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 That's when I realized how out of date my 998 is compared to my partners' Lowrance units.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.