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Searching for KA-WOOSH

Thursday, May 16th, 2019 | Author:

Jackson and I made a trip back to Lake Columbia with topwater fishing in mind . The lake is full of lily pads and we figured the bass were over their spawning effort and would be ready to eat some frogs. We went over the afternoon before so we could get an early start. It was so dark when we started that I had to turn off the depthfinder running down the lake because the brightness from it was destroying my night vision. What we really wanted to hear was the Ka-Woosh of bass striking in the pads and especially wanted to hear it if it pertained to our bait. We fished with Ribbits, hollow body frogs , swimbaits, buzz baits but not too much was going on on top. I took my binoculars to do “research” while out in the lake. Most of the people that looked like locals were fishing out in the lake away from the bank. That meant to me that the fish had retired to the deep. A few small bass came from the pads but not many and FOD was n/a. In desperation we even trolled for a bit watching the depthfinder, and sure enough in the middle of the lake, there was a hump. We didn’t fish it because there was a boat already on the spot. He did catch a small fish , the only one we saw caught all day, and believe me, I was looking. He left shortly thereafter. Over dinner we plotted and planned to adjust our course and drive to Lake Monticello the next morning. It is sort of on the way home and we know some spots to fish there. The lake had been drawn down for dam repair which killed all the lily pads. It also allowed a thick cover of weeds to grow up around the banks. A big difference from what we were used to there but a pretty place to fish. The water was up about 2 feet higher than normal which made fishing a little easier in that the boat floated over a lot of the stumps that you would normally get stuck on. The fish were again small and not very plentiful although the water was clear and the wind was very reasonable, which is not usually the case on Monticello. Around 2:00 we called it off, again FOD n/a. We never found Ka-Woosh, but it’s May so we’re going to keep looking.

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Return to Columbia

Thursday, March 28th, 2019 | Author:

Jackson and I returned to Lake Columbia Wednesday intending to duplicate the trip last week. We arrived around 8:30 and started fishing. On the solunar table site that I use, last Wednesday was a four star and Thursday was a three star day. Things turned out just about right according to the stars, with Wednesday being great and Thursday being a little hard. This Wednesday had two stars and Thursday had only one. I was a little apprehensive about what kind of fishing we were going to find. Wednesday was a difficult day with bites hard to come by. We fished with mainly paddle tail swimbaits but resorted to a fluke with a swimming tail and a ragetail shad. The problem was compounded by my case of fishing pox. To start when a fish bit close to the boat, I rared back and set the hook and the line snapped. I had not retied from the last trip. Second my line broke a couple of times Wednesday and when I retied it and tested the knot it broke, bad line. Lucky I had a replacement spool and replaced it that night. Thursday I had two fish to jump and throw the hook and missed a couple of bites when using my swimbait. When I looked at the hook the point had been bent up and was dull. Wednesday was a slow day, meaning you had to retrieve the bait slow to get a bite. Wednesday we tried some of the places where we had luck last week but some new ones too. We found some really good looking spots that were full of lily pads. At the end of the day we caught 13 fish, 12 bass and a grinner, the grinner being the FOD because all the bass were small.

Thursday was the one star day. It was also going to be the windy one with 10 mile per hour winds out of the South forecast. We started on a nondescript bank on the lee side of the lake. It had a shallow slope with the tree stumps that had been cut off low to the ground and not many pads. We started down that bank and soon Jackson had this 5 pound fish.

That was a good start that gave us a little enthusiasm. On this nondescript bank there were some canes that had been placed to mark larger stumps. we tried all of them with no luck. There was one place which was a hump a little off of the bank that had grown some weeds when the water was low. We were casting around it when Jackson threw and when the bait hit, it was hung up. He pulled trying to free the bait and it pulled back. He set the hook and the battle with the fish and one of the small weeds was on. The fish was a big one. When it was in the net there was discussion about the size comparison with the 8-11 he caught last week. He thought it was about the same size and I thought it was larger. Here is the fish:

And here are the scales:

He did it again ! Broke his all time best record after only one week! We continued down the bank until it ran out and we had to go somewhere else . We went to a cove where we had good luck last week. It was almost like you had to take a number and wait your turn. That cove was protected from the wind that had risen enough to become a factor. We tried a cove that we thought was out of the wind but the wind has a way of blowing into a cove that you thought was protected. There was a cove within a cove that the wind was blowing directly into. The fish seemed to be waiting on anything that the wind blew in. Caught one there and had another jump off. We then decided to go back to the nondescript bank because that was the only place we were going to be able to fish because of the wind. Going back down the bank I cured the pox on a long cast by catching a 4 pound fish. The total for the day was only 6 fish but WHAT fish ! We made a great decision to leave about 2:30 because there was no place we could fish effectively because of the wind. We had another great trip to Lake Columbia. So much for only one star.

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Lake Columbia

Friday, March 22nd, 2019 | Author:

Lake Columbia is a 3000 acre lake near Magnolia Arkansas. Since it is about a 3 hour drive from Greenville, Jackson and I fished Wednesday, spent the night and fished Thursday. The water has a brown tint but had about a 2 1/2 foot visibility. Lily pads are everywhere as are stumps in the upper end of the lake. The stumps/trees are so bad in the  upper end of the lake there are boat roads marked by white pvc pipes. If you were in 20 feet of water you were still not completely safe. The “word was out” as, even during the week, the landings were well populated. We started shortly after 8 in pretty cool air temperatures and 57 degree water. Our first spot was a shallow bank with some pads and a few stumps. Jackson started with a spinner bait and I started with a “swim “O”, a fluke like bait with a swimming tail. We each caught a small one in relatively short order. Another fisherman was across the cove, and seeking some knowledge of the lake, I observed him intently. You could go so far as to say I spied on him. He was close in to the bank closely fishing each log he came to, giving me the idea that logs close to the bank should be inspected thoroughly.  We crossed the lake, gingerly because of the stumps, and fished a nondescript cove next to a landing which had 15 trucks in the parking lot. The cove had no pads in it and no apparent logs, but upon inspection, there were a few logs that were not very apparent. Jackson threw his paddle tail swim bait at one and set the hook. “It’s a big one”, he said and I could see it was when the fish came up the first time. The fish looked tremendous in the landing net and testimony of  “that’s the biggest bass I’ve ever caught ” and “that fish is over 10 pounds” was heard. We decided to take pictures first and weigh later. When the scales came out, mine said 8-11. ” Surely that’s wrong, must be a low battery. Get yours out”. Jackson’s scales read 8.66. I will have to admit I was completely fooled, way off on my weight estimation. It was 10:30.  Here is the pic:

We motored to the next cove to the North and started fishing again. This cove had pads everywhere but Jackson caught one right on the point by a log. As we went into the cove we caught some throwing into the pads, but in the back of the pocket there were a good many small fish. The water temperature had warmed to 62 degrees in the back of the cove. By now the wind was beginning to blow a little more and the wave action was beginning to affect any exposed banks so we explored and found a sheltered pocket in the shallow end of the lake. It was full of pads even out a good way from the bank. I threw the swim bait into the thicker pads and as it came over a pad a fish grabbed it. I hesitated, then set the hook and it was on. The fish was large, my line was only 12 pound test, and it was in the middle of a bunch of pads. Somehow I finally extricated the fish from the pads and got it to the boat. Seeing Jackson’s fish had tempered my estimating so I was not surprised at 6-7, very happy actually. I noted how the fish almost hit the bait on top and was immediately thinking Ribbit frog. I even put one on for a short while but there were no takers.Here is the pic

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We caught several more fish in that spot. You can see in the photo that it was getting cloudy. Rain was in the forecast and due to the stumpyness of the lake a quick run to the landing was out of the question. The air temperature changed, the wind changed direction and the fish quit biting all a signal to us to start making our way back to the landing and fish closer to the truck. We made it back and fished the cove right at the landing with no luck. As the first light rain hit the water we loaded the boat. We caught 18, plus two of those were biggies and a couple more were in the three pound range. The best 5 were 24-10.  A great day of fishing in a new lake!

We retreated to Magnolia to find a spot for the night. All of the good hotels have inside access to the rooms only and no outside plugins so we could charge to batteries. We hunted and finally found a “no tell motel” with plenty of parking and a door you could run the extension cord out of and still close the door. It was not bad.

After a good night’s sleep and a shower we were ready to go the next morning and reached the lake at a little after 8:00.  We explored another large cove. I got a bite on my swim bait but the fish was swimming toward the boat, so when I set the hook, the hook didn’t set and about a 4 pounder came up and spit the bait out. Not a good way to start. After that nothing was happening. It became obvious we were fishing on the day after the cold front came through and the bite had throttled way back. We didn’t catch a fish until around noon. By then, we had figured out that we were going to have to really go slow with our baits. In a cove where we had good luck the day before, I was fishing with a fluke on my frog rod. It has a spinning reel with 40# Ardent Gliss line on it.  I threw it and pulled off a loop. As I tried to untangle the mess before it tied a hard knot, the boat was moving slowly dragging the fluke through the small lily pads. I thought it was hung and held the line to keep the knot from pulling tight . I could feel a tug on the other end. I made to decision to wind the mess onto the reel and try to catch the fish.  It worked and the first fish of the day came to the boat, a 3 3/4, by trolling a fluke. I threw the mess out and finished untangling it. I started just dragging the  fluke through the pads and soon caught another around three pounds. When fishing that slow you can’t cover much territory but we both slowed up. We continued fishing slow but later started using the swim bait like a fluke fishing it slow but the weighted hook helped to keep the bait down in the cover. We ran upon a cove within a cove that the wind was blowing into. There was a school of small fish in it. We were lucky to catch the 4 we caught there. Because of the wind at our backs we could cast a mile and the fish were hitting the bait when it hit the water. On a long cast a hook set is suspect but the Suffix Advance line I just started using did a good job. It is supposed to have little stretch. The wind was blowing hard, the bite became slow, we were well past our time we said we were going to leave, and facing a long drive home, we decided to call it a day.

It’s fun to go to a new lake and have a great day. It is also great to discover a new spot that is going to have some  Ribbit fishing and some big fish. All of the pads in Lake Monticello were killed by the draw down and the fishing there is nowhere what it used to be so finding a new place gives me hope. Fishing here is the pits because of the high river as is turkey season here. I predict I will have another visit to Columbia soon.

Edit: We chose to go on Wednesday because the Fishing Times website had the highest rating on that date of four stars and said “good all day”. It was dead on. Sometimes that thing is accurate as are the major and minor periods. The little front coming through right on the same day really helped too.

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8 1/2 and still 8 3/4

Wednesday, March 06th, 2019 | Author:

Hal caught this fish in the same place that he caught her this same time last year. Same fish? Note the small red tag sticking out behind the fin. He said he bounced the scales but could not get them up to nine. He said ” Stef enhanced the pic for me but failed to make me look any better”.

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Lake Monticello

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 | Author:

Jackson and I started fishing this morning late, just before 10, in an effort to let things warm up some. The water is still about 1 1/2 feet lower than normal but it is up in the grass that grew up last summer while the lake was low. Temperature was 52 degrees to start and warmed to as much as 57.  Clarity was about 18 to 24 inches and there was a good green bloom. All that didn’t help us much as we only caught one and that was on a on a swim bait. We had two other bites with one of those coming to the top before it escaped. We rummaged through our tackle boxes but could not find the bait that would unlock the puzzle. Going to get cold so we will have to wait before going back. Lake Chicot is up 8 feet and is closed to boating, so it is out too.

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Foggy Misting Rain

Friday, February 15th, 2019 | Author:

That was the weather on Lake Chicot. Jackson and I caught 3 with Jackson doing the catching.  First we looked for the deep school that I saw the last trip but could not make contact. Then we tried shallow and of course I had on my trusty Booyah but it could not get a bite. Jackson put on a black and blue jig and caught 3 in relatively short order. I put a jig on but could not get a bite. If the fish had been cooperating the day would not have been so bad but with the weather so bad we cut it short.

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Shallow At Chicot

Thursday, February 14th, 2019 | Author:

The first bite came at 11:15 after two hours of fishing. The water temp started at 53 and saw 61 before the sunny day was over. Where I have been fishing, with very scattered success, was muddy with not even a foot of visibility. Farther down the lake it cleared up and was pretty normal clarity. The fish were shallow and on the bank (especially with rocks present) except for one on a secret sunken tree top in 5 feet of water and one on a cypress tree, the first one in three trips. All five fish were caught on a ¼ ounce Booyah spinnerbait, one of my favorite baits of all time. FOD was 3 ¾ pounds. Others were 2, 2, 2 ½, 2 ¾.

Pulling in to a good looking stretch of rocky bank I saw a good dropoff with a large group of fish down at about 12 feet. All were within 2 feet of the bottom. I guessed they were bass but continued to the bank. When I caught one on the bank, I forgot about the deep fish. The wind was blowing too and would have made fishing in that spot difficult. Thinking about it later I surmised that the fish in Chicot are mostly deep but come in to the bank thinking about a spot to spawn in a few weeks. All the fish I caught had a fat belly full of eggs. I marked the deep spot for the next trip.

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Lake Chicot

Tuesday, February 05th, 2019 | Author:

Jackson and I met at the State Park on the North end of Chicot at 9:30 and were fishing at 10. It was so foggy I had to navigate by the GPS on the depthfinder. A short while after we started it started to rain pretty hard so we retreated to the shelter of a friendly boathouse for about 45 minutes. I believe Jackson had caught a four pounder  before the rain started. When the rain subsided we went right back fishing and had caught a total of four by 3:00. I thought both of the fish I caught were a stick at first but turned out  to be fish. The fish just were not “on it” today . The water was getting muddy because of the runoff from the rain. We called it a day at 3:00. Water temp 54 to 56 degrees.

Hal called to say he and Richard fished Beaverdam today for the first time this year and caught 24. After Richard went home at 2:00, Hal went to the Flower Lake borrow pits and caught 2 more, one over 5  and 1/4 or 3/4, I can’t remember which. They caught all the fish in one area that had some relatively clear water. They caught a few there and left to try some other places with no luck. Then they returned and caught some more.

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First Fish of the Year

Saturday, February 02nd, 2019 | Author:

I went to Lake Chicot this morning and started fishing about 9:30. I wanted it to start warming up before I started fishing in hopes the warming would start the fish biting. No bites for the first couple of hours even though the pad stems and cypress trees where I started looked like a great spot and I have caught fish this time of year there before. To start, it was a little cloudy which impeded the warming of the water by the sun. It was looking like it might be zero number two. About 11:15 however one “glommed” up on it right at the boat. Was glad to welcome her aboard. 3 3/4 . Tried to take a picture but did not want to keep her out of the water too long. It was fat with eggs. The guys on the fishing TV shows love to hold them and look at them as if they never have seen a fish before. They need to hold their breath when the fish is out of the water and then they would know how it feels. That really burns me up.  It was another hour before I got the next bite. This fish made my line sing in the water. That always brings on a little adrenaline. 3 3/4 made in the same mold as the first . I took a quick photo of that one.

As I went down the bank the water temperature was rising, 48 at the start and reached 57 before the day was over. The next fish swirled on top as the Booyah came over a stick. 3 even. It was obvious, things were picking up. Finally I caught two in the same spot and they were 2 3/4 each. After I had caught 7, I saw one hit on top and threw the Booyah to the spot. I was on a hair trigger and as soon at it hit, I set the hook and of course I missed it. My time was up so I had to leave but the fish were still biting. I really would have liked to go where I started after the fish had commenced to bite but time would not allow. The best 5 weighed 17 1/2 pounds. Not too shabby.

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New Line

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019 | Author:

All was not lost the other day on Lake Enterprise. The fluorocarbon line I have been using was great for everything but casting. Least bit of wind in your face or a light bait and it’s a backlash guaranteed. To start a new year I decided to try a new line. The one I chose was Suffix Advance. It is a slick low stretch line. When I put it on I had to go out into the yard and see how it would cast. First three times = backlash each time. After making some adjustments it did just OK but it still worried me. On the lake it did much better maybe fuzzing up only a couple of times. The distance with it was good but I didn’t try to get the maximum. It’s going to be good after a little fine tuning.

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