You name it and now people are catching them. Crappie are, and have been, very good to excellent, Catfish are biting in our cove after the striper boats come in. Sandbass and stripers are all over the lake and eating. You can find them from schooling on top to 50 or more feet deep and anywhere in between.
If chasing crappie, Blakemore Road Runner jigs and minnows are working in 10-16 foot depths in brush in stalls or around boathouses. Other good places now to look are all of the visible brush in water in coves and off banks.
Stripers and sandbass are on flats and humps just off the river channels, and coming up on top just about any where. Gulls will point the way. Find working birds and get under them. This can be a job at times because the schools move fast — shad, being plankton eaters, feed into the wind and the fish follow.
Get ahead of the working birds and wait on them to come to you is easier then running after them. Other times staying in the same area will see them come up again. Cotton Cordell Spots and YUMbrella rigs trolled or cast work, any splashing or slashing with top water Baits like Heddon Spooks, Big Rebel 66 Pop R’s, Creek Chubs Striper Strikes and Pin Popper and the often over looked 1/2 oz. Heddon Sonar a solid metal vibrating blade bait that works wonders on schooling fish.
Being heavy, cast it far out as you can then count to five before retrieving and keep counting it down as the bigger fish are usually just under the top water feeders eating the injured shad as they flutter down. Then there is the popular four-inch long Sassy Shads and YUM Money Minnows fished on 3/4 to 1 ounce plus heads, will often work wonders when the other baits slow.
Live bait fishing is always a good option right now it’s probably one of the best you can use. Everyone fishing now should have a pair of binoculars in his boat. It helps to find the feeding birds; then you can go straight for them.
Right now if fishing with a guide listen to him, or if on your own using the lures above the way the fish are biting now will make you look like a pro to your fishing friends.
Bass fishermen know when seeing birds feeding close to shore or on a shallow point or flat that when they leave bass are still there feeding on wounded and addled shad. Now heavier slabs in shallow or deeper water are working.
Putting a teaser, a dressed hook about a foot above the slab, will often result in doubles. Trolling a Umbrella Rig like YUMbrella’s Big Flash Mob or just five wire rigs also work and can give you the chance to catch two or three fish at a time. I have all of these baits and they work.
Tuesday morning saw me get out for a while. I caught bass at about every stop I made. My pattern was if you catch one take out another rod. I started with four rods and when I came home I had nine on the deck. Not all of them caught fish but I thought they might. My four lures that caught most of my bass were a Booyah Buzz bait, a Norman Middle N crankbait, a Booyah Spinnerbait and Shaky Head.
Most of the fish were right on the bank or a short ways out. It was a cloudy day with a north 15-20 mile per hour wind and yes it was nippy — bundle up if you go out. You can always take it off but if you don’t have it it’s cold sometimes. That afternoon I went down and caught six crappie that are on the Wednesday night menu.
Operation Welcome Home on Friday night was a success. Lakeside VFW Post 7873 Friday night served hamburgers and french fries and deserts it was delicious. After the meal it was all fun interacting with one another: free games, pool and shuffleboard, talking and beverages and there was karaoke.
After overbending the elbow for some time I was talked into signing up with two of the troops to sing. This writer is a person who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket with a lid on it. I agreed if they would let me pick the song. It was Bad Moon Rising by CCR. Kids today don’t know good music. One youngster didn’t know who CCR was.
We got up to sing and I had the mic and said we were a new singing group the 3 CooCoos. Some how Bad Moon Rising morphed into Bad Bad Leroy Brown. In no time at all we had a flock of GI CooCoos singing with us. A fun night that took me two days to completely recover. I hate getting old.
Saturday Morning Vietnam Veterans Post 973 fed breakfast. All of the troops who fished with their guides came in with fish. After the weigh-in we went to Georgetown Baptist Church for a BBQ dinner and a short sermon. Both were great. I probably needed one by then. Elks Lodge 238 fed them supper. Already looking forward to next year.
Prediction: Friday night two undefeated district Tigers meet. Gunter wins big for district crown.