My bass club held a two-day tournament on Lake Winnipesaukee on July 24th and 25th, so my family and I planned our summer vacation around it. While I went up early, with my sister and niece in tow, on the 23rd and stayed at the 1848 Inn, everyone else headed up on 25th. We rented a house on Locke Lake in Barnstead.
The tournament was tough. On day one I made a run to Paugus Bay first thing. Since I didn't bring a sweater with me I was freezing my ass off by the time I hit the no-wake channel into the bay, so I said screw it and started fishing. I lost about a three-pound smallmouth on my first cast. Crankbait. Shortly after I laid into a small largemouth on a spinnerbait. I repeated this pattern, fishing all the boat slips and such, as I made my way through the channel. I lost two or three more fish, but I ended up with three keepers.
Once I exited the channel I made my way to the right and under the railroad tracks into Chattle Cove. I spent about 45 minutes in this cove, fishing rocks and weeds, but came up empty. Next I headed into Pickerel Cove (under the railroad tracks again). This cove is the reason I made the run to Paugus Bay, but again I couldn't get bit. Not even by a damn pickerel...in Pickerel Cove. Pffft!
After this I fished the rocks out by the islands in the bay, but nothing was biting. So I shot back to the channel, figuring I might round out my limit. I had not anticipated the ridiculous amount of boat traffic, though. Holy crap! I fished for a few minutes, but figured there was just too much commotion for anything to be biting, so I moved on.
(The following Wednesday everyone went zip-lining by Weirs Beach in Laconia, so we stopped at the beach for a few hours beforehand. I brought my dropshot rod, figured I'd make a few casts. Until we got there, I didn't realize the beach was right outside the mouth of the channel into Paugus Bay. So that's the first place I went to fish. Again, boat traffic was insane. Even worse than it was the previous Friday. But here's the kicker: I caught two smallies well over three pounds and lost a third before snagging my line in the rocks, right there in the channel, with all those damn boats cruising by. They were fat, too! I have no idea if they would have been biting during the tournament, but I wish I'd have at least tried! Oh well. Hindsight and all that stuff.)
Day two started out okay. I had a limit fairly quickly: four smallmouth, one largemouth, all small. After, I headed up into Salmon Meadow Cove, looking for largemouth. I saw plenty cruising, but couldn't get any to bite. I then fished random spots on the main lake, whatever looked good. At this point, with all the boat traffic and waves, my groin strain from a week or two prior started to hurt again, every wave causing a jolt of pain. It progressively got worse throughout the day, to the point where I had to turn around and lay my chest on my leaning pole and hug it, just so I didn't topple overboard. I'm sure this looked as ridiculous as I felt.
(By the way, what's the deal with the crazy people swimming out in the middle of Winnipesaukee in the middle of all that boat traffic? Absolute insanity.)
Then my wife sent me a video of my kids, and I thought it'd be great to see them, and maybe get a little fishing in on Locke Lake before it got too dark. I hate not to weight in, even if I know I have no chance of winning, but I decided to bail. I could barely walk when I first pulled my groin muscle, so I thought it best not to chance pulling it again and basically ruining the following week of vacation.
Unofficially, I would have had about 10.5 pounds for the two days, putting me in 10th place. Or something like that. Instead, my three from day one got me 13th place. Second to last. Guess that's something.
Anyway, as it was a family vacation, we didn't do a ton of fishing the following week. My father and I fished every day, but not all day. I got no GoPro footage from the tournament (I forgot the GoPro batteries, so my wife had to bring them later) or from the first day on Locke Lake (because I also forgot to charge the batteries). But we had a great week of fishing. Locke Lake, which is a private lake, is loaded with bass. Tons of docks, some rocks, a few coves, and weeds everywhere. We never broke the five-pound mark, but we got plenty of solid bass. Even got a few smallies.
I intended to fish a few other lakes nearby, but only managed to make it out to Upper/Lower Suncook Lake for a few hours on Friday. I caught two chunks early in Upper Suncook, then we headed down into Lower Suncook, but couldn't manage a single bite. Shame, too, because the channel heading down to the dam looked amazing! Total bummer.
I've probably already made this trip report too long, and by talking about the two worst days of the trip! But I got video of most of our week on Locke Lake, so I'll let that do the talking. Check it out below!
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