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FISHING UPDATES FROM THE PRIMETIMES RESEARCH POND:

Sep 23, 2002

The bass sure liked that Harvest Moon yesterday, despite the weather cooling off considerably last week. The water temp dropped steadily but slowly from the high 70s to the high 60s, which seemed to spark some feeding behavior in the big boys. It will be interesting to see what happens this week, because it's suppose to stay very cool here (high in the 60s, lows in the 40s). The water temp will probably fall to the low 60s before this is over. The moon/sun combo won't be strong, but the bass may be getting that fall urge and still bite well. Also, the heat-of-the-day period may start being the best, with Dusk second.

Aug 30, 2002

With dog days of summer, plus our being busy getting the 2003 calendars and CD-Rom ready, the bass haven't been hastled much lately. As usual this time of year, the food supply is down to a few frogs and dragonflies, so the bass are slack-stomached and under some stress. We've still checked their bite times regularly, but usually without a hook. They've settled in to preferring a dark green, 4" Pudge (by Lunker City), casted tight to the cattails/algae mats and allowed to slowly sink. Dawn and dusk are by far the best times, especially when overlapped by a lunar period, such as Aug 1-4 and last night (Aug 29) thru (I predict) Mon. Our water temp in the upper level has been holding steady in the high 70's, and we've just had an annoying bloom of blue-green algae. A 2-inch rain 10 days ago brought the pond level back up to normal, but not a drop since.

July 14, 2002

As you know, July 10 was the strongest day of the year solar-lunar-wise, with a rating of 96. Unfortunately, that morning our pond got hit with 2" of rain, 50 mph winds, and of course plenty of lightning. The pond murked up and rose about a foot. Since then, however, the fishing has been excellent, because the one big positive from that storm was that it dropped the water temp from 85 degrees (surface to 5') to 78 degrees. From Thurs. through yesterday (Sat.) the ICU has had as many as five of our pond's biggest bass cruising regularly. And in the main pond they are hitting very well just about anytime of day, with the Moon Overhead and Dusk periods being the best. As we return to the hot and humid weather this week, I suspect things will "cool off," especially as we slide to the lowest rating (20) of the month next Sat.

June 14, 2002

Last weekend and especially Monday with its New Moon (Daily Rating of 92) was excellent fishing here and (according to numerous emails and phone calls) all across the country. Per usual, we were periodically "testing the waters" on our pond to find that Dawn was very good, as was High Noon (due to the Moon Overhead period overlapping the Sun Overhead period). Dusk was the best, however, as we expect it to be for at least the next month under normal conitions. Be sure to check it out next week on June 17-19. Meanwhile, we'll see what 2" of rain a couple days ago, plus a big cold front today does to the bite. Good luck!

May 29, 2002

FISHING HAS BEEN GREAT! Bring in that long-overdue hot, humid weather (which has taken the water temp at 5 feet to 68 degrees and 70-76 degrees at the surface), add in the spawning season being in full swing, then hit those stronger lunar days and periods...and it's hard not to catch all kinds of bass. Actually, I should say "fool" the bass, because we don't use full hooks on spawners...we cut the points and barbs off. This allows us to bring the bass into view, before releasing the tension, and therefore the bass.

We've been catching them just about any time of day. Noon to Dusk has been better, with that Moon Underfoot period being the best since Sunday. Anything plastic has worked, but my favorite has been a 7-inch black worm rigged Texas style and a 1/16-ounch bullet sinker. The bass have hit very hard and raced outward away from the nest. The non-spawners haven't been much farther out. Good luck!

May 9, 2002

SPAWNER HAS LEFT THE BUILDING! For 20 days she hung in there...through every conceiveable trial and tribulation. But as of sometime during the night, our four-pounder left the nest and has not been back. In her wake is a small cloud of fry so tiny I can barely see them. True, yet another monster cold front slammed into us last night (45-degrees, NW winds at 30-40 mph), but I think she left because it was time. The spawners I documented last year stayed on the nest 12 days in a water temp that averaged much closer to 70. This bass laid her eggs in 65 degrees, but then had to endure a 15-degree drop, which didn't recover until just a couple days ago.

Due almost entirely to the great weather and steady rise in water temp, we had good fishing here and on other waters last week, especially Sat. under the half moon. The bass were a little offshore over deep water on the windy side, and just loving white or chartruese spinnerbaits. Then as of Monday, many moved into shore with love on their minds and the action dropped considerably (I try to avoid fishing nests, because the bass are too vulnerable). As we come up on the new moon this Sunday (Mother's Day), I expect the fishing to be only fair, due to the spawning instincts taking over.

April. 29, 2002

Caps off to the spawning bass! Despite a nine-degree drop in WT (at 5') in the last four days...and a 15-degree drop in the last 10 days, she is still on her nest. As reported, she laid her eggs when the WT was 65 degrees 11 days ago, and immediately the WT began this horrific drop. This morning it was 50. Beside this negative factor, she has "weathered" strong winds, heavy rains, a water level rising one foot, water clarity turning murky, lightning, not to mention an alomst daily incursion of diving ducks, mallards, and Canadian geese. When any of these web-footed pests enters the ICU, she swims over to check them out. If they get too close, she literally chases them away. It's really funny to watch even a big ol' honker suddenly head for the exit.

The fishing has gone the way of the WT, while there was a brief pick-up in the action early last week as we approached the full moon and experienced a few days of good weather. Since Friday, however, the rains, cold air and strong winds have pretty much shut things down. If you've been under this same weather pattern, the good news is that once this parade of cold fronts runs its course and good weather sets in, we should have tremendous fishing, as the fish will be wanting to make up for lost time.

April. 22, 2002

Itís been a crazy spring so far. The ice went out for the first time in late-Feb., then was in and out until Mid-March, when it finally left for good. For the next four weeks the WT hung in the mid-40ís, and the bass stayed pretty much dormant. Finally, on April 6 the temp at 5í managed to hit 48 and I took four bass in rapid succession off the west shore where a nice easterly breeze was blowing in. This was during the heat-of-the-day solar period and they liked a white spinnerbait run about 4 feet down. My thoughts are the bass just got tired of waiting for a good warming trend. The next day, which was cool and overcast, the first bass of the year (a 12 incher) wandered into the ICU in mid-afternoon. The following day (the 8th) dawned drizzly, cool, and calm. Yet 5 nice bass from one to five pounds entered the ICU at 8 a.m. and hung much of the morning. This surprised me. In the past, it took a sunny day to bring big bass into the ICU in the early spring, and then rarely before 10 a.m....usually in early afternoon. Again, I had to conclude they were simply tired of waiting. The calendar was saying itís past time to be roaming the shallows.

The next two days were warm and the WT finally hit 50 degrees. Things quickly started happening, as pairs of bass roamed the ICU, possibly in search of spawning grounds.
From April 10 to the 18th we enjoyed that great weather and the WT climbed steadily from 50 to 65. Two big bass had laid claim to the ICU, driving all others away. They fanned out a nest and were doing some serious rubbing on the 18th (last Thur). This worried me, because we were just hours away from an Arctic cold front blasting through, followed by days of very cold weather. I really wanted to watch this complete spawning cycle. But if they laid eggs that night, the upcoming drop in WT would probably drive them off the nest. I was considering throwing rocks at them (well, what did you expect me to do, pour cold water on them?), but a downpour with lightning late that afternoon may have done the job.
As of this morning (Mon. the 22nd), the WT has dropped to 55. The two big bass were still hanging out in the ICU as of yesterday. With the full moon coming up this Fri and a decent forecast, I would expect to see some bass make a serious attempt at spawning, while the majority of them historically will do so later in May.


Oct. 25, 2001

The rains finally came in mid-September and quickly filled the pond back up. It was good to have the ICU back in service, as the bass and bluegills wasted no time coming in. Even tho the change in water level was only about 18", it clearly altered the bass's patterns. First, the rain wiped out most of the floating algae mats, which the bass had loved to hang beneath. Second, the cattails and coontail that had grown "outward" during the low water levels of the drought, now were more flooded, creating new cover for both predator and prey. Cattails are very tough to work, as there's rarely more than 6" between their stalks, and collectively they block the immediate shoreline out to at least 2' of water. While there can be just enough room for a big bass to slip through in search of frogs and small fish, it almost impossible to get a lure in there. And without their beloved mats, the big ones like to hang in that narrow band from the shoreline to a 1' depth. Consequently, the low-light hours of dawn and dusk were even better than usual, because some bass would venture out to the outside edge of the cattails, feeling braver.

Fall came quickly and sent the water temperature on a steady downhill slide. At this writing, it's at 53 degrees at 5' (where it's been for the past two weeks), and is about to plummet, due to this horendous cold front passing through, straight out of Canada. The fish are in shock, but the big ones still enter the ICU by late-morning to soak up the sun's warmth. They are getting no impetus from the moon, which is at its weakest in about six months. In short, the fishing sucks...and probably will for at least another week.

Sept. 5, 2001

Drought, drought, drought! With only an inch of rain since May, our pond is down two feet, and the ICU is almost dry. A number of bass and bluegill fry have been living in the ICU all summer, even now when they have only a few inches of water. Fearing they would get trapped in pockets if the level kept dropping, I dug a small channel across the ICU to the main channel connecting it to the main pond. Almost immediately, all the fry congregated in the new channel. They have since wisely moved out of the ICU.

It didn't take long for a couple big bass to come exploring the new channel. One even came all the way to its end, only to discover it was difficult to turn around (it's only a shovel-width wide). In kind of a panic he managed to turn 180, kicking up clouds of silt in the manuever. He quickly swam back to the main channel, waited for the silt to settle, then came up the new one again. Bass are very curious creatures.
Typically, the fishing has been on the down slide as summer comes to an end. Dawn and dusk have been the best periods, especially during the half moon. This past full moon on the 2nd did kick up some action with both fish and wildlife. We had a trumpeter swan land and spend the day on our main pond, which is quite rare around here. And this crazy pigeon showed up on my deck a hour after the swam landed. Long story, but he ended up eating out of my hand and now won't leave. Must be somebody's pet. There was also an unusual number of dead racoons along the highways this full moon. Barring severe cold fronts, Sept. 10-12 should be your best chance for bass action at dawn and dusk. If a front does come through, go any time and work the windy shorelines. Good luck!

Aug. 10, 2001

That gawd-awful heat wave finally broke here in the Midwest with a cold front coming thru yesterday. Last night's low was 58 which--along with a nice NW breeze, cooled the ICU down from its typical daytime high of 90 to only 68 at dawn. That's not surprising, since the ICU has no more than one foot of water. What was surprising was to see a big bass holding motionlessly in the middle of the ICU at 8:30 a.m. Why would he would opt for 68 degrees when 82-degree water awaited him out in the main pond...just 50 feet away? I rarely walk down to the ICU when big bass are present, keeping with my do-not-disturb policy. But through the binoculars this one seemed dead. So down I went. He didn't move as I approached. I walked out onto the rock jetty, putting me within 10 feet of him. He still didn't move. So I walked around to the bridge, which was the direction he was facing (away from the sun). Not until I waved my arms did he "wake up" and slowly swim away for the safety of some heavy cover in the NE corner. My thought is this bass had been in the ICU for at least 24 hours, before the cold front came through. The rapid water temp drop (from 90 to 68) of 22 degrees put him into shock...literally.

By the way, the fishing this early morning was excellent in the main pond. The water temp drop from 85 to 82 definitely perked them up. Plus that ol' half moon was hanging right overhead. Should be a great weekend at dawn and dusk, especially if you get this cold front thru your area.

Aug. 5, 2001

This past month has been a study in water temperature tolerance for bass. The ongoing heat wave and drought here has every day virtually identical, save a slow, steady rise in the water temperature. When the temperature in the ICU was 75 (morning low) to 85 (afternoon high), the big bass would be in and out all day long (and the ICU is only about a foot deep now). As that rose to 80 to 90, they'd clear out once it hit 85-86...usually around noon. They may come back in the evening. Now, as it's 85 for a low, peaking at 95 by mid-afternoon, they depart at about the 87 mark. Interestingly, the bass fry hang in there, even at 95 degrees. And today, one four-pounder actually came in, circled, then left...at 95 degrees! That's getting close to lethal. It probably would be if the bass were not acclimated to about 85. Besides, no bass is dumb enough to hold in a killer temp when he has a cooler option. The fishing has still been pretty good, especially at dawn and dusk, in that order. The half moon phases have made these two periods even better.

July 3, 2001

For the past two weeks the weather has been consistantly warm, humid, sunny, light winds, and no rain. The base (5') water temp has steadily gone from 70 to 78 and the bass have been wonderfully predictable. Most are in the post-spawn stage now, biting at just about anytime of the day, with dusk being the best in the clearer water we've fished. We followed the Overhead Moon last week as it moved through the dusk period, and had excellent fishing for keepers and lunkers alike. A big one has set up residency in the ICU and seems to be there day and night...probably because of the bluegills that are spawning there. Hope you had as good a day as we did back on June 21, the year's highest rating. We fished the High Noon/Moon Overhead period and had a bass on every fifth cast. This holiday, you may want to consider some night fishing if your water is clear. The moon is full on Thurs. July 5. Good luck.

June 17, 2001

Where has the time gone?! Sorry for so long between updates. The weather finally turned around here a week ago, but I was running all over the country fishing. Just got back from catching 4-pound smallmouths on Lake Superior with Chris Beeksma, a local guide. That wasn't just one or two big smallies, that was about 12 a day! They all are that size (18-19"). It's hard to find one smaller. If you want a great fishing trip, check Chris' website at www.getbit.com. He's booking up fast, but you may still get a trip with him in July or August when the smallies bunch up in deeper (10-20') water.

Here the bass fishing has been getting better day by day, and should continue to, as we move toward the year's highest rating on Thurs. Being Father's day, my oldest son, Jeremy, and I fished today for a couple hours during the Moon Overhead period and took lunkers regularly. The water is like brown tea, and the bass seemed to favor green-colored plastics. There are tons of bass and bluegill fry swimming around, so it was an excellent spawn. Typically, the bass are looking down and out, more than up toward topwater now. Couldn't raise a hit on a plastic frog, hopping over the algae mats. That will change in a few weeks. Good luck.

May 28, 2001

If you live anywhere from MN to OK to PA to TN you know about the weather system that got stuck over us for the past week. Here, everyday we had highs of 55 with strong NW winds and constant storms. Our water temp went from 70 to 60. We did very little fishing during this time, using it instead to update our PC equipment, do some work on the pond, and continue development of our PrimeTimes Ultimate CD that so many of you have been asking for. We hope it will be available mid-summer. Anyway, we've still been able to observe some bass in the ICU, some of which have been undaunted by the bad weather, etc. One keeper, in fact, was busing eating mini-tadpoles when another storm came through, lightning striking twice very close. It didn't seem to phase him. Later, a couple lunkers were seen rubbing in the ICU. Did they miss the first spawning period or are they just deeply in love? Many bluegills were in the middle of spawning when the bad weather hit. Plus, the relentless NW winds stacked a lot of floating and filament algae over many nests, so we suspect they are ruined. No matter. Both bass and bg's can spawn any time of the year. If your weather is good, be sure to fish dawn and especially dusk today and tomorrow. Have a good Memorial Day!

May 16, 2001

We've been fishing various ponds and public waters the past week, and quite frankly, it's been too easy. Many big bass are still on the nest, but are obviously getting hungry. From buzzbaits to plastic critters (hookless, of course), they hit the first time it comes by. A couple bluegills are spawning now in our ICU, plus other places on the main pond. A few bass are still on the nest, too. From May 13th to the 16th (today), that Moon Overhead period has been terrific, because it's occurring in the a.m. The water temp continues to climb with this hot weather. The base temp (at 5') is up to 67, while the surface is peaking around 75 each day.

May 10, 2001

The spawning cycle has ended for the two bass in our ICU. Two days ago both started roaming a little farther from the nests, apparently in search of food. Then yesterday they not only totally abandoned their duties, they turned on the free-swimming fry. Luckily, there is enough weed growth in the ICU so most fry had places to hide. From start to finish, this spawning cycle lasted 12 days, enduring a steady drop in water temperature, rain, storms, and high winds. Yesterday on another body of water the spawners were fairly easy to catch, obviously toward the end of their cycles too. The credit for the good fishing the last couple days goes to the weather, which has finally turned good. The water temp at the surface has spiked from the low 60's to the low 70's while at the five-foot level it's gone from 61 to 64. Other bass around our main pond are still on the nest, and the bluegills are just starting to build theirs.

May 7, 2001

It's now Day 10 for the spawners and both are still on their nests in the ICU, despite four straight days of rain, storms, no sunshine whatsoever, and a water temp falling to 61. Yesterday I noticed one of the spawners popping at small flower petals as they landed on the surface, signaling we was getting hungry. So I tossed him a nightcrawler which landed about 10 feet from his nest (no, I didn't let him see me). He scampered right over and ate it. It was tempting to feed him some more, but I try not to interfere with nature too much here. Fishing-wise, we did well from noon to mid-afternoon yesterday, between storms. Today it's finally sunny, but under cold front conditions. And it's the full moon, so we have an interesting good-news-bad-news situation. Good luck with your fishing, and please remember to return any spawners as quickly as possible.

May 2, 2001

Sorry for not updating sooner, but it's been a crazy spring weatherwise. Heavy rains and winds mucked things up for a while, plus I've been fishing in Texas until late last week. We have two bass on their nests in the ICU as we speak. The males moved in on April 27 at 9:00 a.m. and started cleaning the nests. By 7 that night they were rubbing females. I suspect the eggs were laid that night, because only the males were on the nests the next morning. Today is Day 6 and we are holding our breath, because more rains and much cooler air temps have dropped the water temp from 72 to 64. If it goes much lower the males may abandon the nests...and the forecast doesn't look good. The eggs have already hatched, but the fry still have no mouths or means of swimming. That will take at least another 5 days. Fishing-wise (avoiding the spawners), the best bite for the past week has closely followed the Moon Overhead period from late afternoon to dark. The bass were 5-6 feet while the sun was on the water, then moved up to the edge of the cattails around sundown. More later.

April 8, 2001

The ice finally went out last Wed. afternoon. Should see some bass come shallow soon. Thought one or two might yesterday when the base temperature skyrocket from 41 to 47 and the moon was full, but the horrific winds (45 mph sustained, with gusts up to 70) put the kebosh on that.

March 19, 2001

Not only is the ice still here, we got dumped with 8" of snow last Fri. If this doesn't prove God has a sense of humor, nothing does. Some big bass are getting antsie, swimming around just under the ice. Per the weather report, I think the pond may open up later this week. If so, I expect to take a big one or two rather quickly.

March 14, 2001

The ice still hasn't gone out here. It's slowly melting from the top down, but we can't get out of the 40's for daily highs and the sun is almost nonexistent. This has been the longest, hardest winter in recent memory. Our radio-tagged bass continue to hold at the base of the dam in about 12 feet of water.

January 24, 2001

Since our pond is in Iowa, you can imagine how HARD the fishing is right now (approximately 8" thick). But we can tell you that a few fish have been moving around under the ice in the channel all winter. And when we cut a hole in the ice by the transducer, we hear even more beeps on the sonar for the next few days. Bass and bluegills are curious creatures.

Once the ice goes out (probably in early March), we'll renew the reports. Until then, you're welcome to browse some of the old reports from last year.

July 26, 2000 8:00 a.m.

The big bass have been hitting very well the last couple evenings, starting just before dark and only getting better as the last light fades in the west. Dawn is also quite good. Check your 2000 PrimeTimes Wall Calendar to see why this is happening. Try slow-falling plastics with little or no weight. If they don't hit on the fall, let it sit.

July 27, 2000 8:00 a.m.

(water temp: 80 surface, 77 5-foot level) Last night was about the same, except we caught more little bass (11-12"). Only two lunkers, but one was huge. The lunker-bite is moving later each night, in time with the Moon Underfoot period. We had to quit early last night, just before the peak. Storms with 1/2" of rain and close lightning yesterday morning seemed to have no effect. Good luck (let us know how the fishing is in your area: primetimes@home.com). Check back soon for another fishing update.

July 30, 2000, Sun, 9:00 a.m.

Knowing the best bites are still at Dawn and Dusk, the last two days we've been fishing the daylight hours on local lakes and reservoirs. It was good for white bass, but slow for largemouths, which is not unexpected for this time of year (the food supply is running out so the fish are losing interest). It's time to start looking for bass and others in deeper water in schools. We, however, just worked the shallows the last two days. In general, yesterday was better than Friday, and we expect today to be better yet, due to the New Moon. But all in all, that great, shallow, daytime fishing we had from late spring till now is drawing to a close. Keep this in mind when consulting each day's "Rating." It's all RELATIVE.

August 1, 2000, Tues, 9:00 a.m.

Sunday was a good day, thanks to the New Moon. We took big bass and small ones during the Moon Overhead period (from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm), then again at dusk. They hit fairly hard and ran with the lure, which means they had competition nearby. Monday we purposely fished the off hours and it was quite slow. Water temperature hit 86 on the surface, 77 at 5 feet, and 70 at 10 feet. It's been pretty steady all thru July.

August 3, 2000, Wed, 8:00 a.m.

The night bite was fair last night from 9:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Had to use different, slow-falling plastics to trick the two big ones, while the 12-inchers hit a small, green lizard pretty well. It was obvious we are right between the new and half moon, usually a slow time. Plus, the lunar period was earlier in the afternoon. Things will continue this way until something--like a super cold front--scrambles this 5-week routine. Let us know how you are doing (primetimes@home.com).

August 4, 2000, Fri, 11:pm a.m.

Fairly good evening bite. We fished from 8:00 to 9:30 pm, and hooked 10 bass, half lunkers, half smaller. They preferred sinking plastic frogs, but worms did well too. They didn't exactly jump on the lures, but would hit if it floated past their noses.

August 6, 2000, Sun, 8:00 a.m.

Just got in from a great morning. 4 factors fell nicely into place: 1) day of half moon; 2) Moon Underfoot lunar period; 3) Dawn period; 4)fog. It was almost too easy. Bass hit on about every cast, and it didn't seem to matter what we threw. Water temperature: 80 on the surface, 77 at 5 feet, and 70 at 10 feet. Should be good again this evening. Get out there!

August 9, 2000, Wed, 11:30 p.m.

Just got in from fishing from 10:00 - 11:15 p.m. On second cast caught one of our pond's largest bass (21") with a big, green, "Spike-It" worm. Then a 12" 5 minutes later. But that was it. Dead the rest of the night. The main reason was probably the low daily rating (only 26). Plus the Moon Overhead ended just as I was starting (9:55 pm). Yesterday morning was a little better, but nothing like Sunday. I think things will start to pick up by the weekend as we head toward the full moon on Tues. If the hot weather holds on, Dawn should continue to be the best (cooler water).

August 19, 2000, Sat, 10:30 a.m.

Sorry for not updating for a few days. It's been hectic here, plus we just released two more radio-tagged largemouths. Anyway, the last 10 days have followed PrimeTimes to a tee. We fished the night before and night of the full moon and took a lot of bass, including the two we just radio tagged. They were 23" and 20." Things tapered off as we moved away from the full moon, but then a nice surprise happened on Thurs. the 17th when a cold front came through, dropping the surface temp. 10 degrees (from 85 down to 75) and the five-foot level from 80 to 75. It was overcast with a NW wind at 15 mph. The bass went nuts. John Pitlo (DNR radio tracking expert) and I fished the PrimeTimes pond and took about 15 bass in 90 minutes. Best daytime fishing I've seen for quite some time. The Moon Underfoot period probably helped, but mostly it was the cooling of the water, sudden wave action, and overcast sky. Then yesterday morning, we had another surprise. The ICU (our smaller, shallow, observation pond) was filled with bass. About 40 of them! That's 4 times more than the most we have ever seen there at once. It was 8:30 am and the sun was well on the water. The bass were just lounging near the surface, apparently soaking up some rays. Our take is that the rapidly cooling water from yesterday had the bass a little "chilly." True, their normal ideal temp. is 72-75 degrees, but they had gotten acclimated to 80-83 degrees this summer. Fishing in the main pond was pretty good from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. (Moon Underfoot). I just got in from fishing a half hour this morning, and could manage only one dink. It was overcast, but the water was dead calm and there was no lunar period. I expect it to pick up later this afternoon during the lunar period...provided we get some wind. The remaider of August should be relatively good, so try to get out there. If your water is still hot (80 +), stay with dawn and post dusk, especially around the 22nd. Many of you have been asking when the 2001 PrimeTimes will be out. We expect them around August 28. All for now. Keep a tight line. Rick.

August 21, 2000, Mon, 8:00 a.m.

That cold front that passed through mid-America last Thur is hanging on. The surface to five-foot level has dropped to 73 now, and can't recover until we get some prolonged sun. As reported above, last Thurs was great, but by Fri the rapidly dropping temp had the bass in minor shock. They are slowly acclimating, and the fishing this past weekend was so-so. But it took reactionary baits like crankbaits to catch the big ones. This a.m. was noticeably better for plastic worms, as the bass are moving around again. We are coming up on the half moon tommorow, so we expect tomorrow's dawn and dusk to be good.

August 22, 2000, Tue, 8:15 a.m.

Well, dawn sucked. And it was so foggy you couldn't see across the pond...the kind of bass fishing morning you dream of. I didn't get a single hit on my plastic worm. I probably could have taken something on a crankbait or spinnerbait, but I hate to do that; it doesn't tell me if the bass are feeding. One problem is still that water temperature, which is at 73 on the surface this morning. The bass may need more time to fully recover from the severe drop. But what worries me is that all of our radio-tagged bass are out in deep water this morning (they weren't last night). This is the first time they've been there since early spring! Are they giving up? The weather is suppose to warm up again, starting today. Let's see if it can get these bass back on track.

August 23, 2000, Wed, 7:15 a.m.

What a difference a day (or a lure switch) makes! Just in from fishing for 5 minutes during the strong Moon Overhead period (same as yesterday). Had to quit because I learned what I needed to know. Took 5 bass from 12" to 18" on my old reliable Lunker City's Fin-S (a shad shaped and colored soft plastic). I spent the first 2 minutes hopping a weighted plastic worm, as usual. Not a hit. Then I switched to reeling the Fin-S in slowly just under the surface. 5 bass on 7 casts. Why the sudden turn around? First, I think it was partly the switch in tactics. I had been using a plastic worm for the past few weeks, because it had been a good tester for feeding fish, plus I can easily pinch the barbs off so it's easy to release the bass with no damage. But just like most of this year, the bass in our pond didn't like worms. In fact, they didn't start hitting worms until mid-July. Now it appears they are uninterested in them again. Secondly, the water temp gained a degree, up to 74. Not much, but it does mark a turn around, which is encouraging to a bass. And while our radio-tagged bass were all in deep water yesterday at this time, now they are back to cruising the shorelines. Just goes to show you should always stay flexible.

August 27, 2000, Sun, 1:00 p.m.

Heading toward the new moon on Tues, plus the water temp steadily rising back into the high 70's to low 80's, the bass are getting more active and the fishing has been steadily improving. Best times have actually been the Moon Overhead period, then Dawn, then Dusk. But as that MO period is moving toward late-morning, it's weakening a little and the Dawn period is taking over again. We've done well with minnow imitators running just under the surface and hopping off the bottom. Best lure of all has been a buzzbait, but we try not to use it too much here on our research pond (it's a reactionary type of lure and doesn't tell us if the bass are feeding). Our radio bass are both cruising the shallows again, mostly along the outside of the submerged weedline. Our algae mats are all but gone. We look for the fishing to keep getting better up to Tues. Good luck!

August 31, 2000, Thu, 9:00 a.m.

Hasn't been any reason to update the last few days because we are stuck in a rut. The weather, as you know, is hot, humid and stagnating. The bass have been hitting at dawn and the Moon Overhead period, especially on Tues (New Moon). We are fishing without hooks, because many bass are looking pretty gaunt. The food supply is dwindling, while the grasshopper supply is building. Our radio bass are still moving, mostly following the outside of the weedline in 5-6 feet. Be looking for a break in the weather, particularly a solid cold front. Any kind of change like that could fire up the bass big time! (The 2001 PrimeTimes calendars are just coming in today. And we are so low on the 2000s that we are selling them only to folks who call in their order [515-964-5573]. If you want one, better hurry.)

Sep 3, 2000, Sun, 9:00 a.m.

The bite yesterday morning from first light to 30 minutes past dawn was fair. Caught a couple lunkers and a few others on Fin-S minnows. But by 7:00 a.m. it went dead, until the Moon Overhead period around 4 p.m. The heat wave is holding on, hitting the mid- 90's each day here. But the weather forecasters say a couple big fronts are coming through, starting tomorrow. This could be the CHANGE we are waiting for. If and when you have these fronts come through, get out there. The bass should bite hard when the water temperature first starts to drop and the wind is blowing.

Sep 5, 2000, Tue, 9:00 a.m.

Well, the cold front has passed through the heartland (our heart keeps going out to you southerners). We fished yeasterday at mid-day while it was cloudy and windy. The water temp was down to the high 70's. Most bass were holding offshore (but our water level is way down, pulling the fish out of the weeds). Caught about 10 in a hour, with the biggest being 23". Then at 6:00 p.m. during the Moon Overhead period, they went nuts! We couldn't justify fishing more than 10 minutes...it was too easy. Right now the air temp is 55 degrees and it's crispy clear. The water temp is at 75 and many bass are hanging in our shallow cove, soaking up the sun.

Sep 12, 2000, Tue, 3:30 p.m.

Sorry for not updating sooner. Been very busy getting the new 2001 PrimeTimes out to our regular customers, but not too busy to fish every day. Yesterday the air temp dropped from 97 degrees to 77 in two hours, then to 50 by morning. Now that's a cold front. We fished as that NW wind was howling and the bass were hitting on the windy side. All in all, they are still in their summer doldrums, which has been aggravated by a steadily falling of the water level, thanks to the drought. The bass have moved out to the edge of the weedlines nearer deep water, as is common in this situation. They don't feed much, but can be taken on reaction baits. Still, the bite has been improving steadily as we approach the full moon, which hits tomorrow. A few big bass are still seen in the shallows near what cover they can find. From a solar/lunar standpoint, we expect the rest of September to be pretty good (certainly better than the "weak" days we had at the start of this month). Stay tuned.

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