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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.
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.