Each June, my girls scramble down to the dock once it is in and arm themselves with fishing gear in an attempt to catch the first fish of the season. This annual rite officially kicks off the start of summer. The girls typically fight over a little yellow and white Snoopy rod and reel combo that they first used as toddlers. I don’t know how it has survived all these years, but it still works. I make certain to have enough rods rigged up with bobbers and hooks and I buy my nightcrawlers nowadays.
Last year it was Emily who was first on the leaderboard with an 8-inch smallie. I think the year before it was Olivia with a lunker smallmouth likely guarding a nest under the dock. We always release the fish to grow or guard their nests, but we sure do enjoy the sport, as simple as it may be. I couldn’t count the number of kids who have fished off that dock, myself included.
Dad loved to sit in his lawn chair at the end of the dock, smoke a cigar and drown a nightcrawler on most June evenings. He was fishing, technically, but I think he went out there to relax. The rod was just a prop so he didn’t look odd staring at the water. Oftentimes he caught bass on those evenings, some impressive ones, at that.
Sandy, shallow spots rule this month as the spawn hits high gear. Most camps and cottages have beaches, dumped there long before there were strict environmental regulations prohibiting such acts. Accordingly, bass anglers working the shoreline around developed areas do well this month. Last June I was enjoying a morning coffee on my deck and I saw a bass boat working our shoreline. Two anglers were flipping and pitching lures under and around the docks. When one spoke to the other I recognized the voice of Phil Hebert of Westbrook. Phil’s a tournament bass angler and was out practicing for an upcoming tourney. I told him I had one tied just under the dock and we both had a chuckle.
Aside from shorelines and docks, the area around the Raymond boat launch in Jordan Bay is all sand and makes for great spawning habitat. If you find yourself farther up the lake, the rocky and sandy bottom around the Dingley Islands can’t be beat, either. Likewise, the sandbar at the start of the Songo River, aptly named “the Spit” draws bass in this time of year like it draws crowds of boaters later in the summer.
While some newcomers to the area think that Little Sebago Lake is connected to the big lake, it’s not. Down the road in Windham and Gray, this “cousin” to the big lake shares the name and a reputation for some great bass angling. Again, both small and largemouth bass inhabit Little Sebago and heavy development means sandy shorelines and docks. Several shallow sandbars also create optimum bass habitat, especially during the spawn.
I troll flies and small spoons in May on Little Sebago for trout and invariably catch as many bass as I do trout. Of course, I am following the shoreline in prime bass habitat, so that makes sense. Anglers casting toward shoreline can pinpoint “rocks and docks” and find bass hanging out in the shadows.
Whether you simply fish with worm and bobber from shoreline or dock or work the spawning beds with lures, this month is the prime time for bassing success.
Tom Roth is a freelance outdoor writer who lives in Raymond on the shore Sebago Lake and has been fishing and hunting in this region for more than 30 years.
Last year it was the author’s daughter Emily who caught the first bass off the dock in June.