You hear this from the pros all the time. It’s true when the water gets into my preferred winter fishing — 40 degrees and lower — you can bet I’m going deep. Back to now, with the water still in the 60s the shad are still shallow although the weather does affect them.
Every morning Ginger and I golf cart down to the boat ramp. If the gate is open, I figure the guides who work out of here are already on the water and gone. Ginger, after taking care of morning business and me picking it up, starts sniffing every vehicle, you would almost think she was a drug dog.
After she is done, we go to the fish market. I keep a rod and reel with me when I go down every morning. Some mornings the shad are close to the bank flipping and the gulls and egrets are working. I go into the market and come out on the deck.
I almost always catch fish on a White 3 inch YUM Pulse and ball jig head. Even as the water has got colder, the shad are still shallow for now. I’m still catching bass and stripers in 2-4 feet of water. While there are a lot of different lures that will work now, Top Waters like a Heddon Spook, Smithwick Jerk baits both suspending and floating, War Eagle Slabs their finish is different and they work.
The YUM Money Minnow Swimbait has a tough head that doesn’t tear up on the first fish you catch. They also have an active tail when reeled in slow. I throw them in the really deep water under the gulls and stick with my YUM Pulses in shallower water.
One change I’ll be making before long is to fish my Pulse on a 1/4 oz. Blakemore Road Runner head. Fishing it in deep water takes patience as it takes a while for it to get to the bottom. Small line is more sensitive than heavy line and sinks faster.
For the fastest sinking and sensitivity, using the new small diameter Fluorocarbon line is the way to go. Make a long cast then peel line off by hand, you want the bait to go straight down. If you don’t give it this extra line, it might pendulum half way back to the boat before hitting bottom.
If you are going to quit boating till next summer, make sure everything in your boat that could hold water is drained. Check batteries for water and put them on floats. These are all winter tips.
Guide Dan Barnett, who has a boathouse in our cove, has a special type of people who fish with him for stripers and bass. They are fly fishermen. You know I swear by my TFO Bass Rod’s. Now before TFO got into the bass rod market they were and still are one of the premier fly-rod builders out there.
Monday morning while Ginger was sniffing trucks, I saw one that had the tailgate covered with patches about TFO Rods and other fly-fishing gear. I have a friend who works for TFO and I’m guessing it was his truck. He fishes with Dan often. I haven’t talked to either of them yet, but the wind probably shortened their trip.
My one experiment with a fly rod was with Charlie, my fireman friend. He talked me into getting a fly rod and a feathered cork Popper fly. We were at the old Westside Fire Station on Alexander. Charlie was the instructor who didn’t know any more about fly fishing than me. He got his rod working and we were fishing the yard.
He told me to move the rod back and forth while pulling line we later learned it is called stripping. I had a good bit of line out. The instructor said on your next swing pull hard and bring the rod forward. If you every watched Death Valley Days and heard the whips pop as they drive the mules, is exactly what it sounded like, the line popped and the air was full of cork and feathers as my fly exploded.
That’s when I give up on the fly rod, for the record the instructor didn’t do much better.
The cold water also brings in another way to fish. Cat fishermen love the cold ugly weather. They build a fire close to deep water when it’s cold and throw out into the river or creek channel with big smelly baits and stand around talking while watching their rod tips for a bite. Fishing like this they catch some big cats. 20-40 pounders are fairly common and 60 or 70 pounds aren’t out of reach. This is also a special type of fishermen. For you people who don’t have a boat this is an easy way to get in with a group fishing from the bank and ask if you can join them. Most all will say yes and they generally have a fire.
Webb’s fearless forecast for Gunter’s Thursday night playoff game with Tolar. Don’t know how tigers handle snakes but figure they will get enough snakeskin for belts for the team with a 15-point win over the Tolar Rattlers.