Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hawg Days of September

The last week of August and the first week of September Marian & I are at the Greely Cabin in Center Conway, New Hampshire on Conway Lake. The cabin is located adjacent to Rose’s Cove. Wily Creek flows into the cove and the lake. This small cove use to be smelt haven. The local fishermen would net the smelt during the spring run. The smelt run on Conway Lake to not what it used to be so the interest in netting hundreds or thousands of smelt is null. However smelt still exist in the lake but not to the levels that actually support the harvest of the rainbow smelt but the DNR maintains a healthy population for the landlocked salmon and trout that call Conway Lake home. I’m sure that the pickerel, largemouth & smallmouth bass also take their fair share of the smelt as well.
This year on Conway Lake I will be fishing from a Jackson Coosa. The Jackson Coosa is better suited for fast moving water like the Saco, Androscoggin, and Ellis Rivers of the White Mountains. The Coosa will also perform well on small lakes and ponds like Conway Lake or Labrador Pond.
Besides the 2014 Jackson Coosa the next challenge will be the fable ‘Dog Days of Summer’. So why is it called the dog days? To my experience is that fishing is really tough in the summer; especially in August because the fish can be a little inactive because of the heat. While we are located in the White Mountains the weather in New Hampshire can still be hot during the summer. There was a difference through the water temperature of Conway Lake read nearly 78 degrees (f) and in the shallower waters touched 80 degrees according to the Raymarine Dragonfly. In the past the water temperature always felt like the low to mid 70s.
The lures that I will be testing the waters with will be the Rapala Jointed Shallow Shad Rap in the colors of crawdad and the firetiger, Rapala Scatter Rap Shallow in crawdad color, a white Poe Crankbait, a Rapala Shad Rap in the crawdad color pattern. Besides these hard body crankbaits; I also will test out the Captain Ken’s Frog and the ZMan Pop FrogZ in the areas that are covered with lily pads. Lastly I will be using the ZMan Sawtail WormZ setup in a Texas Rig configuration.
During the last week of August I tried using the Captain Ken’s Frog in the lily pads and around the rocky shoreline and rocky points I planned to use the ZMan Sawtail WormZ Texas Rig. Sunday, I worked the Texas Rig along the rocky shorelines and rocky points to the south of the Greely Family Cabin towards a small hidden cove. The first day resulted in three small smallmouth bass with the biggest at 11 inches.
Day two had me taking the Coosa on the same float plan. I did not have any luck along the same path heading to the hidden cove. When I reached the cove I decided to take the rod with the frog lure and work my way into a shallow area with a blanket of lily pads that consisted of small openings. I managed to get some blow-ups but no hookups. Working my out of the lily pad area and back into some deeper water I started throwing the Texas Rig towards the rocks and downed trees back in this cove. Finally I got a good hookup on what felt like a nice fish. I managed to land into the Coosa a nice largemouth bass.
As the end of August approaches the fishing still was hard but the targeted smallmouth bass started to get bigger. I don’t know if changing over to a crawdad colored Rapala Jointed Shallow Shad Rap was the key for locating the smallies. The biggest smallie measured nearly 16 inches. I also managed to land a nice pickerel into the kayak as well.
When September arrived, the smallmouth fishing on Conway Lake turned on. Heading north from the cabin every cast with the jointed shad rap was producing a smallie. They were not huge but the action that I was experiencing gave me the impression that the bass were jumping out of the crystal clear water and taking the lure before it hit the water. After three or four smallmouth bass, I managed to get a good hookup by a small rock island with a 17 inch largemouth bass.  When I reached a bigger island on the north side I landed several smallmouth bass in the 15 – 16 inch range. This day for bass fishing was just super.
The fishing action on Conway Lake continued to get fantastic as the water and the air temperature started cooling down. I managed another nice 18 inch largemouth bass and several more smallmouth bass in that same 15 – 16 inch range. I even managed to also hookup a small fallfish, perch, and a pickerel.  Besides fish I had a smallmouth bass decide to take revenge and put one of the barbs of a triple hook deep into my index finger. This resulted in me paddling back to the cabin to have Marian run me into the clinic for a hook removal. By the end of the week I managed to get a truly nice smallmouth bass that measured 18 inches.
After fishing out of the Coosa for two weeks on Conway Lake I was really impressed with the comfort of the Jackson Elite Seat, the stability of the Coosa while standing, the tracking of the kayak when drifting alone the shoreline, and with any kayak the stealth of the Coosa when working the shallow waters for bass. For these reasons I would recommend the Coosa as a great bass fishing kayak. As for Conway Lake give this crystal clear lake a try for fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass; as this lake holds some huge bass for New Hampshire.

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