Water Temperature: Low 50′s
Lake Level: Full Pool
It happens every year at this time. Warm spells. This time for over one month. As you saw in last weeks report the water temperature was in the mid 60′s. The bass have been feeding and this unseasonably warm period had many BIG bass very shallow, especially last Thursday Nov. 18. right before water temps dropped into the low 50′s this weekend.
I arrived at the lake all alone on this cold, rainy morning. I was there for a reason, to catch the BIG bass that feed prior to these approaching fronts. I had watched the evening weather report and with expected daytime highs of 60 plus degrees and morning lows in the upper 40′s, I knew what I had to do, go fishing. After calling 3 of my last-minute man buddies, all to no avail, I decided to go it alone, but not without my trusty camera for bragging rights later. Little did I know.
I dressed warmly in half a dozen layers of shirts, jackets, rainsuit and a jumpsuit. Gloves and a toboggan and I was on my way. Despite all this protection, I could still feel the biting wind that morning. After a very cold, miserable ride, (of course right when the rain started to fall the heaviest) I arrived at my destination. A small secluded pocket, much clearer than the main lake and not muddied up like most feeder creeks. I had fished this flat many times before. Bass now relating to wood cover, due to dying, less oxygen-rich weeds, were forced to relocate to the middle section, rather than along the weed-infested banks. Many were always on brush, stumps, laying logs and trees during this time of year.
One lone tree laying on a flat in about 5 feet of water got my attention. Like so many times before, my lure choice was my trusty topwater offering laying at my feet. I checked the reels drag, frozen of course, and made adjustments. Retied the lure from the previous trip, checked the hooks and made that long, first cast of this soon to be exceptional day.
I walked the zara spook up to the awaiting, half-exposed tree in anticipation. I could actually hear my heart beating despite the pouring rain. What occurred was not for the faint hearted. Right in the fork of the main tree trunk, exploded a seven pound monster immediately taking the
already tightened down reel drag.
All three of the Gamakatsu treble hooks had the huge bass. On its lower lip, inside its mouth and alongside its huge head, and she didn’t like it. The bass literally went crazy, All alone I had to go for the net. I finally netted the huge bass. I put her in the live well. I had to get a picture of
this hog before letting her go…but not now, later.
I knew from past trips that other BIG bass could be in the immediate area and keeping the lure in the water was much better than it laying in the bottom of the boat. This time of year, they run and feed in packs, often many BIG bass will be in one tiny little spot. However, I stopped for a few seconds to pour myself a congratulating and very needed cup of hot coffee. Rechecked my hooks and made a few more cast out into the cold, foggy air.
Three casts later I was expecting another bite, but not from a 5 pound monster, that out fought the 7 pounder that had hit on the first cast. This extra long cast about 50 feet from the last hookup brought my lure over a huge stump, laying in about 2 feet of water, up on this wood infested flat.
I could see this stump wearing polarized sunglasses, although it was very cloudy and no sun in sight. I knew the stump was there, but without these sunglasses cutting the glare on the waters surface, it would have taken
several casts to find it.
These two bass just ate the lure up, like it was their last meal, resulting in an excellent hook up. After another lengthy and very exciting battle in the pouring rain, landing this well hooked bass, I knew I was in for an excellent day. However, what lay ahead is only in the dreams of bass anglers around the world.
I placed the bass in the other side of the live well full of recirculating water. Two bass 12 pounds, I’d seen many major bass tournaments won this year with 12 pounds. Big Bass, in a dozen bass tournament’s all season had not exceeded 7 pounds. What lay ahead would just be the icing on the cake. I could not catch another bass all day and go home happy. Just the opposite occurred, big bass and lots of em.’
A small ditch, lined with stumps, ran through this 1-3 foot deep flat. On several past trips I’d caught bass in this 4 foot deep ditch, which was just a little deeper, attracting the bigger bass in the area. I’d seen several 5-6 pound largemouths and spotted bass of 3-4 pounds taken here. Many had been fooled on topwater lures, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, rattletraps, shallow running crankbaits and jig combos. Of course today I only needed one lure and somehow I knew it.
After seining the area of the BIG Bass bonanza, I trolled over the vast flat to this small ditch, now shielded from the cold, northerly winds. It was getting colder, the rain was coming down harder and the air temperature was obviously not going to get much warmer. Somehow, I didn’t even notice. I took a sip of the now cold coffee I’d forgotten about while battling the 5 pounder. A bass chasing shad got my attention. I made a long cast, the huge fish boiled at the topwater lure and then returned for the kill. I landed a nice 4 pounder, made another cast caught another 4 pounder. Now I had 4 bass in the livewell weighing close to 20 pounds! More? You would not believe it.
I fished the entire ditch that ran about 100 yards across this flat now throwing nothing but the topwater zara spook. Unbelievably I fooled another bass weighing about 5 pounds near a small stickup, another 4 pounds and the smallest bass so far on this 7 bass morning, weighing about 3 pounds. Looking at the now bulging livewell full of bass I estimated my catch. Seven bass weighing close to 32 pounds! All before 8 a.m.!
I went for the camera, I knew no one would believe even me, (the spook man) without pictures. With no one to take the pictures, I decided to lay the fish on the floor, take their picture and then let them go. But now there was problem, I had left the camera in the van! I decided to go back in the pouring rain and get it.
The bass were doing fine in the livewell full of water. It was now near 9 a.m. so I had a sandwich a cup of hot coffee and idled out of the small pocket all alone on this glorious day of bassin.’ I decided to make a couple more stops on the way back in and spend the rest of the day nearer the launch. On my next stop I caught a 6 pounder and another about 3 pounds.
Returning to the boat dock, I found no one there to take my picture with all these bass. I decided to let some of the smaller 3-4 pounders go. I kept 7 very big bass from 4-7 pounds for pictures at the end of the day. Later, at midday I unbelievably caught another bass close to 6 pounds!
By the end of this unreal day I returned to the dock, still not one boat in sight. I cleaned out the live well, laid 8 bass on the floor of the boat, took there pictures and released all, healthy, alive and very eager to be returned to the lake, all swam off as I looked at the biggest bunch of bass I’d seen all year.
My 5 biggest? Close to 30 pounds! One 7 pounder, two 6 pounders and two 5 pounders, Never in a tournament! Oh, all largemouth’s…not one spotted bass.
Very unusual for Lay Lake!
Oh well, that’s fishing!
What a day!