Last week I competed in the Bassmaster Open on Lake Champlain in New York. I had some good days and some not-so-good, but overall I fished pretty well, earning the number 7 spot. Lake Champlain is a really dynamic fishery with equal populations of largemouths and smallmouths. It also has a big array of shallow and deep structure, and a wide range of water clarities. Most importantly, however, is that Champlain has lots of grass, which is always good to fish in summer no matter which lake you’re on. That’s not news, I know, but what many anglers don’t realize (and the lesson that was reiterated to me during the tourney) was how much wind direction plays into success in the grass.
Certain wind directions tend to enhance or shrink the bass’s grass strike zone, and figuring out how to play the wind to your advantage can mean the difference between pulling quality fish or numbers of smaller fish. For example, during a stable or warm west or south wind, getting a bait three feet from your target will typically draw a strike. During a north or east wind, be prepared to hit holes or patches with pinpoint accuracy, and then hit the same spot a second or third time. It all has to do with the security of the grass bass during different stages of weather fronts.
In stable warming weather, they bite. If we’re talking post frontal, they find a good hiding spot and wait it out, and that’s when you have to force-feed them. I always find it amazing on a lake like Champlain that 4-pound grass-relating bass prove to be much wiser to changing weather conditions than 2 pounders. In terms of competition, if you fish eight hours to the correct daily grass pattern, you come closer to the 20-pound mark for five bass. If you falter, it’s probably because you thought it better to pick through the little ones and hope for a big one. Phot courtesy of B.A.S.S., by the way.