Jim twitched the 5” Gary Yamamoto pumpkin with red flecks plastic worm through the dark water along the shoreline of the 1,170 acre Lake Wassookeag in Dexter, Maine. The surface of the water exploded as a fat green/bronze missile decided to go airborne. Shaking his head side-to-side trying to get rid of the bright red hook that was stuck in his jaw, the four pound, big-mouth bass decided that up was the way out.
This muscle-bound Maine beauty splashed back to the surface about two feet from where he had launched and proceeded to dive toward the rock under which he had been hiding. The line hollered a bit as the big fish tested Jim’s equipment, but the 10 lb. test line held. With thrashing head and flailing tail he slowly got turned, but it didn’t stop him from going skyward two more times. He soon tired and came to the boat.
With practiced ease, Jim leaned over the side, twisted the hook and released the fish back into the dark water from which he had come. Another large bass given a chance to lick his wounds and grow to that 5-lb. wonder we were looking for.
At dawn we had loaded the boat on the trailer at Ralph Pino’s camp on Big Indian Pond and wandered up the road a few minutes to this lightly fished lake. The morning sun was just peaking up over the horizon and the surface of the water was absolutely flat as we launched at the public ramp. The storm of a few days before made the lake so high we could not get under the bridge that divides the pond, so we fished the eastern end.
The line of boulders that were used as the base of the causeway hid several nice bass that were looking for breakfast. Ralph used his electric motor to ease the Texas flats boat out about a hundred feet from the shoreline. We kept a steady tattoo of casts in and around the big hide-a-ways. The bass fish were hungry and we were ready to feed them.
The southern end of the pond had a ledge drop-off and rocky shoreline that seemed promising. Slowly we worked the docks and rocks with our artificial worms. Time after time we hooked up with Ralph having the most success. Most of the bass we were taking were in the two pound class, feisty little critters, but not what we were after. Thinking that perhaps the bigger bass were in the deeper water, I turned and cast away from the shoreline.
Letting the worm sink to the bottom, I twitched it just a bit and then let it sink again. Just when I thought this was a wasted effort, I felt the sudden smash at the end of my line. Setting the hook I did not have long to wait as this bass also thought the air above the lake was the place to toss the hook.
All along the bay down to the gas station and then up the eastern side produced fish.
At the far end we ran into an inlet that was very shallow. No bass, but a couple of very nice pickerel and a bunch of eager perch. In all of that time we saw only two other boats on the lake. As it was about noon, we decided to pack up and head back to camp. We never got that 5 pounder we were looking for, but we were rewarded with thirty or so scrappy bass in the 2-4 pound class.
The night before we had fished the upper end of Big Indian Pond and had the water all to ourselves while we boated bass after bass. As we moved to the eastern side of the pond, we drifted in over stumps and bottom logs that were a bass haven. Although we got caught on the bottom structure a lot, the risk/reward was high. Time after time we boated 3-4 lb. fish that gave us all the fight we could handle.
Dexter (best known for Dexter shoes and three time Grammy award-winning Jeff Coffin who places saxophone for Dave Mathews, Bella Fleck and others), St. Albans and other tiny towns like it dot this area of Maine. It is a ways away from the tourist craziness that can be part of the Maine coastline scene this time of year. Here in mid-Maine there is very little traffic and it is only about three hours north of Cape Ann.
Routes 152, 7, 23 and others can take you to water that sees very little fishing pressure and can produce some great bass fishing. So get out your Delorme map book, find some of these smaller ponds in central Maine and give them a try. I am sure you will like the result.
Rhumb Line Striper Tournament
Be sure to head over to the Rhumb Line to sign up for Fred’s annual not-to-be-missed striper tournament that is on for the 27th. Great prizes, raffles, a free t-shirt and a great cookout for all who enter. Although the bass fishing on the North Shore has been really slow lately, this cool weather and intermittent rain should help the bite. There is plenty of bait in the bay, but the fishing is spotty at best. So, if you catch a legal fish you could be in the running.