Friday, April 25, 2014

week of April 20, 2014

I went out for 3 and a half days this week with Dale and Rhandy.  As usual, I did full days with Dale, 6:30 am to 2:30 pm then half a day with Rhandy 3 pm to 7 or 7:30 pm.  Dale was booked Thursday so Rhandy and I saved that for a half day crappie trip.

On the way out Sunday night I drove through heavy rain and storms, proving once again that I am the Lake Fork Rain God!  I will fill that lake yet!

Dale and I headed out of Oak Ridge on Monday at 6:30 am and we were the first boat off the ramp there.  We had a slow day pitching wacky worms, dead sticking flukes, and other techniques around a number of quality spots at the south end of the lake.  We ended up with 5 fish for the day with Dale catching the one good one at about 7 pounds.  We didn't have many more bites than that 5 that we caught.  It was just slow.  I think I caught 2 of the 5 and both those were in the morning.
Things didn't improve a lot with Rhandy in the afternoon as we tried some more proven spots with Carolina rigs.  I did have one great bite where a fish just hammered my fluke, but somehow I missed him.   Dark clouds and oncoming rain ended our day at 7 pm and a heavy shower arrived after we had gotten inside for our BBQ and beer.  I am the Lake Fork Rain God!!!

Tuesday dawned with hope of better results and Dale and I headed off to new spots and switched to fishing lizards with a split shot in shallow water.  We had a few more bites and missed more fish than we did on Monday, but still only ended up with 6 fish for the day.  I had another whomper bite that broke me off when the fish tried to pull the rod out of my hand.  I sure wish I had gotten a look at that fish.  We saw lots of wildlife including a coon, banded water snakes, and a cotton mouth.
Rhandy and I headed back to our Monday spot and found some rat finks already fishing there.  We fished a tree line nearby and Rhandy caught a couple of small ones.  The finks were catching on our spot, so we eventually headed elsewhere.  The wind slicked off and it got really warm there for the rest of the afternoon.  Rhandy ended up with 5 fish for the afternoon but I never got a single bite.  Drat!  Not from a lack of trying, and we were on some very good spots.  Both Rhandy and Dale were very frustrated by this point, but it never really bothers me as much as it bothers them.  I have caught lots of nice fish with each of them and and I know that's just how it goes sometimes.  I keep telling them not to fret about it, but they do anyway.

Wednesday Dale told me we were going to switch up tactics and try to find a big fish.  We switched to big senkos and started out pitching at timber and the edge of some nice grass back in a pocket.  We caught a few small ones and missed a few.  One of them had some cool black spots, even on its tongue.  We kept at it through the day, switching to Carolina rigs for a bit, but only ended up with 7 for the day.  We did see a nice bald eagle along one bank.

Rhandy and I started out south of the 154 bridge but later moved to a spot we had fished the previous day with no success.  We never got a bite there Tuesday, but shortly after pulling up my fluke got hammered by a 6 pound bass that fought like he was a 10 pounder.  That was fun!  After that I think I caught 2 more there, both with savage bites.  The only thing different was there was a slight south wind.  It's all about being in the right place at the right time and we were on Wednesday.
Thursday morning Rhandy and I trucked over to Lake Cypress Springs to try again at crappie.  Rhandy had heard reports they were finally biting over there, but they were not on this day.  We spent a couple of hours under the bridge, hit some brush piles, tried some shallow water along retaining walls, and only ended up with 4 crappie.  Rhandy caught all of them, but I did catch one small Kentucky bass.  They are bound to turn on there any day now, just not when I'm there!  We went back to Rhandy's place where he cleaned up those 4 crappie for me with Bud's assistance.  I'll be back for more soon.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

week of March 31, 2014

Finally!  After a much colder than normal start to the year, things finally warmed up enough for me to get out on the water for my first trip of 2014.  I booked 2 days with Dale, afternoons and 1 full day with Rhandy, plus a half day on Thursday.  Dale had one of his big trips out late in the week so Hook Line and Sinker was full up on Wednesday and Thursday.  I moved down the street to the Trophy Lodge and was comfy there for all 4 nights.

Monday started out windy so Dale headed us across the lake to a pocket on the south end of the east arm.  We started on the outside edge of that pocket and stayed in there all day long.  Didn't do too bad, either.  We ended up with 9 fish between us, nothing big, but enough bites to make for a fun day.  I thought I had a good one when I snagged a turtle on the leg.  Not much of a fight but it sure felt heavy.  For a couple of years I had suggested we spend one day just tying up in a good spot and staying there all day long.  This was pretty close to that and I enjoyed it.  Certainly more fun than getting beat up fighting the waves while running all over the lake.  I actually caught a bass on my very first cast of the year.  Experience tells me that is almost as bad a sign as winning the first hand in a poker game.

We went in about 3 pm and I headed right back out again with Rhandy.  The winds had dropped a bit so we spent the rest of the day hitting main lake points and secondary points on the outside of pockets.  Again we ended up with 9 fish, nothing of size, but enough bites to make it fun.  I called beer-thirty a little before sunset at 7:30 pm when I caught my last fish.  Not bad to catch a bass on my first and last cast of the day.

Our big adventure of the afternoon was the weather.  Skies were darkening a bit as we went out so we decided to stick close to the ramp and see what happened.  The darkest clouds passed on by so we headed across the lake to fish points.  We had been there 45 minutes or an hour when we heard a boom of thunder directly overhead.  A small thunderhead had built up right on top of us.  We immediately started reeling up and when I laid the rod down I got a good static electric shock.  I had one more rod to move and when I sat that one down I got a second shock.  Not good!  Static electricity is a warning of a possible lightning strike, and SOON.  We got locked down and Rhandy floored it across the lake to the ramp where we sat til the small shower passed by.  He took a risk gunning it through the stumps, but it was the better risk to take versus a lightning strike.  That's something I hope I don't experience again. 

Tuesday the weather was much better with much lighter winds.  Dale took us around to a number of great spots but the fish just were not cooperating.  We ended up with 6 for the day, nothing of size.  Dale hooked one pretty good fish but it got off and we never saw it.  It had him doubled up pretty good.

Once again we went in about 3 and I headed back out again with Rhandy shortly thereafter.  Since the weather was no longer an issue, Rhandy turned north and we headed all the way up to Running Creek.  We found water temperatures up to 73 degrees up there and that usually makes for good fishing.  Rhandy started us out in the creek channels but we only got one bite.  That bite was a 2 pound crappie that ate Rhandy's worm.   Eventually we moved shallow and we could see and hear lots of bass spawning right on the bank. Nothing big, but there were lots of fins, tails, and splashing going on all along the bank.  I caught one on a Texas rigged fluke, even thought it wrapped me up on 4 different stumps on the way to the boat.  We hooked several more but they either got off or wrapped us up before we could land them.  We might have been better off fishing from the bank there.  There are just too many stumps up there.  We headed back at dusk.

Rhandy took us out a bit later on Wednesday, about 8 am, and we spent the whole day hitting different spots and trying different techniques trying to make the fish happy.  They were having none of it.  I caught one all day.  After 9 hours on the water I called beer-thirty and we went in to drink away our troubles.  They just were not playing our game.

Thursday we decided to head to Lake Cypress Springs for some crappie fishing.  Rhandy had been doing well in previous weeks, but our bad luck continued.  I caught 1 small Kentucky bass and a little crappie that jumped off at the boat.  Rhandy caught 2 big crappie on a brush pile, but those were the only bites we had.  We blamed Obama.   Rhandy made me 4 nice filets with the help of his supervisor, Bud.

Perhaps the best explanation I have heard for the tough fishing was that we were fishing February water in April.  The cold and late winter we have had has water temperatures running well behind where they should be this time of year.  With the exception of the very shallow water up in Running Creek, most of the water temps we were seeing on the main lake were still in the 50's.  Hopefully by the time I get back later this month things will have warmed up a bit.