Boggs bass might be as much fun as bluegill

Outdoor Type

It’s surprising that I haven’t yet fished for largemouth at a good bass lake like Martin County’s West Boggs. The stocky bluegill are so much fun, and typically bass in many lakes are harder to come by. Most of the guys I connect with like to catch fish and take some home to the table, and there’s usually a lot more action with bluegill.  Both bass and bluegill can be elusive, but on a recent trip to Boggs, I watched two guys bass fish a point I have located that holds a lot of gills. After watching those fellows, the next time I go to Boggs, I’ll be bass fishing.

Courtesy photo
Del Steinhart with a bluegill caught on West Boggs Lake.

In mid-July a friend and I were probing the west shaded bank of the lake in late afternoon with a view to fishing the honey hole point later. The afternoon bluegill bite was slow, but if we parked the boat correctly, we were in shade. From 200 yards away I kept watching two guys parked on “my spot” and could tell they were bass fishing. Most of the time bass anglers spend a little while on an area and then move on. These guys stayed parked right off the point about  50 yards. They would move to the right or left a bit; I hoped they would soon leave, but no. After an hour or so of getting antsy to hit the spot, I decided to motor up a little closer and park near the point so as not to disturb them. And I wanted to see exactly what they were doing. At 50 yards away, I watched them haul in several bass. Occasionally they would boat a 14-inch keeper, but nothing huge. They were having a ball.

Fishing deep points was the ticket.

An inquiry found that they had been there since mid-morning. One guy told me they had caught maybe 50 bass and some 20 14-inch keeper size fish, all while fishing points with tube lures and creature baits. Action like that is hard to find in Indiana. They didn’t mention any really big fish, but I have heard of six-pounders being caught there. The lake was renovated for the second time in 2014, and it is producing with gusto. When you look at the weed growth and the water color, you just know it’s a productive lake.

Those two finally left, and I mentally marked exactly how they were working that point. I’ll be back there soon, but I have a feeling a lot of people know about that spot.  The lake is getting more angling pressure, but it seems capable of handling it. Right now is a good time to fish a plastic bait in 10 to 20 feet at Boggs. Time of day didn’t seem to matter; these guys said they had caught fish all day from the tip of about any point they tried. The temperature was a little cooler then, about 85 degrees with a pleasant northeast wind as a front had just passed. Often post-fronts are tough fishing, but not that day, at least for them.

The bluegill bite begins

The bluegill started biting in earnest around 7:30. I had an early start to the next day so I told my friend that 8:30 was my limit to stay. About deadline time he was pulling in one bluegill after another, but many of those we caught that day were just shy of the wrist test. My hand from middle finger to the first vein line of my wrist measures 8 inches, about the right size for a bluegill that’s worth fileting. Many we caught were just shy of that, boding well for next year’s crop. As a bonus, using a tiny hook and meal worm, my friend did connect with a keeper-size bass that we added to our bluegill and one catfish stash.

West Boggs is just north of Loogootee. It measures 622 acres and fishes big, meaning that the ample bank cover provides a lot of good spots to try. I haven’t really explored fishing offshore, but I know that guys who frequent the lake for bass and crappie locate productive places out deep. Last year in May I talked to a couple of Amish or Mennonite young men who came to the cleaning station while we were fileting a big batch of bluegill. They had a bigger bunch of crappie, not huge but plenty of 10- to 11-inchers. I asked if they had gotten them off the bank. They said no, that they had spots in deeper water. I asked if they had a graph. The one fellow laughed and said they had one, but hadn’t learned to use it yet. They had grown up in the area before the lake filled and knew the bottom structure fairly well. I started to ask if it was ethical for Amish to use electronics to find fish, but then they might have been Mennonite. At any rate, they knew what they were doing, with or without modern technology.

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