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Follow my Fish of 2017
I didn't realize it had been so long since I checked it with everyone. I've been pretty busy lately with softball, both our adult leagues and with our daughter. Now school has started back and since I get the kids on the bus each morning and get them off in the afternoon, there hasn't been much way for me to fish. Additionally, the fishing hasn't been great for me when I have gone.
That being said, it appears that it has been good to many of you that I see on the book of faces. Guntersville, in particular, seems to be doing well. Props to you all.
Saturday was my wife's birthday and we had initially decided to sleep in. But, when we woke up and I asked her what she wanted to do, she wanted to go fishing. Since my next tournament is on Wilson, we loaded up and put in at Safety Harbor around 9AM. Yes, I know. Not exactly the best time to start rolling in to play. Plus, we would have to leave early for a softball double header.
But, the current was decent (40,000 CFS out of Wheeler) and it appeared the right turbines were on (10 and 11). So, we headed up to the dam and started out throwing Strike King 5XDs.
Now, I can't speak for everyone, but here's what I know about fishing Wheeler dam:
While you can catch 20 pounds elsewhere on this lake (and I've done it, as in this report), the dam is the only spot you can CONSISTENTLY do this.
As a follow on, you can spend your whole day for five bites that can go 25 pounds and you can spend all day there for zero bites (from black bass) as well as any option including getting three bites for 15 pounds, etc.
Regardless of whether you catch them or not, you are going to worn out, as is your trolling motor batteries, and you are going to lose lures. Like, lots of them.
Ok, so we fished the first two hours without a single bite (from black bass, though we caught a couple of stripe and some drum). I noticed that I hadn't remembered to fill the boat up and it was sitting on about 1/4 tank, which meant I wasn't going very far. I had considered Shoal Creek, but it would be iffy if I could get there and back. So, we headed to Bluewater creek and fished some standing grass with a combination of froggin' and flippin'. We had a couple of lazy bites, but no real takers.
We flipped some docks, getting a few more bites but mostly from bream.
On the north side of the river, there simply wasn't enough shade so we moved across the river to the southside to find shade. Additionally, the main channel runs much closer to the bluffs. Instead of it being 6 feet deep a cast length, it is more like 18-24 feet, which has been good for the fish. We also noticed that bait was much more plentiful on this side of the river. None of this was particularly news, just that I had wanted to flip docks and there are about five total on the south side and 50 or more on the north side.
Anyway, the move paid off almost immediately and we began to get bit, but they weren't thumping our shaky heads with PowerTeam Lures 7" Ticklers. They were picking it up and running directly at the boat. I just couldn't catch up to them. These are usually your very small smallmouth. Eventually we did get one bigger fish in the boat, but far from the 5-pounder I wanted Alyse to catch.
Unfortunately, we had a boat roll up on us at the one 10 yard stretch we were getting bites. It was totally ok with me. It was a man and his son and I told them the fish were biting here and I was going to move. So we headed back to the dam where I told Alyse we would finish out for the day. Even if we only got one bite, I was ok with it as long as it was a big one.
Unfortunately, the one black bass bite we had WASN'T a big one. But at least Alyse quasi-boated a bass on a 5XD.
We did, however, get into the drum. And, while it isn't glamorous to catch drum, it was awfully fun. We caught around 10-12 and each one was pushing 20-25 pounds apiece.
It did costs us around 8-10 Strike King plugs, though. That kind of hurt.
Stinks to grind away without finding them, but that's how it goes. I talked to some others who were fishing and they seemed to find them. I admit that every time I looked up, I was the only one around, so maybe that explains the struggle.