Over the weekend, my longtime fishing partner Zach Zarba and I were invited to fish a small tournament on Cape Cod. Despite the recent cold weather and dropping water temps, we knew it would take a strong bag of largemouth to win. This lake was shallow, with a maximum depth of less than 10 feet, meaning the recent cold weather would have had a significant effect on the water temp. As we arrived at the ramp at sunrise, we noticed some patches of ice on the pond. Water temps were reading 39 degrees in the morning, but the forecasted 50-degree highs gave us confidence in finding a bite.
We started the morning fishing a slightly deeper offshore area that usually has fish looking for herring. After quickly confirming that they were not there, we made a move to an area of abundant grass patches and clumps, with the thought that most of the fish should be settling into the grass for winter holding. We quickly established a pattern with the jerkbait, when back-to-back casts connected with quality keepers in the 2-pound range. However, I shook both fish on the jump, leaving us empty handed. I made a quick adjustment to a perch pattern suspending jerk bait with larger hooks. The technique was making long casts over the isolated grass clumps, with quick snaps and long pauses. We stuck with this pattern the rest of the day, slowly building our 5-fish limit while weeding through large pickerel on what seemed to be every other cast.
Zach made a point that he was getting his bites only on the long pauses, and he proved it with a 3.5-pound solid bass that highlighted our bag. We fished until the final minutes, when I made a cull for another middleweight 3-pound fish, getting rid of our smallest fish in the bag. Coming into the ramp, I told Zach that no matter what happened, we fished hard and I was proud of how we never gave up on the day, even though my wrist might never function the same again after hours of throwing a jerkbait with no break.
Our official weight was 15.72lbs, and the winner edged us out by .7 ounces with 15.79lbs total (shoutout Pat Roy of Northeast Bass). It does not get closer than that in tournament fishing. Third place boasted a great bag as well, with 15.65lbs (shoutout to Derek Brundle and Matt Conant, who went fish for fish next to us all day).
A 15-pound bag on a December day in Massachusetts is hard to beat. We had fun beginning to end. That’s the beauty of our Northeast fishery, the ability to find and catch fish all the way up to when the ice locks up the ponds.
The post Bass Tournament Report: December Jerkbait Bite on Cape Cod first appeared on On The Water.
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