Friday, May 31, 2013

Week of May 27, 2013

Just back from a great 3 and a half day trip with Dale and Rhandy.  As usual I fished mornings with Dale and afternoons til dark with Rhandy.  I spent 12-13 hours a day on the water and had a blast with both guides.

Overall this trip was a bit more about numbers than size.  We had pretty good numbers every day and I counted a total of 102 bass caught between us.  The main story was THE WIND.  It blew steady 15-25 mph almost the entire time I was out there.  It laid down a bit in the evening on Monday and Tuesday, but that was about it.  We spent our time bouncing from spot to spot, then tying up and fishing.  I enjoy fishing a spot real thoroughly and it seemed to pay off for us most of the time.  We did try sailing down long banks pitching crankbaits a few times, but that didn't seem to produce real well.

Dale had 2 spots that worked well and we totaled 25, 20, 17, and 8 bass through the week.  We started out each morning on a main lake point.  To make sure we got the spot we left very early each morning, well before dawn.  We were always the first boat off the ramp at the Minnow Bucket and that paid off.  I mostly pitched crank baits at the point and every morning I had to wade through a ton of sand bass to find the green fish.  I bet between Dale and I we caught way over 100 sand bass this trip, many of them big 2 pounders.  I had one that I'm sure was well over 3 pounds.  The biggest sand bass I have ever seen.  It was too floppy to take a picture.  Dale actually caught TWO sand bass on one crank bait.  One on the front treble and one on the back.  Again, I didn't get a picture because they were flopping around so much and I was laughing. We could catch 'em darned near every cast, but eventually we got tired of digging out the treble hooks and switched to Carolina rigs.  Even then the sandies pestered the heck out of our flukes.  Thump, thump, thump!!!  Dale caught several great big sand bass on flukes with Carolina rigs.

We moved around and tried a number of deeper water spots but Dale found just one that produced well so we beat the hell out of it for 3 and a half days.  It paid off with lots of decent fish that were fun to catch.  Nothing huge, but lots in the 3-4 pound range.  One of the funniest things occurred on Monday afternoon.  I kept seeing a blob out behind the boat in the water and I thought it was one of those jelly balls we see floating around occasionally.  I got hung up and as Dale prepared to untie so we could retrieve my Carolina rig, Dale noticed it was a turtle.  However it was not your normal aquatic turtle, it was a small Box Turtle, which is pretty much a land creature.  The poor little thing was paddling as fast as it could go, but its domed shell was acting like a sail in the high winds and it was just paddling in place, occasionally sticking its head up and gasping for air.  We headed over to rescue it and as the boat approached, it turned towards us, paddling, and stuck its head up as if to hollar for help.  Dale netted it and we went over to retrieve my rig.  The poor tortoise was exhausted and Dale put it in his special turtle live well til we went in to the ramp.  He released it near his boat storage.  Dale Stokes' tortoise rescue service!

Afternoons were very windy so Rhandy and I put in over at Wes's lodge in Leafy Branch on Monday and Tuesday and we worked some of Rhandy's spots along the west bank of the Northwest arm.  Just as Dale had found, some held fish and others were barren.  We saw a nice bald eagle out on Dale hump.  Tuesday was the only tough day but even that had a bright spot.  At our very first stop, we pulled up to a spot and Rhandy said "Throw that DD-22 between those 2 trees.  I caught a nice one right there last year."  Sure enough, I hung a 6 pound 3 ounce bass on my first cast.  Unfortunately, things got tough after that and we ended up with just 3 fish that afternoon, despite hitting some very good spots that had worked the day before.  That's fishing!  The next day Rhandy had me throw out and reel up my first cast so we would not have that first cast fish jinx again. That made me laugh.
I fished a half morning with Dale on Thursday and we caught sand bass til our arms got sore, then moved to his secret spot we had pounded the last 3 days.  Sure enough things had slowed down, a lot.  Dale caught several but I couldn't get bit.  As the time to go in approached, we moved up shallower and I eventually called "Last cast for bass" and pitched out a rig with a baby creature on it.  About half way back, I got my first bite at that spot and swung to set the hook.  A miss.  Dang it!  Well I started to reel in my bait, since I knew the hook would be exposed, and after just a few turns, wham, a bass hit it.  Too funny and a great way to end a fun trip.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Week of May 20, 2013

Rhandy finally got his greenhouses cleared out of spring plants and invited me out for a couple of days of "fun fishing".  I brought the BBQ and beer and helped out with the gas and Rhandy let me crash at his Siesta Ranch and we went crappie fishing every day.  A pretty good trade-out if you ask me, and even if you don't ask me!

We spent Tuesday morning on lake Bob Sandlin and came home with 22 keeper crappie which Rhandy cleaned up and bagged for me to take home later.  We came in early due to some big thunderstorms building to the west and made it back in just in time to dodge the rain and hail.  I managed to snooze my siesta right through the thunderstorm and didn't hear a thing!  Hey, it is called Siesta Ranch!  After some fabulous BBQ and much beer we called it an early evening and crashed to prepare for Wednesday's festivities. 

Wednesday's weather was much calmer so we headed out to Lake Cypress Springs to check out the crappie there.  As we put out from the dock at the ramp Rhandy commented it needed some repair.  We spent about 4 hours catching one here and one there under the bridge and ended up with 29 keepers, including one giant 2.2 pound crappie that was 16 inches long.  Anywhere else they would have mounted that fish.  Rhandy couldn't stand it any longer so despite a fridge full of righteous Q, we dined on fresh fried crappie that evening and, man, were they excellent!  We mounted the 16 incher on a fork and ate it!
Thursday we spent the morning back at Lake Cypress Springs.  When we went to load in the parks people were there fixing the dock.  Rhandy got his wish.  We caught another 10 crappie including another 2 pounder.  Rhandy kept those and sent me home with 80 crappie filets for my freezer.  I have a very happy freezer.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

week of April 28, 2013

Another fun couple of days out with Dale and Rhandy on Lake Fork.  The weather was amazing except for Wednesday when the wind slicked off and it got pretty warm.

Rhandy and I started Sunday out at Lake Cypress Springs for some crappie fishing.  We didn't kill them but I came home with enough filets for a few dinners. We caught a few giants, too!
Monday I went out with Dale while my buddy Trey and his son in law went out with Rhandy.  We caught a few but Rhandy put Trey on a 6 and 7 pounder and Rhandy caught one over 8.  We had a decent mexican dinner in Quitman before they had to head back to town.

Tuesday David came out and joined Dale and I and things started out pretty good on a main lake point.  David hooked a good one but it spit the hook.  Later Dale caught one at 9 pounds and 12 ounces.  It was a fat monster.  I was sure it was over 10.  When David netted the fish the hook fell out of its mouth.  We spent the rest of the day catching one here and one there on a variety of techniques.
David had to head back but I went back out with Rhandy around 2:30 pm.  Rhandy caught one that went about 6 pounds and I hooked a big fish that straightened out the hook on my rattle trap.  I never saw the fish but it felt like a good one.
Wednesday Dale and I started before 6 am to get out to his favorite deep water hole before it was camped by other fishermen.  I jumped off about an 8 pounder who spit a crankbait at my head.  I got to see that fish and it was a big heavy fish laying right where Dale said it would be.  Drat.  We did catch a few decent fish before they shut off around 8 am.  We hunted the rest of the day with little success as the wind dropped to zero and temperatures climbed.  It felt more like summer than spring for awhile there.
In our travels we saw a nice immature bald eagle and I snapped a couple of photos.  His white head had not quite developed yet but it was a huge bird.
I ended the day with Dale by hanging a carolina rig in the top of a tree as a christmas ornament. I hate doing that!  The fish are certainly deeper than 30 feet in the air.  We went in to meet up with Rhandy about 2 pm.

Rhandy and I headed straight to his honey hole and things started slow.  After about 40 minutes of no bites, Rhandy finally hooked a 7 pound 2 ounce bass and got it to the boat.  We stayed around his "go to" hump but never got the action we had seen the previous day.  We did get a couple of DD-22 fish pitching around stumps.  Off we went to try several other good spots without success.
 Around 6 pm the wind turned around to the northeast and started blowing 15-20 mph.  We went back to the main lake point where I had my hook straightened the day before and at first had no better luck.  Then we saw a single bass, about 3 pounds, chasing a single shad all over the top of the water around the boat.  At that point we had been sitting shallow and throwing out deep as that is where we got the best bite on Tuesday.  That showed us they were up shallow and I started pitching a rattle trap along the shore.  I told Rhandy if the bite didn't pick up by 6:30 we'd just go in and drink beer.  Shortly after that I caught a 3 pounder.  Then, right at 6:30 I hooked an 8 pound 4 ounce "good un'".  It made for deep water but I got it out from under the boat and into the net.  That was a strong fish!  We fished about another 30 minutes and I caught one more bass before we went in to drink much beer.  Photo of that fish is at the top.

I had planned to fish Thursday morning a half day with Dale, but yet another strong cold front made us think better.  I appreciate Dale's flexibility a lot as I don't think either of us would have enjoyed the 30 mph winds and plunging temperatures that were expected.

I'll be back for more soon!