Thursday, November 17, 2011

week of November 13, 2011

I spent 3 and a half days out at Lake Fork this week, battling weather mostly, and occasionally catching some fish. 

Monday I started out with Dale at 6:30 am and we had a blustery south wind all day long.  That wind limited where we could fish and the fish were still being onery.  I think we only had 4 little ones by noon after trying multiple spots using carolina rigs, chatter baits, shakey heads, crank baits, and excalibers.  Nothing seemed to work for us.  Finally, Dale's trolling motor started running low on juice so he decided the best plan was to let the wind blow us down a long windy bank, just using the trolling motor enough to keep us out of the timber.  We hooked on some crank baits and started blasting down the bank in the high wind, trying not to hang up.  After about 10 minutes, we came around a small point and I hooked a 6 and half pounder who flat swallowed my excaliber.  Dale managed to extract the bait, but one barb nicked a gill and it was bleeding like crazy.  After a picture it swam off just fine.
We managed to hang in the same spot for a few more casts and I boated another nice fish that was at least 5 and half pounds.  Once again it swallowed the crank bait and nicked a gill, making another mess.  It also swam off just fine after the encounter.
We didn't weigh either fish because we were being blown swiftly down the bank, plus we wanted to get them back in the water ASAP due to the gill nick.  The estimate on both fish might have been a bit low, but not by too much.  They sure beat the dinks we had earlier!

We continued on down the bank and eventually found another sweet spot, but no fish of any size there.  Despite being blown down several miles of bank we only found those two spots that produced any fish.  I think we ended up with 12 fish for the day.

On Tuesday the weather was better.  The wind died down but the fish were just as stubborn.  We caught some little ones at our sweet spots from Monday but nothing of size.  Next we tried some deep water with carolina rigs and jigging spoons.  The spoons only produced a few tiny bar fish.  We could find fish on the graph, but they just were not interested.  We moved around a lot, varied techniques, but never had any real success.  I think the best spot was a deep water hole near Dale Creek hump that produced 3 fish up to 3 pounds.  We ended up with 9 fish for the day and got run off the lake by thunder and dark clouds a little after noon.

That same evening I hooked up with Rhandy for some afternoon and evening fishing.  There was a strong thunderstorm about 3 pm that kept us on the bank til 4:30.  As we pulled out, it was still raining a bit and we were the only boat we saw on the lake for the next 4 hours.  Rhandy found a nice point where the schooling action was on and we hooked maybe 20 fish and boated about 9.  Once again crank baits were the ticket.  I was getting bites with a carolina rig, but never could hook a fish. 
After dark we went to shakey head worms but found bites few and far between.  Carolina rigs and Texas rigged worms were no better.  Eventually, we came around another windy point and I hooked a 6 pound 14 ounce bass on a shakey head.  I managed to fight him through the timber to the boat and got a nice photo with a surprised look on my face.  That one got weighed!  Look at the mouth on that sucker!
Wednesday started out nice but the wind had shifted around to the north as a cold front passed.  The wind steadily increased through the day.  Our sweet spots from earlier were no longer productive and once again we one'd and two'd them with lots of traveling around trying to find some cooperative fish.  we never succeded, despite Dale's heroic efforts.  We even putted way back up into Little Caney branch which is pretty much idle all the way now, due to the lake being so low.  We went in about 2:30 pm and ended up with 9 fish, nothing of size.

Rhandy came by about 4 pm that afternoon and we headed out for some more evening fishing.  However, since I had come in earlier, the wind had begun screaming out of the north.  I'd guess it was steady 20 mph with regular gusts over 30 mph.  We made it back to his schooling corner and sure enough the fish were still there and biting.  It was a very bouncy trip and we quickly decided that would not be fun after dark, especially with the lake 7 feet low and timber poking up everywhere.  So after about an hour of catching and missing the schooling bass, we called an early evening and ran in to drink much beer. 

Thursday dawned COLD with a ramp air temperature of 39 degrees and a stiff 15 mph north wind when we pulled out.  Originally, the plan had been to fish crappie, but the wind killed that deal.  Instead we moved around and tied up to timber, fishing carolina rigs and catching a few small bass before calling it a half day.  We did see some bald eagles, mateing in mid air.  Pretty cool.  We also saw a big bobcat, wild pigs, lots of deer, otters, raccoons, and other wildlife.

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