Had an amazing opportunity recently to tour Back Bay for several hours to witness the bay’s comeback. Got a couple of bass while doing a shock survey with Chad Boyce of the state game department.
You gotta love the hair in this photo. Looks like I got shocked.
The tour took us east from the Mill Landing Boat Ramp to the ocean side of the bay, where we motored to the north to see how the coves are once again filling up with grass – milfoil and duckweed.
These aquatic grasses stabilize the bottom and keep the water gin clear. And they’re a haven for species like largemouth bass. In many places, portions of the bay are choked with grass like the old days of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and early ‘80s.
And this grass holds fish.
Just seeing all of the vegetation took me back to a time when I spent spring, summer, and fall fishing. Sometimes, it was every day of the week – wading the grass beds and catching all the bass we wanted.
Those days when the entirety of Back Bay was full of grass likely will never come back. The bay, throughout its history, was only like that for about three decades.
But more and more vegetation is filling the backs of coves and, in some places, entire coves. While the fishery is making a remarkable comeback, it likely will never be the place so many of us remember. Those times, according to experts like Boyce, were an anomaly.
The bottom line, though, is that fishing in Back Bay is good.
Remember that this place can be unforgiving. It’s huge and it gets really sloppy when the wind kicks up. Dotted with marsh islands, navigating it can make you feel lost unless you either know the place or have great electronics.
And it’s a haven for venomous, cottonmouth snakes.
The emergence of grasses is also bringing a comeback to its glory days of duck hunting – as evident by all of the newly-built blinds in preparation for the upcoming season.
But for myself and dozens of others lucky enough to remember its heyday, seeing the return of grass and bass is an amazing trip down memory lane.
To follow some of my other work, go to: www.leetolliveroutdoors.com