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After having a "decent" year last year in the clubs I fish, I really wanted to step up my game this year. Ok, so it really wasn't decent. I had some really good tournaments and I really grew as an angler. But, while I improved greatly on Wheeler, Wilson, and Pickwick, Guntersville continued to slide backwards.
Considering that Guntersville represents about half of all the tournaments that I fish each year and would do so again this year, I needed to get better on the Big G. Last year we tried winging it on Guntersville and concentrating on the other lakes. That works really well 80% of the time. But, that one tournament or two that doesn't go well sinks any chances of finishing ahead of the pack. While most of my clubs don't have an AOY, I have aspirations of fishing some bigger trails, so it is important that I find a winning combination that can give me a chance.
Regarding Guntersville, most of you know how I feel about it. You should take anything I say with a grain of salt because I am just an average fisherman. Additionally, I get frustrated like anyone else, except that I have a platform to preach from.
But, I challenge you to go read up on the fishing reports. Check out the guides sites. Not only are they openly saying that it is tough, but even when they "catch fish," there isn't much to see. One of the guides I followed made a comment on his personal Facebook page that he is catching around one fish a day, most days. Lies or disinformation? Maybe.
Now, go read the fishing reports for the everyday Joes on some of the Facebook sites. You can really see the frustration.
That doesn't mean fish aren't getting caught, because someone always catches them. But, the weights to win big tournaments are lackluster. Low 20 pound bags and the drop off from, say, 5th, is pronounced.
Ok, so let's talk about this past weekend. So, I bought a new-to-me boat a few weeks ago. I hadn't had it out much and we planned on using it in our club tournament this weekend. I took off late Thursday afternoon to start prefishing, as well as continue to learn my boat.
I put in at the Comer bridge ramp. That's where things started off badly. So, the wind was howling. I backed the boat off and tied it up. Jumped in the car and started to pull up the ramp. But, man, was the truck struggling! I turn around in time to see that I was nearly pulling my boat UP THE RAMP by the motor. Apparently the wind had pushed the boat just perfectly so that it circled the trailer and got the motor between the guide rails of the trailed.
Figured that out. Went up river to Jones Creek. Dropped the trolling motor. Turned on the front graph. WHAT THE CRAP! It wasn't reading anything. Pull up the trolling motor and see that the transducer case had separated down the seam and the bottom half had fallen off. Don't know when. Now I had to turn the back graph around so I could see it. That gave me a headache.
Anyway, I start fishing the creek channel swings in Jones. First cast or two, I hang a 15 inch fish on a square bill. Up ahead of me, a boat pulls in a similar fish. Considering the flickering bait I was seeing and the seagulls, I figured I was on some fish!
Just kidding. Fished the rest of Jones. I didn't really have a game plan. In fact, my gameplan was to not have a gameplan. I just led where my heart told me I should go. That found me meandering around, just searching for anything. But, the water was cold and muddy. Usually less than one foot of visibility and hovering around 47 degrees. Never found a good stand of grass.
I ran some main river ledges, only finding one spot holding fish, but they weren't biting. I did snap a cool pic of my boat, though.
I put her on the trailer and headed home.
Ok. So. On to Friday. Brad and I decided to swap things up. We headed to Allreds. We started in the back. The first channel swing, which was next to one of the small islands, had some matted vegetation. Once again, one of my first casts landed me a fish on a square bill. Then, nothing.
We worked Allreds pretty hard, noting that the temperature was about the same as in Jones. The water color was a little better and we occasionally found some better grass. Like yesterday, scanning the creek channel found some fish sitting in a little nook, adjacent to a hump, with bait fish. Couldn't get any takers, despite hammering the spot.
After checking Brown's Creek for a few minutes, we put the boat on the trailer and headed to City Park in Roseberry. Water color was terrible, though we noted it was 50 degrees. Gave up on that and headed to North Sauty.
In the back, by the old bridge, we noted water temps that reached 55 degrees, easily the warmest we had found. But, the water color wasn't very good. That being said, we watched a boat land two small fish while jigging the old bridge. So, we at least had a little intel. We pushed further back in Sauty, all the way to dirt shallow areas. No takers. We ended the day on that.
Saturday morning, we agreed that the only thing we knew was that we shouldn't fish anything we had already fished. Having looked at the map of South Sauty, I suggested we try some channel swings featuring 13 feet channels to shallow flats. We pulled up on the first swing we had identified and immediately graphed a ton of stumps on the ledge, all with fish on them. Additionally, there were bait balls hovering in the channel, even flickering on the surface. We tossed out marker buoys and worked the area hard. Nothing.
We checked a few other places in South Sauty before moving down river to the Seibold area, where we hoped to find a combination of warm and clear water. No such luck, nor on catching any fish. Before leaving the area completely, we stopped and fished some humps on the opposite side of Seibold. The stumps adjacent to the main river were covered up with boats, but obviously not fish. We pushed towards the bank, which is where I hung one measuring fish on a swim jig.
After anchoring down, we failed to scare up another bite.
We headed to North Sauty, hoping to use some of the intel we had gained from the day before. But, as usual, the area was covered up with boats. We moved to a pocket that featured some stumps and stickups. No takers. But, Josh and his partner Anthony met up with us and we shared our experience, which came down to two fish total.
At 130, we started back towards the ramp, but stopped at the North Sauty causeway. While it has been a community hole, there wasn't anyone on it. While throwing a jig on rock, I hung a decent fish on the first cast. Next cast, had a hit, but couldn't get the hook in the fish.
We headed to the ramp. Winning weights were 15, 13, and 12 pounds. Big fish wasn't 5 and change. Only one other boat weighed more than one fish, though that probably means most just didn't bother.