When:Saturday, June 19th, from 9am to 12pm
Where:The Hoffman Ponds, Hunterdon County
Weather:Hot and sunny, blue bird sky with little to no wind
Moon:Waxing, one day past half
In regards to bass fishing, the weather conditions you see above may be the absolute worst, especially at the end of June.
Quick lesson: Largemouth bass become lethargic when water temperatures get too high. Small bodies of water like the Hoffman Ponds warm up quickly. Also, much like Mogwai and vampires, largemouth bass do not like bright light. When anglers refer to blue bird skies, they're talking about a complete absence of cloud cover. In these conditions, bass head deep and are not willing to move very far. Wind can displace surface water and reduce the amount of light that penetrates into the lake, but this day there was none.
So then, one may ask, "how do you catch bass in the summer months?"
Without going into a full-on tutorial, I'm going to offer the simple idea of making the best of low-light conditions. The first few and last few hours of daylight are most often the most productive this time of year. On cloudy days, bass may do more wandering and are thus easier to catch. The shade of boat docks, lily pads and overhanging trees make prime summer bass habitat. If docks, trees, lily pads or clouds are unavailable, fishing slow presentations near deep structure or in weedbeds may be your best best.
Now, despite less than perfect conditions, I really wanted to fish the Hoffman Ponds again and didn't feel much like waking up at 3am. That was fine, since the gate to Hoffman Park doesn't open until 9am. By the time I got there, it was already hot and sunny and my chances of catching fish seemed slim.
I did, however, manage 6 small bass before it got TOO hot and TOO sunny. I guess there was a time in my life when catching 6 bass would have been an incredible success, but not anymore.
Anyhoo, after about 3 hours, I resigned myself to the fact that it just wasn't a great fishing day. Furthermore, I knew my apartment would be well air-conditioned, that I had iced-tea in the fridge and that the Yankees were playing the Mets.
I headed home.
I had gotten to sleep in on a Saturday, caught six bass in 3 hours of fishing and was on my way to my couch to watch some baseball.
I call that a success.
UPDATE: The Yankees won.