Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Smallmouth Fishing on Conway Lake, New Hampshire

 I’m currently on vacation with Marian at her magical place on Conway Lake, near Center Conway, New Hampshire in the White Mountains. As we will be in this area for the first two weeks of September fishing for pickerel, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and hopefully a landlocked salmon I will try to post several short stories about the lakes and some other fishing journeys that we might take.

We left Charleston, South Carolina on 30 September for our 1,100 mile trip to her family cabin. This was going to be about an 18 hour journey so our plan was to stop in Baltimore, Maryland to spend the night at her sister Alice’s home. We managed to arrive there about 1 AM. We spent some time visiting but Marian and I were back on the road by 10:30 AM. On this trip we had to make a stop as we would be arriving too early when her other sister’s family had the cabin prior to us. So we decided to spend the night in Hooksett, New Hampshire which is only about 1.5 hours south of Conway Lake.
When we arrived at the cabin, Marian and I unloaded the truck; I then took one of the rods and proceeded to attempt to fish from one of the small kayaks near Rose’s Cove by the cabin.  A few cast with a ZMan White GrubZ on a 3/8 oz jig head and in no time I had a fight with a pickerel that measured 19”.
Then I tried one of those new Lunker Frogs in the Leopard color pattern that has been introduced at the 2013 ICAST show. The Charleston Angler in West Ashley had several color patterns; besides the Leopard pattern; I also got the pearl color pattern. They also had a color pattern called Fire Belly but I could not get myself to purchase this color. Any way this lure is the most realistic frog lure that I have used. It is weedless and floats. I would cast the Lunker Frog into the pickerel grass and lily pads and occasionally a fish would rise and just miss the frog. This is going to be a great lure to try in some areas of Conway Lake for some big fish.

Monday, 2 September the weather turned, the wind blowing from the east and some rain showers. My niece, nephew, brother-in-law, and I attempted to fish the cove area. We did not get any bites. The night prior we had a terrific storm with hard rain, lightening, thunder, and Conway even had flash flood warnings. So the weather might have planned a factor of the results of our fishing. So between casting the Lunker Frog or the ZMan White GrubZ; I took the opportunity to setup my Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 fishing kayak. The expression of “East is Least and West is Best” appears to be true for this fishing day since the wind was from the east.
Today (3 September) was a different story. The weather was making an effort to being a great day for paddling and angling. The other objective to this vacation besides to catch some smallmouth bass but also to shoot a GoPro video for the upcoming Charleston Angler’s GoPro Film Festival. So this morning I shot some footage of paddling out of Rose’s Cove and out into Conway Lake. Then I paddled towards a group of islands towards the Center Conway Beach and Boat Launch. Drifting along just past a rock point I had a hit and soon a jumping smallmouth was leaping out of the water. Landed the smallie and uff da; I discovered that I had left my camera back at the cabin. So I decided to paddle back to the cabin. I could get my camera, photograph bass on the measuring board, and then get a GoPro shot of releasing the smallmouth.

After releasing the bass it was time to have some lunch and go do some shopping for groceries and lobsters for dinner. Uff da; we will be eating well tonight.

The evening journey had me going to the same general area of where I caught the 12” smallmouth. Eventually I made it past the group of islands and not a single bite. So I decided that I would paddle back towards the Greely Cabin, past a rock point, and into another cove. In this cove I had a good bite. This time it was a nice smallmouth that started jumping as soon as I set the hook. When this bass finally made it into the kayak, placed on the measuring board, and photographed at 15.5”.  After releasing the bass; I started drifting towards the rock point. When I got close to the point, I casted the GrubZ across the rock point to see if any fish were waiting to ambush any bait fish swimming towards the rocks.

I’m guessing just before the GrubZ arrived near the edge of the rocks, I had a good hit. I set the hook and had a good battle on. As soon as the fish fought close to the kayak, I prepped the Ego net. Then the fish jumped over the bow of the kayak and I managed to identify the fish as a pickerel. Maybe my personal best but unfortunately on the jump the small pike threw the hook and was set free.
This last battle would end my fishing day. I can tell you one thing. Uff da!! I sure miss my Jackson Kayak with those Elite Seats.

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