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Ducks and Bass

Last week-end brought unseasonably warm temperatures to Sunset Country and was too much to resist the temptation to head onto the lake.

A buddy of mine had recently been on the water doing a bit of scouting for waterfowl and fishing. The report was one to get excited about as several ducks were seen rafting up and the bass had made their way to the wintering holes.

The temperatures were expected to climb into the mid 70’s on Friday and a plan was quickly developed. I was going to hit the water at first light looking for waterfowl and we would jump into the bass boat in the afternoon and chase smallies.

Friday morning, we headed to the area that my buddy saw the ducks the previous day and to our disappointment, only a handful of ducks were bumped. We continued to search for our quarry and just as I was about to head for home, I saw what we were looking for. In a bay choked with wildrice, I could see a huge raft of ringnecks. Only when the raft lifted in 3 groups did I fully realize the size of the flock as approximately 3000 ringnecks took flight.

We headed to the area and threw out approximately 2 dozen decoys, leaving a large hole in the middle where a mojo floater bluebill decoy was placed. As we were hiding the boat, the ringers were already returning to their resting place and I had a feeling that we were in for something special. The boat was hid on the opposite side of the island and as I approached the blind, several birds were already landing in the dekes.

The action was as fast and furious as I’ve ever seen in my waterfowl experience and a limit of fat Northern ringnecks were harvested in 15 minutes or so. The action was so impressive that we sat and watched the show in awe for several minutes after filling our limit.

In the afternoon, we jumped into the BassCat and headed for some offshore humps in search of fall football smallies. With water temperatures hovering in the upper 40’s, there was zero doubt that the deep smallie bite would be going. We caught several beauty smallies in 23-28 feet of water where a Northland slurp jig tipped with 5 inch white plastic minnow bait was the deal. There is nothing more exciting than watching a big bass rise 5 or more feet to crush your bait and this scenario occurred several times during the afternoon. The afternoon produced a nice 20 inch smallie and a bonus 25 inch walleye, however the fish took second stage to the smile on my son Aidan’s face as he boated more bass than one could count.

I can’t imagine how the day could have been more perfect...a perfect October day in Sunset Country making memories with family!

A severe cold front is expected to push into the region on Thursday and I’m hoping that the peak waterfowl migration will occur this week-end. One thing for sure is that I will be there, just in case!

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