The last month has been a whirlwind of fishing for me. Five club tournaments, one of them a two-club tournament, and trips to Chatuge and Guntersville for magazine articles have put me in boats in all kinds of weather during that time, with mixed results.
On November 24 ten members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our November tournament at Bartletts Ferry. After eight hours of casting, we brought in 31 keeper bass weighing 40.11 pounds. There were three five fish limits and no one zeroed.
I won with five weighing 10.74 pounds and had big fish with a 3.09 pound largemouth. Billy Roberts was second with five weighing 7.10 pounds, Jay Gerson placed third with five at 5.72 pounds and Wayne Teal came in fourth with four weighing 4.30.
I went with a low goal of catching one keeper for points since that would just about guarantee I would win the points standings for the year. I got a keeper largemouth at 9:30 And relaxed. At 1:30, with 90 minutes left to fish, I was easing down a bluff bank across from the weigh-in, just waiting. Another fisherman pulled in ahead of me about 100 yards away and started fishing toward me. He made many casts to a small point as I fished toward him, then he fished toward me, fishing two of the three docks between me and him. After he fished the next one from the one I was fishing, he left.
I started to leave but decided to keep fishing. I moved to the dock he had just fished, cast a shaky head to it and landed a short bass. The next cast to that dock produced the big fish of the tournament. On the point he had just fished I landed four more keepers in the next hour, culling the little one I had caught that morning.
I love it when that happens, somebody pulls in front of me and I catch fish behind them. I don’t like it so much if someone fishing behind me catches fish I left, but I am careful to never pull in front of anyone fishing, no matter how badly I want to fish a place!
The next weekend the Sportsman Club and Flint River club finished out our year with a two-club tournament at Jackson. We had 12 fishermen and after eight hours we brought 33 keepers weighing about 37 pounds. There was one five bass limit and no one zeroed.
Raymond English won with five spots weighing 5.37 pounds, I came in second with three at 4.78 pounds and Glen Anderson was a close third with four weighing 4.75 pounds. Wayne Teal placed fourth with two weighing 3.59 pounds and his 2.72 pound largemouth was big fish.
We started in sprinkling rain, wind and clouds but the wind blew the clouds away at about 10:00 AM. I got three bites while it was cloudy and landed my three keepers, surprisingly two of them largemouth. That was it, no matter what I tried the rest of the day I never hooked another fish.
Potato Creek is at Jackson today. I hope the weather and fish cooperate! (they kinda did – i won!)
Last Monday I drove the 170 miles to Lake Guntersville to meet Mike Carter to get information for my January Alabama Outdoor News Map of the Month article. We met at noon and it was 37 degrees, windy and cloudy. And while we were on the water, there was a light snow shower!
Mike showed me a pattern in the river he had shown to a tournament fisherman in October that helped him and his roommate win first and second place out of almost 200 boats. He also showed me a pattern that produced a nine pounder for him last year and an 11 pounder for a client a few years before that.
Even under the awful conditions, Mike caught a nice fat three pounder so I could get a video and pictures for the magazine! We were on the water only three hours, too long under those miserable conditions.
The week before, on November 25, I went to Lake Chatuge to meet Barron Adams to get information for my January Georgia Outdoor News Map of the Month article. Barron showed me why he is such a successful tournament fisherman, catching about ten fat spotted bass on a cold day.
I managed to hook four spots weighing two to three pounds while Barron landed ten that size. He caught his on an underspin and an A-Rig while I caught mine on a spoon, either cast out and hopped off the bottom back to the boat or dropped and jigged off the bottom straight under the boat.
The two lakes are very different. Although both have mountains near them, at Chatuge they are right on the lake. Chatuge is deep and clear, with rocky shorelines and little cover. Guntersville is shallow and flat, with miles of grassbeds, stump fields and channels to fish.
There are some spots as well as smallmouth in Guntersville, but Chatuge has almost all spotted bass, with some big largemouth, but nothing like the size of the ones at Guntersville.
Fishing will be cold for the next two to three months, but bass fishing can be very good, especially for big bass. I caught my first two eight-pound bass back in the 1970s during January club tournaments at Jackson, and my biggest ever, a 9-pound, 7 ounce largemouth, that I caught in an early February tournament at Jackson.
Those big fish were caught before spotted bass took over Jackson. Now you are much more likely to catch ten or 15 11-inch spots than one four pound largemouth. And it has been years since I saw anyone catch a bass weighing over six pounds there. Don’t stay home just because its cold outside!