Monday, July 20, 2015

Fishing Report for Wilson 7/17/15

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This past Friday, the NASA fishing club had a night tournament on Wilson. You may recall that I have had a lot of success in tournaments on Wilson. But, it be perfectly transparent, I have done well on tough days. And, my success, aside from a tournament in March, has been dictated by one small spot.  Here are some of the past fishing trips, which you can read about. This ranges from my very first time on the lake, to my first great tournament, to my worst.

Army Cargo Club Tournament on Wilson Lake 3-21-15

Since we had the tournament coming up, Brad and I prefishing the previous Saturday. We didn't really fish but for about 45 minutes. Instead, we checked my honey hole, which produced a magnum fish, which you can see in the report. The rest of the time we spend marking ledges. 

Fishing Report for Wilson 7/11/2015

So, at blast off, we ran all the way down the lake from Safety Harbor to Shoals Creek and got on our little spot. I still don't quite understand what makes this spot so good, but it holds big fish each and every year. I do admit that it does offer the fish a little bit of everything. It offers shallow water with cover. It offers them deep water. It offers a ledge with rock. But, there are a lot of places like that. Maybe I need to branch out and find more spots, but this one has always done me well on big fish. BUT....big fish is all it seems to have. You may only get 3 bites a day on this spot, but they are going to be good bites. (That's what they call "foreshadowing.")

My struggles with finesse fishing are well known. I don't like it. I'd much rather throw cranks or topwater all day. But, my game has evolved in the last 2 years with the shakey head. I am getting better with a jig...but I am not there yet. Funny, as that is one of the most versatile baits a fisherman can throw...but I digress.

In the past, if the fish weren't biting a crank or top water on this spot, I really struggled. This year, at this tournament, I had the faith to sit on this spot for a majority, if not ALL, of the tournament. So, we threw a few topwater baits. We threw some cranks. And, aside from a few short strikes on a Spro Little John DD, they weren't really interested. That really stunk, because the current was really flowing out of Wheeler dam and we both through that the fish should be active. We were seeing 76.000 CFS being pulled. The water was very hot. Like, 92 degrees. So, it was going to be a 3 fish tournament. That would be perfect for this spot!

While I worked my Spro, Brad went to a jig and began crawling it down the ledge and on to the rocks below. After a miss, he noticed that the fish weren't really knocking the jig. Instead, they were simply picking it up and dropping it. We needed them to hold on to it a little longer. Well, I had just the thing for fish that were non-committal. I brought out the PowerTeam Lure's Hog Tonic. Here is a link to get it at Amazon for a few dollars cheaper than anywhere else. 
Don't know what it is? Here is the description:

"The first time you squirt a few drops of Hog Tonic, two things are going to happen. You're gonna gain friends and your gonna lose friends. The friends you're gonna lose will be the people standing closest to you because Hog Tonic stinks to high heaven. But on a good note, the friends you're gonna gain are the ones that breathe water, have big mouths, and just so happen to be the ones you wake up for at 4 am in the morning all pumped up to go catch.

*Note: Be forewarned that the people that do stick around you are only using you to get to your bottle of Hog Tonic! Once your bottle is empty, they will drop you like a bad habit! So what makes fish so crazy over Hog Tonic?  It's funny, most people think it's all about the powerful smell. But the truth is, it's all about the aminos. Hog Tonic is a heavy dose of specific amino acids. No chemicals, no synthetics no byproducts, no artificial ingredients…just 100% pure natural aminos (that's right bassin' peeps, there's no BS in this bottle)! And being that fish need these aminos to survive and grow, they recognize it as soon as it enters their mouths. Their brain registers that it's real, and they don't want to let it go. So you can definitely bank on having more time to set the hook! Once you start fishing with Hog Tonic you'll never want to fish without it…you'll see. ;)
*Fact: Hog Tonic was not tested by a professor at a University on hungry bass in a giant tank under controlled conditions. Hog Tonic was tested and proven on real bass in pressured waters by real fishermen in everyday real life situations. The true results that matter!"

Ok. Enough of the sales pitch. Just trust me. I don't always use additives. In fact, I try not to. But this was a perfect condition where we needed the fish to hold on to the bait a little longer. 
Keep in mind that not only were they not holding it long, but the combination of heavy line and deep water was really limiting both the feel we had on the bait as well as the hook set. So, we doused it up. 
A few casts later, Brad had another fish pick it up. He waited for what felt like forever. I had enough time to watch him feel the fish. After pulling the slack in 3 times, he hammered the fish and I netted a nice 4 pounder. 
I made a note of where he cast and made my own cast as he re-positioned the boat. It had to be a long cast to give it enough like to get to the bottom and allow me to work it slowly. You can watch in the video as we talk ourselves through what we were learning. 
 In retrospect, it has been very encouraging to realize that we have really begun to understand the how and why of this particular spot. I hope I can apply it to the rest of my game, but regardless, watching the videos has given me some hope that eventually I might actually develop into a good fisherman.
Anyway, I drag. And drag. And drag. Then I hit the rock pile. I dead stick the PowerTeam Lures Bull Nose Jig. And, it pays off. A fish picks it up and THIS time, it simply swallows the bait! A quick hook set and a few turns and we had 2 fish for 8 pounds! Heck of a start!

Over the next hour, we averaged a bite every 20 minutes. That's right....we had 3 more bites. Two of those I simply didn't hammer the fish hard enough. I waited for them to swallow the bait. I set the hook and we fought long enough for Brad to get down off the deck and grab the net....and then the fish was gone. In talking with Josh yesterday, he thinks I simply didn't set the hook hard. With that much line out and the fact that I am using 10 pound test, there was too much line stretch. I think he is right. I don't have a nasty hookset. In fact, it's rather sad. But, that happened twice and both those fish were the same quality of fish as the ones we had caught.
I also broke one off....a testament to not using 10 pound test. 
We were getting aggravated and bored when a group of white bass began feeding near us. I made the comment that MAYBE some green fish were under that huge group. So, I cast the Spro Little John DD out. Sure enough, I caught a squeaker! Well, at least we had a limit. 

I tried the Spro again and I received a nasty backlash thanks to my new-found enthusiasm. As a result, I found the line broken by the time I picked out the birds nest...and no bait. $18 down the drain...again. I can't loose the cheap baits...just the expensive ones.

So, we fished. And fished. And fished. Nothing. We knew the fish were there....just not biting. And, we knew that sqeaker was going to cost us, despite having 2 really nice fish.

Speaking of those two, they were both belly up and we had the fizz them. First time I had done it. It worked great for the 1st one, but apparently I didn't do it quite right for the second. Chill. None of them died. 

In the meantime, luck did bring me my lost crank! I was fishing that jig and looked into the water....look what I saw! 

Anyway, we fished a few ledges. We fished by the dam. We didn't have a bite after the sun went we hoped no one else found fish.

Well, they did. Winning boat had 12 and change with a 7 really. 

2nd and 3rd had 11 and change and we had 4th at 8 pounds and 6 ounces. And, that little guy was every bit of that 6 ounces. 

Had we landed even one of the fish that we lost, I feel confident that we would have 2nd. But, coulda woulda shoulda...right? 

We only had 1 smallmouth weighed in, even with 8 boats. And, word was that it was very tough on everyone. The big fish was *supposedly* caught 30 minutes before weigh in. 

I hate losing...especially on lakes that I have confidence on. I think back to that pig I caught while prefishing and wonder if I could get her to bite had I not caught her then. Guess we will never know.

On the bright side, I have more confidence that my spot will win me tournaments. It's just on me to make i happen.