Monday, December 28, 2009

The last days of 2009

As 2009 winds down and we make way for a new year I probably got my last day of fishing in. At least I got out for a couple of hours anyway. I spent the morning duck hunting with not too much success and I wish I would have just fished all day.
I decided to go over to Percy Priest Lake because it is one of my favorite places to fish in the winter and very early spring.

I put in at Fate Sanders Marina at noon and ran down about two miles and got out a #5 Shad Rap in crawfish color (a long-time Priest stand-by) and worked down a deeper rock bank just off the channel. The water temp was 46 degrees and I was sitting in about 15 feet of water throwing in close to the bank and sloooowly working it back. This tactic is a decent way to start in these conditions. Man the wind was whipping in on this bank. It ain't easy chunking a Shad Rap in 20 mph winds, I promise. Even if it is somewhat blowing toward where your casting every other cast lands about twenty feet from where you throw. No luck on this bank not even a hit.
Because I haven't been out in a while I wanted to try a couple different things and a couple of places I usually don't fish this time of year.

Normally I fish down closer to the damn in the winter because I prefer to fish the clearer water. Plus when it gets into like February if we get a couple of warm days the lake can get very crowded in the upper end. Some days it's like bumper boats, lol. I had it all to myself this day except for the guys that were fishing Mike's Sunday Morning tournament.

My next stop was a shallower pocket of the main lake. Sometimes with some sunshine you can hit these shallow rocky pockets and rack up with a lipless crankbait. I worked all around the pocket working a new Xcalibur XR-25 Rattlebait. Most people think the only way to fish a lipless crank is to burn it and cover water, but in the winter I think they really get overlooked. For shallow banks you can crawl it along the bottom and induce a reaction strike from lethargic fish.
But apparently not in this spot!

I worked on out to the point where the pocket drops off into deeper water and decided to turn the corner and parallel the bluff bank with a suspending Spro McStick suspending jerk bait in Table Rock Shad color. As soon as I turned the corner I threw the jerk up against the broken rock at the end of the bluff and twitched it a couple of times and paused and there was a heavy feel on my line. I set the hook and reeled in my first fish of the day. A largemouth about 13". I continued along throwing the jerkbait and caught 2 Kentucky Spots when I got to where the bluff ended and the broken rock began. Every one was about the same size. I found that the most effective cadence seemed to be a jerk-pause-pause-jerk-pause-pause-jerk and every fish grabbed it when it was on the pause. most times the key to a jerk bait is finding the cadence. I generally start with a jerk-jerk-pause-jerk-jerk-pause and vary it till I find what works best that day.

By now I felt like I was onto a little something and it looked like the fish were more around the ends of the bluffs so I ran a short distance to another 45 degree bank that led up to another small rock bluff. This bank was out of the wind so I wasn't sure if that would make a difference or not but I went down it and was able to jerk up 5 more fish. I started at the bluff and fish the length of the bank going form right to left and the idled back and to where I started and fished the other way. They were biting ok but unfortunately mostly small ones. I won't complain though I caught some and they pulled on my line. It was fun even though it was pretty cool and windy out. By the time I finished fishing this bank it was beginning to get dark and I figured I would head on back in.

You just can't really fish a whole bunch of spots in the winter when you have to fish slow. So I put her on the trailer and headed home.
I'm hoping that by the next time I go I will have a new Citrus Stick rod to throw my jerkbait on. Waiting till the new year starts and I'm going to upgrade some rods. I'm excited to join the BCS Customs pro-staff and help get the word out on a line of rods and baits that I'm sure are going to be a hit, but more on the Citrus Stick to come in another post...

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