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Follow my Fish of 2017
It doesn't feel like it had been two weeks since Brad and I made the trip to Pickwick for a few hours. Alas, it has been. Funny thing is, looking at the pictures of our last trip, I am wearing jeans and a t-shirt. That's not quite the clothing selection I had on this past Friday. It was 22 degrees on the drive from my house to McFarland and about 25 when we dunked Big Booty Judy.
On our last trip, we didn't get to fish until about 830 or 9 and had to leave around 1. It took the better part of the trip to find any fish. In fact, we had to search for nearly two hours to get our first bite. Using jerkbaits, we found fish on a small stretch of bluffs. We hammered down on them and caught a fair amount of fish before we had to leave. Surprisingly, no big fish and no smallies. Go read that report by clicking the link below.
Still, it was a good day. So, we decided not to reinvent the wheel and go right to where we had been catching. Ok, that's a lie. It was so cold that when Brad asked "where we gonna start" I dropped the trolling motor inside of McFarland and said "right about here." Shoot, I wasn't gonna run ANYWHERE in 25 degrees if it wasn't tournament day.
That actually paid off pretty quick as I fished the barge tie-ups, specifically the eddy line, with a PTL Sick Stick on a shakey head. A fun fight led to this super chunky spotted bass which is probably my biggest of the year.
The next cast, another fish jumped on the line and I started getting really excited that I had found a pile of fish. Alas, it was a drum.
We moved to some other community hole areas without a bite before moving to the bluffs where we had success. Throwing a Smithwhick Perfect Ten jerkbait resulted in fish after fish. However, they weren't very big and they were all spots. Nothing wrong with that, but eventually we wanted to find the brownies.
We continued down the bluffs before Brad caught this chunk on the jerkbait.
I followed that up later with this nice largemouth.
We noticed that the bigger fish were all alone. We would catch five to seven smaller fish but would find a bigger once close to, but not directly with, the pile of smaller fish.
After awhile, the sun came out and the jerkbait bite began to decline. We would still catch some, but I began to notice that I wasn't marking bait on the straight bluffs. We can upon a slopping bluff that extended pretty far into the river. Instead of a straight drop to 14-18 feet, it tapered off slowly. I also began to mark fish. So, I pushed the boat out and picked up the trust Strike King 6XD. It might also have something to do with the fact that I bounced my Rogue off a rock and came back with half the bait.
And then I went to town. This 50 yard stretch of sloping bluff held a ton of fish and Brad and I must have caught 10-15 from the exact same cast. But, like all things, it went away. Likely because we caught them all.
With the day coming to an end, we decided to go back to the area that seemed to be holding better fish, however sporadic they may have been. I had a suspicion, based upon this tapering bluff area, that I may have been sitting on top of the fish.
So while he tossed the jerkbait, I threw the 6XD parallel to the bluffs. This resulted in a couple of 2.5 pound fish, just no big ones. Eventually, I did get that big one to load up and as I fought the fish, I could tell this was a big smallie.
Sure enough, I got a great shot at a massive brown fish about the time she threw the crankbait. That fish would have boosted our sack to around 17.5 pounds and put us around 30 fish for the day. Not a bad winter's day fishing trip!