Watching Bass and Learning

Bass protecting its bed.Late in May I was watching Largemouth Bass on their beds. The water was very clear due to the lack of rain so it offered a great view of the bedding fish. I watched for several hours so I could learn how bass moved and how they defend their beds. It was truly amazing to see! I positioned my boat about 4 ft from a largemouths bed. I had to remain very still! I watched as bluegill after bluegill would swim toward the bed, but the bass would chase them and the bluegill would swim away quickly.  The Bass would always postion itself in the same way after chasing off the bluegill.

After watching for about an hour I decided to do a little experiment. I took out my fly rod and caught a small bluegill. I took a hook with some line on it and threaded it through the bluegill back fin so it could still swim. I removed the hook and tied a knot so the gill couldn’t come loose. Next step was to attach the line to a long pole and gently set it in the water near the bass bed. At first the bass would come after it just to spook it off. The bass would open its mouth but would only bump it in an attempt to scare it off. But after a few times the bass would become mad and would pick up the bluegill and move it about 10 ft and then let it go. Each time the bass would go back to its original position to guard the bed. It would face the open water with the bank to its back. The bass had a good postion to see the 3 sides (left, right, front) with the back being protected by the bank. The one thing I did notice was that once the bluegills found the bed they would gang up on the bass. A bluegill on the left would charge in and the bass would chase it off but while that was happening the bluegill from the right would attack the bed. This happened about every 5 minutes. This taught me allot about bedding bass and what they do and how they defend their beds.

After doing this for several hours I decided to do a little fishing in deeper water and as I was on my way there I heard 2 guys screaming in a boat so i decided to see if they needed help. I got to where they were at and they said there was a bald eagle sitting in a tree and they pointed it out to me so I pulled out my binoculars and low and behold there was an eagle drying its feathers perch atop a dead tree. I tried to get as close as I could and snapped a few shots before I spooked it. This is very rare to see in northern Indiana and the first time i have ever seen one on the Kankakee River in all my years of fishing it. It was a sight to behold.  I never did pick up my poles the rest of the day; instead I just went sight seeing and exploring the river. This was probably my most enjoyable day on the river I had in 2005!

Don Chalmers (kickinbass)

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