Temperature matters in fishing and if ever I needed proof, it showed up Thursday at Mosquito Creek
Temperature matters in fishing and if ever I needed proof, it showed up Thursday at Mosquito Creek Reservoir.
Fish are fussy about their surroundings. They are cold-blooded creatures, so their bodies are the same temperature as the surrounding water. The temperature of the water affects their metabolism.
Sometimes the water is too hot. Sometimes it’s too cold. At either extreme, the fish are sluggish. Such is the case regardless of your preferred species; they all have an optimum temperature that enables them to function at their peak.
I arrived at Mosquito at noon Thursday to find the water at the ramp registering 53 degrees. That’s a bit on the low side for late April, but a good bit better than most days over the past two weeks.
I pulled four rods from the under-deck locker, rigged my lures and fired up the Mercury for a dash up the lake to find water with good bass cover that had been soaking up the mid-day sunshine.
It didn’t take long for the first bass to tug at my line, and I set the hook on a solid largemouth.
Despite the fast start, the next hour was fishless, so I keyed the outboard and motored to the other side of the lake, where the water was two degrees warmer.
Two degrees may not seem like much. But it produced two more keeper bass.
The afternoon was shaping up nicely, but it was going to get better.
Fishing is a puzzle, and the pieces were falling in place. The bass were stirring, ready to move toward the bank in the numbers that make Mosquito a hot lake in April.
The fish tend to select certain cover on certain days. Thursday, the clues started pointing to certain combinations of willows and water depth and exposure to the bright warmth of the sun beaming down from the cloudless sky.
Many anglers have experienced a time when it seems that every fish in the lake is activated. Some refer to the phenomenon as being like someone flipped a switch.
I eased around a willow-laden point and the switch was flipped.
The lure I pitched into the thicket of twigs changed direction as it sunk and I slapped the hook into a two-pound largemouth. A couple of minutes later, a spunky bass pounded a vibrating jig as I guided it to the tip of a log where it rested next to a scraggly willow.
I checked the temperature readout on the Lowrance screen: 60 degrees. That’s the warmest water I’ve seen so far this spring and the bass were basking in comfort.
Over the next hour, I picked up bass after bass. Each bite was unmistakable. The fish were aggressive, looking for food and convinced my baits were the real thing.
The day that started on a positive note because the temperature was getting good got decidedly better as the mercury climbed. Every degree of warmth is a step in the right direction – especially during a spring that seems reluctant.
I finished the day with 10 bass hook-ups, including one by a bass that got the better of me as it churned into a tangle of vines and pulled free. I got a good enough look to believe the fish to be close to 5 pounds.
Disappointments do happen. Big ones do get away sometimes. But I more than made up for the lost fish with the numbers that did come aboard during a few short hours as the action on the lake quickened Thursday.
It was almost like somebody flipped a switch.