Saturday, April 3, 2010

Back from 'Bama - Thursday's recap

Another lake resident swim aways

My son and I returned home from our trip to Alabama on Friday nite. I wrote about our trip last year, so my readers may be familiar with the lakes from a prior post. This marks the 8th time I've been on the property fishing for bass and brim, and it is truly astonishing at times. But, it is fishing (rather than simply catching) That was played out to the extreme this past February. The BassMaster Classic was held in Alabama on Lay Lake. Extreme cold and muddy water made it a challenging tournament, but KVD ended up winning again. The same time as the Classic was going on, some co-workers who were working the Classic fished the property I was just on. These are GOOD bass anglers - I would rate them as considerably better than me. On the lake we fished on Thursday, 4 people fished it hard in Feb. and caught, as I understand it, 4 bass. All day. So, it is NOT like shooting fish in a barrel. Last year we were here for 2 - half days of fishing and we landed 24 bass between us. Not bad fishing, but not great number-wise, either.

Alabama just came off its coldest winter ever. The water temp at the surface is just now approaching 70 degrees. But 6 feet down it is still in the 50's. In the past 2 weeks, they have had the longest sustained warm spell of the year, and it has turned on the fish. Timing can be everything, and we were fortunate enough to have GOOD timing on our sides this time.

The islands that were loaded with fish

The large pond / small lake we fished on Thursday is about 40 acres in size (I'm terrible at estimating acreage, so that might be close, or maybe not). There are a coupe of extended points, 2 small islands, and a bunch of shoreline. I believe the lake is about 15 feet deep at the deepest. We generally cruise the bank about a cast away from shore, and pepper the shoreline. The usual go-to baits are Lucky Craft LVR's, big Culprit worms, and spinnerbaits. I like to try different stuff - baits the fish may never have seen. On this trip, I brought along a bunch of swimbaits, some Strike King Red Eye Shad, Strike King Ocho's, tubes, and some other favorites. This was also the first trip for Joey since he broke his arm last week, and we weren't sure how he's be able to do with regard to hook setting, reeling, or landing fish. It took some adjustments, but overall he did great!

Joey does pretty well for a kid with a recently broken arm!

Another NICE bass for Joey

To make a long story short, we slayed the bass. While I was launching the boat, Joey was hooked up from the dock. And, the average size of these fish was the best I've ever seen here (or anywhere else, for that matter). Last year's average size was good; this year's was better. I lost track of how many 4-5 pound fish we caught. I got 4 that were over 7 pounds, and 1 on Thursday that was pushing my biggest ever.

Here is the tough part - I brought along a Weigh-In scale, and it died before it weighed a fish. Completely pissed me off, because I like to know the REAL size of the fish I catch. For personal edification only. I had to estimate weight on all the fish on the trip. Now, understand, I've caught a lot of bass in my life, and I think I'm a pretty honest judge of weight. A lot of "10 pounders" are really 6-1/2 - 7 pound fish. If you are accustomed to judging the weights of fish and think my estimates are off - tell me! I won't be offended. Someone like Tami Curtis, who fishes professionally for bass, may be able to glance at my pictures and say "That fish you think is a 7 pounder is actually closer to 6" Let me know!! On another note, I have NO tolerance for gear that doesn't work, so I'm getting a Boga Grip for the next trip. Nothing electronic to fail.

Another nice bass on Thursday

In the morning we got our fish casting toward the banks. LVR's and plastics ruled. While experimenting with a big Optima Line-Thru swimbait I got a big bass. LOVE that swimbait! When we fished around the islands in the morning, I put on a flipping jig and Brush Hog. It caught bass on every obvious piece of wood I threw at!

Jig-n-Brush Hog fish

After a break for lunch, we returned to this lake for the afternoon/ evening. Joey and I figured we got around 35 bass in the morning, and we decided to try to keep count in the afternoon. That proved more difficult than we thought. The bass were beginning to bust shad against the banks, or out in the open water, and the shad bite intensified as the day went on. I got another BIG fish on a 4.5" Strike King Bleeding Tube. We caught fish everywhere. When we got back to the islands in the afternoon, I decided the throw a spinnerbait and bang it off the wood. The results were amazing - I believe I got 15 bass by throwing into the wood on the small islands. As the sun starting dropping, the fish starting blasting isolated schools of shad all over the lake, as well as pushing them up on the bank. My last fish of the day came at dusk and inhaled a Lucky Craft Fat CB shallow crankbait. I believe this bass broke the 10 pound barrier.

The count at the end of the afternoon - 35 in the AM, 78 in the afternoon - a total of 112 bass. And we still had Friday morning to fish! Enjoy the pictures.

This bass fell to the Optima Line-thru swimbait

This bass thought a Bleeding Tube was a shad - WRONG

This may be my biggest bass ever - 10? smaller? bigger?

The end of the day

Wiped out after a long day on the water


Anonymous said...

WOW, Wolfy! Awesome day of bucketmouth action!! The memories you are creating with your young man...

Looking forward to Friday's action.

Ashley Rae said...

Wow, incredible fishing trip!! I love those largies.. I only wish they got that big here!!
I may have to take a trip up there someday :)

Lizzy said...

Hey Joe!! What a great trip!!! I am so glad you guys found some great fish!!!

Guess I owe you a beer though...LOL ;) I sure hope that I get to buy it for you in Nebraska this summer!!


Mark Kautz said...

Hey Joe. and a Happy Easter to you. Nice batch of Bass you and your son got. Would have been an exciting day for a die hard trout fisherman. About thawing out, wait for Tuesday or Wednesday's post.


Rebecca said...

Now that is a day fishing. Those pictures make me want to give up my trout (for a day or two anyway) and try some Bass fishing.
Looks like he did great, broken arm and all.
Pretty amazing and thank you so much for all the pictures. I do LOVE pictures ~

Clif said...

Regardless of their actual weight, those fish are definitely huge. I'd love to get a hold of them.

Bill said...

Looks like a good time and definitely some nice fish! That last picture is great.

NIK said...

Hi want to make an exchange of links? Fishing

Pescuit :

Anonymous said...

Hey Wolfy...

Thanks for the mention. I almost always guestimate less...out of habit. It is sometimes hard to guess from pictures...but I do think you are on the money on the big fish..91/2 -10 lbs! That's not too often anyone catches one that size! GREAT JOB!!!!!

The other...maybe 5-6 and change. Very nice catches!!!!