For the last couple of days I’ve been fishing with baby bream off the dock. Very relaxing. It takes about 5 seconds to catch the bait and another 5 to hook it up to my bass rig. I take down the newspapers, a book, maybe a puzzle book, and the phone. So I’m set for a couple of hours. That’s what I was doing this morning and had the Daytona News Journal and two Wall Street Journals. I went down about 9:30 and it was totally relaxing up until about 11:30. I had even completed a level 4 Sudoku puzzle with little problem. So I’m living large. At that point a large gust of wind came up out of nowhere and blew all my papers but the one I was holding into the lake. I’m scrambling trying to catch the last of them when I look over at my float and notice it’s heading out into the lake at a good clip. It had been just floating there about 20′ off the end of the dock for maybe 45 minutes. I give up on the papers – they were all in the water by now anyway- and jumped for the rod. I always leave the reel on free spool just in case something grabs it. That lets the line off the reel and won’t allow anything to jerk it off the dock. It was probably about 75′ off the dock and heading for the deep when I popped it. Sure enough, major fish. It did all the big bass things – pulled out the drag, ran into the weeds, and tried to get under the dock. But I prevailed and landed about an 8 pounder. No picture so you’re have to trust my judgement on the size. It’s the third bass in the last two days but the first one of any size. The others were in the 2-3 pound range. Fun to catch but ………..
And still on the subject – I started by saying how easy it is to catch small, baitsize bream. That’s new for the lake. As you recall, it was always easy to catch bream/bluegill off the dock but they were all large, plate size fish. It was hard to catch anything bait size. The exact opposite situation exists today. I can go down with a piece of bread and within a few seconds of baiting the cane pole, I have a small, maybe 3-4â€ bluegill. No big ones, just the bait size. I noticed the other day when putting out handfuls of fish food, that all the fish feeding were small. So maybe it is that we’ve come full cycle and there was a really successful bedding season last spring.. And perhaps for a few years prior to that, the crop was much smaller and most of the babies were all eaten up by the larger fish. Without a doubt, it’s different this year. The other difference is that for the first few years, we would catch as many shiners as bluegill. I can’t remember the last time I caught a shiner. It’s also possible that the large number of small fish comes as a result of having such high water levels all last year. that probably allowed th eggs to be laid way back in protected areas and they have had a much better survival rate than past years where the water level was lower. We’ll be able to test that theory next year since the level now is really low and not likely to rise for the next 6-9 months. If the hypothesis is right, then next fall we’ll have lots of big bream/bluegill and not many bait size.