Catching Fire at Dusk

By Brian Athern - September 1, 2000
The last bit of sunlight was fading past the tree line and I knew it was time to expect good things to happen. I was not to be disappointed. A half dozen or so casts later by my brother and myself delivered the answer we were looking for. Fish on!

Almost as fulfilling as booking that trip of a life time and then catching fish that make great memories in the photo album is the after work, weekday mini-trips. I know many are ready to turn the page to someone else's article but read on for a moment. By record, the post work trips have produced some of the best action over the past 5 years for myself and a slew of other anglers.

Case in point, last August my brother Pat, and me were catching some bass

Despite the ‘No Trespassing' signs, a lot can be said about being polite, ringing the doorbell and just plain asking someone's permission rather than being a sneak...
on large golden roach minnows and our efforts produced a 3 pound plus largemouth bass. The fish was photographed and released shortly after being caught. We decided to return 2 weeks later to the same spot on a friend's tip that the bass were active on topwaters. Thanks Dan!!

Pat tied a Chug Bug on his Shakespeare spinning combo and I put one on my new light action baitcaster. After having one fish blow up on his bait and losing the fish a short time later, Pat threw a cast to the same shoreline. The water erupted behind the bait and he was in a tussle with almost 3 pounds of largemouth himself. The 17 inch bass strained but did not break his 6# Solar Trilene.

After that fish, it took less than a dozen more casts to find a fish from the same gene pool who was ready, willing, and able to blast his topwater. This fish fell short of the previous one at 15 3 / 4 inches, estimated at 2 pounds. I was beginning to share the feeling of outdoor cameramen everywhere who painfully play spectator to the hot action. I was not to be denied.

Just three short casts later, I got my string tugged (actually it was Fireline 10/4)! A 13 1 / 2 inch bass had seen enough commotion from my popping, squirting Chug Bug. He did not disappoint me as I laughed throughout the entire fight. He peeled a little line and I chuckled to my brother's amusement. The fish freight-trained the bait the same way its larger siblings had and I was impressed with his savvy.

Also last season, Frank and I were given the privilege of fishing a private pond by a wonderful Dutch woman. Despite the ‘No Trespassing' signs, a lot can be said about being polite, ringing the doorbell and just plain asking someone's permission rather than being a sneak. My partner and I had about 2 1 / 2 hours before dark and we needed a few fish to scratch that itch.

Even though the July sun was warm, the weather was bearable by 6:30 in the evening. We began fan casting spinnerbaits to no avail so we switched to our time tested Power Worm/Florida Rig screwlock weight combo. By flipping the worms just beyond the weedline and "jigging" them, we had struck pay dirt. 10 bass up to 16 inches and 3 lost wasn't bad work considering. Our favorite Red Shad and Pumpkinseed Crawler Power Worm patterns had again paid dividends.

Some of the best times from late spring to early fall to catch bass opportunistically feeding is at dusk, or the last hour or so of daylight. We have literally fished until one could no longer see the floats in the water. Besides minnows and floats, our favorite topwater choices like Chug Bugs, Pop R's, Devils Horses, and buzzbaits truly shine. Bass seem more than willing to attempt to tear a rod and reel combo from our unsuspecting hands with bone jarring strikes.

Don't think you have to sit around and wait for the weekends to get in on some of the hottest fishing action around. There are plenty of opportunities after work to get in a few hours of quality fishing time. By getting out before dusk you can avoid the weekend crowds and enjoy some explosive fishing action in the great outdoors.

Good Fishing!

Author Brian Athern
Brian Athern
Brian J. Athern is a Field Editor with MidWest Outdoors Magazine, Fishing Facts Magazine and has also worked with the former www.thesuburbanangler.com. If you have any questions or comments regarding this article you can email Brian at bumnbri@aol.com