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Follow my Fish of 2017
If you've followed me, you know my spiel about being open and honest. Being honest in fishing is one of the most played out jokes, ever. I've done my best not to be a stereotype and it has certainly earned me equal parts admiration and ire. Sometimes it is just easier to keep things to myself, believe it or not. But, I am going to stick to my game plan and continue to be me. That's an easy thing to say and do, especially when you are cashing checks. It's not so easy when things are tough and you are getting humbled.
So, here we go.
I haven't been on Guntersville for 9 months. That's right. Nine months. Here is the report for that. Why would I avoid the best bass fishing lake in America? Well, go read this other post. Over 5,000 people have read it already. The lake sucks, or I suck, or we both suck. Any and everything is possible and I admit that. Regardless of how I do, there are plenty of guys out there still catching 20+ pound bags and after this weekend, I really admire those guys. Just wish I could figure it out myself.
With that said, we had a club tournament coming up on Guntersville and Guntersville is the only lake that I have not been competitive upon and I was determined to fix that. Two years ago, I hired a certain guide to help me figure out the lake. I don't believe in throwing people under the proverbial bus, so I won't go into it other than to say that we didn't catch anything nor did it put me on fish. Predictably, we finished about where we normally do on the Big G: mid pack. And, we were a lot lighter in the pocket due to that.
About nine months ago, I made another small investment in my future. As many of you know, I cover fantasy football and I do rather well playing it. I joined Basswhacker Guide Service's fantasy league. The winner would get a free trip. Guess who won?
So, I scheduled this trip right before our tournament. On Thursday, Brad and I got out mid morning and fished by ourselves in Allreds. We didn't have a sniff fishing the typical stuff: ledges, grasslines, grass mats. Not a hit.
In desperation, we moved onto some deep water bluffs. I was burning a Strike King 6XD as fast I could go on my Ardent Elite 5.3:1 reel and my AKRods custom cranking rod when a fish unloaded on the crank. I fully expected a catfish or drum. Then this slob jumped and I started yelling for the net. Big momma got tired and we easily netted her. She went 5.75 on the hand-held scale.
Minutes later, we picked up Jon Henry, FLW Pro and owner of Basswhacker guide service. He spent the rest of the day giving us a in-depth tutorial of locating fish. You may recall that Jon and I have teamed up before. You can see our video here and read the report here. We idled for several hours, marking fish and waypoints. He encouraged us to go back on our own and figure the fish out. When we dropped him back off, we did just that. We found active fish on two spots and were able to catch fish on the first cast or two before leaving them.
So, we felt pretty good about Saturday. He had warned us that this was Guntersville and that we better choose our starting point wisely because we wouldn't be first anywhere else. Additionally, he told us we would have to play defense if we did find fish.
Boy, was he right.
We launched out of Browns Creek and we were boat No. 20. Imagine my surprise when we found ourselves first on the spot we wanted to fish! Of course, that didn't last very long. We had three boats come in behind us in a matter of minutes. Some left. Some stayed. Luckily, all of them stayed off the spot we were fishing, specifically freeing up our casts. We idled around and found the fish were grouped up super dense.
We eased up on the spot, which was about the size of a picnic table, and began casting a mixture of baits, specifically a PowerTeam Lures Bull Nose Jig backed with the PTL Craw D and a PowerTeam Lures 7" Tickler on a magnum shaky head.
In four casts, we had four keepers. What was more exciting was that as we netted each other's fish, both of us would pick up our rods to find that ANOTHER fish had taken our trailers. That's right, six straight casts resulted in four keepers and two misses.
Wouldn't you know it, someone saw this and decided that it looked fun. Look, right now, snapping pictures and bashing guys moving in on you, or spot stealing, or bent pole pattern, is the latest thing. I'm not going to post pictures of these guys but I am going to say this:
This boat came within 15 yards of us on plane and set down ahead of us, exactly the spot we were casting. We had lines in the water and he parked on top of them. It couldn't be more clear that we were fishing this exact spot and casting to something the size of a garbage can.
The bite died. Even after these guys left, we never found the fish grouped again. Instead of 100 fish in 10 yards, we were finding a fish every five yards. We fished two spots all day, never making it to any places we wanted to fish because there were fishermen on them and we didn't want to be "those guys." If we saw a waypoint and a boat was near it, we kept going.
Of course, this is Guntersville, so that meant that we never fished any good spots. Desperate for bites, we moved to the bluffs where I caught several measuring spotted bass. While a limit was a start, it wasn't enough so we went back to our honey hole.
We were never able to get back on the "sweet spot" and it probably didn't matter. We did manage to cull twice but our biggest fish wasn't even four pounds.
Still, you never know how everyone else did so we went to weigh in anyway, despite not having over 12 pounds and not having a bite for over four hours.
We finished third in the club with 12 pounds. The winning bag was short of 19 and second was over 16. Big fish was over six, but it was one of only two or three fish over five pounds. Out of the 20 plus boats, there were only five limits weighed in.
We caught a total of three short largemouth, three spots, and seven measuring largemouth.
So, in summation, the lake was tough and I don't say that just because I struggled. That isn't a surprise, after all. It is a surprise that a club with some good fishermen struggled so. But, the story was the same for us all. You never fished alone, especially when you were in a good spot, nor were you ever fished to fish a spot. And, the fish seemed to know we were after them. But, hey, that's the Big G.
Of course, I have to give a shout out to Basswhacker. Dude knows his stuff and he is an absolute delight to fish with. He is honest and he genuinely wants to help you get better, not just put you on fish.