`Hawg Wranglin` with a Mouse! NJ Bass Fishing

The Summer dog-days of August can be hot as hell in New Jersey…… but so is the Largemouth Bass fishing!

Nothin` quite like chasin` those bucket-mouths on a scorching, hot afternoon. I love it.
And this past weekend was just that. Hot, buggy and muggy. But there were `Hawgs to be had.
I studied my Goggle Maps the night before and picked out a couple new places up in my neck of the woods to have a go at it in the morning. I decided to only go with top-water lures that day as I do indeed love to see `ol BigMouth blow up on the water as he chases my mouse. Ohhhh by the way, lately I`ve only been throwing a “Jawbone” Top-water Mouse when I do the top-water gig. Seems like I get more/better action up here in North Jersey throwing a Mouse, as compared to using a KVD Frog, like I used in South Jersey when I went after the Snakeheads.
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This is the “Jawbone” Top-water Mouse that I`ve been using lately.
I arrived at my first spot around 7am covered myself with bug spray, grabbed my gear and made my way out to my first spot. Really liked the looks of this little lake. Covered with green algae, lily pads and plenty of debris. A Largemouth haven, I thought to myself as I anxiously got ready to cast my “weapon” into the green muck.
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I fished my way around as best as I could. Definitely need the `Yak, I said out loud as I could hardly cover much at all from land. As I said, these were new spots, so this was really more of a scounting mission to learn about this new territory. I didn`t catch any but did have five decent blow-ups on the mouse as I only fished this spot for an hour. Tough to access by foot. I could easily spend a day out here in the `Yak.
So onward. To spot number two.
Now the second lake was totally different vegetation-wise from where I had just been. The entire lake was heavily covered with lily pads. I mean…. more than heavily!
But I could just about smell the Bass under those pads
After several blow-ups/misses, I switched up my technique a bit. Using a more “throw and wait a few seconds before I retrieve” tactic, I danced my mouse across the top of the pads on my next cast and the water exploded as the Bucket-mouth crashed into my lure! I was on-board with my first Bass of the day.

I then decided to hike over to another section of the lake. Again, lily pads as far as you can throw a lure.

I worked my mouse under some tree limbs and again, the water boiled as a Bucket-mouth lurked in the shadows of the branches, smashing my mouse. A real fighter as he broke water and took to the air twice, diving deep back into the pads. The fifteen pound Power PRO braid was ideal for handling these Bass in all of these lily pads.

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Certainly a nice looking `Hawg Bass!
I was so intrigued by this new territory, that I decided to have a go at it again, the very next day. I really wanted to work those lily pads again, but I only had a couple hours to spare that Sunday afternoon. Arriving out there around 1pm, I decided to hike to the other side of the lake and work that area. Working my way close to the edge of the lake, I got to one particular spot and started casting my mouse. All of the sudden I heard all of this buzzing……… bees. Sounded like a huge swarm…….. I quickly looked all around as they seemed close. Boy…… were they ever close! I looked down and my heavy CarHart pants were covered in yellow jackets!!!! I had stepped on a nest in the ground and was literally standing on it!!!! I ran like hell and the yellow jackets kept coming!!! Eventually, I was out of their range and had brushed those nasty little yellow devils off my pants as I ran! While most of you probably wear shorts this time of year while fishing, I prefer to wear long pants out in the woods. And in that particular instance, I was glad that I did. I never was stung one single time……….Just was very lucky.
Needless to say, I eagerly moved to another area and began fishing the pads again. Then as I got around to another clumped of pads, a good size snake came across the pads and actually bit my mouse! I thought I had him as I lifted him in the air, but he actually bit the side of my mouse and was only hanging on by his teeth and dropped off quickly. Three more times after that, the snake went after my mouse on those pads.
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I climbed up on a knoll that had about a six foot drop to the edge of the water. Now on the edge, were these young trees that ran three to four feet above the knoll I was standing on. So the tricky part was to cast over these trees to hit the pads in the lake and then if I could get a bass, I`d have to get it to the edge and actually hoist it up and over the trees to where I stood. About eight feet up.
The very first cast was picture-perfect………. right where I wanted it. Then as I started using my “dance-a-little/retrieve” method, all of the sudden, the mouse was seemingly sucked under the pads! No violent strike or blow-up, just this almost eerie sound, as a big bass engulfed my mouse!!! I immediately set the hook and the bucket-mouth bent my rod and thrashed among those lily pads! I played the heavy `Hawg out and worked him towards to waters edge. I quickly hoisted him high into the air, trying to vault him over the young tree tops.
But then things went wrong….

The good size `Hawg Bass flipped in the air and was off!

Landing exactly on the edge of the bank…….. so close that one good flip and he would be back in the lake!
Immediately I jumped off the bank into the knee-deep black muck as he literally jumped in the water! I quickly scooped him from the lake and tossed him up on shore! I had sunk up to my knees in the black silty muck and had all I could do to climb out.
Laughing my way up the bank, I grabbed the bass, took a couple pictures, measured him(19 inches) and gently released the gallant bucket-mouth.
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I actually had the Go PRO that afternoon. Here`s a short clip of one of the bass I caught that day;

Till next time…..


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