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FISHING UPDATES FROM THE PRIMETIMES RESEARCH POND:

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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