I was sick and tired of cleaning grass of my lures so I decided to skip the Willamette and hit Hagg instead. It had been a really hot week but we were on 2nd day of a cold front so I was not expecting a great day. I was tempted to bring some trout gear but I knew that if I did I would do the easy thing and just fish for trout. I made my plans to fish for bass and stuck with it.
I was surprised when I got to Hagg and saw that the water temp was ~67 degrees. The Willamette the week before had only been in the mid-50s and I figured Hagg would be a little warmer than that but I was way off.
I launched at boat ramp C and started fishing towards the Scoggins arm. On my 2nd cast I hooked a nice-sized smallmouth on a hard swimbait. I was pretty fired up since I was expecting the fish to be in a neutral to negative mood at best and not really chase hard baits very much.
Turns out that the first fish was one of those well-known liar fish. I did not catch a fish on a hard bait all day long.
After a dozen more casts I decided to pick up a wacky-rigged 3" senko and go back over the area. I caught a small smallmouth (first fish on the video). If you watch carefully you can see it puke up a decent-sized little perch right before I land it.
After that first flurry of action I probably spent an hour or so without a bite. I kept cycling through my takcle box looking for something that the bass would find appetizing. I tried a spinnerbait, a 1.5 crankbait, hard swimbait, jerkbait, soft swimbait, 3" wacky rigged senko, and a ned rig.
Eventually as I worked my way down the bank I came to a min-cove where I have done well in the past. I dropped my anchor and decided to cycle through eveything I had tied on to see if it was a problem of me not finding fish. There should be some fish in this spot.
I went through all my rods except for the ned rig without a sniff. I picked up the ned rig and on my 3rd cast to the same spot I caught a nicer smallmouth. I had probably made half a dozen casts with 5 different lures to that spot before I even picked up the ned rig.
I was amazed that all that action had not spooked that fish and that it had taken 3 casts to get it to bite. At that point I realized that the fish were in a negative/neutral mood and that if I wanted to catch something I would need to fish slowly and carefully.
So that is what I did. I alternated between the wacky rigged Senko and the ned rig and carefully combed the water. I got to another favorite spot of mine and within a handful of casts I caught my first largemouth of the year!
Decent in length but really skinny with no signs of spawning (tail looks perfect).
I kept working my way down the stretch being as quiet and stealthy as I could when I felt another pick up on the ned rig and saw my line moving out. I set the hook with a little too much pepper and POP goes the weasel.
I passed the time while re-tying by berating myself. With all that out of my system I calmed myself and carefully eased myself back to where I broke the fish off.
First cast and I start working the lure back when I seem to lose contact with it. I reel a little trying to regain contact with the ned rig when I see that the line is once again heading out towards deeper water. I set the hook firmly but definitely more controlled and I have my second largemouth of the year!
To be honest at that point I had already caught more bass than I had anticipated for the entire day (given the cold front).
I made a few more casts to the spot without a bite so I decided to change my presentation angle. First cast from a different angle and the same thing once again. While my ned rig was sitting still on the bottom a bass picked it up and started to swim into deeper water.
I once again made a good crisp hookset and this time I could feel some shoulders on the fish. She put up a good account for herself against the light spinning rod but after a short battle she was mine. She was extremely skinny and only weighted 2lbs 14oz. I really have to believe if that fish was fat she might have been pushing 3 3/4lbs but the scale doesn't lie.
In the video you can see me weight the fish and release it. As soon as I did I said "oops, in all that excitement I forgot to take a picture". At least the video is OK.
I fished that spot for a while longer without any more action. I kept working my way down the bank fishing slowly with the ned rig and picked up a little guy a ways down the bank.
For the rest of the day I only landed one more bass (another pretty decent largemouth) on a wacky rigged, weedless senko up around some shallow grass.
I hooked a few more fish but they all shook the hook.
That was it for me for the day. I only caught 7 bass but I went into the day thinking I might get skunked. Expectations make such a huge difference in how you feel about the day!
Here is some video from the day - including the stupid break off. Check those lines!