Well, summer is here. The Piontek Family has not fished enough yet this spring, but the little bit of fishing we did get done, we sure cant complain. Not huge numbers of fish, but the sizes were higher than normal. My wife started off the season red hot, hammering some pretty good trout in her secret creeks opening weekend. Alex and I got our butts kicked in his first ever adult tournament on Lake Chetac May 14, but he did manage a solid bass that was just 1/4" short for weigh in during snowing conditions and brutal wind and waves. Once the typical pre-spawn hit, our typical presentations worked as usual. I hand poured a few finesse worms for myself, as well as painted up a "Bloody Cisco" bass jerker. Alex wanted me to make up a few of our #4 Bad Boy weedless finesse spinners, and we had some Flappin Jigs, carved Bluegill Spinners, and Spitter Pops all ready to go. Our success so far has not been with any fast moving baits really. Its been a strange year with occasional down pours and unseasonable water temp drops. I did have a few magic moments with the bass jerker, but most of the fish caught this spring were on the #4 bad boy and that finesse worm I poured. In a recent tournament a week and a half ago, the largemouth were in a post-spawn moody funk, but were brave enough to circle their territories in clear water, even with our boat RIGHT in their face! We managed some misses, some weak bites, and did get 3 quality fish to the weigh in scales, all on the customized finesse worm again. Spinners were useless and my brand new Shimano jerkbait spinning reel failed on me on my first use mid day, so I gave up on my favorite lure almost immediately. Alex and I fished a lake two weeks prior, battled the wind and waves again, but finally put a beginning of a pattern together late in our outing. The pre-spawn bass were extremely shallow, the little ones that is. We pounded the shallows for hours, when we accidentally sailed a cast on a deep weed edge and he nailed a very nice 15.5" largemouth on the bass jerker. Not long after, I missed a pike on the #4 bad boy on the deep edges, and alex reeled in another thick, healthy 15" largemouth. It was a fantastic ending to a tough day to figure out. I knew with the rising temps and low barometer that they HAD to be biting, but sometimes it takes hours to figure out the magic bait/depth/location to get them going. I do think it feels better to get your butt kicked until you start getting upset, then have them start hammering like that. Makes you feel like you might know a LITTLE bit about what you are doing. Anybody that knows me know that I am a huge fan of the Bassmasters and Mr. Iaconelli, and what I like about him and others like KVD, they seem to learn so much and build a pattern so quickly. When you get bit by a good one, ask yourself "Why?" Look immediately at the depth, water temp, structure, drop off. contours, cover, action of your bait, depth your bait is working in the water column, water clarity, current, current seams, etc. There is so much going on, and I love what he said in MLF last week, "One bite is luck, Two bites is a maybe, Three bites on one lure is a PATTERN!" Excellent quote that will really help the bass fisherman figure out the day. Not that I am good at it, but I am having fun trying to get better at it.
Angela Piontek showed off her mad skills at filling nets with a gorgeous trout, and she threw back several more of these beauties opening day 2016
Mr Alex James, my favorite angler and our best lure designer, holds up two thick largemouth that he landed on our Bass Jerker and #4 Bad Boy in NW Wisconsin
Tournament partner Mat's 3 biggest fish we helped hold up during a previous practice run on Red Cedar Lake, WI.
My two biggest 2016 tournament fish right before weigh-in, 3.03 lb 17" and a near 3 lb 17" caught on finesse worms that I poured and customized. Drop speed was EVERYTHING to those post-spawn CRABBY largemouth!! Use braid, use a weightless hook, and a floating salt-free worm on bad days like that.
Jesse James is an avid fisherman that loves smallmouth bass fishing, loves spending time with his family, with other family-orientated people, and loves seeing children fish. A huge fan of BASSMASTER Elite Mike Iaconelli, like Mike, he is known to be a little strange, and obnoxious, but only to have fun and make people laugh.