Anglers targeting bass like this smallmouth do well after summer thunderstorms. Tom Roth photo

Sweltering August days cool off after fast-moving thunderstorms, and as a youngster, this angler longed for those storms to approach. When they did, my parents made sure I was off and away from the water, so that meant riding out the storm inside the camp. Occupying myself with a puzzle or camp magazine, I would eagerly wait for the storm to pass so dad and I could go out in the boat and fish. Dad had a theory that the pelting rain stirred up the water and introduced oxygen near the surface, bringing the fish up. I’m not sure if his hypothesis “holds water,” but we did catch bass close to the shoreline after a storm.

I recall how calm the lake was after a passing deluge. As fast as it swept through, it seemed like it was gone. We bailed the boat out first with an old bleach bottle that was shaped into a scoop, then dad would use one of his car washing sponges to sop up the last drops. He liked a dry boat. We would motor along the shoreline with our electric trolling motor, a new luxury back in those days, and cast lures toward the shoreline. I preferred a spinner bait. Dad liked the Mepp’s spinners or topwater lures. Occasionally I had luck with a rubber worm and propeller rig. Sometimes, dad would drag a shiner on a bobber behind the boat, a killer combo for bass and the infrequent salmon that found itself swimming in the shallows.

Other times after a storm we would anchor over a known spring hole and bottom fish for salmon with a shiner and a slip sinker rig. Dad learned of one particular spring on the bottom of the lake from some old fishing cronies. You had to triangulate your location using landmarks on the shore and across the lake. It wasn’t much of a secret spot because on some days it looked like a floating boatyard out there.

We would impale a shiner through the back with our hooks and lower the bait to the bottom, then reel up a bit until we judged the offering was just off bottom. Propping the rods along the side of the boat, the waiting game ensued. A sharp tug meant a salmon had our bait, and if we were lucky we had a nice plump one of dinner. Sometimes a cusk took the bait, but I don’t recall catching any other fish in that “secret” honey hole.

Rapid thunderstorms are common this time of year and although they curtail lake activities briefly, fishing after the storm is often productive and a good way to enjoy the brief release of hot summer days.

Tom Roth is a freelance outdoor writer who lives in Raymond on the shore of Sebago Lake. He has been fishing and hunting in this region for more than 30 years and is a Registered Maine Guide.


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