Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Channeling Oneida River Bass

Wes Coy with an Oneida River hawg taken at the abandoned barges on the eastern end of the Big Ben cut, just upstream of the Horseshoe Island Bridge

Late last week, fishing buddy Wes Coy and I decided to try for bass in the Oneida River near its outlet.

"I've always wanted to fish the old river channel around Horseshoe Island. All the coves, creek mouths, cattail mats and docks always looked fishy to me," I said with great enthusiasm.

"We ain't goin' anywhere near there," replied Wes. We're gonna concentrate on the canal running the south end of the island."

Disappointed, I kept quiet. After all, it was his boat; and besides, I could always gloat ‘I told ya so’ after we got skunked.

Never happened.

We started fishing upstream of the I-481 bridges. Casting into any structure and weed edge we could find, we nailed small fish right away; a lot of rock bass, a sunfish, some undersized smallies.

Coy hit the first keeper bronzeback around the Horseshoe Island Bridge on a Bass Bone. A minute later I stuck one barely big enough to keep on a YUM Dinger.

The fishing really picked up around the marina. He took several more smallies, including a three-pounder, and a couple keeper largemouths under the docks and around the abandoned, decaying barges out in front of the place.

I kept getting little guys.

"You'd think we would have had better luck casting to the fallen timber along the canal," I commented as we headed back.

"It looks good, and it's worth casting to, but it can fool ya," replied Wes.

Docks, bridge abutments, points, sunken barges and weed beds are the habitat of choice for channeling Oneida River bass.

As far as the Oxbow goes: "there's a lot of big northerns in there and some nice largemouths, too," claims Coy, a tournament angler who cashes checks more often than not when he's competing.

Coy with the days largest smallie, a 3 1/2 pound bruiser taken at the mouth of the marina at the Horsehoe Island Bridge

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