literally :)

    1. Rhonda, Great! Glad that your son will enjoy reading! Make sure if he has any questions that you or he drops a comment, I have TONS and TONS more of Duckman's fishing secrets to share!

    2. Go for it, I will bring you down homeboy... Laughing last and hardest...

    3. Peace treaty? I promise not to make you sleep in the garage the next time you visit. You are also welcome to as many tins of Bar Harbor sardines that you can eat. Deal?

  3. That is great! Love secrets..... Shhhhhh.

    1. Rhonda, DDHs go to bass bait is the white or pumpkin seed ZOOM Super Fluke! Shhhhhhhh . . .

    2. Shhhhhh.... want to catch bass head over to Lake X...

    3. Oh, now that is just wrong.

    4. Downeast Duck Hunter.... that's not a secret... do you know how many Lake Xs there are in America? :) lol

  4. This is so wrong on so many accounts! You never give up a buddies fishing tackle! You would be flogged down here in my part of the country.

    1. Trey, Ok, perhaps I made a mistake! If it had been just DDH complaining then I would have just archived his whining to his normal operating procedure. However, with his sidekick providing back-up support, I am willing to admit that perhaps it was wrong of me to give up DDH's trade secrets. Let the FLOGGING begin!

    2. You may want to head over to your buddy's site and see what a flogging looks like, it was great being your friend...

    3. I can see that I have officially grabbed the bull by the horns . . .


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