Thursday, July 04th, 2019 | Author:

I have run across a site that gives a real time lightning map that will be useful for people outside. The one for your phone might be the one that is most useful because you can zoom in to your location for more detail. The site is http://en.blitzortung.org/live_lightning_maps.php?map=30

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Tuesday, July 02nd, 2019 | Author:

Jackson and I started before good light on Lake Enterprise this morning. I had to turn off the depthfinder because the light from the screen destroyed my night vision. You have to use idle speed because of the high water, so by the time we arrived at the first spot it was light enough to fish. Jackson started with a topwater and I used a DT-6. He caught one pretty quickly around a cypress tree that had some limbs in the water. The DT-6 caught one shortly thereafter but none were very large. We came upon some schooling in the open lake and managed to catch a few on various baits. I even caught one on a jerk bait, something that I rarely, make that never use. The water was clear with 2 1/2 foot visibility. I sit in the back of the boat where the depthfinder is and I keep an eye on the screen. Two times I saw fish and threw behind the boat and came up with a fish. Two pounds+ was the largest one caught on a DT-6 . Others were caught on a DT-10 and various topwaters. Eleven fish in all.

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Millwood and Erling

Thursday, June 27th, 2019 | Author:

Jackson and I left for lake Millwood early Tuesday morning with intentions of making the 4 1/2 hour drive and being able to fish before the sun got too hot. We had read an Arkansas Game and Fish report that was about fishing in the lily pads and catching plenty of aggressive bass on topwaters up until 10 in the morning. We arrived at about 9 and launched the boat into a lake full of stumps. We were in the upper end of the lake where the Little River entered. There are many meanders and oxbows and cypress trees are everywhere. I had looked at Google Maps and found what I thought was an oxbow that was clear. We noticed that the river was running hard and was muddy. We stumbled around and found the oxbow and some relatively clear water. Within a few casts I had a pretty good strike on a Ribbit. I thought this might be good. Some time later after a total of 12 strikes and still no fish in the boat I wondered what was going on. None of the fish were the 2 to 4 pound bass that were in the report. Most were small. We finally figured out the water had come up a good bit from where it normally is on account of heavy rains they received a few days before. We looked for another clear water spot but could not find one. The next morning we returned but not many bites. About 9 we retired to the big lake. There was a lot of idling through all the stumps. Out in the middle of the lake it was still only 8 feet deep with an occasional plunge of the depthfinder to 30 feet when you crossed the river channel. There were navigation poles marking lanes enabling you to plane off and run to another area of the 29,000 acre lake. We found some pads and caught some small ones on spinnerbaits. There was plenty of time for discussion on the way to the landing because we were idling a lot of the way. We decided to try Lake Erling the next day. It is about 1 1/2 hours away and on the way home. Jackson called a sporting goods store to ask about Erling and was told the winning string at a recent night tourny there was 32 pounds. The next morning we started fishing around 6:30. The lake had some wood in it but was generally deeper, clearer and had better navigation aids than Millwood. We again caught only a few with the largest maybe 2 pounds. They were caught on topwaters swimbaits and a 10 inch long ribbontail worm. We quit at 1 and started our trek home. In our Southwest Arkansas excursion we had covered two lakes and only lacked a mile of being in three states.

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Outfished By an Otter

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 | Author:

I started in Lake Chicot this morning about 6:15 and, with a Booyah caught 5 fish in the first hour. In the last few days I have watched Major League Fishing on TV and have noted the accuracy of the participants. Today I intended to work on that aspect of my fishing and I generally did pretty well, especially later in the day as fatigue was trying to set in. After the first hour the bite slowed down . At first the fish bit to eat the bait and later they hit it not to eat it. At this point I pulled out a worm and on some sunken pallets that I knew the location of had a strong feeling fish hang me up in the pallets and break off. As I was going down a thick bank, a growl of sorts came out of the darkness. Something could be seen moving around in the cypress knees. I finally made it out as an otter and it had a fish, probably 15 inched long in its mouth. It was going back in the thickness to keep me from taking his prize. Caught a couple more on the worm. Rain was in the area and it was time to quit so I did with a total of 7. When I was taking out the Arkansas Game and fish was in the process of releasing 150,000 Florida Bass fingerlings, 1 1/2 inches long, in the lake. Good for them. Thanks.

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Friday, June 07th, 2019 | Author:

Jackson and I went to Lake Enterprise Thursday morning after we figured the worst of the rain was over. We had put on our rain gear before we left his house in case we misfigured. Our calculations were not too far off and we didn’t get caught in a pourdown. The lake was beautiful but the fishing was slow to start. After lunch we came upon some bass hitting on top in the middle of the lake. The schools were spread out and it appeared they were segregated by size. Unfortunately we only got to deal with the small ones. We ended up with 9. Schooling bass that are moving, as these were, are very frustrating. If you cast where they last were, they have already left chasing the shad.

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Enterprise Open!

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 | Author:

Idle speed only to keep from damaging peoples docks and not put waves into some houses. Wardens there to check on the speed and to write tickets. Jackson and I started at a little after 7. I was a little nervous because, on the way over, a herd of cows at Eudora was lying down. Cows not eating = fish not eating. We started with topwaters and I also had a DT-6 on but none of that was working at the first spot. At the second spot the DT-6 connected and chased off the skunk. As we worked down the lake, we came upon one of Jackson’s favorite spots where we caught 3. Things seemed to be improving but nothing was caught at the “best spot on the lake”. At the place where I caught 72 2 years ago we drew a blank too. Since it was idle speed only, we decided to troll to the next spot. To my surprise, one bit out in the middle and came to the boat. It was only a little bigger than the Red Eye Shad that it was caught it on. After a dry spell we revisited the 72 spot where we caught one that was equal in size to the trolling bass. Retracing our steps we went to the “best spot in the lake” again. By now, I had put down the DT-6 and picked up a DT-10 because the fish that I was seeing on the depthfinder were a little deeper than the 6 feet that I was seeing them at most of the morning. We had caught one out from under the flooded cypress limbs when a pretty good group of fish appeared on the depthfinder. I was not sure if the fish I saw were indeed bass. When One bit and came to the boat I was sure. After a while the FOD, 4-10, came to the boat. It had inhaled the DT-10. We thought “Oh Boy, we’re getting ready to tear them up now”, but what happened was what usually happens, you don’t tear them up. We caught 11 fish total and had a great time.

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Hal and Richard

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019 | Author:

Went to Beaverdam Thursday and caught 21 bass two crappie and two drum. They caught most on a rage blade but some came on plastic of some sort. The water is up 3 feet higher than normal so they went to where they could reach the bank. When the water is higher than normal in the cypress trees the limbs make it difficult to fish. You can’t throw under a limb that is in the water.The water, while not perfect, was not as muddy as I thought it would be. They had a good day under the conditions.

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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


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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