Monday, November 21, 2011

Fishing Report for Guntersville 11/19

So the opening day for gun season finally rolled around. I missed it last year since I attended the Iron Bowl. I sat on the stand until 8:30am without seeing a single deer. So, I texted Josh and told him that I was getting the boat and heading to the lake. He said he was ready when I was.

After rebuilding the carbs, replacing fuel lines and other assorted fixes, the boat finally would start without having to pray over it. I picked Josh up and we headed to BB Comer, since it has been (relatively) hot in the last month.

I have to admit that I had planned on fishing unless I killed a deer. The weather looked to be perfect. 8mph winds with slight gusts, overcast, and in the mid-60s.

After pulling the boat off the trailer, I found that I had, once again, been duped by the weathermen. It was certainly overcast, but it was in the low 50s and the wind was hurtling at a 15-20 sustained clip. The water was surprisingly cold at 53 degrees.  The boat DID fire up readily, so I was at least happy that we could fish somewhere out of the the spot down river that Jon and I had fished the previous week.

But, as I tried get the boat into gear, it would just grind the gears. This isn't a new thing. The throttle has a history of binding up on me. But never THIS much. I would have the throttle halfway down and it would still grind. If I floored it, it would jump into gear. But I am positive that isn't good for the lower unit. So, the question is: is there something wrong with the throttle and/or cables and linkage...or is there something in the lower unit? Say, a thrust washer has been eaten?

But I did get it in gear and it SEEMED to run ok. So, I ran us the half mile to the spot I had been fishing. Quickly we noticed that the grass mat I had found them packed under had been blown away. Completely. So, that was a bust. We pushed out into the channel and fished the drop off (4 feet to 8 feet). Josh ran a spinnerbait and I threw a square bill. But, the wind pushed us upriver at a good pace and we only had a single hit....a fish I caught on the strike king KVD square bill.

Surprisingly, we couldn't get a fish to look at the spinnerbait. It seemed to be the PERFECT spinnerbait day.

Not wanting to run very far, we ran under the bridge and down about half a mile where we found grass mats. We fished the left hand side and just let the wind blow us. We at least could hear a little popping from baitfish, so we had some hope. we both picked up the frog rods and started casting away. Within a couple of casts, I had a hit. But the fish missed the bait by 2-3 feet. We threw back in and couldn't coax a return hit. The wind pushed us a few more feet and the same thing.

In the next 5 minutes, we had about 10 top water hits. They were hitting the surface pretty hard, but were missing the frog by 2-3 feet. Finally Josh got one to make an accurate hit and we got him to the boat. But, we got past this spot quickly, even though I had the trolling motor on high. After a few more minutes, the batteries were dead.I am not sure if the batteries are going dead, didn't get charged, or maybe I had just used them up. But, that was the end of the day. We didn't plan on fishing long anyway, so at 130, we called it a day.

The only thing we could think of is that the sever chop on the water throws the fish's vision for a BIG loop. I can't see that it could be anything else. They seemed to be active in very specific areas, but just couldn't get to it.

That's a big disappointment, considering the weather was, once again, ALMOST perfect. The warm days are coming to an end. I am hoping to give it a try again early this week. At least we didn't get skunked, but we sure didn't catch anything to write home about.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Best Five Zach makes it into the Tuscaloosa news

Many of you may recall  that I fished the Eagle's Wings benefit tournament about a month ago. The people at Eagle's Wings learned that I had this blog and fished and done well in the last two years of the tournament. They contacted me and asked if they could use my blog in the Tuscaloosa News to promote their cause. I was happy to help. Here is the story in "Letters to the Editor":

Strike King KVD Sexy Frog

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Last week I lost 2...yes...2 Spro Dean Rojas Edition frogs. Being cheap..I borrowed one of these that my dad had bought (which is prob news to him).  I will compare it to the Spro, as the two are closely matched.

The eyes aren't as visually pleasing as the Spro, nor is the over-all painting.

however, upon using it, I found that the frog was superior in that it has a sealed air bladder. So, it doesn't take on water and you don't have to squeeze it every few casts. It has a built in rattle as well. That's.....ok. I would like the option of adding my own.

Its sits lower in the water, which makes bigger wakes as you hop it. It also allows the smallest twitches possible, even by simply turning the handle. That IS very usefull.

The biggest detractor of the KVD is that it has a very bad habit about flipping over upside down. I am really not sure why, but the Spro doesn't have this problem. 

After an afternoon worth of fishing, the paint was already coming off the bait.

Overall, there are some functional differences between the KVD frog and the Spro, both good and bad. It's not for everyone, esp those aficionados of the frog. But, the price is good and the functionality is decent.

Fishing report for Guntersville 11/15/11

Well, the year is coming to a close. I still plan on fishing the winter, as that's when the hogs are caught, but the days of comfortable fishing for numbers are ending. Sunday night, I looked at the weather. The forecast for Guntersville said that it would be 69 degrees, 20% chance of rain, 10-15mpg sustained winds. There was a cold front moving in behind too. So, I thought this would be a terrific day for another top water bite. I called John and talked him into going (I should have listened to the wind did prove a major hurtle). We worked most of the day and took off in the early afternoon for BB Comer.

We launched the Big Easy and made the short trip down river to the spot that I had been catching fish. I had two trips with 5+ pound fish. So, it had a perfect record for producing quality fish. The wind was every bit of 15mph sustained, so John drove the boat deep in the grass to anchor it. I was throwing the new Strike King KVD sexy frog.

I will have a write up on it later....

I was throwing it towards small sections of matted grass. I was deep in conversation with John when a fish rolled over top of the bait. I didn't think he ate those roll overs are pretty low on hook up ratio. But the bait didn't bob to the surface, so I stuck the fish. I didn't have a gauge on the size, so I started horsing him. But, he quickly bulldogged me into the Lilly pads. I saw the fish roll a few times and I knew I had a pig. So, John set the motor on high and we dove in deeper. I freed the fish from the pads and got him in the boat.

The fish went 5.45 on the hand held scale. One of the nicer are around fish I have caught. It was plump..where as a lot of my bigger fish have been skinny.

As soon as a dropped the fish back in the water, the rain started. We were caught entirely off guard as the chances of rain were so low. Luckily, John had a garbage bag. Being a short guy, I was almost completely covered...almost. The rain dripped off the bag and onto my jeans...which is oddly uncomfortable!

We retreated under the BB Comer bridge. I tossed my custom swimbait around the pile ons.

I had a good hit and on the next cast, had two short bass following the bait.

John picked up a small keeper on a spinnerbait. After the rain stopped, we fished around the bridge, but didn't have another hit. So, we went about 2 miles down river to a little creek which has rip rap banks. It's an interesting place because there is the main channel that is about 35 feet deep, then a ledge, then a smaller channel between the main channel and the bank. It's about 12 feet deep. We spotted good hard bottom and small humps, which I can't wait to fish. Between the two channels is a grass line. We attempted to fish it, despite the wind, which was now 30mph sustained. I had at LEAST 3 hits on the frog that didn't hook up, but the wind kept us from being able to do anything but rip down the grass line. Had we been able to sit on it, I have no doubt we could have caught a good mess.

We then fished the rip rap bank and into the creek. I quickly caught a 5 inch bass on a Lucky Craft Sammy. The wind was noexistant here. So, we fished into the back of the creek. The mats were popping (which is absolutely necc to find for a frog bite). And we could see fish chasing bait. However, we couldn't get a hit. They were there....and I will go back soon and give it a try.

On the way out, I had a big hit on the custom swimbait. But the fish ran right at me, which is typical for a bigger (smarter) fish. This came off of shell bottom points in the mid point of the creek.

BTW, this is the creek Josh and I won the first tournament of the year on. We had a limit in 15 minutes and won with 18.5 pounds. It's also where I caught a massive catfish...ironically on the same shell bottom points.

Anyway, not much success...but we once again learned how quickly the weather can change. At least the company was good and we caught fish.

More importantly, I found a small dinner table size hump that should produce fish. Can't wait to get back on it.

Thanks again to John for his hospitality. Really wish I would have listened to him about the wind. But, hey, I have a feeling that we were THIS CLOSE to having a break out day. Weather turned on us.

Get out there while you can!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fishing Report for Guntersville. November 2nd 2011

I kept reading the guides report that the frog bite on Guntersville was turning on. I think most of my readers know where Guntersville stands on my list of favorite lakes this year. If not, I will sum it up like this: I have had more luck and caught more fish on lakes I had never been on than this lake that I fish the most.

Additionally,  I believe my love for the frog bite has been expressed adequately. However, I could honestly say that I could count on one hand the number of frog fish I have caught this year. Bad luck? Maybe. Inexperience...probably.

But I digress....where were we? Oh yes. The guides said the bite was turning on. I was SUPPOSED to be in court over my mishap regarding boat registration but, a lucky phone call to confirm the date later and I discovered I was free.

Cold front moving in. Windy. And the word of all those honest fishermen. So, I thought we would give it a shot. Tuesday night I tried to get the boat ready ,as I hadn't run it in some time. It took forever to get it started. So, I began to question what I should do. If I went to BB Comer Bridge Ramp and the motor didn't start, it wouldn't be a big deal. So that's what we did. And, it didn't hurt that I had gotten on a decent bite 2 weeks previous during the MFC Classic tournament AND all my friends had been having luck.

I explained all this to dad, who didn't seemed convinced. But, the boat started and we ran  the scant distance to the spot . It's about a 25 yard radius. All you have to do is find where the lilly pads stop. I didn't get a chance to check it out on the depth finder with Mark, so I took the opportunity to do so. Indeed, it dropped from 4 feet to 6.5 feet. Shallow enough for the grass and deep enough that the lilly pads couldn't grow.

We started fishing at around 2pm. The first 30 minutes was pretty rough. The wind was howling and I couldn't keep us on the spot I wanted, so I drove it deep in the grass. Dad threw a Ribbet
He had three hits or so in the first 30 minutes but couldn't get them to hook up.

After the third, I stgarted making fun of him, saying how I hda learned some things over the last year and I didn't miss frogs. As a counterpoint, I had a hit about 5 yards from the boat. He laughed, of course. But I argued that it wasn't a good hit. So I flipped the Spro frog back on the spot. I shook it. Wiggled it. Just as I had learned with Mark 2 weeks previous. The fish hit again. I waited and waited and then let him have it. But the frog came right back at us at 100mph. Unfazed, I threw RIGHT back on him. He hit it again. Same result. 4th times a charm! Jiggle wiggle wiggle BOOM! I watched the braid move. I knew he ate it. So I gave him a herculian wallop...which broke the braid. IMPOSSIBLE! 65 pound braid. But, as I thought about it, I realized that the frog had been tied on for probably 60 months and that braid was surely knicked. so, that awesome Dean Rojas Spro frog that I LOVED so much was gone.

Luckily, I had a spare.

I guess that one fish fired them up, because the next 30 minutes were nuts! If I didn't hit them on the first strike, I could coax them on the second...even the 3rd! At one point, I caught 3 fish on 3 casts from the same patch of matted grass. The more we caught, the more fired up the rest became, and the grass around us in all directions were blowing up with fish.

I don't know the exact count, but I believe I caught around 10 (6 keeper size and several short) in less than 30 minutes. And that doesn't even touch how many hits we had. It was every cast. But as soon as it started, it ended. It could be one of several reasons, but the wind died down and we were blown into the main strike zone, which may have spooked the fish.

Best 5 would have been in the 16-17 pound range.

After getting stumped for the next 30 minutes, we decided to go home.

And here is what you all want to see.

Of course, the best news is....the boat wouldn't start. Again. It's flooding really bad. Ugg. But, hey, nothing better than catching a boat load of fish without having to start the big motor! The frog bite is on. Get out there and get them!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Now taking orders for swimbaits!! Get yoursbefore they are gone!

I had some money stashed away and I kept recieving requests to make more swimbaits. So, I put in an order this morning for the material. By the end of this weekend, I will have around 100 or so swimbaits. I plan on making baby carp and silver minnow colored 3.25 inch swimbaits with and with out rattles. These come standard with red 3D eyes, hand painting, and double dip for the shiney luster! Please drop me a line if you are looking to purchase! See pictures on my other page.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Eagle's Wings Benefit Tournament on Lake Tuscaloosa 10/29/11

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One of the highlights of the fishing year has been to fish the Eagle's Wings Benefit.
Here is what they are all about:

Eagles' Wings, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides day habilitation services for adults with mild, moderate and severe intellectual and physical disabilities, including those who are medically fragile.  We strive to provide a wide array of services to meet their spiritual, physical, emotional, social and vocational needs.  Our primary objective is centered on happiness for each individual in a respectful, secure, nurturing and structured environment which maximizes potential for independence, productivity and integration
with the surrounding community

Now, Lake Tuscaloosa is known for it spots. I have caught a few NICE ones on it. \

Not only is it for a great cause (make sure you read up on what they are all about), but  I get to fish with Alyse's Uncle Tony. Uncle Tony has been fishing his entire life on Lake Tuscaloosa. I doubt there is anyone, save for Pawpaw Doug, his father, who knows the lake better. I have fished 3 tournaments with Tony, and we have finished 2nd, 6th,...and (I won't spoil it, yet)....

So, when I received my flyer for the Benefit, I was writing the check when Uncle Tony called me.

"I just thought I would ask if you wanted to fish with me this year. We have done so well thus far."
"If you will have me, then absolutely. I was about to call you...."

So, we agreed on the terms and he said he would be prefishing and would call me about a week before. And, right as rain, he did so. He explained what we would need to throw. I admit, throwing rattlebaits this time of year was new to me. Up here, it's all about the top water and swim baits (at least to me). Even when I throw them, it's on braided line and it's all about ripping it through the grass. There SURE ain't no grass down there like on the G.  But when Uncle Tony tells you what to do.

The best thing about Uncle Tony is when he talks about the daily plan. It goes a little like this:

"Weather is going to be tough. Cold front moving out. High skies. But we gonna catch a bunch of fish. We gonna run to a few places and catch us a quick limit of spots and slowly cull up through the day. If it gets tough, we gonna get on some bluffs and docks and throw that bitzy jig on 'em. Look for that big bite."

What a great thing to hear...since normally "Weather is going to be tough. Cold front moving out. High skies." means..."We will be lucky to GET a limit."

Like last year, his son (and Alyse's cousin, TJ) would be fishing with his partner. TJ is an accomplished fisherman who is my age. He finished 4th last year and we finished 6th. Not a bad way to represent the Free and Taylor clans!

Finally, the weekend came around and we headed down to Tuscaloosa on Friday night to make the Pre-Tournament dinner. It's free (with your paid entry) for you and a guest. The Northport civic center hosted the event. The BBQ was terrific as always. The people were as warm and inviting as ever....even for a guy wearing an Auburn 2010 National Champions shirt. They gave out door prizes, gave the pre-tourament rules and explained what Eagle's Wings is all about.

We got some good shut eye and made it to the Rock Quarry Landing (the tournament uses split ramps because of the amount of boats in the tournament). Amazingly, there weer only 9 boats at Rocky Quarry. From what I could take, everyone was staying at the upper end of the river to look for largemouth. It's a solid game plan. Spots don't get much bigger than 2 pounds. You can have a solid 9 pound sack of spots and get showed up by a single largemouth with supporting small spots. So, most of those guys were looking for that 5 pound fish. I would be a liar if I said it never works. 2 years ago, we had an 11 pound sack of spots that decimated the field, only to be beaten by a sack of 4 small spots and one 5 pound large. Talk about a crushing defeat......

But Uncle Tony knew the odds. He said that the number of large mouth bass have dwindled in the last few years and he wasn't going to use ANY valuable time to hunt them. I agreed. So did the other 8 boats at the quarry. Most of which Uncle Tony knew. So either only we few knew what we were doing, or the majority of boats were going to whip us.

So, surrounded by $60,000 boats, the old 1980s Venture with the yamaha 90 blasted off #2.....and was quickly passed by the entire field! HAHA!

We didn't have to run far. Here is a picture of the area we fished. I won't give out exact spots, aside to say that we fished main river points. The boat stayed in about 35 feet of water, we cast to grasslines on the shore.

Uncle Tony threw the Strike King Red Eye Shad in the half ounce.

While I threw the same thing with a few caveats. First, I had "silenced" it by drilling it and removing the steel shot and using epoxy to seal it. This trick won me a tournament on Guntersville in February. It's great for fishing pressured areas. I was also fishing it on braid, which is highly visible. After watching Tony catching 3 quick fish off the first stop, I swapped baits to my all time favorite, the Xcalibur 1-knocker.
jerkbait. I adopted it and it paid off in spades.

We had a limit by 8am. Not a big one, but a decent one.

The other tactic that I thought was really interesting was that we never stayed still. I don't mean we ran alot..although we did do that, but Tony stayed on the trolling motor. There were times that we caught fish on consecutive casts, but we continued to zip down the sides of the points.

Even after seeing the proof, I still didn't understand how we were doing this. I am such a bottom and bank oriented fishermen that I had to ask.
"The fish are suspended, sometimes 20-25 feet deep." He told me. Which meant that they were coming up 20 feet to eat our lures. I guess that's what happens on ultra clear lakes. But, when it don't question it.

So, from 6:45 to 9, we skimmed those points and culled our limit time and time again. Sometimes an ounce. Sometimes half an ounce. I finally got the catch ratio to around 2:1, largely because I finally swapped to reels with clear flourocarbon. I also managed to catch 2 fish big enough to say I had a part in our limit.

Then the sun came up and stayed high in the sky without a cloud in site. Not good. The bite died on us. We moved to the rock bluffs and started running down those. I threw a War Eagle spinnerbait in Blue Herring in half ounce.
Again, I was amazed that even though we sat in 50-60 feet of water..10 yards off the bluffs, the fish would come and hit this spinner bait which was only 5 feet under the surface. Getting them to hook up was difficult, however.

Without much luck, we slowed down to throwing jigs. Best fish of the day was caught on the jig. We had 4 GOOD spots, all around 2 pounds each. But we had this one little guy. All we needed to do was cull him up with a 3 pounder and we would have this thing won. I won't lie..I felt good as it was. We had caught 25 fish or so in the 2 hours.

The fishing REALLY slowed down at this point, and we averaged about a fish or so an hour. Still good fish, just no help. I did pick up several on the spinnerbait, even one good one. As I swung him over the boat, the line broke and he flopped on the deck with that 6 dollar bait in his mouth. I have never hustled over a non-keeper as much as I did that fish! I managed to save the bait and boot the fish (gently) overboard.

Kind of bummed I couldn't find that big spot which I had found in the past, we headed up river to the ramp (we fished out of the lower lake, recall, but weigh in was at the other ramp).

I bagged the fish and headed to the scales. I noticed on the big board that there were a TON of Zero'd out boats...meaning they didn't even weigh fish. But, it was early and we were one of the first boats to weigh. I watched the few boats in front of us. 6s and 7s here and there, but mostly 5s. We weighed in our fish. 8.84 pounds. Not bad. Uncle Tony had said that there had been 3 100+ boat tournaments in the last month won with less than 9 pounds. But I knew it wouldn't stand. So, I helped myself to free hotdogs and drinks. 15 minutes later, I looked up at the board. We had been knocked out of 1st and into 2nd...but the numbers looked in, there were only about 5 boats that hadn't weighed in. Meaning, we had a check. I couldn't say I was TOTALLY surprised. 9 pounds of spots is SOLID.

Next thing you know, they call the weigh in done. Taylor and Free were in 3rd. Someone brought in 10 pounds...they had found the missing fish we couldn't find. 2nd had 9.06, which is literally a few drops of water in the fishes mouth from 8.84.

But 3rd pays good...and it certainly feels good with 70+ other boats not getting a check at all.

I will take a free fishing trip ANYDAY. And one where you catch 35 fish is even better! Add in some good country company and you have as good a day as it gets.

Best part is, it is for a great cause.

I want to thank Uncle Tony for his hospitality and faith to ask me to fish with him. He is a better guide than any guide I know...and he doesn't ask a dollar for it. The company is the best part.

Thanks to his son TJ for the good company and laughs. I know he will put it on me next year at this event.

Thanks especially to Eagle's Wing's and all the sponsors who put it on. I hope they do it next year, and if you have a chance to fish it, do so. Lake Tuscaloosa doesn't have the 20+ sacks..but it won't let you strike out, either.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Equipment Review for Duckett Rods

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***UPDATED 2/13***

I have owned the cranking rod for over a year. I have also owned several others. If you can get these through a club, they are a fantastic deal. This will normally run you up to $100, if you ask around. They are tough to beat for that price.

My only gripe, and pretty much every one's gripe, is that the cork butt will crack and fall off. Both of mine have done it, though I can repair rods. Most of the one's my friends have also have this problem. Otherwise, the rods are terrific and hold up.

***Original Post***

So, after playing with one, I decided that it was a good investment. I ordered the 7 foot medium heavy 'crankin stick. I paid the modest amount of money, and a few days later, it arrived. Josh had bought 2 rods at the same time. One was a flipping stick and the other was a multi purpose rod.

Here is the rod. Notice the detail! Split grips, micro guides...

I was amazed at the size of it. It's TINY! My other crankin stick are usually between 3/4 and 1 inch diameter ends. And heavy! This was so light and small. But, upon casting it, I saw where the weight went. I could feel EVERYTHING! I loved it.

However, both Josh and I have had the cork of the end caps break off. It didn't take long either. Maybe a month of use. That really stinks. They do have a good warranty policy. However, I just glued mine back on because I don't like to be without rods.

Over all, I am very pleased with it. The micro guides make it incredibly accurate. It's light weight and very sensitive.

This rod isn't very good for 3/4 ounce crankbaits, but it is perfect for smaller cranks such as a Strike King series 3, or any square bill crank.

Monday, October 24, 2011

MFC Classic 2011 on Guntersville 10/22/11

After 12 tournaments, I was grid locked in Angler of the Year standings. I held a slim 1pt lead over Mark, a fellow MFC Member. So, I had to do some thinking. Mark had really closed the gap on me the last few tournaments. At one point I held a good lead. I looked up about a week ago and I was a single point out, and he had won or at least beat me the last 3-4 tournaments.

So, what could I do? I could go in as a boater, take the chance that the boat actually worked. hope that I caught fish.  But, that left me with a plethora of ways to be beaten. As long as he placed above me, we would tie or he would win. If I struck out, which was possible, it meant that he automatically won. But, if I went in as a non-boater and drew him , I was guaranteed that we would at least tie....that being if he caught the Big Fish. If I didn't draw him, I was in no worse shape. We held a draw and pulled Guntersville, Mink Creek. Terrific. Guntersville had stoned me the last 2 trips out. Guess who I drew. Ole Mark. I literally jumped for joy. That's the most excited I have ever been over a $10 check (member fee for next year).

Of course, being the joker, he suddenly said he couldn't fish...and I retorted that I would happily fish on my own out of my boat...haha. Other members joked that I would knock his fish off if he caught the big one. But we were all just joking. After all, the Classic purse was a hefty one and it made more sense to work together.

It was in the 30s when we launched the boat. As usual, I thought I was bundled up, but I was wrong. As soon as the boat started running down the river, I realized that I was ill-prepared.

Because of the heavy fog, we fished around the highway 79 causeway in Mink. No luck. We fished the little islands inside Mink (look at my other Mink Creek reports). Again, only a few bites and one boated fish.

We decided that we would head up river. Fished inside of North Sauty with no avail. Decided to head way upriver to BB Comer, but the fog was ridiculous! we had to idle through the buoys. We spotted some blow up holes on the "miracle mile" in front of Goose well as half a dozen fishermen. I made a few casts into a hole I had seen minnows jumping with my Spro Dean Rojas edition Bronze eye frog.
A nice fish rolled over on top, but didn't take the hook. I threw back out there, but Mark implored me to "slow down. Way down". Never being to smart for advice, I did so. He had to slow me down even more. Literally to a crawl. The frog didn't even move forward. I just twitched it. The big bass blew up on it, but didn't inhale it(Insert Bill Clinton laugh).

Even though I was upset at missing my first hit of the day (at 9am....mind you), I did realize that Mark had managed to teach me something that should have been intuitive YEARS ago. He taught me that I should have more than 2 speeds on my froggin'. I had fast and faster. He showed me to fish the frog like a finesse plastic. For that, I commend him.

Certainly the trip upriver to Comer Bridge proved to be the most vital move of the day, but his advice is more empowering...give a man a fish...teach a man to fish...and all that.

The combination of the two (spoiler alert) was the difference in winning and loosing. We trolled back and forth on the highlighted route:

The bites were far and few in between. The fish NEVER hooked up the first hit. We had to throw back on top of them and work the bait. Sometimes 405 casts, all taking 2-3 minutes per cast. But we managed a sack, and even culled once.

The most disappointing part of the day was to see Mark bring in the winning fish. While I did catch one that was danger close to the same size, it was very apparent he had the bigger fish in our boat. It went 4.25.

We weighed in and won the classic with 14.5 pounds. Mark and I tied for the NASA MFC Angler of the Year. While it was a tie, I am still Angler of the Year. And yes. I am proud of it.

But it was Luck. All luck. Believe me. Oh, and it was a war of attrition. However, I have learned more this year because of the brilliant fishermen in our club, than I have in my entire fishing lifetime. So, while I have a little title to bestow upon myself, I have something so much greater. Comradeship with my club and the vast knowledge they have granted me.

Table Rock Lake

I guess it was Thanksgiving 2009 when Alyse and I were with our best friends Kevin and Beth in Bass Pro Nashville. We walked past this stand and some dude asks if we would like a FREE VACATION.

Well, yeah....

Short story, it was a Bass Pro promotion for their time shares (well, in conjunction with Blue Green). Which meant that I had to listen to a Time Share Speil. Go google Family Guy time share. That's what I expected. However, no one can convince me to do anything....except my wife. Whom I love and adore.

So, the fam plus my mom made the drive to Big Cedar Lodge. Right on the water. Awesome absolutely beautiful.

The best part, to me, was that they maintained a mini bass pro shop on the water, where you could rent Bass Trackers. So, for a RELATIVELY low cost, I rented a boat for about 4 hours. Not being very prepared, I just took off in the aluminum boat as fast as the 90 horse motor would take me. The first spot I found was a major river point with submerged timber. Several of the tree tops were above water and others were mere feet below the surface.

 I began throwing a C-rig but hung up too many times. I swapped to a Strike King 6XD deep diving crank in Sexy Shad
After working it, I was rewarded!

That proved to be a good spot. Regardless, not having much time, I took off in search of another place. To be honest, I can't remember where it was. But, it was a shallow flat, which is rare on that lake. I was throwing a War Eagle 1/2 ounce spinner bait in blue herring.

It was not a bad trip. Good fish. Short 2 hour trip.

So, I was fortunate enough to come back last week (Oct 16th). Dad and I rented another Bass Tracker. I took him to the same spot. However, 30mph winds and high skies made it impossible to fish. But, with me running the trolling motor, we were still able to catch fish! This on a Zoom magnum lizard.

Not much else to say, other than we had a blast and Table Rock has been another lake that is good to me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fishing Report for Oct 12th on Wheeler (Decatur)

One of my fishing buddies and co-workers, Jon, had been telling me about this spot that he had fished as a teenager. It is in a tributary of Wheeler and is too shallow to get a "real" boat in to. So, he had always fished it from the bank. Now as a financially stable adult, he bought kayaks to go fish areas that he couldn't otherwise reach.

I believed his stories of catching dozens of fish a day. Our lake in Tennessee is a lot like that. I SORTA believed what he said about the size of the fish caught. After all, I caught the biggest bass of my life in our lake in Tennessee.
But, the numbers of quality fish that he was promising were...well...let's just say I was skeptical. The other thing is, it's Wheeler. The numbers of 4 and 5 pound fish he talked about...well, I hadn't caught 3 5 pound fish on Wheeler. Ever.

The other thing is, let's be honest, MOST fishermen out there don't consider it REAL bass fishing unless you are in a bass boat. So, does that mean that my fishing report isn't valid? Is it any less of a trip?

Being a cheap engineer, of course I question that. Does that mean that to truly bass fish, I have to spend the effort in getting a boat out? Spending tons of gas money? Getting pulled over by the water police? Does being in a boat without a big motor to propel me to certain doom define fishing? Of course not. So, I was happy to let Jon show me this magic honey hole that no one knows of (and neither will you, since I was sworn to secrecy, alas to say that it is VERY close to Decatur and Ingalls Harbor. There. That ought to make this a worthy read.

So, we met up in and drove to his house, loaded the kayaks and headed on the 20 minutes route to get there. We drove down some muddy back roads, terminating in a gravel ramp. Jon's friend, Short, met us there. I have fished with Short one other time. He is quite the character.

At first glance, the creek looked FAIRLY large. It had a line of submerged timber around 100 yards from where we stood. It extended left to right some 400 yards or so.

What I would soon find out is, this area is flooded during the spring/fall which makes it extend past the tree lines I could see. In fact, the flooded area was larger than I dreamed, and I still never saw the end of it. What I did get to see was flooded timber, flooded corn rows, points, flats...all the things fishermen loved. Except that most fishermen can't get to it, even if they knew it was there.

But that's just a collection of water and shrub. What does it REALLY mean? Well, as many fishermen know, during and after floods, the fish come in droves to flooded lands to feast on newly exposed treasure troves of sustenance. Areas of land that haven't been picked clean of food by other fish. This would explain the numbers and size that Jon had promised. I bet every fish within 5 miles of Decatur streams into the creek bottom when they flood it.

Alas, we fished for an hour without a bite. being in a kayak was a new experience. I had to learn to balance myself so I could cast. I am weird, I know. I must stand to cast. And because I was in a kayak, my arsenal was limited. I flipped into corn rows. I bounced a frog on emerging grass lines. I swam a swim bait through submerged trees. No luck. So, I paddled further and further away until I found and area of action. I was seeing bass busting bait on grassy humps. So, I thew a Lucky Craft Sammy around them.

I had a hit, but it didn't take. I fan casted around to different areas, but I had in my mind to throw back. After a few minutes, I tested the waters again. Twitch Twitch. Bang.
I spied another bass busting, but this one was in the grass, so I tossed my Spro Dean Rojas edition frog out, hopped it on the grass, and the fish pounded it.
While smaller than the first fish, this fish swallowed the frog harder than I had ever seen one swallowed. It had both hook buried. That's impressive.

The wind picked up and made it harder to fish. I spent more time paddling than fishing. Because of that, the bites took longer in between. I had just about lost interest, still tossing the sammy around some flooded stick ups, when this beast annihilated the sammy. It about jerked me out of the boat. And I mean that. I had to sit down before I even set the hook. I am embarrassed to say that I screamed like a girl. So much so, that between the wake coming off the boat and the splash, Jon and Short thought I had fallen in. I bet they were sure of it when they heard my shouting with excitement. They paddled over to inspect me, but found me hoisting a NICE fish.

I have covered a lot of water on Wheeler, and this is the biggest fish I have caught on the lake.

I'm telling you folks. There was nothing like catching this fish on topwater, in a kayak. It was Brutal. That's the closest word to define it.

After I had caught a few more fish on the Sammy, I handed a spare over to Jon, who had not had a real hit, other than running across the back of a carp. On his very first cast, he had a hard hit. It was hilarious.

Over the next hour or so, we caught several more quality fish. I have to say that, out of all my trips on wheeler, this would have been the largest sack that I would have weighed. The best five fish would have gone 14-15 pounds. Guess I learned that bass fishing really isn't about blowing a lot of money on gas and going fast. It really is about the fish.

Thanks Jon!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wheeler Fishing Report, Oct 10th

As a Federal Employee, I had Columbus Day off. But, the kids didn't. Because my wife has to be at work before the kids can be taken to school, I had to take them. Which means that I wouldn't get on the water until after 8am. Not really a big deal, but it cut into a sizable portion of the morning fishing.

I'll be honest that I wasn't really motivated. I didn't have anyone to go with me. The water hasn't been kind to me this year, as you are well aware. With money being tight, traveling anywhere other than to Wheeler, notably the Rec area, was out of the questions. But, who knows. Maybe it would be one of those days. Might not catch anything big, but maybe I could catch a whole bunch of small ones. I loaded up some drinks and a light lunch and headed onto the Arsenal.

At the gate, the guard asked if I was there for pleasure or business. Of course, I answered which he quickly told me that today only business was allowed on base. So, I told him that I had business, and he waved me through.

After fighting to get the motor started, I decided that I wasn't going to mess around. I had one full tank, and I wanted to catch fish....not look at new places. So, I ran the 3 miles or so to the upper point of Hobbs Island.

I was made very aware of the high rate of wind. It was about 20mph sustained, combined with a good 2-3 mph current. It was impossible to stay on one spot. I did the best I could, casting mostly crank baits, since I am not special enough to be able to run a trolling motor AND finesse fish. I used side scan to located the underwater rock fields we usually fish. However, the water was very low, and while I normally fished these in 10 feet of water, today they were 7 feet. I was amazed at how far out the point of Hobbs extends, too. You wouldn't want to run wide open through there, as it was about 2 feet deep over 50 yards off the point.

Not having any luck, I started looking around and spotted fish busting. I set the trolling motor on high and grabbed my Lucky Craft Sammy.
First cast, I didn't get a hit. So, I quickly cast back out. A fish knocked it hard, but didn't get stuck. But, it frenzied the other fish with him and suddenly they were fighting to see which would get hooked. I drug the first one in, and despite being RIGHT next to the boat, a whole school of 16 inch fish dashed around. Had I been smart, I could have drug a crank through them and prob had caught as many fish as I had rods. Now, how I would keep them from getting tangled, THAT would be impressive.

I took my sweet time getting the fish unhooked, and by the time I was ready to catch another, I had been blown way on down stream. In fact, I couldn't even remember where I was when I caught the first fish. I trolled back up stream, hoping they would bust again, but I never saw them. Instead, I fished down the point of Hobbs. I caught another fish pretty quickly.

I fired the motor up and ran back to where I THOUGHT I had spotted the schooling fish. I was rewarded quickly with a couple of hits. But, I spotted the marine police. And he spotted me. Instead of him motoring further up river, he made a lazy turn. I knew what that mean. And they ALWAYS seem to find you when you are on the fish.

He pulled up, asked for current registration. I dug in the glove box, but I already had a sinking feeling about why he asked for "current" registration. It was a few days past September 30th, which meant I had an expired registration. Of course, he quickly pointed that out.

I explained that the boat was in my dads name, and that I knew he had the registration, but he had just been too busy to put the sticker on the boat. It's hunting season and he is preoccupied with that. I admitted that I hadn't thought about it. Of course, none of that matters. He asked for my boating license. I had the certificate showing I had passed it, but I hadn't added it to my license, and I am sure you all know why. I had JUST renewed my license, and I was NOT about to spend a whole day, plus another XX amount of dollars to add it. The policeman informed me that having a printed out license wasn't actually a license......I am still confounded by that. Regardless, if it isn't on your license, apparently it doesn't matter that you took the course, paid your money, and have proof that you did so.

So, two tickets later, and I was ready to get off the water. It didn't help that during the exchange, I had been blown almost half a mile down river. With the howling wind, the ripping current, and the tickets, I called it quits as 12pm.

Well, almost. I made one more stop in Butler Basin. Didn't have a hit, but I did get up close with this:

Monday, September 26, 2011

The day I almost died (again) and how not to eat sushi

So, this fishing trip actually happened a few months ago, but I have been sitting on the pictures for it for some time. Now I have them on my computer and figured it was time to tell about it.

Bertus and I decided to head to Williamsport Tn to our bit of land and Ole Humphrey lake. After the 90 minute car ride, I hopped out to unlock the gate. As I pushed the gate open, I really ticked off the wasp/hornet. It was one of those all black ones.  I saw it out of the corner of my eye, but didn't pay it much attention. That is, until it stung me. Right on the hand.

It hurt real bad, but I got over it and we got to fishing. It was a hot day and we started sweating it.
Of course we noticed the duck weed buildup.

I read not to long ago about how this super algea is terrific for lakes. Sure, it covers the whole lake. It makes throwing topwater nearly impossible. But, it's mana for baitfish. Which makes good eating baitish for the bass. One of the things I had been worried about the last few years was a baitfish kill-off, due to a leak in the lake. We have attempted to fix the leak several times, and each time we had to draw the water down and let the affected area dry out. Since there are 4 baitfish spawns a year, there is a good chance that it affected them. Also, we dug out a lot of stumps and rocks, all which provide cover for baitfish. Bass don't think about preserving their food stock. They just eat and eat. Because of this, the size of the average fish dropped. To combat this, I started sinking things in the lake to help.

We started catching them pretty good. After one of the catches, I looked down its gullet it and saw this

That's right. Baitfish in the gullet. Good.

I handed the fish to Bertus to show him. As he got a closer look, the fish hocked the proverbial ultimate luggie into his mouth and down his throat. Uh huh. Half digested minnows. All up in his mouth. Yum. He turned green. I can't blame him.

The day was tough, the sun was high. But we caught many fish, including a lot of fish by flipping into sycamore limbs in the water.

Now. How did I almost die? Well, you remember the bee sting? Well, the next day, the family and I took off for Florida. I went to sleep that night and the hand was a little swollen. But when I woke up, I had a "Hulk Hand."
I started dosing myself with benadryl. As a result, I slept the ENTIRE way down to the beach. When we arrived, the swelling was getting worse, so I called my cousin who is a doctor. She prescribed Claritin and zantac. No biggie, right?

As we sat down to dinner, I ordered a round of raw oysters. About 6 into the tray, I felt flush. My throat constricted. Am I having an allergic reaction to shell fish? The worlds most common allergy other than pollen? Could the EMTs get here on time? Am I going to die? Over and over, in my head.

Not being one to complain much, I finally spoke up and said something. Which caught the immediate attention of my family, who knows I don't complain about physical problems. If I complained, it must REALLY be bad. And I thought it was bad. I thought I was going to die. Right there. In Florida Seafood.

Well, it turns out that benadryl and claritin don't play well together. So, I lived. But it was sketchy.


Monday, September 19, 2011

MFC Tournament #11 Brownscreek/Guntersville

Heading into this tournament, I was 6 points in the lead against the #2 competitor in the club. What this meant was, as long as I didn't loose and he didn't win, I would have it sewn up even with the last tournament on October 1st coming up.

However, the old Stratos had popped another regulator/rectifier. So, it was out. I still had a guest pass to use, but Josh was married off the night before the tournament. Bertus' boat was still down. I started down the list of potential guests, and one by one, they answered in the negative. My only option was to go into the draw. That's not a BAD thing, but it does put you at the mercy of your boater. I drew one of the older members of our club, one that I hadn't fished with before. So, at least I would learn a few things.

The rain and cold weather the week of had given me high hopes. That morning, it was overcast with good chop on the water. I maintained that I wouldn't mind loosing as long as we caught a ton of fish. What I didn't expect was another rough day on the water.

We caught 3 short fish early, 2 of those on cranks in 7 feet of water. One on a spook.
Then the bite died. We fished one large hump in front of the Guntersville Bridge. After trying everything from C and T rigged plastics, Pop-Rs, frogs, I swapped to my custom swimbait.
At about 9 am, I was throwing the swimbait up to the weed line when I had my first hit. My custom rod (7 foot heavy) let me know that this was a quality fish. I had 10 pound test line, so I had to maneuver him to the boat.

About five minuets later, casting to the same spot, had another hit from an identical size fish. Fought him for several seconds, but he let go. When I got the swimbait back to the boat, I inspected it. It had grabbed the sides of the swimbait. It was so convinced it was real, that the bass didn't want to let go as I was hauling it.

so, I don't want to waste anymore of your time. That was it. One measuring fish. But, it was a good size one and I figured I had a chance at least at big fish. I was right. My one fish was enough for big fish and 3rd place. Of the 5 boats that fished, a total of 8 fish total were caught. No limits weighed. Sad Sad. But, I got a check and the points. However, the fisherman in second place has now closed the gap. The last tournament will be winner-take-all.

Special thanks to my boater for his hospitality!

Friday, September 2, 2011

How to waste a lot of money and blow a lot of time

I was trying to come up with some witty title.  I decided against it. So, here goes.

It was Thursday and softball season was finally over. I loved playing, I really did! We made it to the finals and lost by 2 runs on shotty umpiring (sp?). But, Josh and I both were excited to start fishing again.

Initially, the plans were that Josh's friend (and first string back boater) would fish with him and Bertus would fish with me, so that we could take their money. But, Anthony had something going on and my dad took the boat to Double Head for the long weekend. So, we paired up in the Bullet. We decided to run to the dam...which would be a first for me, seeing that the old stratus would take an hour to get there and two tanks of gas. All we had to do was outrun MOST of the boats headed to the same 3 spots by the dam.

Just to be able to go, I had to juggle a lot of things. My wife is on a cruise, so I have both the kids. I had to arrange child care, get my stuff from home, etc. But I made it to the ramp in time to tell lies with a few of the fishermen. Come blast off time, we battened down the hatches, tossed any unneeded ballast and I assumed the aerodynamic position.

Out of the hole, this new Bass Cat blew us away. Granted, it has 25 more HP on us....but it must be set up really well. It ran off and left us. We were left running a few other boats, including a Nitro that just wouldn't go away. One of the downfalls of the Bullet hull is that it doesn't handle waves. At all. Every time we came across a wake, Josh had to chop throttle, letting that Nitro whom we had made oh so little ground on catch up.

For 15 miles we played this game. We passed paintrock and Josh let the throttle out. Thinking it was a spot we were going to fish, I started to unhook all my rods. But, he just sat there with this look on his face. Then I figured it out. He hadn't selectively shut the motor off. It had stopped on it's own.

Sensing something was wrong with us, this Skeeter stopped. A guy named Pork Chop was riding shotgun. He knew the problem even before the two of us did.

See, a few weeks ago, Pork Chop was running up to the dam...ironically in a Bullet. He was doing 90+, but noticed it dip to 85. Then 80. The last thing he remembered was 78...when he found himself in the water. The lower unit locked up on his boat, forcing the boat to do a hard 90 degree dive. It tossed he and his partner out of the boat. So, he could identify the problem easily.

We put the motor in gear and the prop would spin oh so slightly, but given any throttle...nothing. The lower unit was dead.

He politely offered his help. He told us to troll down river and he would tow us after the tournament.

So, after running 70+ for 15 miles, we now were doing a blistering 2.8mph downriver. We made it to Flint river by 830, when Pork Chop and his buddy towed us home.

Fun stuff.

But, special thanks to Pork Chop and his buddy. They never asked for money or any thanks. There are good people out there, and there is a God that watches over fools like us.

Monday, August 29, 2011

MFC Tournament #10- Guntersville/Waterfront August 27th

If there is one problem in fishing in a very competitive and very good fishing club, is that being in the lead position doesn't award you the ability to slack. Quite the opposite. It is more effort to stay on top. In our club, with the current points system, you almost have to fish EVERY tournament. Otherwise, a win by the right guy could knock you out.

Saturday was looking like a lost cause. Aubree had a soccer game at 8am. Alyse had an all day work function. So, if I did fish, dad couldn't fish with me as he would be watching the kids. Not to mention that the boat continues to develop old age problems. I mulled it over with Alyse and dad. I explained how missing a tournament this late in the season would doom my Angler of the Year hopes. Even if I didn't win, the points for showing up would be enough to keep me in it.

Surprisingly, I was supported by both. We made some choices and calls. I would go as a non-boater, which would allow me to keep from getting stranded by the boat, but also allow me to get home faster to alleviate stresses on everyone.

As luck would have it, there were more non-boaters than boaters, and I drew out. Meaning, I didn't have a partner. I had told Josh I was going as a non-boater, so he had made plans with Emily, his soon to be wife (and owner of the Bullet!). So, I called Bertus. we call him Bertus because his first name is also Josh. Bertus is an accomplished fisherman, to say the least. He agreed to fish with me..although his boat was busted. So, we were back to using my boat. Maybe this hodge-podge effort would pay off. Maybe we would get stranded, sink the boat, and not catch a fish. You just never know in that boat.

Friday night, I fired it up and made sure it would run. Indeed it did. I charged the batteries, restrung reels, did all my little tricks (see an upcoming blog post) to get ready.

Picked him up Saturday, got some Hardees, and we drove to Waterfront while we talked it over. He had some luck at BB Comer. That's a long run from Waterfront. Like, 20-25 minutes. It would take the old gas hawg stratos every DROP of fuel to get there and back. But, I was willing to risk it, so I filled both tanks.

We put the boat in the water and prepared for blast off. We idled out to the buoys. The bilge pump kicked on. Not unusual, really. Every 30 minutes or so, a slow leak will trip the pumps. But the boat had been in the water a matter of minutes! And it pumped. And pumped. An pumped some more. I opened the cowl, expecting to find that the plug had fallen out, since I KNEW that I had put it in the night before. Instead, I found that the livewell pump was pumping water in the boat. The hard feed line had busted. It was confusing because the pumps weren't even on! Apparently, they don't have valves and instead, use the 3 feet of head from the livewell to keep them from flooding the boat. Well, now we didn't have that 3 feet and she was steadily filling up!

We ran back to the dock, Bertus jumped out, got the Denali and we trailered the boat. We pulled back up to Waterfront grocery. Luckily, they had spare PVC pieces and I was able to cobble together something that would stop the leak. We lost the ability to use the front livewell, but I never use it anyway.

Now we were an hour behind. And that hour was an important one, since we knew it was going to be HOT!

With a boat that could start sinking at anytime, we decided it unwise to run to BB Comer. Instead, we ran upriver to a spot that Bertus had chosen (and swore me to secrecy, although I know why it is a fantastic spot). 3 casts in, we bagged a NICE fish on a C-rigged 10 inch worm. It turned out to be big fish of the day at 3.XX pounds. We had a few bites, but no real takers. The spot we were fishing was a nice hump that came out of 16 feet of water to 7 feet and had stumps on it. Big ones.

Another boat came into the area, and low and behold...stopped about 20 yards from us. Not really out of realm of possibility, as all the good spots are known by good fisherman. But then these guys trolled right on top of us! Like, 5 yards. We bit the bullet and fished anyway. The wind was howling at 20+ miles per hour! We couldn't keep the boat on the spot. Eventually they left, as did we...without another bite.

We hopped a few more spots without a bit of luck. Like, none.

After we ran through his spots, we ran to Mink Creek. We couldn't catch anything in the back of Mink, so we fished the two islands in front of Mink.

Using a 10 inch worm, T-Rigged, we were able to get on a good bite. We caught 6 fish in about an hour, but we had to skim a lot of grass lines to get them. After one full pass, we had 2 more measuring fish and several that didn't measure. That left us with 3 measuring fish. It was 11am, 2 hours until weigh in.

No problem, we thought. We will just make another run. Nothing. Not a bite.

In a last ditch effort, we ran to Preston Island. We went to the very back and started fishing an underwater hump in front of the causeway. I bagged a solid keeper on my first cast. As I reeled him, Bertus was ready with the net. A 5 pound++ fish was following the little keeper! Bertus tossed the net and went after his rods, hoping to entice the monster. But she saw us and vanished.

Without any more luck, we got on some matter grass and started throwing frogs, hoping for a blow up that would net us a kicker fish. We had a TON of lazy hits. But not a single one managed to get it in the mouth.

Disappointed, we ran back to the ramp one fish short. Now, normally I would say that if I had it rough, MOST people would too. The problem is that we don't have MOST people in our club. We have good fisherman. However, Bertus is about as good as they get. With both of us struggling, I knew everyone else would too. But, it would only take a good fish and a small limit to beat us.

As luck would have it, that wasn't the case. We lucked out and took home 1st and big fish with only 4 fish and an 8.XX pound bag. I still don't know what to think of that. One of my worst days. Winning is great, but catching fish is SO much better.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NATA Night Tournament on Pickwick, August 19th 2011

I was asked to fish with the vice president of NATA (North Alabama Tournament Anglers)

The two of use have been communicating alot over the last few months. Scott is several years younger than I, but he has as much love (prob more) for fishing than I do. He went to Sparkman High School, as did I , and is friends with my sister in law.

After months of simply sharing ideas and stories, the two of us partnered up in this tournament. I admit that, had I not been roped into being the president of MFC, I would have joined NATA...and I still may. It's a big club and they are very competitive. Anyway, on to the fishing!

The water was 83 degrees and at 6pm they were pulling 56,000 cubic feet a second. That's a good amount of current. The visibility was low at about 1-2 feet.

The two of us arrived early, launched the Triton, and started doing a little practicing before the 6pm blast off. We didn't get into many fish, although we did catch SOME. What I did learn was that the spots I had found a few weeks before still had fish on least the one or two I had caught. Now, aside from one short fish, I caught some good chunk fish.

Since Scott is the tourny director and VP, we had to blast off last. Which meant, naturally, we didn't get to go to the places we wanted to get to. Namely, down river at 7 Mile Island. Instead, we went back upriver towards the dam. Naturally, the dam was covered up, and why not? The last couple of tournaments held out of McFarland had been won at the dam. And not just 1st place...but all the paying places. Not wanted sloppy seconds, we hit some other spots that we thought might be worth fishing. Namely, some rocky shoal type areas, which were adjacent to 18 feet of water with big boulders coming up a few feet under the surface. I had a couple of hits on a Strike King 6XD

But, as they hit from behind those rocks, they would get in the current and pull loose. Aggravating. But not uncommon. In the more shallow areas, I would swap the the XCalibur square bill

The 9 dollar crank bait met it's untimely end, however, when I smacked it off the cowl of the motor, shattering the bill. Ugg.

After a few hours of futility, the sun went down on us. If you have read any of my other posts regarding night tournys, you know that I have yet to stumble upon this magic night fishing magic. Quite the opposite, really, as I have only caught 2 fish after dark, in both tournaments. Well, not to spoil it for you, but that's the same result. At least I had 3 other fish before dark.

So, we went back down river, trying to get on the spot that I had found weeks before.

Once again, someone was on it. So, we trolled across the channel to this little cove that I spotted.

I casted the first time to the upriver point, and as I cranked the 6XD down, it hung up! But, it hung up about 20 yards off the bank. As we retrieved it, the depth finder showed the depth shoot up from 18 feet to two feet. The point was very narrow too. I couldn't get to the bait and I broke it off. Instead of tying a new one on, I picked up the shaky head (GASP!) and cast it on the point. It hit bottom and I bounced it a few times. A fish picked it up and I hammered it. I was rewarded with a nice 3 pounder.

We fished that point pretty hard, then drifted down river a good bit, with no luck, despite some nasty looking lay down trees.

Finally, the last boat left the spot we wanted, so we trolled over. I picked up the C-rig with a big work tied on. I noticed that the lower was a lot lower than the few weeks ago. So low, that those rock piles which had been 2 feet below the surface were now breaking the surface.

I walked the C-rig down the rock pile. Felt a fish pick it up and surge to deep water. I set the hook Initially, I thought it was just a small fish. But it made a second surge that pulled drag. We netted a nice 3 pound small mouth!

We fished the rocks hard, and I had bite after bite, but the fish were picking it up and spitting it out. Aggravating!

At the weigh in, I didn't even bother weighing the fish..embarrassed at the lack of ability that I showed. Luckily, I wasn't alone. I only saw 3-4 full sacks weighed in out of the 17 boats. However, there was a good 12 pound sack in the mix as well as a 5.5 pound smallie. What a beast!

It was another good experience and I didn't get skunked. I was able to fish with someone new and I can't wait to do it again.