Beautiful Fall Day at the Garhole

Sunday, November 10th, 2019 | Author:

After deer hunting with the crossbow yesterday I went to the Garhole this morning to fish. The day was gorgeous, not a cloud in the sky. The leaves are starting to turn making the scenery delightful. My phone camera does not do the colors justice.

After the good day last week, I headed directly to the place where the fish were grouped up but I did not get a single bite there. The wind was not blowing and in the Garhole the wind positions the fish. Just fishing around I managed to catch 10, one here one there. The DT-6 that was almost destroyed after the hang up on Eagle Lake has been repaired with a new split ring and rear hook. It still caught fish, but the fish were not as active as last Sunday and the jig had to take up the slack. Even caught one on a vibrating jig and one on a swimbait. The wind picked up a little before noon. In one place where no fish were caught last week, the DT-6 began to do it’s thing. The fish were not as large as last week but hit just as hard. When they gave out on the DT-6, the jig caught the ones that didn’t want to chase the fast moving crank bait. I reel the DT-6 very fast. A bass can’t stand to see anything that it thinks that is going to get away so when that bait burns by them they just have to hit at it and those sharp little hooks will catch them. The fish had slowed down a lot but the wind had slowed down too. Then I got a hard bite that really pulled. I thought I had the FOD but the fish did not jump. When I finally saw the fish it was a gaspergou, or freshwater drum. In my experience when you are in a school of feeding fish, and you catch a goo, that usually signals the end of the bite. I really don’t know why but that has been my observation over the years. It was certainly true this time so I had to get back on the hunt. The wind was blowing just as it did last Sunday so I thought I’d try that place again and see if anything was happening there. Something dimpled the water as I was getting there and it got my hopes up. Sure enough, first cast a fish. Second cast a fish but no more no matter how much casting I did. No dice on the jig. Since the wind had picked back up I rushed back to where they had been biting to see if the fish had returned. They had but only a few on the DT-6. Most had to be coaxed to bite with the jig by shaking it at them. I have only recently fished much with a jig and am beginning to really like it. It seems that the little “tail biters” will not fool with a jig. I have one that I like and I do not even know the brand. What I really like about it is the line tie is completely back in the head which makes it very weedless. The skirt has almost come off but I am going to find out how to replace it. I ended up with 34 fish . The FOD was 4 – 1 and three others were over 3 pounds. I had to laugh at myself because I weighed three others that I thought might be over 3 but each one was 2 – 13, my magic number. The fish size was good but not quite as good as last trip to the Garhole.

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Eagle Lake

Wednesday, November 06th, 2019 | Author:

I drove to Eagle Lake this morning with a boat that was full of gas. It’s a big lake and I planned to explore a little. The lake has docks and more docks, all were in terrible shape due to the high water this year. The water had been over the top of most of the docks and the wave action had heavily damaged them. The lake was just recently opened to fishing. When I first arrived there were about a dozen trucks in the parking lot. When getting ready to launch I pulled the rope on the trolling motor and it promptly broke. There are two spares but they are hard to put on. As I was working on the problem about another dozen boats pulled in and launched. They looked like bass fishermen but as I later found out most were fishing for crappie. When the problem was finally fixed, and the boat was launched, I followed Horace Greeley’s advice and went West. I had heard docks were where the fish were so I found a stretch of shoreline that had a good many . I am not a good dock fisherman but I gave it a good shot alternating a swim jig and a DT-6 and managed to catch a couple of small bass. Of course, the DT-6 caught the fish. The water was mostly shallow around the docks except out at the very end where the drop off was. Since there was all kind of debris under the docks, it seemed like I stayed hung up. Finally my favorite beat up DT-6 was hung up and it seemed to be terminal, even though it was in shallow water and I could reach it with the pole with the hook on the end. Finally the hook was able to catch the hook on the bait and I pulled until the split ring separated. I got the bait back but it was bent up so I put on a fresh DT-6. I’m still going to try to refurbish it because it has been so great. I took this photo just a few minutes before the mishap.

You can see it is even more beat up than in the Wolf Lake photo but it was still catching fish.

I was trying to figure out this dock fishing but there was no telling where the fish would be around the dock. Some would be under the walkway and some would be on the edges and one was out to the side. I threw in that spot because it was in the shade. The fish that grabbed the bait was a 5 – 10 FOD. Some of the fish were 2 or better and some were small. I kept moving and trying different spots with docks and finally the total was up to 13 fish at 2:30. The bite had slowed and I had an hour and a half to drive home so I called it a day.

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Stellar Day at the Garhole

Sunday, November 03rd, 2019 | Author:

I awakened early this morning and could not go back to sleep so I got up and during coffee decided to go fishing since I have not been in a good while . The Garhole was where I wanted to go so I gathered my gear and took off. Deer season is on so I had to make sure no one was hunting on my way there because I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s hunt. At the signup the coast was clear, no one anywhere close. I signed in ” Garhole Fishing”. The jeep was going to be my transportation because of the wet roads. Since it was cold, I turned on the heater, which amounts to flipping up the windshield. The weather was calm with a little fog that was burning off. Fishing started slow at around 8:30. I decided that today was going to be a day of learning, as with a few different baits than I usually use. Instead of a worm or shaky head I was going to use a 1/2 ounce green jig and instead of a Booyah spinner bait I was going to use a bladed jig. The jig replaced the worm in an effort to keep all the small “tailbiter” bass from pestering me all day. You can be sure a DT-6 was on one rod however. Starting off in a place that is very good most of the time the results were disappointing with the DT-6, a DT-10 and the bladed jig but I finally caught one there on the 1/2 ounce jig and nearby one on the bladed jig. Things were slow, and I expected them to be, because the solunar tables showed the major feeding period to be from 5:40 to 7:40 in the afternoon. Usually, I have seen the actual bite starts 2 to 3 hours before the published time so I expected a slow start. Slow it was, one fish here and one there, none bunched up . By noon I had caught 9, with the largest at 3 – 10, the only one caught on the DT-6 early. The jig accounted for 4, as did the bladed jig. There are some water oak trees around the hole that are beginning to drop their acorns , a favorite deer food. A good many were hitting the water. The thought ran through my mind that maybe I should be in a stand somewhere instead of being in the boat fishing. I’ve always said the wind positions the fish in the Garhole and as I went around I tried to figure out where that spot was. Something turned on the switch at 1:00 and I stumbled into the spot. There was a fish on every cast with the DT-6 that had its photo in a previous Bitespot post because it was so torn up. It got a lot more damaged today but was still catching fish at the end of the day. It caught 14 fish in 40 minutes. The wind quit blowing and the fish stopped biting. The fish were of good size, 2 to 3 pounds almost every one, and they were hitting hard. No nips today. I ventured a little farther but not getting too far from that spot. The jig became hung up on some sticks under the water and as I motored over to get it unhooked a bass jumped. When I tried to unhook the snag I found that the fish was hooked on the bait. I had no idea it was there. It must have hooked itself. When your luck is running you need to go with it. There was another mini school that I caught a few more from but when the wind started blowing again I went back to the hot spot and, sure enough, it was every cast again for a short while before it slowed down to one every now and then. I weighed a few of the larger fish today that looked to be in the 3 pound range, and they were, but then things were going too fast, so I just started declaring the ones that I judged to be 3 or better. Fish number 40 was 4 – 8 the FOD (fish of the day), and number 41 was 4 – 5, the two of the day over 4. I weighed and judged that 11 fish were 3 pounds or better, counting the two 4’s. Most of the others were between 2 and 3 pounds all in all a great day of fishing. There were maybe a half dozen or so of the 43 fish that were less than a pound.

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Wolf Lake

Monday, September 30th, 2019 | Author:

Until the 2011 flood, Wolf Lake was one of my favorite spots to fish. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries had released thousands of bass and they had prospered due to a high shad population. It was not uncommon to catch 50 or more fish, with some nice ones included. The flood changed all that because afterward it was hard to catch any at all. I heard that things were looking up there so I paid a visit today. I started on the spots that were good in the past and the fish were there today. Most of the fish were very small but would bite my DT-6 and if they got close it got them. Little bass are the most dangerous to get off of the hook as you can see from the photo.

Thank goodness it went through the skin and just grazed the meat. It hurt, especially when the fish was still on and wiggling, but not as much as if it had gone straight through a bunch of flesh. After that I had the pliers on my belt. I was catching a lot of little ones and tried a bigger bait, a DT-10 in hopes it might attract a larger size fish. On the first cast I could tell that it was more weight on than it had been . When it got to the boat it had two fish but the same sizes as I had been catching. No help. The lake was full of shad. Plenty for the little fish to eat and grow. As I fished around the spots where I used to catch fish, every now and then I would catch one that was larger. The major period was around noon and I could tell because I started catching a few larger fish. By larger I mean just over 2 pounds. I understand some were caught the other day that were 3 1/2 or better but I’d bet they were caught on jigs. It was action that I was after. I got it too. Caught 81. They all would pass the Rexford Wooley criteria for being counted. My DT-6 has almost had it as it’s down to the balsa .

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Garhole Cannibals

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 | Author:

When I pulled up on the levee this morning all the cows were laying down, not a good sign that the fish were biting. I didn’t turn around and go back home however. By the time I got in the water it was obvious that the cows were telling the truth. In a spot where the fish usually cooperate my DT-6 could get no takers. As I was leaving, in desperation, I tried the DT-10 that was tied on and caught a 3 3/4 which turned out to be the FOD. Next spot, nothing. Next one was a little shallower so on the extra rod I put on a 200 Bandit I found in a rock dike up close to Tunica when I was fishing with Hal a good while ago. The Bandit caught 3 or 4 and was doing well. I had put new hooks on it , the red ones that are really sharp. Most of the fish were of decent size except one, when I threw under an ironwood bush (a bass’s best friend), a bream came out to investigate the bait. As I pulled it down there was a bite and I thought it was the bream. I set the hook but in fact it was a bass. It was small, 8″, and it jumped right at the boat. When it jumped it threw a small, 2 1/2″, bass that it had swallowed out of its mouth. The 2 1/2″ then swam away. The bass had eaten one of its nieces or nephews. After that a long drought ensued. Trying a worm was maddening with all the bream and small bass pecking on the bait. I finally did catch a couple on the worm but the bream were frustrating. Maybe they won’t fool with a big creature bait. I’ll try that next time. I did try the dumbbell sinker a few feet in front of the Bandit and trolled around the hole a couple of times with no results. I may not have let out enough line to let it get deep enough. Next time. I ended up with 10 bass a catfish, a bream on a DT-6, and a stripe on an XD-5. Three of the fish were ~ 3 pound size and the rest stair stepped down from there.

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Lake Enterprise

Saturday, September 21st, 2019 | Author:

Arrival at the lake was 30 minutes behind the planned time of 6:45. Fishing began around 7:30. Only one other boat was at the ramp and they were just fishing along North when I arrived. After launching, I went South mainly to get some baits tied on and to get the kinks out. There were some shad dimpling the water and thinking there were some bass nearby I threw a DT-6 into their midst. After a few casts I connected with a small one. There were more bites and fish to be had and pretty soon I had caught 6, lost 2 and missed two strikes. This got my expectations for the day up pretty high. When that activity slowed down I moved and only caught 1 in that spot so I moved again and caught only another. The bite had slowed, and how. In one place, Jackson’s favorite spot there were schools and schools of shad passing through but no fish. The 72 spot was barren as was all the other places I tried. Looking at the “Best Times” website I saw why. I had thought there was a minor feeding period just before daylight and a major one about noon but I was confused. The major was just before daylight and the minor was just after noon. I had caught the last of the major and then a drought. Left shortly after figuring that out ( noon ) but it was time to go. Caught 8, all small.

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Tuesday, September 17th, 2019 | Author:

Harley IV and I went to the Garhole again. This time arriving at dark and having to await the sun to make things bright enough so we could fish. As we sat in the truck, at first there were just one or two mosquitoes bumping up against the closed window of the truck. As the light increased, more and more arrived looking for a snack. Finally it was light enough to start to load the boat and start to fish. The mosquitoes were not as bad as I thought they would be. I don’t know how, but the mosquitoes seem to know just when you are distracted and trying to concentrate on something like tying a knot in your fishing line. That’s when they attack, totally messing up your knot or whatever else you are doing.

He caught these two before I was able to put my DT-6 on. He was using an XD-3. Things started popping right off the bat. The big fish was the FOD at 4 1/2 pounds. When I finally got a bait in the water I came up with a 3 1/2. Then Harley hooked something that pulled drag and went down and sulked. The 8 pound line on the relatively light spinning reel was no match for whatever he had on. He did a good job of fighting the fish but its size was winning the battle. We got a glimpse of the fish twice and could not definitively tell what it was. It appeared to be hooked in the mouth. It was not a catfish because it didn’t roll. It was not a bass because it never tried to jump. It went under the boat for the fourth or fifth time and the hook pulled out. I wish we could have at least been able to tell exactly what it was.

As you can see, it had him bowed up and he was tired after the fight. We then crossed the hole and caught a few more bass. When that spot gave out we went to a place that I just have to check each time I go to the Garhole because it has been so good in the past. I have not caught a fish there this year until today. They were there in spades and we caught several more getting the total up to 14 bass. We also caught three big bream on the crankbaits.

The three were good sized and we were glad to see them as we had brought an ice chest and planned to fly fish later for a mess for supper. One of them was a “government bream” which I think is a red eared sunfish. I believe it was the first one I have ever caught around here. When it got to be 9:15 we put the bass rods and picked up the popping bug. Again the small bream gave us fits but we managed to catch enough for supper. Since I was going to do the fish cleaning we were selective on the fish we kept. I really did not want to have to fillet a bunch of really small fish. We caught enough before it got hot and quit at 10:30.

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Friday, September 13th, 2019 | Author:

It was a a beautiful morning at a little after 6 when Harley IV and I left the waterfront on Lake Ferguson. We noticed a few dead Asian carp floating on the lake as we plied North. Quickly the dead carp became much more plentiful to the point of making you pay attention to driving the boat to keep from hitting one. The farther North we went the numbers rose to the thousands. The dead ones were lined up on the bank where the falling water had left them. When the water heats the carp become susceptible to a virus and have a die off. Most we saw were in the 15 to 18 inch range. I wish all the carp would die but I wonder what bad things that many dead fish would do to the water quality, not to mention the smell. Seeing that many dead fish put us out of the mood for fishing but we pressed on.

There were so many dead fish in the main lake we thought perhaps there would be a better spot in the upper lake. It was somewhat better as far as the dead fish were concerned but the fish were not just jumping in the boat. We were able to fish in the shade there because the sun had not come up enough to shine over the trees. We finally caught one on a DT-6 and HMIV was Johnny on the spot with the camera and caught it in the act.

You can see it was a giant. A little while later the sun came over the trees and it began to heat up so we put on the sun protection.

You can see how calm the lake was at this point. Shortly after this photo we beat it for the waterfront and were driving home at 10.

This is a photo supplied by Tom by way of Jackson of the West ramp at Lake Monticello. The lake is being DRAINED because of problems with the dam that were unable to be fixed when they lowered the lake about a year ago. It’s sad because it was such a great spot to catch a big fish. In 2006 I caught 3 over 8, a 9 1/2 and no telling how many in the 7’s there. That was before I began to keep records. I recorded in my memory the 8’s and 9’s but there were too many 7’s. Caught the 9 on a 1/4 oz. Booyah with 8 pound line on a spinning reel. All of the others were caught on a Ribbit frog. What fun. I hate to see it go.

R. I. P. Monticello

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Garhole Bream Edition

Saturday, August 31st, 2019 | Author:

I told you so !

Harley IV and I went this morning with a fly rod and a popping bug and caught these. There were a lot of little ones that would just suck on the legs of the bug but not really take it. I’d bet we got 100 bites of one sort or another but only a few that were serious. We’re having the ones that were serious for supper in the form of bream tacos. Harley did very well on his first time to fish with a fly rod. FUN ! !

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Garhole 0.5

Saturday, August 24th, 2019 | Author:

Title says it all. Caught half what I caught the last time there and they were half the size. When I started I could tell the bite was not on because it took a long time to get the first fish in the boat. Usually early the DT-6 is very effective but not today. Then after about an hour the trolling motor quit completely. After paddling over to the boat launch I delved into the problem. The depth finder was still working , although it was showing the water temp as being 22 degrees, so I figured the battery was fine. I have a dimmer switch as a foot controlled on and off button. When I touched both wires together the motor came to life. Plugged those babies together and I was fishing again. I have always said that the wind in the Garhole positions the fish. Today there was no wind and indeed the fish were scattered. Today, like the last trip, I had the pleasure of seeing one in the clear water come up, and not strike, but just put its mouth on the DT-6. When it did, I set the hook and caught the fish. Besides the DT-6, fish were caught on an XD-5 and a small shaky head with a finesse worm on it that had been dipped into the garlic dye. The tail biters were terrible today. I have only a few of my favorite worms left, which are a Zoom Utail vibe. They have a little flapping tail that is very soft and comes off easily. The bream were pulling them off without me even setting the hook so I quit using them. The bream were everywhere. The DT-6 even caught 2 big ones. Next time I go a fly rod, some popping bugs and an ice chest are going too. Ended up with 13 and a 2 1/2 FOD. About half last time.

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