Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Follow my Fish of 2017
I think we all know that Mother Nature can make fish do some crazy things. Yes, I know that "my bite died" or "the fish moved" are some favorite lines for losers at the scales. I, myself, have rolled my eyes many times when I've heard such excuses.
That's probably why it pains me so much to have said those very words when I was weighing in my fish on Saturday. Don't misunderstand. I had a respectable bag at around 12 pounds. Between my dad and I, we caught around 50 fish. But, none of that was what I was expecting when I wrapped up my prefishing on Wednesday, which included a small club tournament. You can read about last week's tournament by clicking the link below.
Sure, I lost last week but $40 was a small price to pay to learn the lessons I learned. In particular, I learned that doing what no one else is doing can bite you sometimes. While it has done me solid in the past, grinding it out in 30MPH winds and 125,000 CFS got me nothing but a butt-whipping as my 10 pounds was almost half of the 18 pounds the winner weighed.
On Wednesday, Brad and I put in at McFarland and attempted to put the info I had recieved to the test. We went shallow, fishing behind the series of current breaks that began around the end of Seven Mile Island with a combination of texas rigged PowerTeam Lure's 6" Gator and assorted top water. While the top water wasn't hot with the fish, I still caught my first frog fish of the year, so there's that.
What was hot was that lizard bite. We would get on the downriver side of every island or break in that island and there was at least one three pound fish waiting in every eddy. All we had to do was toss it up into that eddy, drag it down the line, and one would pounce on it. In the end, we had 15 pounds by catching around 30 fish. None of them were over four pounds. We left early and I really thought I could hit 20 pounds. There was no shortage of four pound fish and I just knew there had to be some big fish somewhere. My plan was to work this pattern until the sun got up and then flip the grass for a big momma. 15 pounds was a certainty and 20 pounds was two good fish away.
Now, I conveniently ignored a few things. First, that a cold front was moving in that would drop temperatures by 30 degrees. Secondly, TVA was going to halve the current. Lastly, the water level was going to drop two feet.
So Saturday rolled around and I was happy to be taking my dad fishing. He hasn't been fishing much in the last few years and I was excited to tell him that not only was I on fish, but we were going to catch him with his favorite technique and lure.
We ran down to the very end of Seven Mile and get to casting. I caught one on my first cast, but it wasn't in the eddy, it was out on the ledge. Still, I figured maybe the fish followed the bait. But then I realized something: there was no eddy. In fact, there was no current what so ever. Still, I beat the backside of several of the islands and didn't get a bite.
I moved to the spot where I had caught the most fish and the best quality. This was an island on the little river side of Seven Mile. Same thing. No current and a lot of water color. More importantly, no bites.
I flipped a lot of grass along with throwing a spinnerbait along the grass lines and frogging the stretches. Nothing.
The morning came and went and we didn't have the first measuring fish and really hadn't had but a few bites. All of the bites had come from the ledge side of the islands. It took me far to long to come to the conclusion. The combination of weather and water conditions had moved the fish on the ledges. I knew this from equal parts experience that morning, guessing, and about 20 minutes of staring at my depth finder, which practically screamed "there's a school on this ledge!"
We weren't getting bit on the lizard, so I turned to dad and said "I'm going to do something I said I wouldn't do today. In fact, I just about took all this stuff out of the boat." I pulled out my 6-6 medium heavy rod with a 3/8ths ounce shakey head and a Powerteam Lures 7" Tickler.
And then it was game on.
Fish after fish after fish after fish. I had three different stretches were I caught five fish on five casts. There was only one issue: none of them measured. Not a one.
I dug back in the rod locker for the other rod I said I wouldn't use all day: my AKRods custom cranking rod. Swapping to the Strike King 6XD provided the change we needed immediately. I quickly boated a quartet of measuring fish. None of them big, but at least it was a start. I thought we would surely find a bigger bite eventually.
That just wasn't the case and after catching almost 40 fish off that one spot, I decided we had to mix it up. I headed down river to where Alyse and I caught some nice fish last week. I told my dad that we would likely get one chance at catching a big fish and it would be a magnum smallie. I angled the boat so that I could dredge the ledge and began drifting.
Sure enough, I got that bite I needed. I was fighting this pig of a smallie who refused to jump.....until she got to the net. And there the crank went.
I didn't get any more bites on that strip of rip-rap that faced into the current. We went back to the ledge, caught a few more.
That's when the wind showed up and I knew I didn't want to run back to McFarland when it got worse. In fact, it was bad enough as it was so we pulled up and headed upriver.
I caught our fifth fish and biggest of the day while drifting down the Seven Mile Island rip rap. We never culled though we did continue to catch fish up until the point that the rollers grew from two feet to five feet in height. We decided to come in early as fighting the 30MPH sustained wind wasn't very fun.
We didn't have enough for a check. In fact, it took 18 pounds to win, though the weights dropped dramatically. I was ounces out of third place with my 11 and change. I sure wish I knew what everyone else was doing.
But, in the end, me and dad had a great day and losing a little bit of cash.,.....a rod.....a reel.....a whole pack of Trokar hooks, 20 shaky heads and two letters off my boat, was well worth the trip!
This is the face you make when dad slips and falls onto your rod and snaps it. I'm just glad he's ok.