Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fishing Report for Wheeler/Ingalls+First Creek 7/15/2017

Follow me on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter!
Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Follow my Fish of 2017

After a month off, our club was set for our July tournament out of Ingall's Harbor on Wheeler. Last year, our club fished this tournament a month later, almost to the day. That day ended up being pretty good to me and Brad as we left Decatur and made the long run to 1st Creek. 

You can read about how Brad and I cashed a check after calling some audibles. Just click the link below. 

Fishing Report for Wheeler 8/19/16

So, I haven't written a report over our prefishing, for several reasons. First, the fishing hasn't been good, like, at all. It's been putrid. 

Secondly, because a lot of our competition reads my fishing reports and what we did find (which wasn't much) was really, really specific and we needed the edge. 

So, let's back up a week. A week before our tournament, Brad and I put in at First Creek as Decatur has been the Dead Sea. We fished our typical points and pockets on the main river and found that while we could catch fish, they were really, really sporadic and none of them were big. What we did catch was on Pop-Rs and PTL 7" Ticklers. We moved up river to Mallard and Fox, attempting to find some fish in the grass, but didn't get a single bite.

So, we began working ledges. We found one ditch just down river from the powerlines at Brown's Ferry that was holding fish. Over an hour, Brad caught around five fish with the largest being a 3-pound smallie. With the current being a solid 60,000CFS, I was unable to get my shaky head into the strike zone and relied on a Strike King 6XD, which resulted in a keeper or two. In all, our best three fish would have gone about six pounds. Not enough to win, but perhaps enough to cash a check.

Two days later, I took my wife back to one of our spots on the main river. There has been a large log that has been lodged in the bottom for the last two years. With the heat and sunlight, the bass were grouped tightly to this log and as long as I could get my shaky head to drop vertically on top of it, I caught fish. You can read that report by clicking the link below. Another day, another six pound limit. 

Now, I know a 6-pound limit isn't something to rely on. But at this point, numbers weren't a problem. Size was. We felt like if we kept chipping away, we would eventually find quality.

Josh and I went out together and Brad went out solo on the 14th. Josh and I covered Spring Creek while Brad checked our ledge. The ledge produced seven fish, but no keepers. Josh and I struggled to get bit all day, but did manage three bites for around 7 pounds. That included a nice four pounder on a Pop-R I caught on the Spring Creek bridge. Josh added two fish, one on a swim jig and one on a shaky head. Current was around 16,000 for most of the day but went to 30,000 about the time we started getting bites. Brad verified that as well.

So, Saturday came and it was tough to get out of bed at 3:30 for the second day. Turns out, that heat really takes it out of you. Regardless, we made it to the ramp, dunked the boat, and had to make a decision: do we take a chance on the ledge without current and hope TVA turns it on? Or do we go to where there are always fish, but maybe not MEASURING fish?

We decided on the latter and ran down to First Creek. We knew the story: we should get Pop-R hits in the first five casts and we had to make sure they stuck. Problem is, those smallies have trouble with the Pop-R. We missed a couple of hits, moved to the next point, missed a few more. We caught several short fish. Then they quit biting. 

So we moved into the 1A part of fishing that area: fishing the log jams in the back of the cuts and pockets. This quickly resulted in our first keeper of the day, a one pounder on a 7" Tickler in Pumpkin Seed with Purple Flake. Ok, so we are on the board and 1/3rd the way there. 

Hours went by. We ran the points. We ran up to the power lines. Nothing. Now, we knew that TVA wouldn't start generating until noon, if they did at all. So, we had to make a choice: do we sit there and hope? Or do we try and find something else? Do we run back to First Creek? We decided to go back where we had bites, and it was a good thing too because TVA never turned the current on. It stayed at 17,000 all day, which is half of what we needed.

We stopped at a cut I've caught multiple nice smallies on and, wouldn't you know it, there was one there. Boom. Nice two pounders in the boat. 

And then we spent the next few hours trying to find another keeper. We caught fish. Just nothing that kept. The best chance we had came when I flipped a shaky head over a lay down that Brad had just been bitten on. Fish nailed it, then wrapped me up. I tried to get the fish to swim out, but it never would and eventually it broke. 

With only two fish, we headed back to Ingall's. I had just one more trick up my sleeve: a rock pile inside the marina. 

And, wouldn't you know it, both of us caught a measuring fish at 1:58. So, at least we had a limit.

It wasn't enough. We weighed in 4.80 but the winning sack was just over 6 pounds and 3rd was 5 and change. I ain't even mad. It was a terrible day for everyone and anyone could have caught a big one to win it all. Hardly anyone had limits. Everyone struggled to catch anything. I was glad to say I caught 10 fish over the course of the stupidly hard day. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Forgotten Fantasy Gems: QB Transfers

Follow me on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter!
Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Follow my Fish of 2017

Out of sight, out of mind, right? So, we covered some of the most impact college fantasy football players returning from injury. You can read that post by clicking the link below.

Now, it's time to move on to the most impact fantasy transfers. Just like injuries, many of these are guys that have had to sit out a year after a promising start elsewhere, or possibly just didn't get a chance to capitalize at their previous destination. 

Obviously, QBs dominate most lists, and for good reason. If your plan was to wait until late in the draft for a QB anyway, waiting until possibly free agency is even better (see Davis Webb from Texas Tech to Cal last season). 

With that said, QB transfers have a list of their own simply because of the value of the position. I am well aware that there are a lot of these guys and it's easy to extrapolate limited success to big-time numbers. So, take your time and follow the logic. 

Breakout Players

Will Grier (West Virginia)- Grier was doing really, really well at Florida before a PED suspension. He is my number one transfer because he has demonstrated superior ability at the SEC level. Now he is with West Virginia and Dana Holgorsen. In terms of systems I trust year in and year out, Holgorsen is up there. His offense has been incredible with elite talent like Geno Smith and very good with just average talent like Clint Trickett and Skyler Howard.  Grier is at least between those two levels. The professionals have him slated as a mid-6th round pick but many people may not think about him.

Damian Williams (Texas State)- This highly touted recruit has been behind two very, very good players at Mississippi State before transferring to Texas State.  In his appearances over the course of three years, Williams was over 60% completion ratio, but it is his rushing ability that is going to be of interest. He ran for almost 300 yards in his short career and averaged better than 5 yards per carry in 2016. Texas State wants a dual-thread guy and former QB Tyler Jones looked to be that guy. However, after running for 1,000 yards and 16 TDs in 2014 and 2015, he posted just 30 yards and 5 TDs while averaging 0.3 YPC. His passing yards declined for two straight years as well. Williams could be the guy that Jones should have been. 

Kyle Allen (Houston)- This is one of my more speculative picks. Tom Herman and Greg Ward, Jr are gone and Major Applewhite steps in. Make no mistake, this will be a down year for Houston. Allen is not the pure athlete that Ward was and Applewhite is no Tom Herman. However, the AAC isn't the SEC and by a wide margin. We saw fellow former Texas A&M Kenny Hill have success at TCU and Allen is probably a better passer. He has a 33:14 TD/INT ratio which should greatly improve agaist the AAC defenses. Now, will his receivers be as talented? No. But, he should still pile up the numbers. Still, Allen's spring performance leaves something to be desired and the presence of Duke Catalon at RB may change the focus of the offense. 

Thomas Sirk (ECU)- When healthy, Sirk was fantasy gold, especially early on in daily leagues. His ability to run the ball gave him an immediate 2:1 edge in fantasy points. He rushed for 1,000 yards and 16 TDs in his first two years. His passing wasn't too shabby either, posting 2,600-16-8 stat line in 2015. 5 of those INTs came in the last four games he played, but he passed for 190+ yards in 9 of his games. ECU has had tremendous success on offense in the past and second year coach Scott Montgomery furthered that mark last season with 467 yards per game. However, the team just couldn't get it in the endzone with two different QBs posting a 24:12 TD/INT ratio. RB James Summers led the Pirates and now he is with the Cardinals. This is the perfect mixture for Sirk, if only he can stay healthy. 

De'Andre Johnson (FAU)- Another speculative pick, here. He never saw the field at FSU after punching a woman at a bar. At EMCC, he went for over 2600-26 in the air and 800-5 on the ground. It's not as much about Johnson's ability or what he did at Last Chance U nearly as much as it is for respect for Lane Kiffin and Kendall Briles. I just don't see how this could go wrong. 

Risky Transfers
Any Alabama Transfer- Blake Barnett, David Cornwell
Max Browne (Pitt)- If OC Canada hadn't moved to LSU, Browne would be on this list 
Anu Soloman (Baylor)- Couldn't do it at Arizona. Baylor isn't what it was
Shane Morris (Central Michigan)- Just too much risk here
Tanner Lee (Nebraska)- Sure, he was decent at Tulsa, but Tulsa was playing from behind a lot. Lee isn't what Tommy Armstrong was, and that isn't saying too terribly much. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Forgotten Fantasy Gems: Players Returning From Injury

Follow me on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter!
Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Follow my Fish of 2017

You say the same thing every year: "I wish I would have dug deeper."

What happens in every league, every year, is that after five rounds, people really start struggling, and for good reason. With the turnover in fantasy football, it's awfully hard to dig deeper than the first 100 or so players because the stats just aren't there from the previous year. Are they going to assume a larger role? Is this what should be expected of them? Or could their stats diminish? 

As you are looking at last year's trends, it becomes almost impossible to decided who will take the next step and who won't. Far too often, players use late round picks on flyers, few of which ever pan out. 

What if I told you that sometimes there are gems that have given you all the data you need, it just may not have shown up last year? Maybe they missed the entire year due to an off-season injury? In some cases, they may have been off to a hot start before a mid-season injury ended their production, stranding them in the noise? Let's take a look at some.

Marcell Ateman (Jr) WR Oklahoma State- There may not be a better offense in college football than Oklahoma State. QB Mason Rudolph is a Top 10 QB and will go in the first or second round. Fellow receiver James Washington is a later first or early second rounder and may have more value. Ateman missed all of last season after posting a 45-760-5 season in 2015. Defenses will key on Washington, making Ateman (6ft 4in) a very, very good WR2/3 pick that you may get as a free agent. 

Chris Warren (So) RB Texas- Gone is Foreman and his 2,000 yard, 15 TD campaign from 2016. In comes Warren who, before injury, had 366 yards and 3 TDs while averaging 6 yards per carry in the first four games before missing the entire rest of the 2016 season. He still ended the year as Texas' second leading rusher. Warren is 6-2, 250 pounds. The Longhorns need to protect Shane Buechele, who has run a lot in his career already. Swoopes and Beuchele combined for 9 rushing TDs. Expect Warren to get that work, especially in the red zone. 

D.K. Metcalf (RFr) WR Ole Miss-The 6-4 monster that was D.K. Metcalf didn't get a lot of work in the two games he was well enough in which to play, but he made the most of them. He caught just two passes in two games, but both were in the redzone and both were TDs. Gone, now, is the Rebel's other redzone man, Evan Engram as well as several talented other WRs (Stringfellow/Adeboyejo). Truly, only A.J Brown and Van Jetfferson are threats to soak up targets. You won't have to burn anything on this guy, but he may have the most upside of any one not drafted. 

KaVontae Turpin (So) WR TCU- Turpin could not stay on the field in 2016 and never played more than three consecutive games. In the meantime, he posted a 30-295-1 line that wouldn't warrant a second look. However, when he was healthy in 2015, he posted a 75-944-9 line while adding another 116 yards on the ground. TCU would seem to spread the ball around with six WRs with 20 more more catches, but Turpin was a focal point when healthy having six or more catches in half of his games while also adding at least one rush in five games. The 5-9 speedster takes mostly short passes, so keep that in mind. 

A.J Oullette (Jr) RB Ohio- This isn't the first time this exact conversation has been had. As a freshman, Oullette went 785-7 on the ground and added 21-133-3 receiving. He has spent the last two years injured though his 2015 686-6 line wasn't terrible, he wasn't right for the middle of the season. Ohio may not be a great program, they do play a soft schedule. Purdue is the largest hurdle they face, so just think about that. Oullette is a great late round stash that could be a solid RB2 and certainly a FLEX in PPR leagues. He ended the year with eight straight games with a reception.

Make sure to check back for more Fantasy College Football articles! Here is last week's.

A Look at Last Year's CFF Scores in Predicting Value for This Year

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fishing Report for Guntersville/South Pittsburg

Follow me on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter!
Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Follow my Fish of 2017

During the summer, my sister takes the kids for a few days. Now, here's the catch: first, she can't take all three of them. Second: she lives in Chattanooga. Neither are a problem because the solution works out in my favor. To meet her or my brother in law halfway means somewhere along Guntersville twice in the same week. 

They wanted to meet in South Pittsburgh (which is quite a bit further than halfway, but since I've only fished that section once, I was willing to give it a try). Of course, that trip was in January of 2015. But there were smallies involved....so of course I was down. You can read about it by clicking the link below.

Fishing Report for Guntersville 1/17/15

So, after a two hour ride, we dumped the boys off my my brother in law and dunked the Bullet. Now, there were some surprises, here. First, the water was high. So high the dock was completely under water. Ok, that isn't the worst thing in the world. Also, the current was RIPPING. According the the TVA App, it was 60,000 CFS from Nickajack. Of course, with the lake being so narrow at that point, 60K is stout. 

So, we headed up river and fished behind an island that would allow us to have a fighting chance at the current. Throwing a PTL 7" Tickler, we were able to catch some very small spots. That was good for my wife and daughter, the latter of which is really trying to learn to fish. 

Alas, I grew really tired of standing on the trolling motor. 

So, we ran down river in search of other current breaks. Unfortunately, there are almost none. I tried to hide behind several cuts and islands, but the current was so strong that the typically slack water areas were actually back flow eddies. They weren't any easier to navigate so we continued to move down river. 

We fished several rip-rap banks and I was surprised to find grass along the 8 foot line, even that far up river. My wife and daughter weren't very comfortable fishing the grass and I was devoting equal parts of my time running the trolling motor, getting people unstuck and dodging my daughters hooks. 

Eventually we made it to the first turn in the river, just downriver from a set of powerlines. Against this bank, the current was reduced and I was actually able to position the boat. 

We were able to consistently get bit on shaky heads, but all of the fish were very small. The lone bit of good action came on a Strike King popping bait. I had a solid hit and hooked up with the fish. A second two pounder attacked the lure and I had both of them on for a few seconds before one shook loose. Either the same fish or a different one followed the bait all the way to the boat and I was able to figure out the lure right by the boat and get multiple strikes from another fish.

By the time I had unhooked the fish, we had been blown down river a 100 yards and I couldn't figure out exactly where I was.

We only spent about an hour on the water and I saw enough to know that I won't be going back any time soon. I'll just meet my sister in Scottsboro. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fishing Report for Wheeler Lake/Ditto Landing 7/6/2017

Follow me on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter!
Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Follow my Fish of 2017

Everybody has seen the movie Happy Gilmore, correct?

As I loaded my stuff into my car around 8:45 last night, a scene from that movie popped into my head, stemming from a conversation that Josh and I had. 

There is a scene where Happy's golf coach, Chubbs, takes him to a mini-golf establishment to get better at putting. Happy, as you may know, could drive the ball 400 yards, but couldn't putt. Gilmore throws a fit and says "This is embarrassing, I am a professional golfer!"

And, of course, he proceeds to struggled to the point of futility. 

Fishing Ditto landing has become my mini-golf course. The stretch of river from 65 to Guntersville dam has been the clown that spits Happy's ball back at him, even after he FINALLY figures things out.

See, I feel the most confident fishing for 15+ plus pounds on huge bodies of water against a big club of fishermen. But put me up against 7-10 boats of local fishermen on a small body of water with even smaller fish, and I freakin' struggle. 

Don't really understand 'cause catching limits and winning checks in this tournament was never an issue until the last few years. I know we are INFINITELY better fishermen. Anyway, yall have heard this story before so I won't reiterate the same shtick

Two tournaments ago, there was good current. We went to the dam, caught two nice fish. Couldn't catch any more. Last week,  the water was high, so we went flipping. We caught two good fish doing that before relapsing into some junk fishing holes. But, we found fish. Just didn't have enough time. Go read that report here:

This week, same story. Good current. High water. We decided to do a combination of what had worked. In other words, hit a lot of eddys created by current breaks, start at the dam, and work back fairly quickly to cover water.

First spots, both on each side of the river within 300 yards of the dam were busts, though I did catch one measuring spot and one short spot on a Spro Little John DD. 

After scratching our heads a bit, we moved down to the painted bluffs, for no other reason than we suck and we should probably avoid doing anything we would normally do. Fishing bluffs facing into the current qualified. 

Wouldn't you know it, the fish started biting. 

Just one problem: they were all tiny spots. 

We caught five or so within 5 minutes on a combination of cranks such as the Spro Little John DD, the Hookset medium diver, and a Norman. All had a slight hint of Chartreuse. 

After finishing the stretch, we had to make a decision: spend some time there and hope to get some bigger ones to bite or to move on. 

Considering our experience has been that a collection of babies like that typically yields more babies, we moved on.

Would we have found bigger ones? We will never know. But outside of a few more short fish caught on a PowerTeam Lures 7" Tickler and a Pea Head, we caught just one more measuring fish: a nice keeper with about 2 minutes to go, right outside of Ditto Landing. 

I didn't stick around to see what won, but it was the best bags I've seen weighed in at Ditto this year, including some nice 5-pounders. 

I keep telling myself that getting my rear kicked is good for me. I mean, I know it is. Any time you can take a nice dose of humility, it's a good thing. I just thing I've had my fill.

Oh, and I almost forgot. I caught my first Saugar last night! Too bad I was kinda mad and threw it back.....

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Look at Last Year's CFF Scores in Predicting Value for This Year

Follow me on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter!
Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Check out my Fish of 2014
Follow my Fish of 2015

While it isn't quite time to start breaking down some individual position rankings, I think it is the right time to discuss some trends from last season and how it should affect your preparation going forward. First things first: last year wasn't a banner year in terms of fantasy football for me. Now, I did make the playoffs of every league I played in, but I only cashed a check in one of those leagues. To be fair, of course, I was in only three money leagues and was second in the biggest of those leagues. 

Anyway, that's enough about me. 

Two weeks ago, we began our preparation talking about teammate double ups. You can check out some of the very best double ups and some great sleepers for this year by reading the post below.

Today I want to discuss a few things and I really hope to get your feedback. 

Because I don't believe in downloading people's rankings (or buying them), I began to build spreadsheets (just like last year) based upon the statistics of returning players. From there, I will begin to rank. Until then, let's take a look at some trends.

First, let's define our scoring system used last year: 
The positions were QB, RB1, RB2, WR1, WR2, WR3, TE, FLEX, K, DST. 
1 point for every 20 passing yards, 4 points for a passing touchdown, -3 for any turnover.
1 point for every 10 passing yards, 6 points for a rushing or receiving touchdown. Return yards and touchdowns were scored as rushing yards. 
3 points for a field-goal, 1 point for an extra point.
For the DST, you began with 30 points and lost 5 points per touchdown but gained 3 points for a turnover and 6 for a defensive touchdown.

Ok, so it was fairly standard. Here is what you really came to see. In our 20 team league, the average winning score was 152. Simple enough. Now, obviously, there are some blowouts. There are some freak low and high scoring weeks. Obviously, there are also some really good and bad teams that skew numbers. Right? 

Not so. In fact, if you took the top 8 teams (only those who made the playoffs), you find that the average winning total was still 152

How does this affect your draft preparation? Well, let's take a look. 

I crunched the numbers for all returning players from last season (I needed to do that anyway and I felt that using only this year's players would help more than it hurt). 

The PPG average for the top 50 QBs is 20 
The PPG average for the top 100 RBs (PPR) is 13
The PPG average for the top 300 WRs (PPR) is 12
The PPG average for the top 30 TEs (PPR) is 11
The PPG average for the top 20 Ks is 9
The PPG average for the top 20 DSTs is 25

Ok. so I know that last one has thrown you a bit. Again, consider that I am only using data for returning players, meaning that about a third of last year's elite players are gone at each position. But, I will make an argument (in another post) at why it doesn't matter. 

If you add all of that up, you come up with an average of 140 PPG. That's not woefully behind the 152 point average, but it's basically playing a position down each and every week. While a great player (a Lamar Jackson) can make up a lot of ground, not everyone is so fortunate. This comes down to point differential per position, something we discussed in depth last year. Click the link below and read about it.

Assessing Value to Position for Your 2016 Fantasy College Football Draft

So, you need to find 12 points more than your opponet each week. Most people's first thought is that a great QB is the easiest way to get over the hump. The issue is, there are typically five QBs who beat the standard deviation per year. In terms of returning QBs, there are are just two: Lamar Jackson and Quinton Flowers. Both of these beat the 5.8 Standard Deviation between the other top QBs. 

In other words, they are the only two who don't have a value-based ranking (where you can decide to draft or not draft based upon value of other positions). Is your luck that good? Well, unfortunately, if you are in an odd spot in the draft, you are just out of luck. 

The Standard Deviation at RB is a paltry 3.5. So, while there there isn't a great amount of point differential from one to the next, there is a plethora of running backs over the average. This means that there is inherent value in taking three above average RBs over a QB, especially the elites, provided you can get one. However, there around 3-5 of these guys.  But, used together, 3 (assuming the use of FLEX) such RBs can make up 10.5 points. 

The same can be said with receivers. While the position scores a modest 12 PPG (based on the top 300, of course), the top 30 score over 20 points per game. With a Standard Deviation of 4.6 points, there is a drastic step from one to the next, especially at the top. There are around ten WRs out there that will beat the Standard Deviation, making them a priority. Taking 3 of these players equates to almost 14 points per week.

Tight end has a deviation of just 2.8, meaning that there is virtually no way to make up a major point differential. There are only two TEs per year that typically beat the model, though it is worth mentioning that they, alone, can make up the point differential. There is obviously a ton of risk with using the TE to make up points. 

In summation, there are a couple of ways to ensure that you can draft a team capable of hitting 150+ points each week, even if you don't get a premier QB. Even with an average QB, understanding the standard deviation and average scores of each position can help you find that winning formula. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fishing Report for Wheeler/1st Creek 7/3/17

Follow me on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter!
Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Follow my Fish of 2017

The 4th of July holiday started early for state workers, who were given Monday off. Many of us .gov folks thought we would get half of the 3rd off. In preparation for that, I brought Big Booty Judy to work, hoping for an afternoon fishing trip with my wife. 

Well, we didn't get half a day. Instead, we were given 59 minutes. I guess any little bit is more than I'd have otherwise. So, we met up at State Park. As I waited for my wife to arrive, I took the boat off the trailer, discovered that my two inflatable life jackets had deployed (yet again). So, Pro Tip: Don't let them get wet nor store them in a damp storage bin. 

So, yeah, started off around $100 in the hole. I dropped the trolling motor and went to fish some nearby grass because, well, I am a froggin' freak. I discovered that my front Humminbird transducer cord was cut and it would short out. That's cool. 

What took the cake was when my wife showed up....and so did the weather. Neither of us had cell service, so we couldn't gauge the weather. I put the boat back on the trailer and we took her car to the State Park lodge to steal....err...borrow some wifi. 

The storm rolled out, so we went back to it. However, I didn't want to go too far as another round of weather looked to be moving in. We stopped by the golf course where I fished the grass, the point, and then the ledge running from the golf course to towards the main river. 

The rain showed back up, but it fired some schoolers up. I managed to catch a couple, but we couldn't get them to hit anything other than a Strike King popping bait. The rain was quite refreshing, however. 

After they stopped schooling, I went to scanning the ledge which dropped down to 22 feet or so. That's when I realized how out of date my 998 is compared to my partners' Lowrance units. Sure, I could clean up the signal a good bit, but man, auto-adjust sure is nice.....

You may recall that we had gone out a few days ago and found a nice ledge that had a lot of bass on it. We had used some techniques from Basswhacker Guide Service. You can read about that trip here

The weather eventually laid low for about an hour and we were able to hit the main river and fish some main river points. I really wanted my wife to hook into some smallies. 

We pulled up on one of my favorite points and I immediately caught two on the popping bait before picking up the PowerTeam Lure's pea head and 7" tickler. I have been throwing it exclusively on a 6-6 medium heavy H2O XPRESS Ethos rod. She was using a spinning rod with an Ardent C-Force spinning reel. After I had caught a couple of nice largemouth, I decided to spend more time on boat position and trying to help her. It isn't that she can't use a spinning rod or a shaky head, but she hasn't done it in 20-25 foot depths before. 

She would get lots of bites that she could feel, but couldn't set the hook. Other times, she was missing hits that she didn't even know she was having, but I was watching her rod and the line. So, I took a few minutes to explain some things and how it had led me to abandon spinning reels all together.

First, she was missing hooksets. This was a combination of several things. With the extra amount of line out, the softness of both rod and line, there was simply too much line stretch and give to set the hook properly. The only way she was going to hook into a fish was by reeling all the way down to the water and snatching straight up. Any other angle caused the rod to collapse on itself. 

However, other problems existed still. First, reeling down with a low ratio reel takes too much time, another reason I went to a bait caster with a high ratio (think 5:1 to 6.3:1). Then other times, the smallies would run right at her and catching up to them is impossible. 

Perhaps the most important lesson she learned was knowing not just what a bite feels like, but what feeling nothing means. Too many times I watched the line hop or move on her, but she never even noticed that it was a bite. I had to explain that, at any point, she quit feeling contact with the bottom, it was almost certainly a hit. 

After a few more hits and misses, she set the hook on one. Then, her last lesson of the day was how to play a good smallie on light line. Luckily, we had no trouble netting the fish. The smile on her face at catching this brown fish was worth the trip, alone.

Especially since more weather rolled in about 5 minutes later and forced us to go home early......

In our short hour of fishing, we boated a solid five pound limit around 10 pounds. Water color was slightly dingy and water temps were very high considering the amount of rain. They hovered around 85 degrees. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Fishing Report for Wheeler/First Creek 6/30/2017

Follow me on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter!
Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Follow my Fish of 2017

Man, this time of year can be really, really tough. I don't mean because of the fishing, though that can be super tough, too. I'm talking about the conditions. Maybe I am getting old. Maybe I am getting soft. But I don't deal with the heat as well as I used to! 

Not only was it hot on Friday, but also 100% humidity. You know, that Bama heat. The only relief Brad and I had was due to occasional showers. Still, even that was short lived! Part of that is our own fault. Neither of us could get out early due to, well....life. Having five kids between us means that fishing frequently means that we might have to sacrifice something, such as that early morning bite or perhaps a few pounds of sweat.

But, we are still fortunate to get to fish, even though we haven't been fishing in a month. Ok, ok, that isn't EXACTLY true. Josh and I have fished two Ditto Wildcat tournaments, but I believe we've caught a grand total of five measuring fish between two trips and I can account for just one of those. 

Brad and I have a club tournament coming up in two weeks. In the past, this tournament has been super duper double tough for almost everyone, ourselves included. However, last year we did manage a second place finish, though it was due to a blazing hot weather and a stunted bite. 

We did manage a good sack of fish and salvaged a day, but the truth is we never had a true pattern going into the tournament, something we wanted to change this year. After all, anyone can luck into a bite. Last year it was us. This year it would be someone else. So, if it meant spending an extra week prefishing, so be it. 

You can read about last year's tournament by clicking the link below. 

Fishing Report for Wheeler 8/19/16

We started out in the spot we always start at, which is a collection of main river points. Typically, smallies school early and they are catchable for about 15 minutes really early before they go deep. Of course, we missed that early morning bite, but we did catch that extra hour of active deep bite. There was more bait and top water action from skip jack that I believe I have ever seen, but the bass weren't really relating to the bait, which was moving up and down the river ledge. The bass were relating to cover. 

We were able to catch a small limit (very small) on shaky heads with PowerTeam Lures 7" Ticklers, but after about five straight casts where we both had bites, the point went quiet. We moved to the next point and caught some short fish, but that also died. 

The next thing we wanted to try was the grass bite in Mallard and Fox creek. You may recall that Brad and I won a tournament last time we were on Wheeler a few months ago in Mallard creek. It was kinda fluky in that I caught three of our measuring fish in three casts with 15 minutes on the clock. Still, it was post-spawn and we though maybe, just maybe, those fish still lived there. 

Alas, only a few very small fish were found and we moved even deeper into Mallard to fish the grass. Not a bite. That was also what we had found earlier this year. It was kinda weird both times because things looked so good and I had intel that told me that the bite has been solid. Guess I am doing something fundamentally wrong.

The last thing we wanted to do was put some of the intel on scanning that we received from BassWhacker Guide Service. A month ago, he did a refresher course, or maybe a sophomore level class, for us on scanning ledges. We learned a little more about what to look for and where. 

With that in mind, we found a ledge that was holding bass...or at least we THOUGHT they were bass. 

But the first two fish Brad set the hook into were NOT bass. They were drum. 

So, when he set the hook into a THIRD fish in about five casts, I didn't even bother to get the net.....

....until the three pound smallie jumped straight into the air. 

After netting this beautiful smallie, Brad put on a clinic by catching around five largemouth and a smallie. I couldn't' even get a bite. I am going to say that boat positioning was the cause, though it was no fault of Brads. TVA was pushing through some good current and the fish were stacked up such that only Brad could reach them. My bait would fall a few yards short of the ledge and the current would pull it down river.

To fix that, I picked up my AKRods Custom Cranking Rod and threw that Strike King 6XD half a mile. I was rewarded with some small largemouth. 

We decided not to grind those fish too bad in hope that they may be there in two weeks. It was a tough day with two good flurries and a long stretch between. In the end, we boated around 10 fish that would have gone around 10 pounds.