Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fishing Report for Wheeler 4/23/16

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I was off the water for less than 24 hours before Brad and I were right back at it. After Alyse and I placed 3rd in our NASA club tournament on Pickwick, Brad and I were on Wheeler prefishing for our Army club tournament. 

You can read about how my wife won us a check by clicking the following link:

Fishing Report for Pickwick 4/16/16

So, a little back story. Last year before this particular tournament, Brad and I fished the Friday before the tournament. The morning was especially rough on us, but in the waning moments before we called it a day, I boated two slobs. One was a monster largemouth, the other a trophy sized smallie, both of which would end up being two of my three biggest fish of the year. You can check out the fishing report for those days by clicking the link below.

But, during the tournament, we couldn't scare up a fish over three pounds. 

Ok, so, we started fishing the Sunday before the tournament. On the first spot we checked, which had been a mainriver point covered up with smallmouth in 2015, I boated a reall solid smallie who absolutely pounded the Luhr-Jensen speed trap in Texas Red Diamond. But, the spot didn't produce anything else. 

As we moved to the next point, and then every proceeding point, we would catch two, three, or sometimes four TINY smallmouth. 
Brad would add a nice largemouth on the A-rig. For the rest of the day, the only bites we would have would be a few random hits on backwater flats on a PTL 6" Gator. But, to be honest, those bites would be the best we had that day. 

The Friday before the tournament, we headed to First Creek again to see what we could find. We didn't hit the water until 10AM and we only fished until around 2PM. In that time, we would catch another two four pound smallies, a 4 pound largemouth and all the two pound fish we wanted. 

The funniest part of the day came on my first cast using a magnum shakey head, a technique that I have been perfecting for about a year. I was yacking when I noticed the line starting to move sideways. I even looked down at my hands to make sure I wasn't the one cranking it! Eventually we boated a really nice smallmouth.

We caught the bigger fish on the main river points of shallow pockets. The two pounders were absolutely loaded in log jams and laydowns, specifically any submerged timber in the middle of these shallow coves. To catch these, we were flipping PTL 7" Ticklers on 3/8ths or 1/2 ounce shakey heads. By the end of the four hours, we had caught 20 or so fish with the best five going just over 16 pounds. 

More importantly, we had a pattern. 

That is, until I looked outside about 10 PM Friday night and saw full moon on a cloudless night. That got the wheels turning and I knew that all of our prefishing may have been wasted. With a moon like that, staging fish would spawn and any fish holding to their staging points (which we had been targeting) would be eating at night, not during the day.

I knew it would be post frontal with high skies. Not good. At least the water temp was a balmy 73 degrees. 

At blastoff, we shared our gameplan with Josh and Anthony, who are working closely with us. They agreed to stick to the gameplan for the morning.

First cast on the first spot, I caught a short smallmouth on a speed trap, that was it. By 10AM, we didn't have a bite and I was making a phone call.

Josh and Anthony had started on the shallow pockets on the main river as we had said, but had moved to rocks just inside the pocket as well as fishing the flats in the backs of the pockets with lizards. It had produced four fish for about 10 pounds. 

I couldn't give up our pattern and held tightly to it. We would fish the main point and then move to the wood on the sides and back of the pocket. Eventually, the pattern would produce a VERY small limit. I could deal with a small limit. What I couldn't deal with was the fact that we had caught less than 10 fish to get it. 

Again, I made the call. The only thing now working was fishing rock with worms. I had largely missed the best bite of the day, dragging a texas rigged lizard. But, I stuck to the wood, even when Brad pointed out that we hadn't gotten a hit all morning off the wood. 

As the wind continued to build, we found ourselves fishing more and more dirty water, as every boat was now fishing the south side of the lake. We made a run up river a few miles and fished similar coves. 

This produced three culls including our best fish of the day, as three pounder that came off of a dock I had skipped under. The bites began to pick up as I eventually abandoned the wood entirely. While the numbers of fish piled up, the weight did not. 

After a few more small culls, we figured we didn't have much more than 8 pounds. 

We went back to the pockets we had faith in finding bigger fish, just hoping for the big bite. We never found it, mostly because Josh and Anthony found it first. 

We didn't place in what seemed to be a mirror match of last year's tournament. Anthony and Josh did, cashing a second place check with big fish of the tournament. The winning back was only 12 pounds with Josh and Anthony just behind at 11. 

Though I am very happy that they won a check, and they did it on sharing of information just like we hoped, it was very frustrating to me that I couldn't even scratch up 12 pounds on a tough day. I should have been able to do that without ANY prefishing. 

But, hey, that's how it goes. It's a long way from boating 20 pounds on Wilson less than a month ago. I'll take it as a learning experience and go with it! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fishing Report for Pickwick 4/16/16

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For some reason, I thought I had fished Pickwick in February, but apparently I was wrong. Apparently it was actually December. Brad and I fished it several times during a month of near record highs. You can find the reports by reading my last blog post from Pickwick by clicking the link below.

Fishing Report for Pickwick 12/23/2015

It just so happened that none of our kids had ballgames this Saturday. So, Alyse and I hatched a plan to head to Florence and fish together in my NASA club tournament. We had done well together on Pickwick in the past. We really wanted to go up that Friday afternoon, prefish, and spend the night in Florence. That didn't happen, as the two boys both had games on Friday night. 

So, we had to drive from Hazel Green to Florence. Let me tell ya, it's a haul! 

Luckily, the club had decided on a later blast off time, for which I can take credit for. I had noted that the Fishlife Big Bass Battle was on Pickwick. Little did I know that it was actually to be held at another ramp across the river. While I didn't suggest times or vote, it was my information that persuaded the club to start at 7.

So, you can imagine my surprise when we pulled into McFarland and NO ONE was there. And yes, some of my club members let me know how they felt, especially some of the better smallmouth fishermen in the club. Though the vast majority were perfectly ok with starting late and getting some extra sleep. 

I had already noted that there was to be no current and there would be a high pressure system in the area. That would kill any bite on the upper end of the river. Add in the other tournaments going on in the area and it added up to a no-go for the upper end of the lake. That was counterpointed by a howling wind that was supposed to be 14 MPH gusts but felt more like 15-20 MPH sustained winds.

At blastoff, everyone went up. I went straight across. My feeling was that I should be able to get at least a few bites on the bluffs. Specifically, I wanted to get Alyse her first smallmouth and those bluffs were the best way I knew how. 

It didn't take long for her to catch her very first smallmouth. And, it was small. And mean! She nearly threw the poor fish when it started biting her! 
We couldn't muster any more bites, so I decided to make the switch to largemouth. We went to fishing laydowns on rip rap, specifically some that I have won a tournament way back when. That produced two drum and one decent largemouth. 

However, the wind was absolutely brutal. Between the high skies, high wind, high pressure, and low current, I decided to go to the worm sooner than later, specifically on a stretch that had produced a lot of bites in another tournament Josh and I fished two years ago. On that stretch, bites were plentiful but size was not. When we did get big bites, we lost them. I was convinced that I had grown enough as a fisherman that I wouldn't let that happen.

Specifically, I would be flipping a worm on heavier line with a heavier hook and on a baitcaster. I have transitioned from a spinning reel to a 6'6'' medium rod using 12 pound Seguar InvizX. On that I use a PTL Sick Stick or a PTL 7" Tickler rigged on a XXX Pea Head. 

On the first lay down I bagged a keeper. Then, we caught another fish on a Speedtrap. 

Then we had to cover water to the next lay down. 

On the way, I head Alyse's windpants rustling and I turn around to see her fighting a fish. I jumped off the deck and grabbed the net about the time the fish surfaced. The five pound fish tail walked and shook its big head, throwing the speedtrap at Alyse's face, She was heartbroken, as that would the second time in her life she has hooked into that kind of fish and seen it get off.

So, I wasn't too hard on her. I just gave her two bits of advice: say something when you have a fish on. Always keep the rod tip down and away from the fish. She had it up and pointed back at the bass.

On a day like today I knew that was going to sink us. But, what else can you do? 

I decided to go with my initial gut instinct from the second I saw the current predictions. I decided to run way down river, which I had avoided because Alyse doesn't like to go too fast for too long.

We ran down to within sight of the Natchez Trace bridge and fish for smallmouth grouped up on pea gravel beds or rip rap points. 

The first spot didn't pan out and instead of cranking the big motor up, I decided to just fish the do-nothing bank. 

That's when Alyse yelped to get the net! 

Though she had this fish hooked good, and I could see it had both sets of treble hooks, I let her fight the fish while giving her instruction. 

We boated a very nice smallmouth. 

She finished the limit just minutes later and then culled with another good largemouth.

The only thing she was doing different than I was throwing behind the boat and bringing the bait downriver. Once I started doing the same, I caught another smallie that culled our last squeaker fish. 

We had around one hour left when we tried to refish that same stretch. But, we found no takers. 

Heading up to McFarland, we caught another five or six small largemouth in the last 30 minutes, but none helped.

We placed 3rd, just ounces out of second. First place was around 11.5 pounds, but 5 pounds of that came from a very nice largemouth, similar to the size we lost. In all, we caught around 15 fish but only had one with real size, which we lost. Having that fish would have won the day.

But, winning and losing aren't nearly as important as saying that I won a check with my wife as my backboater. Additionally, she caught all but one of the measuring fish including her first smallies! 

And, she only lost one lure, my last Texas Red Diamond Speedtrap, which she threw two or three trees deep and I couldn't retrieve it. Amazon had my back though, as apparently a backlogged order went through and we received an email as we left McFarland saying that my order had shipped....a Red Texas Diamond speed trap. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Fishing Report for Wheeler 4/7/16

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Wife had the day off, as she will be working all weekend and them some. I was planning on fishing the Ditto Landing wildcat. 

BBBBBUUUTTT my partner bailed on me. I already had the boat at work so I asked Alyse if she wanted to get out for a few hours. Of course she did! So, we put in at the Army Rec area. I had planned on fishing the NASA barge canal, as I had found a bunch of fish a few days ago on my lunch break, just bank fishing. 

Naturally, the skies are high today, being post frontal. The wind was whipping and despite having rain several times over the last few weeks, the water was lower than it had been just days ago.

That stretch of the river had solid 3 foot rollers that were whitecapping and the wind was blowing right at the barge canal.

So, after only a few minutes, I headed back up river and around one bend where the wind lied down, ever so slightly. 

Having a lot of luck fishing laydowns on Wilson this past Saturday, I decided to give that a try. 

I was throwing a wacky rigger PTL Sick Stick while she was throwing a PTL Sick Stick on a shakey head. But, she didn't like the action of the rod, as it didn't have enough back bone to set the hook. While she did bring one bass in, she lost many more. So, I traded off with her.

We spotted a new laydown that looked only a few weeks old. It had fallen on an old laydown, creating quite the logjam.

I was essentially flipping the shakey head into crooks in the log jam.This resulted in one smaller fish. 

As I kept flipping, a fish thumped the shakey head instead of pecking at it. I set the hook but knew immediately I was in for a ride.

The fish surged to the surface and Alyse screamed with delight like a little girl. She asked if I needed the net, but for some stupid reason I was like "Nah, I got it. No big deal."

She exclaimed that I was nuts and dug it out of the locker. The toad swam around branches, getting tangled up. But, I was patient and let her swim free before edging her closer to the boat.

The hardest thing to do was to turn away from the fish in order to control the nose of the boat, which I was using to keep us out of more branches.

Several minutes later, we netted this monster. 

Believe it or not, that one laydown held more than just that fish. In fact, it held several more magnum sized fish. While we did catch some small spots on the outside, the mommas were in the laydown on hard cover, specifically on log jams. We managed to get hung up after setting the hook on several. That has to be one of the most painful things....feeling that thump and the fight for about two seconds as one wraps you up. After all, the big ones don't get big cause they are dumb.

Anyway, if you get out on Wheeler, just know that the water is still really low, though the color is good. The wind is whipping and makes life tough. I would concentrate on laydowns that reach the first break, specifically those extending to 20 foot or more. 

We ended up catching only around 5 in the short time we were out, but we had many more to the boat, but just didn't have the hooks in them, as it was tough to get a good hookset while they were in the brush.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fishing Report for Wilson 4/2/16

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If conditions for Friday's prefishing trip were "iffy," then one might call the conditions for Saturday's tournament "nope." In case you missed it, here is the prefishing info we compiled.

I think it was fair to say that Brad, Josh, and I (completing against each other) had low expectations for the day. It sure wasn't going to be another 20 pound sack kind of day, but we figured it would take 12 to win. And, we figured it would come down to our three boats. 

That isn't to say we didn't think the rest of the club wasn't a factor. Quite the opposite. There are some great fishermen in the club, but none that really have the intel on Wilson like we do. 

All three of us drew partners, with whom we explained that, while we were competing against each other, we would also be helping. 

Turns out, we all REALLY needed that.

I began at a new spot we had found the day before. I began throwing the A-rig, just looking for big bites. I was fairly certain that we would be getting limited bites. 

Why? Well, the skies were high, the wind was out of the south, which meant that NOWHERE on the lake would be safe. Specifically, there would be no slowing down to finesse fish. And, as we found out pretty quickly, the combination of current and high wind from the day before had muddied the main river significantly. There was little to no visibility on the main river, which was especially troubling for all of us, as that was our game plan. 

First spot produced no fish. 

Neither did the second. 

Next thing I knew, it was 10AM and I hadn't had a bite. 

I made the phone call to Brad. One fish off a bluff, completely random. 

Called Josh. Nothing on the rig, but worming had produced four fish quick, none of them with size.

I decided to head back into Shoals, as it had produced the day before and I have a lot of history in there. Nope. Chocolate milk, even the cuts. Turned around and left.  

An hour and three or four spots later, I called Brad again. This time, he had some better news. He had a limit, which had come from fishing swimbaits on wood in a long creek. The water color was terrific and the wind wouldn't bother me. He suggested I go down the very stretch he had picked up four fish in 30 minutes upon. 

So, I met up with him and he showed me the stretch. I decided to throw the rig on the wood. It produced a fish almost immediately. But, to my dismay, it also produced three or four followers, who simply wouldn't hit the bait. That included a nice 3 pound smallie that followed it to the boat.

I ran the stretch again, getting no more fish. Then, I went back to a spot where I new fish would be, though I would have to worm it.

Throwing a magnum shakey head with a 7" PTL Tickler, a fish quickly picked up the worm and ran with it. I reeled down and popped it. The fish fought back and I was delighted, yet scared to death, to see that it was a nice smallmouth. Jack, my partner, hopped off the back deck to get the net, but managed to get snagged by an errant hook. As he fought the hook, I fought the fish, which jumped over and over. 

Jack had the net and the fish managed to evade and escape again and again. Luckily, the Seguar InvizX, PTL XXX Pea Head and H2O XPRESS Ethos rod did their jobs and we netted our first keeper of the day, a NICE smallmouth. 

For more on Magnum Shakey Heading, read the link below:

Magnum Shaky Heads: The Answer to Finesse Fishing in High Wind and Current

So, we had two fish. Brad had a small limit. Josh had four. We had an hour to go. That's a long way to a respectable finish, which was about all I was looking for at this point. 

My main river bite was dead as a doornail. Shoals creek was a tall glass of Yoohoo. 

Called Josh. He was still getting bites on the worm, just not measuring fish. Well, I would take my chances on that. I crossed the river towards the creek he had been fishing and found a stretch where  the wind was blocked. The stretch had exactly three laydowns. 

That left me about 45 minutes to scratch up 3 fish, four if you considered that the other fish I had was...questionable. 

Things looked good, as I could see bait flipping and occasionally see a fish flash inside the laydown. 

I backed the boat off another five yards, deciding to fish the top of the laydown, which was in the creek channel, about 23 feet deep. 

After fighting off some pecks, I finally sank the hook into a fish. With some help from Jack, we boated fish number three of the day, a decent 2 pound largemouth. Following that, a short smallmouth that I jerked clear across the boat. 

The pecking began again, as fish would headbutt the bait, but refused to take it. I moved down the bank to the next laydown. I missed a fish, just setting the hook too early. But, Jack (now having tied on a PTL XXX Pea Head and a 7" Tickler) set the hook into a fish, who immediately wrapped itself around the laydown. Having some good Costa's with 580P lenses, I could see the fish. Jack could not. So, I gave him the play by play, telling him to keep tension on the line. I maneuvered the boat next to the fish and waited until the fish swam back around the limb, away from the boat. When it did, I netted number four: a pound and a half largemouth. But, I wasn't picky. 

What was interesting was the fish swimming along side Jack's fish. It told me that there were more than enough fish to make our limit, if we could make it work. I left that laydown for no other reason than to come back in a little while. 

I boat flipped fish five, but knew I had a fish I had to get rid of. We had just five minutes to go. I asked Jack to go ahead and set his stuff down and get seated. If it could be done, I was going to do it and we would have to take off. 

Weigh in at 2:15 and it stood at 2:12 when I felt the thump of a fish. This one got enough of the 7" tickler and I boat flipped her. She went right in the live well, the big motor fired up, and we attempted to cross the river with 3 and 4 foot rollers,

We arrived just in time, though I lost my last Auburn hat on the way, but I wasn't turning around to get it. 

Every boat but Josh had a limit, which he came in with four. Every limit pushed over nine pounds. While that weight isn't impressive, it WAS impressive that everyone managed to catch fish, despite the conditions. To my amazement, only one big fish was caught: a 5.05 largemouth that went one to win the tournament with a total weight of 11.91. Brad came in with 9.42, just 0.05 more than me at 9.37. Both of us would have been beaten but the 9.48 sack, if that angler hadn't had a dead fish, which dropped him from second to fourth. OUCH! 

But, Brad and I managed to get 2nd and 3rd, despite having all of our intel not matter. I do have to thank Josh for the intel on worming laydowns in that creek. I hate that he missed out on placing and cashing a check. It's hard to win off of someone else's info, but that's why we trade it...to help each other. 

Fishing Report for Wilson 4/1/16

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Our NASA club voted to move the tournament from last weekend to this past weekend in order to get more boats involved. That was good and bad news for me. Bad news is, it moved the tournament even further from the pattern that Brad and I had when we sacked 20 pounds in our other club tournament. You can read about that in the link below.

Fishing Report for Wilson 3/19/16

I guess that worse news was that this club employed a draw, so Brad and I couldn't fish together. Nor could Josh and I or Brad and Josh. So, we decided that we would do our best to be competitive and still maintain our teamwork approach.

In fact, though we would be fishing against each other, Brad and I prefished Friday, the day before the tournament. We wanted to find some new spots to add to our growing collection. 

The pattern the past tournament had been cuts on either the main river or major creeks that were short in depth, but offered shallow water. We threw a collection of baits from the Luhr-Jensen speed trap to PowerTeam lures swimbaits. In all honesty, the swimbaits did the vast majority of the work and Brad threw them all day. I tried to keep the fish honest by presenting different baits, but they really weren't interested.

Current was predicted to be in the 20,000, but recent rain had bumped that to 60,000 CFS. Water temps had dropped on the main river to 58 degrees. We figured that the fish might push back off the spawning areas, but the current and overcast skies should provide a good bite. 

We began by heading down river and fishing an all new area. The spot produced just two small largemouth. One on a swimbait for Brad and one on a Strike King 6XD. To be honest, that fish seemed completely random, as I had cranked the handle maybe twice before the fish hit it. It was a decent 3.5 pounder, though. 

We moved to another shallow pocket that we have consistently caught fish on over the last year. Though there was bait in the area, there were no bass feeding. Additionally, the wind was howling from the south, buffering us on the north side. 

Before we left, we decided to fish a new area that was right next to a spot we consistently fish. The spot has never offered up a lot of big fish, but almost always a couple of keepers. Brad bagged a short smallmouth on the stretch as we moved into the new area. 

This new area was similar to what we were looking for: it was a shallow depth pocket, shallow in the back, but offering a rapid depth change. The only difference was that this one was man-made. 

As Brad drug the swimbait over that transition from shallow to a 24 foot depth, a fish took the bait. Initially, we both thought it was a small fish because of how light the bite and fight was. And, it hit almost at the boat. Typically, those type of bites nearly take the rod out of your hand. 

But, the fish that surfaced wasn't a small fish. It was the biggest largemouth that I have seen hooked, in person. I went to lip it with both hands. Think about that for a second. Both hands. But, Brad said to get the net. I looked around. No net. 

So, he starts screaming "GET THE NET!" 
And I'm like "WHERE'S THE NET?!?!?! IT'S GONE!"

See, I didn't realize that he had put it up about 30 minutes before. Brad notices  that the fish is barely hooked, so he dives down to grab the fish. The fish is pinned to the boat, but shakes it head and the hook comes free. Brad DIVES IN THE WATER to get this fish. I grab the back pocket of his jeans to keep the rest of him from going in. In the process, the rod breaks in half....and so does Brad's heart. 

We sat there for 15 minutes. 

We moved into Shoal's Creek, but found it extremely muddy. Almost to the point of turning around. But, we noticed that the cuts had clean water. 

As we have done in the past, we would push the boat against one side of the cut and cast to the other, frequently at docks. This resulted in several more fish including  this nice 5 pounder, which doesn't get a lot of love, considering the size of the fish Brad lost earlier
The only hit I got was while I was on the phone with the school nurse telling my one of my kids had thrown up. I really hope I didn't say anything bad as the fish got to the boat and threw the swimbait. 

In all, we caught a mere 10 fish. Of the ones we got in the boat, we had around 15-16 pounds in the best five. If we had the big fish (IF) we would have been pushed to the 23 pound mark. Think about that. 

Make sure to check back, as I will have a full report for the tournament. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Small Lake Fishing Report 3/26-27/16

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This weekend was non-stop from beginning to end. Our middle kid played in a preseason baseball tournament, which started Thursday night. From that moment until Sunday night, it was non-stop. My wife and daughter had to go out of town, leaving me with the two boys, both of which had baseball games. Add in a busy Easter....

Anyway, I'm not complaining at all. I'd rather things be busy. 

Rather than talk about it, I'll just throw these pics up here. These are from the park's opening day festivities, which led into their baseball games....which were at two different parks. 

But, between their games, I had about a four hour break. After sitting in my recliner for about 30 minutes, I decided that I wasn't THAT tired. Besides, one of our family lakes, which is a multi-acre lake fed by the Flint river, is halfway between the two parks that the boys were playing at. 

So, I loaded them up and we went fishing. 

I went fishing, I mean. The baby was sleeping and the older one was content to watch me fish from the car. Initially, I was a little miff'd since I want to teach him to fish. But, I also needed a few minutes to myself. 

Twenty, to be exact. By the time we loaded up and made it to the lake, I had 20 minutes before Griffin had to be at the park. 

I decided to throw a PowerTeam Lures 5" Sick Stick in Watermelon Red Flake, weightless and wacky rigged on a 6'6" medium heavy H2O XPRESS rod and a Citica Shimano reel

Initially, I didn't get any action. I was throwing the Sick Stick and popping it pretty rapidly. After making several casts, without a hit, I moved into one of the many pockets and changed my retrieve. I started making casts across the pocket towards the grass lines. I would let the bait soak and instead of keeping a tight line, I would simply watch the line. 

It didn't take long for the fun to get started! With a finger under the line at the reel and watching the line in the water, I was able to feel and see the bites through the line, not the rod. I would reel the slack and make a slow sweeping hook set.

Why slow and sweeping? Because the majority of the fish were little and a hard hookset would cause the fish to come completely out of the water and the bait would come flying right back at me.

But, it also caused me to lose some better fish, so I had to start reeling in the slack and feeling the weight on the rod. 

In twenty minutes, I landed 10 fish. Key word is "landed" as I had a hit almost every cast. Only a few went over a pound, but it was still a BLAST. It is a fun way to catch fish and a way that you can teach any kid to use artificial bait because it is so similar to live bait. 

On number10, I tossed my stuff in the truck and took off to Griffin's game. That's the perfect way to end a fishing trip! 

A very similar thing happened Sunday afternoon. Everyone else was in a coma from a combination of fatigue and food comas. Me?  I was the last man standing. 

My stuff was already in the car.....

So I went fishing.

The wind was a little heavier and there was a slight mist. The fish weren't as interested in the bait today, it would have seemed. After the first 30 minutes, I had caught only a few fish and I was having to move around a lot. That was a far cry from the day before as the pockets were holding 5 or 6 active fish apiece and I didn't have to move. 

After the wind caught the line and I cleared a backlash, I rapidly retrieved the worm. As it pulsed from being popped, a sizeable fish smacked it. 

So, that gave me an idea. The fish wanted a little more action, which I assumed was from the ripple on the water. 

Sure enough, that was the trick! I sped up the retrieve and the action, which got me to 10 fish REAL QUICK. 

When the text from my wife came in, asking me where I was, I decided that I would fish for just ONE MORE hit. 

But after I missed three fish, I found myself saying ONE MORE CAST. 

That ended when I finally caught my last fish and also caught a nasty text from my wife.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Fishing Report for Wilson 3/19/16

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To start off, go back and read our prefishing report leading up to this weekend's tournament. 

Fishing Report for Wilson 3/9/16

Ok, now that you are caught up, let me also clarify something. That report was the truth. Just not the whole truth. While prefishing, Brad also caught a new personal best smallmouth that went right at six pounds. 
The story on that? We pulled up on a spot that I really like to fish on Wilson. There is a secondary point that seems to always hold fish. It features a fairly aggressive slope the ends in a rockpile. On this rockpile I have won several tournaments including one of the very best bags I have ever weighed.

But, the wind was whipping and the fish weren't active. However, on the primary point, I noticed that there were a lot of gulls sitting on what is an extended flat. Flats are rare on Wilson as it is. I could see bait flipping, so I moved us off the secondary point and positioned the boat on the 18 foot contour. On my first cast, I caught a drum. On the second I caught a drum. On the third, I had a hit from what I knew was a bass.

I told Brad to cast his swimbait across the flat on what I thought was the four foot break. This fish annihilated his bait. We had no idea how big it was until we had it in the net. 

Seeing how well we've done on Wilson and how people kind of know how we fish it, we didn't really want word getting out that we had found both quantity and quality. So, we played mum. You can read about last year's club tournament where we finished in second.

In the days leading up to the club tournament, Brad was able to prefish. He fished this spot again and found nothing. 

As we pulled into Lock 6 ramp, we saw something we had never seen on Wilson: a line at the ramp. The parking lot was filled over capacity and by the time we were in the water, our number had already been called and we were among the last boats to head out. What I did see was that a great number, if not the majority of boats, were headed into Shoals creek, which is where I wanted to start. \

Why? That's a good question. First off, there was no current. From the hours of 1AM to around 3AM, TVA reported no current leaving Wheeler. The reported max was around 19,000 CFS. Wilson needs in excess of 60,000 to really be on. Secondly, the wind was going to be a major factor. Wilson is a fairly wide lake from North to South, meaning any wind will make it hard to fish and navigate.

So, we headed down river to a spot we had fished last year and had netted us our best fish, including a 5.75 pound smallie kicker. Additionally, Brad had been able to catch some good fish on Friday on this spot, which was a shallow cove on the main river, right on some bluffs. 

As we pulled up, I marked fish on the upriver point. I moved the boat from 25 feet to around 18 and made my first case with a Luhr-Jenson speed trap in Red Texas Diamond. 

Before Brad even had his bait in the water, I had him searching for a net after a fish slammed the bait. The brown fish fought and jumped, but ultimately found its way into the livewell after a very long and stressful fight.

At the time, I was almost certain that this would be our big fish of the day, as it was a solid four pound smallie.

Brad put that notion to rest just minutes later when he landed a NICE largemouth on the downriver point. Then, he backed that with a keeper smallmouth that would go around three pounds.

As the sky began to drizzle, we motored back to the up river point. A short smallie off a swimbait and then another NICE smallmouth had us with four fish for around 14 pounds. 

The skies listed and the wind began to howl. The bite all but died. 

We fished the area more, pushing back out deeper where I combed the point with a Spro Little John DD. That is, until I set the hook in a rock and popped the line. 

We gave up on the spot and headed into Shoals Creek to escape the wind. 

It was more of the same in there. The wind wasn't as bad, but it was still hard to deal with. I had to pull into a secondary finger inside of Shoals creek to be able to manage the boat and fish. 

With the water as low as it had been, I was able to notice just how many fish attractors and brush piles had been placed at the end of one specific dock. Parking the boat against the opposite bank, I pointed to where the brush piles and we went to work. 

First, I was able to finish our limit with a decent largemouth on the speed trap. Minutes later, Brad deftly maneuvered his swimbait into the boat slip of the dock and between the brush piles.

 Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the rod bend, but neither of us thought it was a serious fish until she showed us her mouth in a fit of head shaking. We netted the magnum largemouth and dumped my dink back in the water. 

Brad now had four of the five measuring fish in the box.

It was fairly obvious that she was the active fish in the area as we didn't have another bite. 

We headed back to the bluffs, picking up the A-Rig, hoping to push us well over the 20 pound mark. 

Indeed we caught more fish, but nothing compared to the ones we already had in the livewell. 

On the flipside, the wind had built some solid rollers which were now rushing over the front of the boat. 

I guess the highlight of my day was sinking the hooks into what I was sure was THE fish...until it started rolling! 

Though we ran a lot of bluffs, we never found any more fish after about 1PM. We decided to put the boat on the trailer early. 

At weigh in, we were not surprised to see that everyone else struggled. The story seemed to be the same. Once the sun came out, the bite died. Unlike many of our club, we knew where to start due to prefishing and that made all the difference. 

We were surprised to find that my smallmouth pushed over 5.3 and was dead even with Brad's largemouth. We were even more surprised that the other three fish went over 10 pounds themselves! 

Our bag went 20.32 with a 5.36 kicker, which was good for a win and big fish. 

Second was 14.03 and third was 11.40. The next biggest fish came in at 3.91.

Of the other two tournaments out of Lock 6, the winning bags were also in the 14 pound range. 

We didn't catch a lot, but we caught the ones that mattered!