Dog days offer good fishing

July 2011 News
It's that time of year again when the daytime temperatures lead to hot water in the local lakes and streams.

Even the seemingly terminally chilly Lake Michigan will maintain surface temps that qualify as bath water on some days.

This is by and large a function of sun angle and length of day. The sun is obviously hotter this time of year as well, so it stands to reason that water temps will rise very quickly during the day. Many days the temperature in the shallows will increase to the point that many fish and other critters will vacate these areas and head to deeper, cooler water, or at least find some serious shade until the sun goes down. This is why the safe money is on night fishing for most of July and a good part of August. Unfortunately, many fishermen simply have no choice but to fish during the day.

In my experience, the fish that head to the shade and find a nice big dock and pontoon boat to hide under, for example, are potentially the most catchable bass, even during the heat of the day. I call them "players" because they will deal with you at just about any time. And quite often these fish are some of the largest in a given area of the lake.

In fact, the first really nice bass I ever caught when I was just a little shaver ate a 6-inch Mann's purple worm that I had unceremoniously dropped between the dock and the pontoon just below my feet. I hung on for dear life as this big mouth banged into the pontoon and pier posts testing my kid pole and the junk reel attached to it. A neighbor a couple doors down ran to my rescue and landed it for me.

I have no idea how much it weighed because my rescuer then volunteered to show me how to clean a fish and filleted it before I could even go tell my parents. And all for the low, low cost of a chunky bass fillet. It didn't matter really, my dad was from the east side of Detroit and his filleting technique was lacking judging by his habit of taking our fish to the neighbor to be cleaned. The bottom line is he'd have probably gone down and had the guy do the same thing anyway.

It was probably about a five pounder I'd guess looking back on it now. That fish was the first and last nice bass I ever ate by the way. I learned very quickly that a bass that size isn't great table fare, especially when I was used to eating crappie, bluegill, perch and walleye from the very same lake. None the less, it started a revolution of sorts in my mind. dock fishing.

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