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Chris_in_Louisiana

Backyard Bassin'

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The local fishing has slowed substantially since the weather finally cooled in late January.  I've gone out with regularity, but, with the exception of an unexpected skipjack herring in a local bayou, I've been essentially skunked on public waters for the past three weeks.

Thankfully, I stumbled across a great bite in my backyard while testing out some large deceivers and the new intermediate line I had purchased for my 9wt.

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My subdivision has a fairly large pond at the center and includes a dead-end canal that runs immediately behind my house.  It was stocked with bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish roughly 15 years ago and is said to have produced a few 8-10 lb bass per the neighbors who have lived here the longest.

The 2020 lockdown put quite a dent in this small fishery, however, as everyone and their brother seemed to suddenly own a fishing rod and have nothing better to do.  Since then, the abundant bass have been largely absent, and I can count the number of fish I landed in 2021 on one hand.

My luck since first testing that intermediate line in late January seems to suggest the fishery is doing just fine, however, as I landed the 20+" bass below within a dozen casts on that sunny Sunday afternoon.

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Two days later, I decided to see if I could repeat the process.  And while no fish came to hand, a similar size fish that narrowly missed my fly along the bank suggested I might have been on to something.  So this past Sunday when the weather pattern seemed similar to that day in late January, I decided to repeat the process.

Sure enough, the fish were there.  While only the two 1-2 lbs fish below came to hand, a third fish in the 3 lbs range tossed my hook on the jump. (For reference, that's a 4/0 hook visible in the second fish's mouth).

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Completely hooked at this point, I found myself out back late Monday afternoon as well.  And once again the fish did not disappoint.  In 45 minutes, I had 10 fish on the line including three that easily surpassed 4 lbs.  Each had a stomach bulging with food and sadly the picture below just doesn't do the fish below justice.  At a  little over 20", it was by far the fattest bass I have ever caught.

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When yesterday rolled around, I was committed to giving the bass a break.  Fish and Wildlife was slated to stock rainbow trout in a local pond, and I headed that way to meet up with some fellow anglers.  5 hours later, we learned the hatchery truck had broken down and would not be arriving until after dark.  Having not even landed a bluegill in that time frame, I headed home.  Dusting off the 9wt, I made five casts.  This guy came in at 18.5" and more importantly I finally remember to get a belly shot to highlight the girth of these fish.

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And in case anyone is wondering what these fish are getting fat on, I managed to end my day by snagging two of these little guys.  Clearly the gizzard shad are thick this winter, and the bass are taking advantage.

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Maybe I need to tie some bigger streamers?

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Great report Chris. Those of us currently iced over for the next ten weeks really appreciate seeing what others are doing. 

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Thanks for that Chris-  Here in Mass Ice fishing is still on.  The flowing water is open -if you don't mind really cold fingers and toes.

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