Monthly Archives: April 2013

Fishing the L-28 in South Florida

Fishing the L-28 in South Florida
by Ron Brooks

Way out the Tamiami Trail (US41) about 40 miles west of Miami is a small canal. It was dredged almost due north into the everglades into the cypress head county. Islands of cypress trees on slightly higher ground are sitting in a sea of grass and water that runs about two feet deep. It is the original and unspoiled everglades.

When you hit the 40 mile bend, the road turns northwest. Dixie Webb’s old place was there and we had some of the finest count45ry ham and eggs breakfast feasts I ever ate over the years. About two miles farther on the trail, a canal takes off to the north into the glades. It’s a small canal and if you plan to launch a boat, it will have to be a canoe or kayak or small Jon boat, because there is no ramp there. You had to drop the boat over the guard rail on the highway, between the big Australian pine trees. We had a 12 foot Jon and a fifteen horse motor on this trip in 1977.

The canal was dug and the fill was placed on the east side of it as a dike for about 8 miles north into the glades. Then the canal just stopped. But the dike kept going, because for some reason they started digging on the east side of the dike. We would drag the boat out and over the dike and launch it in the new canal, which ran for many miles back into the interior of the glades.

I’m not sure why these two canals were dug. A story I once heard said they were for access for an oil drilling exploration. There have been several attempts to find oil in the glades, and this may have been an accurate story. Whatever the reason, it left a couple of canals full of fish and not many fishermen.

I was fishing with a good friend from North Carolina and up until noon, we had caught literally zero fish. It was summer; it was hot; and, the fish were simply not interested in anything we had to offer.

At 2PM on the button, it was as if someone turned on a light switch. The area we had fished for the past 8 hours suddenly turned on. When I say turned on, I mean catching a bass on every cast. Without exaggeration, we could cast 5, 6 or 7 times in a row and catch a bass every time!

The whole thing lasted for about an hour, and just as if someone turned the switch off, they quit. We released all of them; most were in the one or two pound category. The biggest was a tad over 7 pounds and was the poorest bass I had seen in a long time. If he had a full belly he would easily have topped ten pounds.

We caught them on a grape/firetail worm. That’s all we fished with back then. In my world it was unheard of to have a huge tackle box and more than one rod and reel. We had two outfits, and a couple of bags of Mann’s grape/firetail worms. Toward the end we were using a lighter to heat up worm pieces and glue them together to make one we could fish with!

We caught 62 bass in that one hour span – as fast as we could get a line in the water. And after they quit, we never had another strike for the rest of the day. I had never seen anything like it before and have never seen anything like it again.

I’ve fished that canal dozens of more times over the years, and had some awfully good days. In the fall, we would take shotguns with us. We ran out to where one of the big cypress heads was close to the dike. In the early dawn we waded out to the east and shot wood ducks and teal. Then we fished for a while. After the sun got a bit higher we would get out of the boat on the west side where the land was a bit dryer. We took our guns and walked some muddy swamp buggy trails and shot our limit of snipe – yes, Margaret the real deal snipe, like a Southern woodcock – before noon. Sometimes in the late afternoon we would roost a couple of wild turkeys in a cypress head and return the next morning before dawn to shoot one when he flew down from the roost. I’ve watched a small herd of deer swim across the canal on more than one occasion. I’ve watched and fed wild otters in the canal. They would hang around the boat – not too close – and wait for you to pitch a fish up on the bank or the dike. And, of course I have counted alligators in the canal as far as the eye could see. But I never, ever had a day of fishing like the one on that day!

Sight Fishing for Bass

Sight Fishing
by: Scott Suggs

I saw this bass holding under a dock and caught it on a Trick

I saw this bass holding under a dock and caught it on a Trick

By Scott Suggs

Maybe it’s cold outside where you are right now, maybe the lakes are all iced over. Or perhaps the sun is shining and the temperature hasn’t dipped below 70 degrees in a while. Either way, if you consider yourself an angler, it’s time to start thinking about sight fishing.

If you are lucky enough to live somewhere where the weather is warm and sunny right now, then it’s time to start employing sight fishing in order to catch bass. If it’s cold where you are, then that gives you plenty of time to start practicing your skills before the fish head to bedding areas. Some of the year’s biggest fish are caught by sight fishing and it’s easiest to do in clear, shallow water. It can be hard to master but can be very productive for bass and other species once the basics are understood.

Sight fishing involves spotting fish in the water – far easier said than done. In my experiences, I simply look for a shiny or bright spot with a shadow over it. The shiny spot is the bedding area. Big bass will find a place to hang out and then proceed to fan the area clear of algae and debris. This produces the shiny spot; the fish produces the shadow lingering over the bed. Spotting the fish any other way is very difficult because bass have evolved in such a way that the tops of their bodies take on the color of their environment enabling them to stalk their prey more effectively.

To see any of the features and fish beneath the surface, a must-have for anglers is a pair of quality, polarized sunglasses. Different people prefer different colored lenses for sight fishing with each offering advantages and disadvantages. Green lenses are more comfortable but are average in terms of contrast. Gray lenses offer more true color distinction but are lacking in terms of contrast. Amber lenses (preferred by most saltwater anglers) can be uncomfortable in the bright sun but offer the most contrast. There is no right or wrong lens color for sight fishing, only personal preference.

Once a fish is sighted, it is important to understand whether or not the fish is still spawning, protecting fry or just hanging out. If the fish is still spawning or guarding a hatch, it will be protective of its bed and will strike more out of aggression, not necessarily out of hunger. In this case, it will be necessary to cast closer to the fish as it will be less likely to leave its bed unprotected. If the fish is not guarding a bed, cast beyond the fish and retrieve it in front of it to get its attention. If the fish is moving, cast in front of it.

When selecting bait for sight fishing, it is not as necessary to mimic prey as it is to make sure your bait is seen. I prefer to fish brightly colored baits to make sure it grabs the attention of the fish. A large 4-inch Berkley PowerBait Power Flippin’ Tube is ideal rigged with a 4/0 wide gap hook; I like white because it allows me to easily see the bait in the water so I always know where it is in relation to the fish. Line size can also be a factor, so the clearer the water, the smaller the line. To give me the best strength-to-diameter ration, I use Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line. It disappears underwater and is less likely to spook line-shy bass that can be especially finicky when on the spawning beds.

Once you’ve found a bed, pitch the bait beyond the bed and work it slowly into the middle. Try to move it to the different sections of the bed, and take careful note of the bass’s reaction with each move. What you’re trying to do is determine where the “sweet spot” of the bed is. The “sweet spot” is the area of the bed – for whatever reason – that, when intruded upon by the bait, elicits an aggressive response from the fish. If the fish gets mad enough, it will strike the bait.

Other baits like a Texas-rigged PowerBait Power Worm or a PowerBait Classic Jig or even a small dropshot rigged with a PowerBait Hand Pour Finesse Worm or other similar-style baits can be effective. But the white tube is a tried-and-true sight fishing bait, one that brought a lot of bass to the boat for me over the years.

Sight fishing is an exciting way to fish for bass. It takes concentration, a keen eye, accurate casting and a requisite amount of stealth to be good at it. If the bass are on the beds right now where you live, go give it a try. If it’s going to be a while before your local fish start the spawning process, then you’ve plenty of time to practice.

Scott Suggs is the 2007 FLW Champion and the first angler in professional bass fishing to win $1 million in a single tournament.

What Is Open Water Fishing In The Winter?

Tony Roach caught this big walleye

Tony Roach caught this big walleye

Open Water Fishing In The Winter
by Bob Jensen

What strange winter weather we’ve been having across much of the Midwest, and as I understand, much of the country. It’s warm in areas where it should be cold, and it’s colder than normal in areas where it’s usually warmer. And snowfall is down substantially.

The ice cover on many lakes is weird this year also. On lakes that have good safe ice, the bite has been outstanding. You may have to travel farther that usual this year to find safe ice, but if you’re willing to do so, chances of being successful are very good.

But, if you don’t have the time or inclination to travel farther than normal to go ice-fishing, this warmer, drier than usual weather gives us another fishing opportunity. The medium to large rivers across the Midwest are providing some outstanding walleye and sauger action. The larger rivers will probably require a boat for the best chance at success, but wading anglers can take advantage of walleyes in the smaller rivers. Here’s why the fishing is good in the smaller rivers and how you can get in on the action.

Because conditions have been so dry across the Midwest for an extended period of time, rivers are running lower than usual for this time of year. For that reason, the fish are grouping up even more in the deeper holes. Fish generally like to be in deeper water in these small rivers in the winter, and because there are fewer deeper holes because of the low water, the remaining deep areas have more fish. In smaller rivers, there aren’t as many deep stretches, just deep holes. Find a deep hole and you’re going to find fish. The key is to make them bite.

In winter the water usually runs clearer, and fish in clear water can be finicky. Early and late in the day will be more productive, and night fishing can be explosive. Cloudy days will be better than bright days.

Our catch will consist mostly of walleyes, but smallmouth bass, northern pike, and even muskies will inhabit these deeper areas. A jig/minnow combination will do best most of the time, but at night a jig/action tail soft bait will be better. During the day throw a Fire-ball jig with a three inch fathead or shiner minnow, at night use a Slurp! Jig with a three inch Power Grub. Crawl the jig/minnow combo, swim the jig/Power Grub set-up.

We often hear how you need a slower presentation in cold water, and that’s a good starting point, but you can still catch walleyes on a crankbait in the winter. A Flicker Shad is a good choice: Use the larger, deeper running #7 size during the day, experiment with different sizes at night. At night the fish will move to the shallower water at the edge of the deep holes. When they move shallower, they will be biters, but a smaller, shallower running bait will often be better. Don’t hesitate to try the new #4 size Flicker Shad in the shallows at night.

It’s kind of a bummer that it’s harder to go ice-fishing this year than in past years, but that’s just part of the deal. I’m sure that there will still be plenty of ice-fishing opportunities this year, and late ice always provides some of the best ice action. However, while we wait for good ice, make the most of the low water in the rivers near where you live. You just might find some pretty good warm weather fishing in the winter.

What Is Pitching When Fishing?

Boyd Duckett caught this nice bass at Demopolis when I fished with him

Boyd Duckett caught this nice bass at Demopolis when I fished with him

What is pitching?

Bassin’ With Boyd: Pitchin’
by: Boyd Duckett

If a bass could build its ideal habitat, the specs would be something like this: shallow water, in or near heavy cover with quick access to deep water nearby. While the nearby deep-water access is good news for anglers (you need some place to float your boat), pulling bass out of water in or near heavy cover can pose some access problems.

Safe and secure in its ideal surroundings, the bass has an ideal ambush point should it decide to feed on baitfish or crawfish. This bass isn’t going to have a very big strike zone, so don’t expect it to come charging out from the cover to devour any fast-moving bait that just happens to be in the area. You are going to have to put this bait right where the bass lives. You may have to get the bait in through an opening no bigger than a coffee can or under low-hanging trees — all the while making sure not to spook the fish by causing a big splash with every cast. You are going to have to pitch.

What Is Pitching?

Pitching is a similar technique that anglers have employed for centuries when they tied lengths of line to the end of cane poles. It allowed them to guide the bait to a desired location. They did this without the high-tech rods and reels we now have at our disposal. It worked fair then but it works even better today. Whether it’s getting your bait in a small opening near heavy cover, under low-hanging limbs or around boat docks, being a proficient pitcher can make your days on the water much more successful.

Ideal for using in off-color or muddy water (as most lakes tend to be this time of year as they are stirred up by the wind and hard rain), pitching is best for targets between 10 and 30 feet away and provides a very quiet lure entry. Standard equipment for me is 25-pound test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line and a 7-foot-6-inch Flippin’ Stick (at least 7 feet in length is a must for a casting rod). It’s a heavy rod with plenty of backbone to wrestle big fish out of cover with a moderate action for easier strike detection.

What To Pitch

A must for anglers who use jigs, nearly any single-hook bait can be pitched, but my all-time favorite bait is a [link url=]Berkley PowerBait Chigger Craw[/link], either as a Texas rig or tipping a large jig. With this Texas-rigged bait on the line, I face the target, depress the line release trigger and let out enough line so that the bait is even with the first guide. With the bait in my off-hand and about waist level, I lower the rod tip toward the water and put some tension on the line. In one smooth, quick motion, I swing the rod tip toward the target and upward, letting go of the bait in my free hand. This is all controlled with the wrist – arm movement is not a factor. As the bait moves beneath the rod tip, release the line and continue raising the rod tip and control the spool with your thumb. The bait should fly just above the water’s surface and should land in its desired location through a combination of line tension and rod movement. Stopping the bait just before it enters the water almost always ensures a smooth, splash-free entry.

Pitching has been a go-to technique for anglers for years. But it takes practice. Set up some drills in the backyard or anywhere else you have room. Even if you can’t be on the water, you can still be sharpening your skills to make the next trip a success. Learn to make accurate, quiet casts and pitching will likely become one of your favorite ways to target big fish.

What Do I Do To Get Tackle Ready for the New Season?

Getting your reel ready for the new season

Getting your reel ready for the new season

by: Glenn Walker

Its time for getting your tackle ready for the new season

With spring right around the corner for many anglers, the cabin fever has set in for many of us. Some anglers have had the opportunity to already wet a line if their lakes don’t freeze over, but for many anglers like me, our favorite bodies of water turn into ice shanty towns and we are still a month or so before we can make that first cast of 2013.

All winter anglers spend their time tinkering with tackle and looking at all the hot new baits for the year. There are a few key items that all anglers can do to not only prepare their tackle

Tip #1: Evaluate Your Tackle Storage System

Keeping your tackle organized allows you to quickly find that fish catching lure, but it also helps keep your lures from getting wrecked throughout the year. By properly keeping your tackle in a Plano Waterproof Stowaway, you won’t have any worries about your favorite topwater plug getting wet and rusty. When organizing your tackle, this is also a great time to see what all you have and if there are some lures you haven’t used in years, then put together a grab bag and give it to a young inspiring angler.

Tip #2: Spool Your Reels with Fresh Line

An anglers fishing line is the key connection between landing that trophy and just having a fish story for your buddies at the dock. Putting new fishing line on your reels is very important and isn’t something that should be put off until you have your line break. Any time I’m spooling my reels up with fresh line, I’ll always spray the spool of the line and run the line through a rag as it goes on the reel that has the KVD Line & Lure Conditioner on it. Doing this will help you get the maximum performance out of your line.

Tip #3: Put New Treble Hooks on Your Crankbaits

Whether you got a batch of new crankbaits underneath the Christmas tree or a bunch of your favorite cranks need some TLC, putting new treble hooks on these baits can help increase your hooking percentage tremendously! The stock hooks that come on crankbaits out of the box aren’t very good and after a year of fishing your favorite crankbait could let you down when you hook up with that big bass. Using a good split ring plier, I spend a good chunk of my winter making sure I have sharp treble hooks on all my baits, and if I don’t, I’ll put on a pair of the new Trokar Treble Hooks. These treble hooks are super sharp and will help you get more crankbait fish in the boat!

Tip #4: Protect Your Investment

Keeping your expensive fishing gear safe happens on two levels, the first is the immediate impact it has, such as keeping your rods and reels protected from damage and from collecting dust when not in use. Using products such as The Rod Glove to cover your rod will keep your rod blank and guides from getting damaged. The second and larger scale way to protect your investment is to do an in-depth inventory of all your tackle, rods and reels, this list, along with photographs will help you recoup your loses should you need to make an insurance claim, due to an unforeseen incident.

Tip #5: If It Don’t Fit, It Sits

Staying warm, dry and safe on the water is the number one goal every angler should have and this doesn’t start when you arrive at the boat ramp, or even the night before a big fishing trip, it starts now. Take the time to make sure your life jackets fit you and your fishing guests properly and that there are no holes or rips in them. A good rain suit is the key piece of the puzzle to staying dry and warm, especially when fishing in the early spring. All winter I keep my Onyx Pro Tech Jacket and Bibs hanging up so they will be ready for my first trip of the year.

Who knows, maybe by the time you are done reading with this it is time to go make a cast and take advantage of every fishing opportunity you have this year!

To read more fishing tips and see informative videos, check out

How To Fish The Weedline

Two nice Lake Conroe crappie

Two nice Lake Conroe crappie

by: Bob Jensen

In the summer, there are a lot of areas in a lake that will be home to fish. Some fish will be in the deep water close to structure, some will be suspended over deep water hanging out around baitfish, and some will be in the shallow sloppy vegetation. But on any lake in the Midwest, you can bet that if there is a good weedline in the mid range depths, there will be fish nearby. They might be largemouth bass, could be crappies, there will probably be some walleyes in the area, and you can bet a musky or northern pike will be cruising through every now and then as well. For the next couple of months, the weedline is going to be the grocery store for fish.

Weedlines To Fish

Just to be clear, the weedline that we’re talking about usually consists of cabbage weeds. Clumps of coontail weeds are also good. The tops of the weeds could poke above the surface of the water, but mostly the weedline is below the surface. The weedline could be in five or fifteen feet of water. Generally, the clearer the water, the deeper the weedline.

Baits To Use

Lots of baits will work on the weedline. Early in the day, later in the evening, or on cloudy days, it works well to fish a spinnerbait over the tops of the weeds. Sometimes you’ll want the spinnerbait to bulge the water’s surface, other times a lift-drop retrieve will be best. Regardless of retrieve, you’ll want to use a spinnerbait that has hardware that enables the blade to turn at the slowest speeds. A Pro Series Reed-Runner spinnerbait is perfect for working over and around the weedline.

Lots of other techniques will work along the weedline, but day in and day out, it’s tough to beat a jig and soft bait of some sort. Soft bait appeals to any fish that lives on the weedline.

When some anglers think soft bait and jigs on the weedline, they automatically think of a worm shaped bait. Worms have caught lots of fish on lots of weedlines, but it is possible that fish become conditioned to a traditional worm shape. Much of the time, if you try something a little different, you’ll catch more fish. A fairly new worm shape that has been out-producing traditional worms is the Berkley PowerBait SaberTail. The SaberTail looks just a little different than most worms, and lately, it’s been a lot better than most worms.

A jig designed for soft bait is also important. The Lip-Stick Jig-Worm has a long shank hook and a bait holder that prevents the soft bait from sliding down the hook. For soft bait, this is the jig you should use.

When the fish are active, a heavier jig works best as it allows you to cover water faster.

A smaller jig allows for a slower fall which can trigger fish that are reluctant to bite.

Eight pound Berkley Trilene Sensation is about perfect most of the time for working the weedline.

Right now is a great time to be fishing, and the weedline is great place to start your search for fish.

What Is the Most Important Bass Fishing Equipment Development?

The modern bass boat is full of amazing developments

The modern bass boat is full of amazing developments

What is the most important bass fishing equipment advancement in the past 100 years? Is it depthfinders, that allow you to know what is under the water? How about monofilament and fluorocarbon line, or braid, all a great improvement over old lines that broke way too easily and were hard to use. Or is it modern reels and rods? How about electric trolling motors? GPS? Lures or plastic worms? Fancy bass boats? The list goes on and on of things fishermen did not have 100 years ago.

I started fishing in the mid-1950s – about 60 years ago. When I started standard equipment was a cane pole, length of line, split shot and hook and a can of earthworms. My uncles used knuckle busting baitcasting reels. There was no free spool on those old reels, the handle was attached directly to the spool so the handle spun backwards as you cast, hitting unwary knuckles.

Line on those reels was a form a braid, nothing like modern braid. Rods were often steel or bamboo. All broke often and were not reliable.

Boats were wooden and you paddled them. Some anglers had small gas motors that were hard to crank and would leave you out on the water way too often. To fish you skulled the boat with a paddle, stopping to fish, or had one person in the boat paddle or skull while the other fished. If you wanted to know the depth of the water you stuck your paddle down or used a sounding line. But few fished for bass deeper than a few feet deep.

I got a Mitchell 300 spinning reel in 1966 – one of the first available at a reasonable price. And it was a big improvement.

Now I fish out of a 20 foot bass boat with a 24 volt trolling motor and 225 HP gas motor that is very reliable. I have about 25 modern rod and reel outfits, including spinning and baitcasting outfits. And I use modern braid, mono and fluorocarbon line. There are hundreds of bags of plastic worms of any color and size you can imagine and I don’t want to count the number of crankbaits, topwater plugs, spinnerbaits and rattle baits I carry.

But to me the most important item is the foot controlled electric motor. With it I can maneuver the boat quietly, hold where I want to fish and have both hands free to cast, work baits and reel in, allowing me to pay more attention for bites.

What do you think is the most important fishing equipment development? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Best Fifteen Years

I was happy with this keeper bass

I was happy with this keeper bass that hit a Zoom Mag 2 worm

by: Ron Brooks

Along about 15 years or so ago I was surfing around on the internet looking for fishing information. I came across a website called “The Mining Company” and a whole bunch of articles about fishing. I was living in the Atlanta area, and as it turned out lots of these articles talked about fishing in the local area. So I book marked the site and came back to it quite often.

My main job at the time dealt with the internet and building websites, so I found it quite interesting that this “Mining Company” thing had taken hold. The fishing site was one of dozens of sites under the Mining Company umbrella, covering everything from sewing to cooking and car repair to fishing. The people writing for these sites were called guides, and they “mined” the Internet for information so that you would not have to search. Each site became a veritable plethora (you like those two words?) of specific information.

A few weeks later, the author of this fishing website – his name is Ronnie Garrison – asked if anyone out there had any fish stories. Well, I had a few, so I began writing them and sending them to Ronnie.

Now – I am not the greatest writer in the world, but I do pretty well, especially when it comes to fishing stories. I submitted some stories to him and he posted them on his site. I was thrilled!! I went to work and actually kept his website minimized on my desktop PC to show visitors to my office how I had been “published”. I even contacted my cousin, Jim in Tennessee and put him onto Ronnie’s site. We both loved it!

I think it was just a couple of months later in 1997 that Jim had come to visit me in Georgia. We both had emailed each other and Ronnie numerous times with answers to his weekly give-away quiz, and in the midst of all this discovered that Ronnie lived less than 45 miles from my door.

One thing led to another and Jim and I were invited to fish with Ronnie in Lake Wedowee just across the state line in Alabama. The plan was for us to drive to the public boat ramp and meet him there with his boat. At the time, my boat consisted of a 15 foot Lowe’s aluminum Jon boat. Ronnie was fishing out of a 21 foot Stratos.

We met at the ramp, fumbled through some awkward introductions and left the dock to fish.

At the time, Jim was producing and selling jigs and jig heads. His internet business was blossoming and he brought a number of them with us on that trip.

We actually did catch a lot of fish, most of them spotted bass, and most of them on Jims’ small deer hair jigs. I can remember going several casts in a row and hooking a bass on every cast. It was that kind of day.

After that trip we seemed to be closer to Ronnie, and I was still sending him “Fish Tales” to post on his site. And then Ronnie asked me one day a question that would change my life for the next fifteen years. He asked me who I wrote for.

I was flabbergasted! Write for someone? He said I needed to see about doing some writing, and he gave me the name of two editors. One was and still is with Georgia Outdoor News (GON), and one was and still is with Game and Fish publications of Intermedia Outdoors.

I contacted these folks and after a couple of false starts I began writing as a freelance outdoor writer. I had an article in 8 of GON’s next 12 issues and four of Georgia Sportsman’s next 12 issues. And I applied with the Mining Company and was accepted as their Guide to Saltwater Fishing, where my expertise lies.

That was fifteen years ago. In that time the Mining Company changed names to and was bought and sold a number of times. At one point early on they did an IPO that allowed Ronnie and I and all of the dozens of guides to make a chunk of money with stock options. They went private again after the Internet bubble burst and they are currently owned by a group that is changing the basic way all of the older guides operated and wrote. Sad – I had quite a following when I retired form that position earlier this year. And Ronnie had an even larger following. We both, along with numerous other former guides, are convinced the new owners are making a big mistake by changing the format of the experience. But time marches on.

I became a member of the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association (GOWA), Florida Outdoor Writers Association (FOWA) and the Southeast Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA). At one of my first GOWA conference meetings, my wife finally met Ronnie’s wife, and the four of us remain good friends.

At dinner that night Ronnie’s wife related to my wife how she felt about that first fishing trip that Ronnie took me on with my cousin, Jim. She told him to take a handgun because he didn’t know who we were and we might get him out on the lake and knock him in the head. So, Ronnie was packing that day we fished.

My wife and I began laughing when she related that story to us. It seems my wife told me the same thing! I was packing as well!

Ronnie still writes for a number of publications, and I still get some work from time to time with GON and with Florida Game and Fish. We remain friends, united by writing and fishing. I have moved back to my origins in Florida, and I concentrate on Florida fishing now, most of it in saltwater. Through all of these years Ronnie and I have remain friends, meeting up every year at the annual GOWA Spring Conference. And the push he gave me way back when is still there.

Here’s hoping for another fifteen years for you, Ronnie on this new website!

Fishing A Clark’s Hill Club Tournament

I caught this bass in a club tournament in January at Jackson Lake a few years ago

I caught this bass in a club tournament in January at Jackson Lake a few years ago

After all the problems, finally my luck changed. As we fished down a wind blown point I picked up a Shadrap and quickly caught two keepers. Then Al got one. We kept working the point and I got my limit by 9:00 and Al had his by 10.

I switched to a jig and pig and got my best keeper of the day, close to 3 pounds, and a couple of fish on a Carolina rigged lizard. We fished some spawning pockets but saw nothing. The water temperature had dropped several degrees and the air was cold – 39 degrees when we took off, so I guess the fish had backed off.

We started hitting different places. On one wind blown point Al got a nice bass on a Carolina rigged lizard It ended up weighing 3.77 pounds and being big fish. In the back of a pocket he got another one almost the same size on a Zoom Fluke. We tried a lot of different things and caught a few fish but they were very scattered. I ended up with 11 keepers, Al had 7, but he had two bigger than my biggest.

At weigh-in Al had right at 13 pounds for first and was tied for big fish. I had 10.09 for third. Second was 11 pounds

We rode back to the boat club to eat supper and get ready for day two. I made sure we parked out of the mud!

Sunday morning was cold when we left before daylight for the 15 minute ride to the tournament blast off, about 39 degrees. There was some breeze so the fog was only back in the creeks and we had ho problem, I was worried about the fog, it would be a long ride in the fog going by my GPS.

When we blasted off we ran straight to the point where we had caught so many the day before and I managed two on the Shad Rap and Al got one but that was it We fished the area and I got one more small keeper on the crank bait but that was it. The wind got stronger and stronger as we hit several places trying to find something.

At about l1 we stopped on a rocky point behind an island where we were protected from the wind and I got another keeper. After working it hard with no more bites I went out in the wind and got a bite and broke my line setting the hook. It broke way up near the rod. I guess a loop in the line had “burned” as I cast and I did not realize it was weak. I use ten pound Sun Line and it is tough. That was two on a jig head worm so I picked up another rod and kept casting. The very next cast I got my fifth keeper on the jig head off the same wind blown point. The wind was so bad we tried to hold and fish it but it was tough.

We hit a couple more places out of the wind and went back behind the island and I got another keeper. That was it for the day. At weigh-in I held on to third with 17 pounds, Al dropped to fourth with 15 pounds. First was 23 pounds, second was 18 pounds. We had 13 people and there were 15 limits in two days. Al’s 3.77 tied for big fish.

We managed to get back to the boat club and get home without any more problems.

Fishing Clark’s Hill

I can catch a bass!

I can catch a bass!

I had a two day club tournament at Clark’s Hill this past weekend and it was fun but frustrating, and several problems about drove me crazy to start.

Went over on Thursday afternoon and got to my place at Raysville Boat Club. Got unloaded and started to get dishes out of dishwasher – i usually start the dishwasher when I leave on the previous trip. It was full of dirty dishes from last summer! The pump had frozen up and tripped the circuit breaker.

Friday morning got up to go out and check some fishing spots and battery was dead in the van. Got my charger I had used the day before and hooked it up, and it had died. Got a battery out of the boat and tried to jump the van off but the van battery was too dead. Took me a couple of hours to do all that and finally get side post van battery out and top post battery from boat hooked up with vice grip pliers to get it started. Let it run an hour to charge the van battery. By then it was raining so didn’t even get out.

Al got to the lake late that afternoon and we got tackle ready. I was worried about the rain, daddy had put gravel down in front of the carport where I parked the boat but mud had washed in over it over the years and it was an uphill pull leaving. Sure enough, we got up the next morning and the van would not move. I had asked Al to bring a chain and we managed to get the van and boat out of the mud after a long scary pull that ended up throwing mud all over the boat.

We launched and made the 15 minute ride down to Mistletoe where the tournament started. We took off and ran to the bridge to see if shad were spawning – no activity. When running to our second stop my butt seat came apart, the seat hit the windshield and went into the lake. The post stayed in the boat, fortunately, and the seat floated. Got it and stopped on a wind blown gravel point.

The fishing story in the next post.