by Mike Guarino
Let's face it, getting up really early can be a drag; it cramps our style especially in the summertime when Mainers are supposed to take it easy after a long winter. When the alarm clock starts buzzing at 4:30, I get grouchy, mumbling comments like, "I'm not a farmer" or "have I lost my mind". But once I manage to shake out the cobwebs and smell the coffee perking down in the kitchen, my mood brightens. As a matter of fact, that's the single greatest tip I can offer this week; if you are going fishing early in the morning, set the coffee pot the night before. Oh how that wonderful smell can become a mood altering aroma that early in the morning!
So now that we are actually standing up and sipping our coffee, all we have to do is take care of business and head to the lake. There are many fishing advantages to getting up early and a lot of bonuses outside the world of fishing too. Last week I pulled my boat down our dirt road and headed toward Great Pond around 4:45 a.m. On that trip I saw two red foxes standing in the road and a beautiful white-tailed doe and her fawn right behind them.
When I arrived at the boat launch no one was there — NO ONE! How nice it was to have the place to myself, except that just as I was unhooking the boat another red fox scampered by me and walked out toward the marina. He wasn't scared and really didn't move quickly at all. I wish I was awake enough and moving fast enough to get my camera because he gave me a perfect opportunity to take his picture at about 15 feet away. I've been pleasantly surprised with all the wildlife spotted in the Belgrade's this year. It seems that our critters are in great shape, a sign of the mild winter I guess. Either way, it's a blessing to see such beautiful animals on a daily basis.
It's such a joy to watch the world wake up, especially on the lake. Smoke on the water, loons calling, eagles soaring and hopefully fish moving the calm surface water — these things make anglers happy! With the summer heat kicking into full gear, the bite definitely seems to be better early in the morning.
The picture attached to this article is of David Weil from upstate New York. I asked David and his two young sons to get up early in order to have the best chance at catching fish. The kids actually handled it very well – you never know with kids, but Matt and Chris were real troopers and top-notch fishermen! The boys fished for white perch out of the back of the boat, while dad fished Senkos and jigs for bass.
It turned out to be quite a day as you can see and the kids had a blast catching and releasing white perch all morning long. We found a lot of perch in about 25 feet of water although it was tricky catching bigger perch. The small ones were very aggressive and you had to fight your way through the little guys to catch the bigger ones. In retrospect, if we had used small live bait on light jig heads, we probably would have caught more of the big guys. As for the bass, they were sluggish as you can imagine, but when we slowed down our presentation and made multiple casts in the same location, eventually they would bite.
Sometimes when the heat kicks in, I have a tendency to fish too fast and try to cover too much water. This time of year, sticking with a good location and slowing down to cover the entire area can lead to some really big fish! David proved that when he caught some seriously huge bass! Good luck.
Mike Guarino is the owner of Maine Wilderness Tours. One can contact him at