Better luck fishing off the dock

The graph told me the temperature of the lake was 59F (15C). The winds were blowing from the west at 35 km/h (22 mph). The air temperature said nine C.
Saturday was to be my first day of pre-fishing for the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship. It was not the best circumstances for a hopeful start.
For the past several years, I have looked at several pieces of shoreline in the south arm, strewn with lots of boulders and the occasional weed patch and wondered if they held fish.
I was going to test them because the wind was beating on the shores or driving waves along the boulder fields that should make for good fishing.
With four layers of clothing on, and refusing to take the life jacket off, my brother-in-law and I made our way along the first mile and-a-half of shoreline.
It didn’t take long. The windshield on my boat that protects from spray, worked as a big sail. I would like to travel at just over two km/h when trolling, but the wind drove us far faster than that.
I now know why I have seldom seen any bass fishermen on that shore.
Looking for respite from the wind, we ducked around the corner at Back Point and picked another quiet bay. The winds seemed to dive to the water as they came over the crest of land and trees.
A hundred metres from shore and the wind had regained its force.
After two hours of fighting wind and feeling cold with not even a single bite, we agreed to go to a location that always holds fish.
We were no longer looking for bass, but would be content with anything that would bite. We needed to feel that tug on a line to restore our confidence.
The wind was still ripping out of the west, and the shoreline ran from west to east and didn’t receive the full force of the wind. The island slightly diverted the wind.
Grubs, spinner baits, swim plastics, crank baits, top water were all thrown. I even dug out a couple of deep divers to stir up the bottom. Nothing happened.
In desperation, we played in a large cabbage weed bed that ran to three metres of water. We couldn’t raise a fish.
By now, the sun was directly overhead. It had warmed up enough to remove the life jacket when I was on the bow. My partner didn’t give up his.
Dejected, we headed for another good spot. We were slightly out of the wind. Up the channel of sand, and boulders we fished throwing our lures right up tight to the shore and then winding them back in over three metres of water.
We slowed our retrieves down. We speeded them up.
A lone small Northern finally hit at one o’clock. We were beat. The fish had won. It was time to head back to the cabin to complete some finishing work on the remodeling. We had two doors to install and trim to run around the doors.
And it took three runs at the dock to finally land the boat.
Late in the afternoon, with the wind continuing to blow hard, I went back down to the dock to cast some lines. Phil Bangert had given me a Storm black and gold plastic swim shad several years ago.
If it didn’t catch a fish, it was going into the garbage.
It had successfully evaded every fish in the lake. It was still tied to a casting rod that hadn’t been used in over a year and I tossed the lure as far as I could into the wind
The reel back-lashed. And as the lure started to settling in the water, a bass hit the lure. I reeled it in and finally had at least a single counter for the day. The rat’s nest could be cleared that evening.
Not to be outdone, I picked up a rod with a Lewis Rattle Trap on it and tossed the crank bait to the opposite shore in the bay.
There are lots of boulders and a couple of large rocks in that area. I banged a rock retrieving the bait, then, a second and then the lure was attacked.
The fish broke the surface, shaking its head and rattling the hook. A second bass was counted.
I quit. Two bass out of our cottage bay is more than one can expect on even the best day of dock fishing.

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