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7/4/07 Madison Chain – Lake Mendota Fishing Report

By Paul Strege

Friday Afternoon Conditions: Winds Calm, Sunny, 80-82 deg water temp.

Saturday Morning Conditions: Winds SW 10-15 mph, Sunny, 76 deg water temp.

I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning chasing smallmouth on Lake Mendota . Upon arriving at the lake on Friday, I made the decision to hunt for smallies on deeper offshore weedlines and rock reefs. The numbers were not great, but I did find a couple nice fish. On Friday, I spotted a cruising smallmouth about 5-6 feet down in 15 feet of water along a weedline edge. Fortunately, I had my rod in hand equipped with a Gambler Giggy Stick and was able to toss a quick cast to its side. Upon the lure sinking in the water, the smallmouth turned and vanished in the direction of the lure. A subtle tick and I set the hook on a feisty 18 inch smallmouth. What was most amazing for me though was to spot another smallie come out of the weeds that appeared another 4-5 inches larger than the fish I had on. After 4-5 seconds of chasing the first smallie, the second one disappeared. I had to do a double-take because I could not believe that I was seeing a smallmouth of that size. After releasing the 18 incher, I hung around the area for another half-hour without a bite. The rest of the afternoon I spend exploring rocky bars and deep weedlines. I found a few more fish (3 in total), but nothing larger than 17 inches. The rest of the fish I caught on a Carolina Rigged Gambler Ugly Otter.

 
A nice 18 inch Lake Mendota “keeper”

On Saturday, I located a few fish concentrated on a weedline. I was covering water with a Rapala DT-10, when I landed a 14 incher. At that point, I stopped and grabbed my drop shot rod. Within the next 20 minutes, I caught two more smallies: a 17-1/2” and 19-1/2”, and missed a third. Those smallies are a blast to land on drop shot, especially when using 6 pound test. The Rogue Rods Drop Shot rod sure makes the job of landing big smallmouth easier; I offers the right balance of power and flexibility needed to win a long battle. The 19-1/2” smallmouth took over 5 minutes to land. I was using a Gambler Icesickle Worm cut down to a 4 inch length.

 
A Saturday morning bruiser!

Giggy Head Rig: Rogue Rods SJ663S with 10 lb Trilene XL. Shad

Carolina Rig: Rogue Rods Magnum Bass MB704C with 15 lb P-Line FloroClear leader and 5/0 Owner J-Hook. Ripe Melon Gambler Ugly Otter.

Cranking Rig: Rogue Rods MB703CBB Crankbait Blend with 15 lb P-Line FloroClear.

Drop Shot Rig: Rogue Rods Drop Shot DS 639S with 6 lb Trilene and #4 Owner Octopus Hook. Green Pumpkin IceSickle Worm.