West Boggs remains productive, even with pressureJune 21, 2021
By LARRY LAGRANGE
I’ve written before about one of my favorite places to fish, West Boggs Lake, just north of Loogootee. It’s 620 acres of fertile water for bass, bluegill, catfish, and crappie. When the lake was drained and restocked around seven years ago, the shad problem was corrected and a proper balance of gamefish was the result. When a couple of friends and I pulled up to the parking area the third week of May, I was taken aback by the number of trailer rigs parked at the ramp. I wondered if there could be any bluegill or bass left in the lake with this many anglers pounding away. The reputation of Boggs has obviously spread far and wide. But, hope springs eternal for good fishing. To be an angler, one must be an optimist with a realist side that admits some days on the water are busts. This was not one of those days.
Before we launched, I discussed the bass situation with a fellow angler who had just finished a morning session. He was disappointed, saying that the bass bite, especially for bigger fish, just hadn’t materialized. I told him we were after bluegill, and he said we should have no trouble finding some bedding fish or gills preparing to nest. That sounded good. May’s full moon was just a few days away, so bluegill should be prepping to have their offspring.
Since I had two fellows with me who are able-bodied, I used the opportunity to add sliders to my trailer bunks, after we had launched and secured the boat. I had seen these on another rig and decided they were a good idea. The outfit consists of ten tough plastic plates, each of which are a foot long, that secure with screws to the bunk tops. Would they make launching and loading easier? Later we’d find out.
We headed out on the lake, and I made some comment as to how reliable my 40-horse Mercury had been in the four or five years I’ve had it. About that time, a warning beeping commenced, telling us there was an engine problem. Earlier in the year I had sucked up some sediment into the lower unit, fouling the tubes that carry cooling water to the engine. I had hoped that was corrected. The first thing I checked was if the engine was ejecting water. Good there. What could it be? I turned the engine off, and we used the trolling motor to ease over to a point on the wooded west bank that had been productive in the past.
At three o’clock in the middle of a warm day, normally a fisherman would expect little action. Nope. First thing we were into fish, and nice bluegill were coming in to our cooler at a steady pace. I was using a rig that I had not tried before: a small slip sinker, a swivel, a foot-long leader above a small hook. I baited the red worms with the hook in the middle, also a new deal for me. It resembled a wacky worm rig I have used for bass. The ends of the bait or lure dance enticingly as the rig is moved. It was much like fishing a plastic worm. I’d lift and drop the bait, wait, and lift and drop. At times I could tell a bite by the line twitch, but more often I’d pick up the meal worm or red worm and a fish would be there. Most fish live on or near the bottom. With a bobber rig, the bait may be too high up for the fish to see it. The downside of the bottom rig is the occasional hang up. I hung up a few times, but with quality six-pound line, I can usually do a steady pull, not a jerk, the hook will bend, and I get the whole setup back. A plier squeeze on the hook and I’m back in business.
Later in the day, we tried another spot with some history of success, and this time the bobber worked better than the bottom rig. The area was shallower with some spotty grass, and it had several obstacles on the bottom. We were nearing the day’s end when my companion manning the back anchor told me it was gone. This has happened before. One needs to check anchor rope ends as one would check fishing line for nicks. My friend told me to try wrapping the end of the anchor line with good duct tape. This might head off future issues. I’ll try that.
We kept a total of 62 fish, all bluegill with a trio of small crappie thrown in. We never lacked action for long, the day was pleasant once we were in the shade, a nice breeze was blowing, we all caught fish, and never a cross word was spoken, except for me when the engine warning beep sounded. I checked the oil level when I got home. That looked ok. I checked the kill switch to see that it was on run, which it was. Later Glen and Mark at Port of Jasper discovered that there was still sediment remaining in the line, even affecting the thermostat. They cleaned it out properly and so far, the engine runs smoothly. They also repaired my gas gauge, which had been improperly hooked to the wrong battery. And yes, the sliders made loading the boat much easier. All in all, it was a good day at Boggs with good friends. Pretty hard to beat that.
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