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Columbia

Sunday, March 08th, 2020 | Author:

Jackson and I fished Lake Columbia Saturday and Sunday looking for an early repeat of last year. Unfortunately, a cold front had just passed through Friday. The lake was clear and the water temperature was 53.5 when we launched. The water temperature rose during the sunny day to a high of 64 degrees in an East cove. I believe we were too early by about a week as we only caught male bass (small). The first day we had many bites on a swimbait that we could not catch. The second day was better but the fish were still small for that lake. 2 1/2 pounds was the largest. Jackson caught some on a fluke too. Our total for the two days was 7, not good. It will be better in a week but turkey season starts next Sunday and rain is forecast for each day.

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Rising

Sunday, February 16th, 2020 | Author:

I usually try not to go to Lake Ferguson if the river is rising but today in desperation for a place with pretty water I went. The water has risen 3 feet since the last time I went, Greenville gauge 47 feet. When I went outside to go it was “foggy , misting rain” as Willie likes to say. That encompasses anything from a fog to just short of a straight pour down rain. The rain made me a little nervous but I sallied forth anyway. Fishing started sometime just after 1:00 and in the same place the fish were caught last trip. Coming back down the levee the other day I saw about 40 deer out and about, so I figured the bite time was around 3:00 when I saw them. That was wrong. The first fish caught had a shad tail sticking out of its gullet. They had been dining early. The DT-6 caught 5 rather quickly in about 5 to 6 feet of water with some vines and a few weeds that had grown when the place was dry. This spot was near a steep drop down to 20 feet. Just like before, when they quit, they quit. Not another bite. After it was obvious that the game was up in that spot, I left to go find another spot. The meadow used to be a good spot, and it still may be but not for me today. It is bordered by ironwood bushes so thick there is no way to get your boat through them. The rest is an open field with a few short weeds growing in it, not much cover. It might be good when the water really starts to warm up and the bass are thinking spawn. After snooping around a little, I returned to the spot but nothing was happening. No more bites even on a jig. Five fish total, FOD 3 1/2.

When eating out the other night Betsy told us about her catching a nice bass in her front yard. She showed us a picture and the fish I would guess was 7 pounds. The lake was falling and water must have been running out of her yard. She was trying to catch a crappie with a light rod and 6 pound test and a chartreuse crappie jig. The drag must have been set right because she said the fish would just pull out line and then she would get some back. Finally the fish was tired out but she was scared to try to lift it, so she just dragged it up on the bank. Screaming while all this was taking place. She said a neighbor thought she had been hurt due to all the racket. I was asleep at the switch or I would have asked her to email me the photo.

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Windy

Sunday, February 09th, 2020 | Author:

Aside from sailing or surfing, the wind is not the friend of anyone nautical. In certain places it positions the fish, but that was not the case today. Lake Ferguson was falling slightly this morning when I hit the lake around 9:30, and the wind WAS blowing around 12 MPH and was on the increase. I had many ideas of good places to fish but due to the wind many were almost impossible. The ironwood bushes, or closer to trees, were another impediment. The some of the willows around the lake have died and many of the others have had the tops broken out. When the water falls out, this allows sunlight to reach the ground and the ironwoods have prospered. Fishing around ironwoods is very difficult for me. When you get hung up in one it is rarely easy to get unhung and many times you end up sacrificing your bait. I have always said an ironwood bush is a bass’s best friend. I started off with a vibrating jig and a DT-6 of course. I have been taking a portrait of my DT-6 each time I go fishing because it has caught so many fish and it is getting beat up. If I lose it I want something to remember it by.

By 1:15 I had not the first bite and decided to try one more spot, which was the last I had in mind. By now I had the aforementioned baits on the deck along with two swimbaits, a KVD 1.5, a redeye shad and a green jig with a trailer. The water had 3 1/2 feet of visibility and was just over 51 degrees. I use the DT-6 just like a jerk bait moving it very slowly. As I eased into the spot I noticed some nervous shad which was a good sign. This place was out of the main wind, no waves but enough wind to blow you around. The spot was lined with ironwoods too. There was a sandy ridge where there was only one ironwood bush. I threw the DT-6 there first and at first thought I was hung but I began to feel a fish on the other end. It was a 6 1/2 pound that fought but not like they do when the water is warm. The bait was sideways in its mouth. When I put it in the boat I had to bring it in by the gill cover. No landing penalty, if you watch Major League Fishing on TV.

It is very hard to take a good photo of your fish, holding the fish with one hand and operating the camera with the other. Your arm is just not long enough. I am always in a hurry to return the fish to the water so they will not be stressed. Some of the guys on the TV fishing shows will hold the fish out for what seems for ever to me. When they catch one I wish they would hold their breath until they release the fish. If they hold the fish out too long while they are jabbering, I quickly turn them off. After I caught this one I had another bite but no fish. That made me think I needed a bait with more hooks so out came a deep diving jerk bait with three sharp trebles. I quickly caught three more but much smaller. I then went around the spot casting parallel to the ironwoods hoping to catch some that may be just on the outside of the bushes and be able to see the bait in the clear water. That worked for two more and a couple more bites but it was obvious that things were slowing down. If I were going tomorrow I would be in that spot at 11:45. Snatched the fat out of the fire with six bass in all with the 6 1/2 FOD.

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Slow Fishing

Tuesday, January 07th, 2020 | Author:

Monday morning I went to the Garhole a little later than I would normally start fishing to allow the sun to start to warm things up. Fishing started at 10:15, and even with a late start, it took an hour before the first bite came. A DT-10 fished slowly, as a matter of fact when I stopped it, got the first bite. When I was reeling in the fish I got a good look at two other good fish trying to take the bait away. Only those two were all I caught in that spot, for a total of three. That was the total for that spot although it was visited three times more during the day. One of those was caught on a DT-6 which seems to be a bait that is good for cold water situations as long as it is fished painfully slow. The old beat up one is the one that was used. It floats higher than a new one when you start the day, but as the balsa soaks up water, later in the day it suspends just right like a jerk bait. I alternated the two crank baits, a deep diving jerk bait, and a jig all day long. The bites on the jig were so subtle they were to detect but I had one close to the boat that the line broke when I set the hook. Need to be more careful setting the drag. I liked the new D&L advantage Jigs with a protected line tie. They seemed to come through the limbs of brush tops with no hanging up. I tried all the regular spots with not much luck. I watched my depth finder all day trying to figure out where the fish were. As I floated over a treetop that I didn’t realize was there, I saw some fish hanging around it. After drifting away a little bit, I threw a DT-6 back over it and caught a fish, hooked on the rear hook as most of the fish I caught were. They were just nipping at the bait even though it was moving slowly. I quit at 3:45 with 8 fish, the largest was 3 pounds. Three or four others pulled off as they fought, certainly because of them just nipping at the bait due to the cold water.

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Three For Three

Sunday, December 29th, 2019 | Author:

Daughter in Law Mary Grace and I went hunting over the Christmas holidays trying to add to her successful marksmanship record and to the venison supply.

The first two times she has ever pulled the trigger on a rifle were last year when she downed two pigs in quick succession. This year she was going for venison and at 10:15 on the day before Christmas she struck. By the time I got out of the stand she was on the blood trail and when I stumbled down into the cane brake she yelled “she’s over here” and had found the doe. She has a perfect record so far, Three for three. Thus the title of this post. To say I’m extremely proud of her is an understatement. We have a tradition of having venison for Christmas lunch so the doe went right on the table.

I did the traditional honors with the makeup, we loaded the doe into the jeep, carried it to Freddie, and went back to the house for a celebratory pop of Scotch. It was nothing short of a wonderful day.

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Another Great Garhole Day

Wednesday, December 04th, 2019 | Author:

Hal was going to meet me at the gate at 8:00 this morning but we both were about 20 minutes early. It was a cool ride in the Jeep to the Garhole. Hal used to invite me there to fish when we were in high school in the early 60’s. Some of the logs that were there then are still there now. We started fishing slightly after 8:30 due to the early meet. It started off very slow. Hal tried a DT-6, a jig and a drop shot. He snagged a large bream on the DT-6 , had a pickup or two on the jig, and had a lot of bream tapping his drop shot. No real bites. Since I had no bites to start off on the jig, the DT-6 got the call. Hal finally caught a couple on the jig and my DT-6 caught a few but only if you fished it slowly with stops and pauses. We reached one place that had quite a few fish. It just happened to be one of the places I caught them last time. It was very slow fishing with a lot of the fish caught on the back hook of the bait indicating how much the cool water had slowed the fish down. When we moved from the first place, we started fishing around the bank and catching one every now and then. Hal was having good luck on the jig but I was having none on that bait. We trolled over to the second spot that I thought might be good. Nothing. Then we started around another section of bank. By now it was warming up and the fish were more ready to hit the DT-6. I threw by a log and was going to let my bait crawl over it when a fish hit. I hooked the fish but it stuck the hook in the log. Hal said to give the fish slack and let it pull the bait off of the log, which it did. It was a 5 pound FOD.

Continuing around the hole the fish seemed to be biting much better. We thought it might be a good idea to return to the place they were biting so slow. When we arrived they in fact were doing better but the presentation still had to be slow. We caught a few and things slowed down so we were going to return to the nothing place hoping that maybe a school had moved up. On the way Hal caught four out of one bush with a jig. After giving the bush a good going over with no more bites we continued to the other spot. Since the bush had been so good we tried another and it was full of fish too. I threw to the bush and hung on a vine. I twitched the bait trying to get it off the vine and a fish came up and helped me out by taking it off the vine for me. By now we had caught 38 and were trying hard for 40. Hal caught number 39 that was the co-FOD at 5 pounds even. It was getting late and the trolling motor battery was just about gone so we decided to quit. Besides the two FOD’s , there was a 4 and although we didn’t weigh any I’d bet a couple of the others were 3 which would make the best 5 weigh 20 pounds. Not too shabby.

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Enid

Monday, November 25th, 2019 | Author:

This morning at 8:00 I met Hal at the Wallace Creek landing at Lake Enid. We haven’t fished together since July so it was time. Things started off slowly with bites hard to come by. The lake is being pulled down for winter and is low, about a foot lower than when Hal last fished there just a few days ago. The weather forecast was for a Southwest wind but when we launched it was coming from the East and had a pretty good chill to it. The water temperature was 50 degrees. We fished some shallow vertical snags and tree tops and only caught a couple, one here, one there. Hal knows where a lot of the good spots are and is a good guide. A DT6, a Strike King KVD 1.5 crank bait, plastics, a swim bait, a Rapala Brat, and a rage blade vibrating jig rounded out our offering to the fish. About half way around our circuit of the lake we came upon a pair of stumps Hal has named the sisters. We couldn’t figure out whether they were the Two or Three sisters. There were three stumps above the water but two came from the same tree which caused our confusion. We caught a 5 1/2 there which turned out to be the FOD and another small one. Since it was a little deeper there, we used a DT6. When we left there we went to some very shallow snags where we had no luck. The wind made it very hard to hold the boat in position and Hal was working hard. I suggested we tie up to a small snag and have lunch. The wind quieted down somewhat as we had a sandwich. It was most pleasant as the sun had become balmy and we watched bald eagles flying around. After lunch we returned to the sisters where a 4 1/4, and two fours came to the boat. We then tried a shallow point where we have caught fish before, but not lately. There was some activity there but it turned out to be stripes. To get to the landing this morning I had to drive across the dam, and when I did, I noticed some treetops in the water, relatively shallow . We caught a few fishing there after making two passes . There is a section of rocks on the North bank that I have always liked the looks of, I guess because we don’t have many rocks around, at least, none that big. I always like to fish them and, on occasion, have caught a few fish there. The lake is so low many of the rocks were on the bank but not all. The wind behaved the weatherman and had turned around to blowing from the South, which made it blow straight into that bank. I always say the wind positions the fish and it certainly did today. We caught 10 fish there in short order. However when the school quit, they quit. I believe that was the best session I’ve ever had on those rocks. Hal kids me about always wanting to go fish the rocks before we leave. I have news, it’s going to be worse now. We ended up with 25 fish and the aforementioned 5 !/2 FOD. The 5 largest weighed 20 3/4 pounds. The day was definitely worth the early morning drive.

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Exasperating

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 | Author:

It’s been a cold 10 days since the last excursion to the Garhole. I’m sure the water temperature has dropped like a rock, but the temperature sensor on my depth finder is broken, so no help. Fishing started at 8:30 this morning and of course with a DT6 . I quickly changed to a jig after no interest in the first spot. One reason for the change was there were no bites and another was because of all of the floating leaves. Almost impossible to use a crank bait without catching a leaf on each cast. The jig was better in that you could work your line through the leaves better. The jig got a bite too, so light I could barely feel it, and when I checked it out by tightening my line a little to feel if it was indeed a fish, I felt it leave. This went on for quite some time until I got desperate and tried a swim bait hoping I would feel the bite and let the fish swallow it before I set the hook. If they wouldn’t chase the crank bait, I wasn’t sure they would chase the swim bait. I threw it the first time over a submerged tree top and slowly retrieved it and when it came over a submerged limb a bass smacked it. I set the hook and a 2 1/2 chased off the skunk that was trying to become a reality. Thinking I had found the bait I was looking for I continued with the swim bait, but it was a good while before I caught another on it. I tried all the spots that were productive on my last two successful trips but not much was going on. The fish that I caught were cold as ice. Fish are cold blooded and when the water is cold it slows their metabolism and they get lethargic and move a lot slower. All this figured in to my bait selection. I finally caught one on a jig in surprisingly shallow water. I had figured they may be deep because of the cold water. By now it was just past noon. I kept moving trying to find where the wind was positioning the fish. Once when moving, I picked up the DT6 and started throwing, working it slower than I had earlier. Much to my delight, I caught one, and then another. They hit right at the boat, indicating they were still not just eating it up. I had on a jerk bait that I wanted to try. One hit it on the first cast as soon as I pulled it down and stopped it. It felt like a big fish. When I got it to the boat I saw it had been hooked in the middle of its body when it hit at the bait. Sharp hooks.

The photo gives you an idea of the leaf problem and shows another cold blooded animal trying to soak up a little heat in the sun. Back to fishing. After a few more casts with the jerk bait, and no bites, I went back to the DT6. It would get bites but some would come unpinned showing they were still a little slow. If you stopped it they would usually bite. Finally that spot ran out of bites. It was where the fish were grouped up the Sunday I caught 43. I put the trolling motor on high to go to the place I caught them 10 days ago. They were there too but were a little smaller fish on average. The DT6 I am using is the same one that I posted the photo of about two posts ago that is so beat up. I’m going to take another photo of it because there’s no way it’s going to last much longer. It was getting late, probably close to 4:00 and the fish had quit biting so I quit. The final figure was 14 with a FOD of three pounds even. Lucked up and snatched the fat out of the fire today.

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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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