By Richie Moschella
What is it that keeps me driving up I-95 each year to the Maine wilderness? Is it the pristine waters or perhaps the rocky lakes that hold an abundant amount of fish? Is it the wildlife that thrives and the scenery that could take your breath away? Well to be totally honest it’s an outdoorsmen paradise. From 1998 when I made my 1st trip to the state of Maine I have been coming back time and again ever since. I am always searching for great fishing experiences and this state has so much to offer. It can provide an angler with world class Trout fishing and the Largemouth Bass fishing is out of this world. This trip I was planning however was a search for the mighty bronze back, the Smallmouth Bass. I read many articles and looked up places all over the state that talked about great Smallmouth Bass fishing opportunities and I was drawn to the Grand Lake Stream area.
This area has Big Lake, Maine’s ultimate Smallmouth Bass fishery. The lake is 17,960 acre estuary that locals boast you can catch 100 fish a day! That was all it took and the lake hype caught me hook, line and sinker. I looked up lodging on the lake and found Shoreline Camps, it’s very close to the section of Big Lake where Grand Lake Stream flows in. The lodge could not be on a better section of Big Lake. On the arrival to Shoreline Camps my buddies and I checked into our cottage and got a good nights rest, only to wake up to a major storm pounding the area. It was a dreaded front moving through. We could not help but think that the fishing might really get tough and knew that the finesse bite was what we would be after. Mike Lombardo the owner of Shoreline Camps showed us a map of Big Lake and told us to stick to fishing the shoals, this lake has a ton of them and we would be successful.
We came to find out the shoals where like magnets to the smallies and managed to get a good number of them before we moved on. At the section where Grand Lake Stream flows into Big Lake we found a nice size grass flat that was holding some nice two and three pounders. My buddies were throwing swimbaits and wacky rigs and hooking into some whoppers. I rigged a Power Team Lure’s Finicky Tickler and with in seconds was making contact with smallies. The storm put the bass in a finicky mood and finesse presentation was the difference between a good day on the water and a bad one. The Smallmouth could not help inhaling the Tickler that’s impregnated with Hog Tonic. It’s a fish attractant like no other that keeps it’s sent for a longer period of time, then other plastics. When my buddies and I moved out of the grass flat we all caught about forty fish apace so far for the day. The hype about Big Lake proved to be fact and not fiction. We kept fishing grass flats and shoals and for the duration of the trip kept our rods bending with bronze back action.
Big Lake has tons of islands to protect you from the wind blowing in any direction and provides you with great fishing locations in any condition. The last hour on the lake we made our way into a cove that exploded on the Popper bite. It was a great close to an awesome adventure, having Smallmouth fly out of the water hitting your surface lure! At the end of our stay at Shoreline Camps we all had well over one hundred fish caught between us all, this is a lake that holds a great population of Smallmouth Bass and it is a must for any one who wants to catch large numbers of them. I plan on a return visit some time in the future but for now its back to New Jersey. Big Lake in Maine will forever be in grained in my memory. The shoals, the grass flats and the Smallmouth Bass.