Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fishing Report for Wheeler 4/23/16

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I was off the water for less than 24 hours before Brad and I were right back at it. After Alyse and I placed 3rd in our NASA club tournament on Pickwick, Brad and I were on Wheeler prefishing for our Army club tournament. 

You can read about how my wife won us a check by clicking the following link:

Fishing Report for Pickwick 4/16/16

So, a little back story. Last year before this particular tournament, Brad and I fished the Friday before the tournament. The morning was especially rough on us, but in the waning moments before we called it a day, I boated two slobs. One was a monster largemouth, the other a trophy sized smallie, both of which would end up being two of my three biggest fish of the year. You can check out the fishing report for those days by clicking the link below.

But, during the tournament, we couldn't scare up a fish over three pounds. 

Ok, so, we started fishing the Sunday before the tournament. On the first spot we checked, which had been a mainriver point covered up with smallmouth in 2015, I boated a reall solid smallie who absolutely pounded the Luhr-Jensen speed trap in Texas Red Diamond. But, the spot didn't produce anything else. 

As we moved to the next point, and then every proceeding point, we would catch two, three, or sometimes four TINY smallmouth. 
Brad would add a nice largemouth on the A-rig. For the rest of the day, the only bites we would have would be a few random hits on backwater flats on a PTL 6" Gator. But, to be honest, those bites would be the best we had that day. 

The Friday before the tournament, we headed to First Creek again to see what we could find. We didn't hit the water until 10AM and we only fished until around 2PM. In that time, we would catch another two four pound smallies, a 4 pound largemouth and all the two pound fish we wanted. 

The funniest part of the day came on my first cast using a magnum shakey head, a technique that I have been perfecting for about a year. I was yacking when I noticed the line starting to move sideways. I even looked down at my hands to make sure I wasn't the one cranking it! Eventually we boated a really nice smallmouth.

We caught the bigger fish on the main river points of shallow pockets. The two pounders were absolutely loaded in log jams and laydowns, specifically any submerged timber in the middle of these shallow coves. To catch these, we were flipping PTL 7" Ticklers on 3/8ths or 1/2 ounce shakey heads. By the end of the four hours, we had caught 20 or so fish with the best five going just over 16 pounds. 

More importantly, we had a pattern. 

That is, until I looked outside about 10 PM Friday night and saw full moon on a cloudless night. That got the wheels turning and I knew that all of our prefishing may have been wasted. With a moon like that, staging fish would spawn and any fish holding to their staging points (which we had been targeting) would be eating at night, not during the day.

I knew it would be post frontal with high skies. Not good. At least the water temp was a balmy 73 degrees. 

At blastoff, we shared our gameplan with Josh and Anthony, who are working closely with us. They agreed to stick to the gameplan for the morning.

First cast on the first spot, I caught a short smallmouth on a speed trap, that was it. By 10AM, we didn't have a bite and I was making a phone call.

Josh and Anthony had started on the shallow pockets on the main river as we had said, but had moved to rocks just inside the pocket as well as fishing the flats in the backs of the pockets with lizards. It had produced four fish for about 10 pounds. 

I couldn't give up our pattern and held tightly to it. We would fish the main point and then move to the wood on the sides and back of the pocket. Eventually, the pattern would produce a VERY small limit. I could deal with a small limit. What I couldn't deal with was the fact that we had caught less than 10 fish to get it. 

Again, I made the call. The only thing now working was fishing rock with worms. I had largely missed the best bite of the day, dragging a texas rigged lizard. But, I stuck to the wood, even when Brad pointed out that we hadn't gotten a hit all morning off the wood. 

As the wind continued to build, we found ourselves fishing more and more dirty water, as every boat was now fishing the south side of the lake. We made a run up river a few miles and fished similar coves. 

This produced three culls including our best fish of the day, as three pounder that came off of a dock I had skipped under. The bites began to pick up as I eventually abandoned the wood entirely. While the numbers of fish piled up, the weight did not. 

After a few more small culls, we figured we didn't have much more than 8 pounds. 

We went back to the pockets we had faith in finding bigger fish, just hoping for the big bite. We never found it, mostly because Josh and Anthony found it first. 

We didn't place in what seemed to be a mirror match of last year's tournament. Anthony and Josh did, cashing a second place check with big fish of the tournament. The winning back was only 12 pounds with Josh and Anthony just behind at 11. 

Though I am very happy that they won a check, and they did it on sharing of information just like we hoped, it was very frustrating to me that I couldn't even scratch up 12 pounds on a tough day. I should have been able to do that without ANY prefishing. 

But, hey, that's how it goes. It's a long way from boating 20 pounds on Wilson less than a month ago. I'll take it as a learning experience and go with it!