Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fishing Report for Guntersville 2/15/13

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Many of you may recall that my dad is a big deer hunter. Huge, in fact. In the last few years, deer prepping has replaced fishing as his "off season" hobby. And while it's taken a direct hit on how often we go fishing together, the results are hard to refute. As little effort as I put into hunting, his effort yields results for me!
So, when he expressed an interest in going fishing, I hoped that I could put him on the fish as well as he had put me on the deer.

We put in at Mink Creek. I wanted to test the causeways for big fish, since I have NATA Open coming up, and Mink has a small causeway right there. Plus, I knew of several good flats right next to the ramp that we could throw lipless cranks on.

The area had received a good bit of raid the night previous and the water was very stained. The wind was high. I guess I should have tempered my expectations right then.

I trolled back and forth in front of the causeway, ranging out from just a few feet to 10 yards, looking for baitfish. Alas, I really never found any bait fish on the causeway itself. After 30 minutes of pointless casting, I pulled up and ran us into Mink creek. I started fishing a point in 15 feet, slowly moving up to the grassline. Again, not much of anything to report. I swapped between a Lucky Craft deep diving crank, to a jerkbait, to the lipless crank...not that you care what I didn't catch fish with.

Dad did take this nice pic of me, though!

I gave up on this quickly as well and ran up river to North Sauty where I had fished just days before with great success. Yet, those areas that were packed with baitfish just 4 days ago didn't really have anything on them. I would find a small group of baitfish every once in awhile, and it might have 1 or 2 sportfish on it. I fished a hump that Jon and I had fished and caught a good mix of fish on. Depth finder reported fish on the hump, but they weren't interested in fast moving baits. I tried to slow down with a jig, but the wind prevented any real feel. I swapped to a leadhead swimbait and crawled it along. I did finally get a good bite, but I broke it off. I guess the slow day had pent up frustrations and the 10 pound Segaur wouldn't put up with it. Sucks, because on days like this...you have to make every bite count. If you do, good things happen.

Again, surprised that I couldn't locate bait, we pulled up and ran to South Sauty, where all the crappie and baitfish you could ever want usually hang out. I had told dad that if we couldn't catch bass, I KNEW we could get on some crappie, stripe, white, or other at the causeway.

After going under the causeway, I was amazed at the number of boats fishing. There must have been 6-8 boats fishing up and down the causeway. Wow! I guess it's that time of year! And why not. That's a great community hole, if you are comfortable fishing it.

Yet, besides the fish right under the causeway, where all the crappie fishermen were hanging out, we couldn't really find anything. Determined, I pushed the boat further and further out. After pushing almost 50 yards off the causeway, I came across the first bait ball that had arches on it. I knew it was probably stripe. So, I relocated them, told dad to throw directly behind the boat with the Yum Yumbrella Bama rig and he almost immediately hung a good stripe. That was his first Bama rig fish. No. Really!
I relocated the group of fish and started throwing a Strike King 6XD in Powder Blue Back and hung my own, which was almost a twin!

While catching these fish, I located an area way off the causeway that looked like it held bass. Threw the old leadhead out and....again....broke one off. Very frustrating! Guess it's time for a respool!

After awhile, we gave up trying to stay on top of the fish. The wind was brutal and already taking it's toll on the batteries. I decided that I wanted to relocated and fish somewhere out of the wind.

I ran down river to a main channel ledge with docks on it, which I have been fishing the last few years. While I know I shouldn't complain, this spot ALWAYS gives me fish, but I admit that I don't think I have EVER caught a measuring fish off of it. It's weird really. It's automatic. But, hey, short fish is better than no fish. So, I started throwing the old XCalibur XR75 in Rayburn Red.

It took a while, but as I was ticking it off grass, letting it flutter, one slammed it. Finally. A bass! HE wasn't worth taking a picture of, but he was one of those 14.75 inchers. Few minutes later, bagged another clone.

While I bet we could have kept throwing and throwing, maybe picking up fish, I decided...again...to move to better water.

Ran over to Churchhouse to one of my favorite spots. It's a nice set of islands with a saddle between them that runs about 7 feet. To be honest, it was here that I finally noticed something. The water was down. 2 feet or so. I had never seen that on Guntersville! Usually TVA would NEVER drop the water level on Guntersville. But, it explained a lot. Anyway, fished some more. No dice.

Ran down to another spot just down river, again, another of those areas we always caught fish. Nothing.

Deciding that between the muddy and cold water, the water level, and the high wind...we had enough and called it a day. Not a spectacular day, but we didn't get skunked, which is much better than pretty much everyone we talked to. And, since there were boats ever 3 feet on South Sauty, we were able to hear from a lot of them. Out of the 15 boats we talked to, I only saw 1 catch 2 dinks. 1 did catch 2 really nice fish.

So, the GRAND total....2 nice stripe. 2 dinks. And two break offs on a Reaction Innovation Skinny Dipper


But, hey, it was about spending time with my dad and that's more important than a number!