Mid-day action needs weed cover

Ah, blessed heat. To fish for an afternoon requires constant hydration, sun protection and at the current time, the ability to ignore black flies biting your ankles all day.

Pete Lafond caught these two fish simultaneously this past week on Potato Lake. The bluegill at the bottom actually ate his nightcrawler and was hooked. However, the rockbass on top was somehow lassoed in the line. (Jason Durham / For the Enterprise)

Ah, blessed heat. To fish for an afternoon requires constant hydration, sun protection and at the current time, the ability to ignore black flies biting your ankles all day.

Obviously you can't control weather variables. If we could, everyone visiting the area would have sunny 75-degree days all week long. Residents would favor that as well, especially mid-January.

The sun is majestic, powerful and potentially harmful if you don't abide by certain measures. Sunscreen is a must and should be reapplied often.

Light, cool clothing that offers extensive skin coverage, like long-sleeve shirts and pants is additionally advantageous as well as sunglasses. Unfortunately as a guide, the sun usurps some of these measures and once I remove my sunglasses, it still appears I'm

wearing them. We welcome the sun during the summer months, but some people still curse it at the end of the day (have you ever tried to sleep with a sunburned chest and back?)


Back to those black flies, there are ways to keep them off your ankles and toes so you're not scratching the bug bites on your feet all night long (as you toss and turn due to your sunburn). Dryer sheets tucked in your sandals help, so does Avon Skin-So-Soft. Bug repellents can deter a few. Ultimately the best defense is to cover up your tootsies and bring a flyswatter.

Now you're set for an afternoon of fishing, but why go? The fish aren't going to bite anyway, it's too hot, right? Wrong.

Though anglers often opt for early morning and evening, there are times when the mid-day action is swift. Oddly enough, that peak in activity is occurring right now. It doesn't make much sense; 80-some degree water temperatures and the fish are active at lunchtime? Well, the situation is even more dynamic; 12-16 feet of water has been best.

The key, however, to catching some of these daytime dwellers is weeds. The fish, including walleyes, seek shelter from the sun in vegetation. It's unlikely you'd catch much on a sandy flat, but the weeds offer respite and ambush opportunities for forage even though the water temperature may be several degrees warmer compared to cooler deep water.

Fishing the vegetation, those submergent cabbage weeds, coontail, milfoil and grass, offers diversity in fish species. Once you get a bite, you never know what's going to be on the end of the line.

Take for instance Pete Lafond, a guest in my boat who set the hook and declared landing net assistance was required. When the fish came to the surface, it was merely a rockbass, which seemed odd due to the strain on his fishing rod. "Why is that other fish following this one?" he inquired. The "follower" was a half-pound bluegill, which had been traditionally hooked in the mouth. The rockbass had become tangled in Pete's line above the hook, offering the boat occupants a view of two fish,* caught simultaneously while only using a single hook.

*Both fish were released.

Related Topics: FISHING
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