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Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 5172
Location: Avon, CT

PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:51 pm    Post subject: Lake Zoar 09/24 Reply with quote

My bass club tourney was at Lake Zoar on Sunday. Although I'd fished Zoar before, I had little to no memory of it. In fact, I just checked my old fishing photos and there aren't any from Zoar. The only thing I really remember is that I've docked and eaten lunch at the Lake Zoar Drive-In on the south end by the dam. Twice.

I fished the tourney solo. My tourney partner, rmflint (aka Ryan), didn't make it, because he's off experiencing Oktoberfest somewhere in Germany:

Nice lederhosen, mein herr.

It turned out that Ryan missed a hot day. And by "hot" I'm referring to the weather, not the fishing. We launched at 7:00 am and fished until 3:00 pm. For most of the day, there were no clouds and very little wind. The air temperature ranged from a comfortable 72 degrees to a sunstroke-inducing 85 degrees. The water was murky everywhere, but the further south you went, the murkier it got. The water temperature ranged from 69-1/2 degrees in the morning to 74 degrees in the afternoon. There was a lot of floating vegetation debris and algal scum. Some of it was a bright, almost fluorescent green. My club was down to only four boats and when the other three took off north from the state boat launch ramp, I decided to go south, just to be different.

Zoar is an impoundment of the Housatonic River and, like the others (i.e., Lake Lillinonah, Lake Housatonic) it's a long, skinny lake. On Sunday, the dam must not have been running, because there was little to no flow and, because there was very little wind, even the surface didn't move much. Well, until about noon, when the recreational boaters appeared and began churning up the water.

As I zigzagged across the lake from the ramp on my trolling motor, the sun was still low enough on the horizon that most of the lake was in the shade. I had no plan regarding how I was going to fish. There were splashes on the surface from fish, along with those made by ducks. My finder marked fish on the botttom, so I tried throwing a four-inch crawfish jig and a drop shot four-inch Pearl White Powerbait Minnow in nine to 25 feet, but got nothing. So, I ran home to momma and began throwing a weightless wacky-rigged five-inch Senko at shallow structure and cover.

I pulled a few sunnies to the surface, but was lucky enough to not hook any. I did, however, begin hooking short smallmouth bass, ranging in size from nine to 11-3/4 inches. I usually don't take photos during tourneys, but at 8:45 am, I took one to send to Ryan of my first keeper, a 14-inch smallie:

I hit docks for another 1-1/2 hours with only a 14-1/2 inch largemouth bass to show for it. Well, at least it weighed more than the smallie. So, I decided to run down to the marina near the dam.

As I approached the marina, my finder marked more fish on the bottom in 25 to 30 feet of water, so I broke out the drop shot. I got a little surprise:

A drop shot, daytime, full sun, baby walleye. Go figure.

I fished around the docks and boats at the marina, but never got any shallow bites. At about noon, after five of my eight hours to fish were gone, I decided to make a run north of the ramp.

By that time, the recreational boaters were out in larger and larger numbers. At the long sandbar, a couple of boats had beached and the sandbar crowd had begun to form. As I passed the sandbar and caught sight of the Route 84 bridge, I decided to fish a wildly pitching dock on the west shore. I pulled a couple of sunnies to the surface from under the dock, before I began moving north along the shore. I tossed my Senko into the shade of an overhanging tree. As I retrieved it, I saw a keeper-sized smallie following it, but the smallie didn't commit. Damn! I put the Ultrex on Spot Lock and tossed the Senko back to the tree and got lucky. The smallie actually picked it up off of the bottom and I finally had a third keeper in the livewell. A third "maybe one pound if I'm lucky" keeper, but three's better than two.

The lake is really narrow between the sandbar and the bridge, and the wakes from the increasing boat traffic tossed my boat around. I spotted a couple of small largemouth in the weeds off the shore and made a mental note to come back and drag a swimbait over the weeds if the Senko failed to produce at the docks I was approaching.

I never did break out the swimbait. On the way to the first dock, I threw the Senko at a tiny patch of lily pads and caught a 1-1/2 pound largemouth. A few docks later, I caught what ended up being my lunker, a 16+ inch largemouth that weighed 2-1/2 pounds.

By this time, it was just after 1:00 pm. It had taken me five hours to catch my first two keepers and only one hour to catch three more. I guess that I should have followed the rest of my club north when we launched.

I fished the piers of the Route 84 bridge with the Senko, the crawfish jig and the drop shot, but only managed one bite from a dink smallie on the Senko. I headed across to the west side of the lake and worked my way south. I caught more dink smallies and a 13-1/2 inch largemouth that culled one of the smallies in my livewell. While hitting a dock along the shoreline that has the roughest water on the lake, I hooked a bigger smallie that looked like it weighed at least 1-1/2 pounds. Whenever I fish tourneys with Ryan, I have a rule that all keepers get netted by your partner. Fishing alone, I had been lipping the fish boatside or just lifting them into the boat. When I got the smallie boatside, it spit the hook before I could grab it. Arrgh!

I continued along the shore, fishing docks until only 10 minutes of fishing time remained. Then, I ran down to the ramp. I was the first one there, so I decided to hit the docks on the opposite shore from the ramp with a Senko during the final five minutes. It took only two casts for me to boat another 13-1/2 inch largemouth that culled the last smallie from the livewell. Time's up!

To my surprise, the other boats in my club had as hard of a time finding quality fish as I. Our tourney lunker ended up being only two pounds, 15 ounces. The winning five-fish bag was only eight pounds, five ounces. My lunker weighed two pounds, eight ounces, and my five-fish bag weighed seven pounds, 13 ounces, which was only good enough for third place. In the end, losing that bigger smallie boatside was probably the difference between third place and winning. Double Arrgh!!!!

Ryan will still be drinking beer and singing drinking songs in Germany this Sunday, when my club tourney will be on the Connecticut River. I gotta find a sub who knows how to net a fish.
Don't forget to wear sunscreen and don't litter!

Last edited by PECo on Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 23 Jul 2011
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

another great report. Thank you
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