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