Fishing The Quiet Corner of Connecticut with JD Mellowship

JD Mellowship is such a cool angler. His Instagram is full of great pics that show how versatile of a fisherman he is. We talked with JD about his Connecticut bass and crappie fishing. We also talked about his new found love of kayak fishing. Great stuff from JD!

What do you enjoy about kayak fishing?

This is actually my first season with a kayak. I’ve always been interested in kayak fishing but could never pull the trigger on buying one. In June I borrowed one from a neighbor and had the best day of fishing I think I’ve ever had in my life. I went out and bought one two days later.

You ask 100 fisherman what they like about kayak fishing, and you’ll get a lot of the same answers. I fish solo most of the time so a kayak is perfect for me, and they require very little maintenance.

Whenever I fish a new body of water I like to find where water enters and exits that body of water. Usually it’s a nice steam or creek that most other boats can’t get in to. This is usually where I find a lot of fish and usually some big ones.

I also enjoy the stealth aspect of kayak fishing. They are virtually silent, and you can move in close to where the fish are holding to structure and not have to bomb in long casts. There is something primal about kayak fishing. If you think about it man has been fishing from kayaks for centuries.

What kind of kayak do you have?

Right now I have a Patriot Angler 120 which is the same exact boat as the Future Beach Angler 144. I wasn’t sure just how much I was going to enjoy kayak fishing so I didn’t want to drop big money on a boat. I bought this boat brand new for $350 and it was worth every penny. That being said I’m definitely looking to upgrade next season.

This boat has plenty of storage and lots of bungees to keep all my gear secure. It’s incredibly stable and tracks very well. It also has two rod holders directly behind the seat.

The seat….my number one piece of advice I’d give anyone looking to buy a fishing kayak would be to build your boat around the seat. To me the seat is the most important piece of the boat. If you are uncomfortable sitting in your boat for extended periods of time you’re not going to get the most out of your boat. I thought I had put in plenty of research into what I wanted in a kayak but neglected that one aspect. Live and learn.

You had a bit of an incident on your kayak where you were swamped by a ski boat. That had to be scary. How did you handle it?

I was fishing the shallow end of the lake at the mouth of a stream. My boat was in about a foot of water parallel with the shore. I was in the middle of changing baits and all of a sudden it was like I got hit with a bucket of water. I was shocked and absolutely soaked.

The wake came from a wakeboard boat. the wake was giant and because I was in shallow water the wake broke right on top of me. It soaked me and filled my boat with water.

I paddled out around the point and went ashore at a vacant vacation home. I pulled my scupper plugs and drained out my boat and began to drip dry. While I was there I figured I’d make the most of it and just do some fishing from shore. Turns out the cove I was in holds quite a few fish so I hung out for awhile. Had I been paying closer attention I could have avoided the entire incident but then I wouldn’t have discovered this new fishing spot!

Nice Quiet Corner Largemouth Bass
Nice Quiet Corner Largemouth Bass

You say you fish the Quiet Corner of Connecticut. Where exactly is this?

The Quiet Corner is the northeast corner of Connecticut. It is made up primarily of Windham County. It’s an area rich in places to fish, especially ponds. I’m lucky enough to live on a 155 acre lake and that is where I fish primarily.

When I do go out to other waters I like to fish Bigelow Pond, Roseland Lake, the Quaddick Resevoir, and a few ponds near my house. I like to fish Bigelow Pond as it offers quite a bit of variety as far as depth and cover. You can fish it like a small pond and pitch a worm or frog in the pads and grass or you can go deep with a crankbait like a larger lake.

Roseland Lake is the same in this regard. It gets pretty weeded up in the late summer but still very fishable.

Quaddick is great simply because of the variety of fish it holds. It’s one of the closest fisheries to me that holds northern pike. It also has a lot of rocky points and plenty of “hidden” coves that are full of pads.

Who doesn’t love pond fishing? There are ponds everywhere in New England and they all offer their own unique challenges. These are the ponds that I grew up fishing and learning how to work the soft plastics and topwater baits.

You seem to be a very versatile angler with lots of different baits tied on. What are your confident baits on these waters?

I really enjoy fishing and learning how to effectively use new baits is a large reason why. What my “confidence” baits are changes with what part of the season it is and the conditions.

Early in the season I love to throw jigs with some sort of craw trailer. Jerkbaits and squarebill crankbaits are also something that work really well for me.

Once the weather warms up and the grass and pads start to pop up I always go right for some sort of frog. I’ve had great success this season with the Booyah Baits Pad Crasher Jr. and the River 2 Sea Spittin’ Wa popper frog. Topwater fishing is an addiction of mine and I probably fish it more than I should but it’s so much fun.

I always have a decent collection of soft plastics to throw. I always have YUM Dinger worms rigged weedless and weightless and spinnerbaits on hand. These are two baits that in my opinion everyone should have. My largest bass so far this season, 5.2 pounds was caught on a spinnerbait and my second two largest, 5 pounds and 4.3 pounds were caught on Dingers.

I think the key to success with any bait is just experimenting with different presentations and retrieve speeds. I’ll just play with a bait in the shallow water and watch what it does and how it reacts to different rod movements.

I also pay close attention to what is going on in the water around me. You can learn a lot about what the bass are doing by watching what they might be feeding on. You can’t build confidence in a bait if it just sits in your box. You gotta get out there and throw it and just figure out what works…and put some fish in the boat!

What baits are you trying to learn to use that you can see the potential but have yet to have success on?

Right now I’m trying to figure out chatterbaits and swimbaits. I like fishing both of these baits but I’m yet to catch anything of substantial size on either of them. I have a pretty big very realistic looking pumpkin seed swimbait that I throw a lot and I’ve only caught one small fish on it all season.

It’s the same story with the chatterbait. I know I’ll figure it out but it definitely gets frustrating at times but you can’t give up. Sometimes I just paddle out with those two baits so I’m not tempted to change baits. I noticed that when I go out on the water with very limited gear I really focus and making what I have work…sometimes the bass have different plans.

Connecticut Crappie Fishing
Connecticut Crappie Fishing

You also seem to have some success catching Crappie. How is Connecticut Crappie fishing

I absolutely love Crappie fishing. It’s something I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid. Early in the season like April the Crappie are just eating machines. They’ll eat just about anything and are usually holding in pretty big schools. The toughest part is finding them but once you do…IT”S ON!!!

I like to throw curly tail grubs, brighter the better. The YUM pan fish assassin killed’em this past spring. Look for them near blown down trees, stumps or suspending over weed beds.

My personal best Crappie I caught in Quaddick Resevoir and weighed in at just over two pounds. My buddy Scott recently caught a chunky slab out of Roseland Lake so we’ll be hitting that place up next spring for some crappie action.

You have Lunker Lab in your profile. What is your association with Lunker Lab?

Lunker Lab is a small fishing specific clothing company based out of Western Mass. Anthony and Linda, husband and wife, have come up with designs that help anglers celebrate the fact that we all love to fish and we want everyone else to know it.

I really feel like the New England region is under represented and under rated in the world of fishing. We have so much water to fish and these fisheries hold some monsters but you rarely see any coverage or content that focuses on the region.

Lunker Lab is helping anglers to fly the New England flag and come together as a community. Small grassroots companies like Lunker Lab and fishing specific social networking apps like Fishbrain are making it easier for anglers from all walks of life to become a community of people that love the sport of fishing and love where we fish.

Anglers like JD Mellowship epitomize why I love doing this blog. He loves to fish, and he loves talking about fishing. JD, I appreciate you taking the time to do this and hope you will consider a second interview in the future. We have only scratched the surface of the fishing questions I have for you. Until then, I will be keep track of all of your fishing success on Instagram @exile_860.