Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Follow my Fish of 2018
As we have done every year, we drew out the lake for our club classic. Wouldn't you know it, Wilson was pulled. That would mean we've fished Wilson twice and Guntersville twice, I wasn't going to complain. The last time we had the classic on Wilson, Brad and I weighed in over 20 pounds and took a win. It was truly the most eye-opening experience I have had, in terms of executing a game plan. You can read about that 20 pound bag and watch the video by clicking the link below.
Unlike previous years, a new rule had been passed where the lake was off-limits after the draw. That kinda sucked. But on Wilson, the game plan for fishing the back end of summer (even though it was October) was to fish the dam. Really, the only question was, would be spend any time anywhere else? Without being able to pre-fish, we were really limited to what we knew.
So, at blast-off, we headed to the dam. There wasn't any current early in the morning and the recent pattern was that TVA would cut some one around 10-11AM and then a good bit more around 12-1. So, we spend the morning fishing around the face of the dam, looking for schooling largemouth.
Largemouth on the face of the dam had been the only pattern we had found just a few months ago on our last tournament on Wilson and with water and air temps just as hot now as they were then, it was a reasonable assumption that nothing had changed.
It seemed early on that our assumptions were right. I hooked up with a keeper largemouth on a pop-r really quick, but lost it. I was able to catch a good sized largemouth soon after. A few misses here and there and the bite went away. I went to work with a shakey head and a jig, just as I had a month ago, but unlike then, I wasn't able to get a sniff.
Around 9AM, we hadn't boated another fish, so we decided to run down to the mouth of Bluewater Creek to see if we could find some active fish. We began on the very far end of the rock piles and I caught a small smallie on the very first cast and I thought maybe we were on to something, but that turned out to be fool's gold. We didn't waste very long on this because when that spot had been on, it happened quick.
Around 11AM, the current did kick on, but not nearly to the level we thought it would be, It went from 18,000 CFS to around the mid-20s. Again, no bites. Not only for us, but none of the other boats around us were catching fish either.
At 1PM, the siren sounded and the current kicked way up. Then people started catching fish.
We boated one keeper, then another, then another. Then we hit a cold streak from 2-3PM. Truth be told, I hadn't caught another measuring fish while Brad had caught all three of the fish on a crank while I alternated baits. Even though I did eventually catch a few shorts on a worm, I decided to pick up the crank and start hammering away with it. Eventually, I did catch our 5th fish, a nice smallie at that, and culled up a small keeper with another sizable chunk.
We did catch several fish in short order including a lot of drum, but the size went down after the initial flurry.
We knew how tough it had been, but the boats around us had caught enough fish that I knew it would be tight. I didn't think anyone not fishing the dam would have a chance. When the water temps are in the 80s on Wilson, it seems the only consistent bite is at the dam, even though it may take you all day to get five bites.
We arrived back at the ramp a few minutes early and we decided to crank the rip-tap along the ramp. On one of my lasts casts, I set the hook on something big and I was really excited.....only to find out that it was a turtle. I didn't bother getting my crank.
Turned out that my assumptions had been right. No one from down river had anything of note. We had 10 pounds, which was good for second, just behind a slightly better bag that had also been caught in the near vicinity.
It wasn't the day we dreamed of, for sure. But we ended the year super strong! I believe Brad didn't get a check in only two tournaments in the club while I did slightly worse, but not by much. He even managed to win one without me!
In all, we caught less than 10 fish with the biggest being a touch over three. The big fish of the tournament didn't break four pounds. Water temps were in the 80s all day with good visibility.