Spring weather means fast-changing conditions for bass fishing. Two weeks ago, it was a ten-degree drop in water temperature in two days at Sinclair. At Eufaula the next week it was a drop in water level. Those are my excuses!
I got to Lakepoint Campground a week ago last Tuesday and set up my camper. A couple of folks camping near me stopped by to talk and told me they were catching a lot of catfish, but few crappie. One of them pointed to a five-foot-high pole by the boat ramp and said it and half the campground had been underwater the Friday before. The pole showed just over one foot of water on Tuesday.
A four-foot drop in water level in four days had to hurt, and my fishing seemed to prove it. I fished about five hours Wednesday and caught only two bass. Both looked like males that had moved in to find a bedding area in the 59-degree water. And the water continued to drop, going down .4 of a foot Wednesday.
Thursday morning I got up and drove south to put in closer to the main lake, hoping to find clearer water. It was even muddier! I did catch a keeper spotted bass and an eight-pound blue cat hit my shaky head worm.
I did get a thrill. While fishing grass beds between docks, I eased around one and looked at the post with my Garmin Panoptix. What looked like a fish was at the base of it about a foot off the bottom. When I pitched my jig to it and watch it sink, I saw the bass come up to it and the jig disappeared. I was so shocked I just watched; I had not seen that before. Then the fish almost jerked the rod out of my hand as it took off, and I did not hook it!
Friday, I rode around checking some creeks and found some clearing water that was 67 degrees back in one. I decided to start there Saturday morning in the Potato Creek Bassmasters tournament the next day. It was a good decision, but a lot of other folks decided the same place looked good.
Saturday morning, I put my boat in at the campground ramp and ran up to the bridge where we were to meet. Due to the Alabama Nation tournament with more than 60 boats and several other clubs taking off from the park, the ramp was a madhouse. It didn’t help that one set of ramps was closed due to construction.
Folks were backed up from the ramp all the way back to the highway, at least a mile and a half, waiting to put in before daylight. It was so bad Niles called me, got the campground gate code and drove around to put in there. He was at the bridge while most folks were still waiting.
In the tournament the first day, 27 members landed 79 bass weighing about 153 pounds. There were seven limits and four zeros. Lee Hancock did it right with five weighing 16.02 pounds and had a 4.88 pounder for first. My five at 12.70 pounds was second and I had a 4.62 pounder. Third was Caleb Delay with fiver weighing 12.26 and Edward Folker was fourth with five weighing 11.59 pounds.
On day two, Sunday, the fish bit better – for some. There were 10 limits and three zeros. We landed 58 bass weighing about 173 pounds. Stan Wick had five at 13.80 pounds for first with a 4.59 pounder. Raymond English had five weighing 13.68 pounds with a 5.11 pounder for second, Trent Grainger was third with five weighing 13.02 pounds and Edward Folker had five weighing 12.73 pounds.
Overall, Lee Hancock won with 10 weighing 26.80 pounds and Edward Folker was second with 10 at 24.32 pounds. Raymond English came in third with ten at 23.14 pounds and his 5.11 pound largemouth was big fish. Fourth was Trent Grainger with ten weighing 22.91 pounds. I caught only three keepers the second day and dropped to a tie with Drew Naramore. My eight and his ten weighed an identical 19.12 pounds.
On Saturday I quickly caught a keeper on a spinnerbait, then two more on a bladed jig. At 9:30 I laned my four-pounder on a jig. Then it got slow, I did not have another bite until 2:30 when I caught my fifth keeper on a jig then immediately caught another keeper on it. A few minutes later I set the hook and felt a good fish fight for a few seconds before pulling off.
Sunday did not start well. I did not get a bite until 9:00 and that fish pulled off the jig. I guess I set the pattern the last fish the day before. At 9:30 what looked like a four-pounder just came off my bladed jig. Then, at 10:00, in about ten minutes, I caught three keepers and a grinnel on the jig.
It got slow. Just after lunch I set the hook, my rod bowed up and the fish fought then came off. With 30 minutes left to fish I set the hook on a good fish, fought it to the boat, and reached for it with the net. It jumped, missed the net by THAT much, about two inches, and came off.
I had my chances, as did many others. There was a lot of talk at both weigh-ins of big fish lost. Part of the problem was the number of fishermen, especially on Saturday. All-day there were at least ten bass boats within sight in the small creek I was fishing.
Sunday at least four other club members were fishing the same area, it was get in line, go down the bank and hope you got a bite all day both days.
Right now is a great time to get on the lake to avoid the virus and catch good bass. That is my plan!