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.

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