Last Saturday 16 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our club classic at Lake Wedowee. To qualify for the classic, a member must either finish in the top 8 in point standings for the previous year or fish at least eight tournaments of the 12 the club holds.
After nine hours and 15 minutes of casting, we brought 64 keeper fish weighing about 98 pounds to the scales. Catching keepers at Wedowee is complicated. All largemouth from 13 to 16 inches long must be released immediately so can not be weighed in. Spots over 12 inches long are legal. We had two illegal largemouth brough to the scales. They were thrown out and a three-pound penalty assessed for each illegal fish. That hurts!
There were ten five-fish limits weighed in and two people did not have a limit. Most folks had a mixture of spots and largemouth in their catch. All fish weighed in were released alive, as required in club rules. Fish not released alive draw a penalty, too, so it pays to take care of your fish.
Mitch Cardell had a great catch of five bass weighing 13.22 pounds for first and a 5.66 pound largemouth for big fish. Drew Naramore came in second with five weighing 9.67 pounds, Raymond English was third with five at 9.46 pounds, Donnie Willis placed fourth with five weighing 9.33 pounds and Evan Skipper was fifth with five at 8.96 pounds.
I went over on Wednesday and camped at Gold Mine Camp about 15 minutes from the lake. Gold Mine Camp is an interesting place, you can actually pan for gold and gems there. The campsites are rustic but there is a bathroom and shower available, a requirement for me. The lake was off limits for us until Thursday.
I had probably the most frustrating three days fishing in my life. Thursday I thought I had found a pattern and caught some nice largemouth and spots, but Friday I got only one bite all day.
In the tournament I did not get a bite until 11:00, then caught five small spotted bass weighing just over 5 pounds in the next two hours. After that I did not get another bite.
I guess I should be thankful. The tornado that did so much damage in Newnan started just a few miles from where I was camped in my slide in pick up camper!
Last Sunday 15 members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our January tournament at Lake Sinclair. After eight hours of cold casting, we brought 28 12-inch keeper bass weighing about 45 pounds to the scales. Two people caught five fish for a limit but seven people did not land a keeper.
Wayne Teal won with four bass weighing 9.89 pounds and had a 3.81 pound largemouth for big fish. Jay Gerson had five weighing 7.46 pounds for second, Chris Davies five at 6.41 pounds was third and Niles Murray had three weighing 6.33 pounds for fourth.
Chris fished with me and we started where I caught my two the weekend before but never had a bite. After
two hours I decided to do what I thought I should have done last weekend and went to clearer water.
The first place we stopped Chris caught a small keeper on a rattle bait. I kept casting a bladed jig to grass and docks, thinking that would attract a decent fish. A little later Chris caught another keeper on a crankbait, then one on a jig head worm.
Down three to nothing I decided to go to a jig head worm just to try to catch a keeper and landed two. Chris then lost two keepers, the first one the biggest we saw all day. I caught my third keeper and we were tied.
With a little over an hour left to fish, I caught my fourth keeper on the worm then, before I could get it in the livewell, Chris got his fourth one. A few minutes later he got his fifth to fill his limit.
I tried hard to catch another one but did not. My four weighing 5.16 pounds was good for fifth.
I don’t know if we got to the right area after lunch when we had almost all our bites, or if it was the time of day. Whatever it was, I am glad it happened.
After weigh-in Wayne said he caught all his fish in the muddy water on a bladed jig. It drives me crazier to find out the winning pattern was something I tried but never head a bite!
Last Saturday catching bass at Sinclair was very “hit and miss” for the 21 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters in our January tournament. In 7.5 hours we landed 35 12-inch keeper bass weighing about 58 pounds. There were two limits and seven people did not land a keeper.
Shay Smith won with five weighing 14.50 pounds and Mitch Cardell came in second with five at 12.68 pounds. Tom Tanner had three weighing 7.65 pounds for third and Frank Anderson had one fish for fourth, but it was the right one and was also big fish at 5.65 pounds.
There were three largemouth weighing more than five pounds each, and two more between 4.5 and five pounds weighed in.
I thought I started my day right with a good 1.75-pound keeper on my second cast with a crankbait, but my next bite came seven hours later, on the same crankbait in a similar place as the first one. I tried just about everything I could think to do except make a long run to clear water. The wind was howling, and I just did not want to beat myself to pieces in the waves. And it waw cold!
We put in up Little River at Dennis Station and the water was extremely muddy. Downstream, if you went up the Oconee River it got a little clearer and a decent color to fish, if you could get out of the wind. After the tournament I heard the creeks at the dam were the clearest water on the lake, as is usual this time of year, and where I should have gone, I think.
Even with just two fish I felt pretty good as the first five people weighed in. Nobody had more than three, and I hoped I might place. When Mitchell put a 5.05 pounder on the scales, then added a 4.9 pounder, my hopes sank. Then Shay showed up at the scales.
I did place – eighth with two at 3.62 pounds!
We are fishing Sinclair this Sunday in the Spalding County club. I hope the wind isn’t bad and I can go to clear water!
Last Sunday five members of the Flint River Bass Club braved the 27-degree temperature at blast off to fish Jackson Lake for our January tournament. At least it warmed up to the mid 40 by the time we weighed in.
There were no limits and two people did not catch a 12 inch keeper. We had a total of eight bass weighing 13 pounds. I was happily surprised to see four of the eight were largemouth.
I got lucky and won with four weighing 5.73 pounds. Niles Murray came in second with three at 5.23 pounds and had big fish with a 2.58 pound largemouth. New member David Picket, who has lived on Jackson and fished it all his life, had one weighing 1.99 pounds for third.
I knew it would be tough fishing with water at 47 degrees and heavily stained. I started on a point near the ramp and, with my hood up, did not see another club member stop about 50 feet from me. I fished there a few minutes and left it to him.
I’m glad I left. On another rocky point, I caught my first keeper, a spot, at 8:00 AM on a crankbait. That made me start going to other rocky points but they didn’t pay off until 11:00 AM, when I caught a bare keeper spot on a shaky head.
On the next point I caught another keeper on a different crankbait. So three keepers on three different baits, but all on rocky points.
The next point I fished didn’t produce anything, but when I cast a jig ang pig to a nearby dock I caught my biggest keeper of the day, another spot. There were some rocks around the dock.
When I tried to crank to go to the next point, my motor would not turn over, even with jumper cables. The battery shorted out. My electronics winked out one by one. Rather than try to change batteries on the water, I spent the last three hours fishing back to the ramp. I felt blind without my electronics!
Well that didn’t go as planned and hoped! All three bass clubs ended our tournament years at Jackson last weekend. The Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our December tournament on Saturday and the Spalding County Sportsman Club and Flint River Bass Club fished a two-club tournament on Sunday.
On Saturday 20 of us fished for eight cold hours to land 30 bass weighing about 53 pounds. There were two five-bass limits and seven people didn’t catch a 12 inch keeper.
Raymond English blew us all away again with a limit weighing 12.01 pounds and his 5.03 pound largemouth was big fish. Kwong Yu placed second with five bass weighing 7.60 pounds, third was Trent Granger with three bass weighing 6.49 pounds and Shay Smith came in fourth with for bass weighing 6.43 pounds.
Raymond said he caught the big one on a crankbait and Kwong caught a limit in the first hour we fished. Others said they caught fish on spinnerbaits, Carolina rigs and shaky heads. It seems if you found a hungry fish and got a bait near it, it might hit anything that looked like food to it.
I tried a little of everything, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs and shaky heads. I could often see fish that acted like bass in their positions and movements on my Garmin Panoptix but could not get them to hit in the stained 55-degree water. And I fished from shallow brush and rocks to deep brush and rocks and everything in between.
At 10:20 AM I was fishing a deep point with rock piles on it and missed a hit on my jig. I picked up a shaky head and cast back to the same place and caught a 14-inch keeper spotted bass. Since I got two quick bites and could see other fish around the rocks, I stayed there an hour trying to make them bite everything I had tied on, but never got another bite.
Finally at 2:15 I cast my shaky head to some shallow rocks on another point, got a hit and landed a three pound spot. That was it, I had two weighing 4.35 pounds and placed fifth. It was a very frustrating day!
On Sunday 19 members of the two clubs fished eight hours to land 38 bass weighing about 41 pounds. There were three five-fish limits and eight people zeroed.
Travis Weatherly won with five bass weighing 7.10 pounds and his 2.39 pounder was big fish. Jay Gerson came in second with five weighing 6.66 pounds, Russell Prevatt was third with five at 6.07 pounds and Kwong Yu had three weighing 3.68 pounds for fourth.
Jay said he caught his fish on a floating worm early. Others said they caught their fish on a variety of baits on a variety of types of cover and structure. Like the day before, it seemed you had to put your bait right in front of the right bass at the right time to get a bite.
At blast off I went straight to the point where I caught my first keeper the day before. There were fish all over it with no sun on it yet, so I had high hopes. I could see what looked like bass suspended, some on the bottom and baitfish everywhere. It looked perfect. I never got a bite.
After a frustrating hour of trying to make fish that I could see bite a variety of baits, I left that point. For the next six hours I tried everything I could think of to catch a fish. I had one bite on a shaky head on a deep rocky point but missed it. That really frustrated me.
At 2:30, with one hour left to fish, I cast a shaky head to a shady seawall. I though I felt a tap but could not see my line. I took off my sunglasses and saw my line was already back under the boat. When I set the hook, a small keeper spot came over the side of the boat.
That was the only fish I caught all day, a 12.5-inch spot weighing .85 pounds. I came in last place of the people that caught fish.
All three clubs start our new year with tournaments in January. That would be a good time to join us for a lot of fun, and maybe a little frustration.
The Flint River club meets the first Tuesday each month and fish our tournament the following Sunday. Dues are $20 a year and tournament entry fee is $25, with optional big fish pots each tournament as well as two other optional annual pots.
The Potato Creek club meets the Monday after the first Tuesday and fish our tournaments the following Saturday. Dues are $50 and entry fee is $30, with optional big fish pots for each tournament and for the year.
The Sportsman Club meets the third Tuesday each month and fish our monthly tournaments the following
Sunday. Dues are $50 and entry fee is $25 with optional big fish pots.
All three clubs have or will have club classics that members qualify for by fishing at least eight tournaments a year or placing in the top eight for the year in the points standings. All three clubs meet at Panda Bear restaurant.
Two weeks ago 20 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our November tournament at Lanier. We landed 50 14-inch keeper bass weighing about 99 pounds in eight hours of casting. There were five five-fish limits and two people didn’t catch a keeper.
Sam Smith won with five bass weighing 11.80 pounds, Drew Narramore came in second with five weighing 11.19 pounds, Raymond English placed third with five at 9.89 pounds and Niles Murray was fourth with five at 9.47 pounds. Kwong Yu had big fish with a 3.51 pounder.
Last Sunday 11 members of the Spalding County Sportsman club fished our November tournament at West Point. We landed 37 keepers weighing about 49 pounds in eight hours of fishing. All but four were spotted bass. There were three five-bass limits and no one zeroed.
Kwong Yu won with five weighing 9.27 pounds and his 2.52 pound bass was big fish. My five at 8.28 pounds was second, Niles Murray placed third with five weighing 6.17 pounds and Russell Prevatt had three at 4.46 pounds for fourth.
Last Sunday the Flint River Bass Club fished our November tournament at Lake Lanier. Eight of us cast for eight hours to land 13 14-inch keeper spots weighing about 20 pounds. There were no limits and three people zeroed.
Chuck Croft won with four weighing 7.57 pounds and had big fish with a 3.38-pound spot. Don Gober placed second with two at 4.61 pounds, my two weighing 2.90 pounds was third and Dan Phillips had one weighing 2.71 pounds for fourth.
The wind made it tough to fish like I wanted, but I tried a variety of types of places, lures and methods. The two I caught hit a jig and pig in about 15 feet of water, one on rocks and one in a brush pile. I was frustrated all day watching fish follow my bait on my Garmin Panoptix but not hit it.
Tournaments like this make me feel like I do not know what I am doing. There was a high school tournament the same time we fished, and I was told it took 17 pounds to win it and 16 pounds to place second. It seems high school kids are much better fishermen than I am!
It was a busy three weeks in early October. I left home with my boat and camper on October 1st and stayed at Blanton Creek Park at Bartletts Ferry until Monday for the Sportsman Club Classic on Sunday.
On Monday I drove from there to Wind Creek State Park and camped for the three club tournament that weekend. Monday after the tournament Linda joined me and we fished until Thursday October 15th.
I was on the water every day but two while gone!
In the club classic, 11 of us qualified by finishing in the top eight for the year in points or fishing at least eight of the 12 tournaments last year. We landed 41 12-inch keepers weighing about 45 pounds in eight hours of casting, There were four five-bass limits and no one zeroed.
Raymond English won the classic with five bass weighing 7.55 pounds. My five at 6.63 pounds was second and I had big fish with a 2.24 pound largemouth. Wayne Teal was third with 5 at 5.92 pounds, Kwong Yu was fourth with five weighing 5.72 pounds and Jay Gerson came in fifth with five at 4.92 pounds.
At Martin we pay back each day like two one day tournaments. The first day in ten hours of fishing the 26 of us had 22 five bass limits and no one zeroed. Lee Hancock won with five weighingg 11.07 pounds and Tom Tanner was second with a limit weighing 9.92 pounds. My five at 9.84 pounds was third and I had a 3.74 pound spot for big fish. Zane Fleck plaaced fourth with five at 8.04 pounds.
On Sunday we fished for seven hours in the wind and rain, again. We had 21 limits and no one zeroed again. that’s why we love Lake Martin in October. We catch a lot if bass even if they aren’t big. Martin has millions of hungry 13 inch spotted bass!
Tom Tanner won, the only one to place in the top four both days, with five weighing 9.74 pounds. He is consistent! Don Gober came in second with five at 8.38 pounds, Raymond English placed third with five weighing 7.71 pounds and Shay Smith placed fourth with five at 7.64 pounds. JR Proctor had big fish woith a 3.45 pound largemouth.
I should have done better with all that practice!
On Friday at Bartletts Ferry I went up the river and caught five bass on four different baits in five different kinda of placees. A largemouth hit a weightless Trick worm under a dock. Then a nice spot hit a topwater plug three times on a bluff rock bank berore I hooked it. My third fish hit a spinnerbait on some wood then another largemouth hit a Senko on a sandy point. The fifth fish hit the Trick worm around grass.
Although they were all keepers there was no pattern at all that would give me confidence in the tournament.
I tried a variety of things down the lake without a bite Saturday. At 11:00 I went to a point with some brush on it I found a few years ago and caught a four pound largemouth on a shaky head. I started riding points looking for cover 15 feet deep, the depth the largemouth hit. The next one I found had stumps at the right depth and I caught a 14 inch spot on the shaky head. A third point with stumps at the right depth showed a lot of fish and I caught a small spot on a drop shot worm.
Those fish gave me some hope in that pattern, especilly he four pounder. Sunday morning I tried some shallow points early then went to the brush on the point at 8:00 and didn’t get a bite. Hoping it was too early, I went to a dock with some brush and caught a keeper spot. A few more docks didn’t produce, so back to the point at 10:00. I immediately caugt the two pound largemouth and another keeper spot.
The next point with stumps produced two keeper spots. I had my limit by 11:00.
Although I rotated around those points the rest of the day I didn’t catch another keeper Sommething big hit my shaky head about 1:00 but it got into a stump and broke my line.
Martin is a big lake with two long arms, the Tallapoosa River and Kowaliga Creek. Wind Creek Park is way up the river. That area seems full of one pound fish and I have fished that area for 46 years so I know some good places. But a few years ago blueback herring got started in Kowaliga Creek and the fish there seem a little bigger and fatter, based on what I caught when I started fishng it a little three years ago.
I went over there the first three days of practice and found many brush piles in 25 feet of water that were covered in fish. But everything I caught were small spots. Friday morning I fished my favorite creek near the park and caugt 13 keepers in three hours. There is a shallow point in Kowaliga Creek where big bass usually feed, but it is a 25 minute run at 60 mph. And the bite ends at sunrise so I have only about 20 minutes to fish it.
The wind and rain almost made me stay near our takeoff point but at the last minute I decided to go there on Saturday. As I made the rough wet ride in the dark, watching lights on docks and danger buoys and my GPS, I kept thinking about the millions of bass I rode past. It was worth it I guess. In 20 minutes I landed six keepers including the big one on topwater.
Edward Fouker fished with me on Sunday and we made the long run. And caught nine keepers in 20 minutes. But none much over a pound Not worth the three quarters tank of gas that day!
As expected, the weather threw me a curve in our club tournament in September at West Point Lake. I was hoping the bass at West Point would be feeding in response to the cooler water but was disappointed.
The water temperature was around 80 degrees, the coolest it has been since last May. But it was still too soon, I guess, for the bass to really respond. And the day was hot with no breeze and bright sun all day so it was not as comfortable as I had hoped.
In the Spalding County Sportsman Club tournament 12 members fished eight hours to land 41 bass weighing about 54 pounds. There were four five-bass limits and one person didn’t catch a keeper. There were only two largemouth, all the rest were spots.
Raymond English won with five at 8.53 pounds and his 2.76 pound largemouth was big fish. Kwong Yu was second with five weighing 7.03 pounds, Billy Roberts came in third with five at 6.58 pounds and my five weighing 6.05 pounds was fourth.
I started fishing around the ramp, thinking some of the bass released in tournaments there might hit, but they didn’t. The third place I stopped my biggest fish of the day, not very big at all, hit a Texas rigged worm in about 8 feet of water in a cove around some brush. Then I caught a keeper spot on a rocky point in about six feet of water on a jig head worm.
I tried a few more places then at 11:00 I went to what I hoped was my ace in the hole. There is a brush pile in about 17 feet of water and I have caught a lot of fish around it. When I rode over it to mark it my depthfinder showed it covered in fish.
Almost as soon as my drop shot worm got to the top of it a keeper spot thumped it. Then a couple of minutes later I got another one. But after fishing it for thirty minutes I had not gotten another bite.
I left and tried another place, then went back to the brush and quickly caught two more keepers. It is strange. Jordan and I caught two off that brush the last tournament we fished then didn’t get another bite for an hour. The pattern seems to be catch two and leave.
The water at West Point is clear and to fish a drop shot worm, a good tactic in clear water, you get right on top of the brush and drop it straight down. Although 17 feet deep sounds pretty deep, when you stop and think it is less deep than the boat is long.
I think the boat right on top of the fish scares them and they quit hitting. If you leave and come back after they settle down they will hit again – for a few minutes until they get scared again. I have tried staying out from that brush and casting to it from distance but can’t seem to get bite that way.
I fished a lot more places and caught several short fish before quitting time at 3:00, but no more keepers. As I said, the fish were much harder to catch than I had hoped!
July 25 and 26, seven members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club braved the heat and high school fishermen at Guntersville for our July tournament. We landed 23 15-inch keeper largemouth weighing about 57 pounds in 16 hours of casting. One person had a five-fish limit – both days – and there were two fishermen without a keeper.
Raymond English caught ten keepers weighing 26.71 pounds – almost as much as the rest of the club put together, for first place. Kwong Yu had four keepers weighing 12.52 pounds for second and big fish with a 5.74 pounder.
Zane Fleck placed third with three at 7.10 pounds. Although my gas motor locked up before daylight Saturday and it took me five hours on the trolling motor to get back to the ramp, my three weighing 6.28 pounds was fourth. Jay Gerson had three at 6.19 pounds for fifth.