Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fishing Report for Guntersville: NATA Open 3/22/14

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In case you missed it, Josh and I stumbled upon a great pattern in last weeks MFC Tournament #1. If you didn't see it, go check out the vid.

Long story short, we found a spot about 20 yards long that was producing great fish on very specific baits worked around grass. I won't give too much away, but you can see what was up in the video. While we didn't weigh in a full limit, we were able to cash a 3rd place check with 3 fish that went 16 pounds.

The Monday after the MFC tournament, I got on Amazon to order the specific square billed crank bait that Josh had been using. Of course, by Friday afternoon it STILL had not come in and I was faced with using a knockoff bait that I had, though we both knew that if it was the specific action this crank exhibited, it would be a waste. But, it was the best I could do.

I needed some time off on Friday, as did my dad, so we decided that we would go hit the lower end of Guntersville. I didn't want to disturb my potential tournament winning fish, so we stayed in the Seibold area. In particular, there has been a spot that I have fished the last few years that has consistently held pre-spawn fish before anywhere else. Out of curiousity, I wanted to check to see if the pattern we had used the previous Saturday would hold up in different areas. Since I didn't have teh right crank,  I stuck to fishing the closest bait I did have, which was a Spro Little Josh in spring craw color.

It was very cold that morning with a TON of wind. The spot I traditionally have fish didn't yield much, but because the weather had been cold and the wind was high, I pushed out to the nearest major point.

As luck would have it, we found fish grouped up on new grass in about 4 feet and less. When we found the grass, we found the fish. We were able to have a very good 2 hour early morning stretch, hooking into about 10 fish, though I admittedly let several shake off at the boat in the unlikely event that I would need them the next day. So, I am saying that, but if you look at my face on the video when they came sure doesn't look like I did it on purpose.....

Anyway, it wasn't the best day, but it was pretty good. So, we quit fairly early. After all, I knew the next day was going to be a long one. I did manage to get my dad on a few fish, so it was great to see him get in on the action.

The previous week, as Josh and I left the MFC tournament, we decided that day that we would sit on this one spot, throw the same baits, and grind this spot all day. We would be one of the first boats our of Goosepond and we would hopefully beat everyone upriver to this spot.

We made it upriver all the way to the mouth of Roseberry creek before things began to go wrong. The first thing that happened was that another large tournament was coming OUT of Roseberry as we were going IN. The lane is very narrow and I scooted as far over as I could without getting in the super shallow grass. I cut my speed dramatically as well. I guess I expected others to do the same, but they didn't. The boats coming out stayed in the middle of the lane and had complete disregard for us. We were splashed, run out of the lane and into the grass as 20 boats came rocketing by.

After they all passed, I trimmed down and headed back into the lane. But there was no power. The boat wouldn't get up on plane. I raised the motor looking for grass, nothing. I made sure I was trimmed down. But the boat wouldn't get out of it's own way. I listened to it idle for some time and it sounded just fine. After a few minutes, it did calm down and get on plane, but it wouldn't push passed 3500 RPM. So, I babied it to our spot, and we got in fish our spot.

There was quickly a boat in front of us and a boat behind. The boat in front fishes out our spot without luck and moved down the bank. Josh, from the back of the boat, almost instantly hooked into a nice fish. I reached in to the box to get the net and withdrew it. When I scooped the 5 pound fish, it went right through the net. It took both of us a moment for our minds to come to grips that the fish WASN'T in the net. It's funny how slow the mind can be. "This isn't supposed to happen" was all my mind couldn't come up with. But, I scooped the fish by hand and we had a 5 pounder in the boat out the gate, a far cry from where we were the previous week. But, we were out a net, which was sporting a massive hole.

Almost instantly, Josh had another hit from a fish the same size, but it shook off within a second with a nice tailwalk about half way to the boat.

And that's when the trouble started. The boat in front of us had taken notice that we had been there for 5 minutes and had two hits. They turned the boat around and started back to us. Now, I don't know everyone's opinion on fishing ettiqutte, but here are some of my ideas: When you breeze past an area and give it up for another fisherman, and they begin to catch fish on it...tough luck. It's bad ju-ju to come back to a spot unless the other boat leaves. Secondly, you should NEVER cast across someone's lines, which is exactly what happened next. As we cast directly to the bank, the other boat saddled up within 20 yards of us and began casting across our lines.

Josh had another strong hit and boated a small keeper. That seemed to seal the deal for these other guys, who we watched sit down, cut off their current baits and tie on red square bills, just as we were throwing. They were rewarded with 3 keepers, one of which pushed 6 pounds. All of this happened within 20 yards of us.

The rest of the morning was a battle of boat positioning, which we lost because we aren't experienced enough. We were playing checkers and these guys were playing chess. Time and time they outwitted us and managed to keep us off the magic stretch. Within the first hour, the two boats caught a limit that would have gone close to 20 pounds. But neither of us had 5 fish between us that measured. As you can imagine, it was extremely frustrating and angering. We had a plan, we were executing it, but the rudeness of fishermen on Guntersville knows no bounds, whatsoever.

Without a gameplan, we rummaged around the area, but had nearly no luck. Most of that had to do with the TVA dropping the water a couple of feet after 8am. We managed to pick up a fish here and a fish there, but without a functioning and reliable motor, we were stuck.

Every once in awhile we seemed to get on to a pattern. We had back to back hits on PTL Gators where the fish pulled the tail off the bait. In one case, I snapped the line on one. Later in the day, it was XCalibur XR50s that started catching fish, but they were too small and the weigh in time was already upon us to matter. We limped back to Goosepond.

The weighboard already had a 32 pound bag and several 20+s. Considering that NATA pays out only 4 places, it didn't really matter. I still believe there were fish there to get a spot. But, we were limited to about 2 hours on the spot we needed to spend all day.

The highlight of the day was watching a king fisher drop down from 100 feet and destroy a shad. And, I caught it on the GoPro. Speaking of, the Cam-Do DC converter worked AWESOME.

Well, we learned something.....again. It's frustrating to me that we learn a small lesson a day. By the time we are 50, maybe we can put it together.