Bald Ridge, Thompson and Lathem Creek Report 5-19 through 5-22

I’ve fished for the last 4 days, either in the morning or the evening and fished Bald Ridge for 3 days and went up the Tee and fished a couple of creeks up there. Water temps are moving through the mid to upper 70’s and I’m starting to see bigger groups of bass here and there. I haven’t seen much topwater yet and most of the bass we’ve been catching are relating to shore and bottom. We did pick off some suspended fish early this week trolling deep diving cranks through feeding fish in over 70 feet of water. Those fish were more than happy to hit a chartreuse colored crankbait. When we’ve been shoreline fishing we have picked up plenty of fish using the Zebra Shad pattern with crankbaits and jerkbaits. I’ve had very good luck for the past few days on a medium diving crankbait, working the bottom. Lisa has been using a little zebra square bill shallow diving crank and doing very well. I’ve been picking up fewer, but bigger fish on the zebra jerkbait. Last night Mercer and I went up to Thompson and Lathem and we found some decent fish with me using a medium diving zebra crank and Mercer caught the biggest fish on a Carolina rigged worm. The best bite has been from about 7pm till dark in the evening and 9am till lunch seems to be the best times for me in the morning. We’ve caught good numbers of fish over the past 4 days but you really have to deal with the dinks to get to the occasional bigger fish. Seems like the ratio has been 6-10 dinks before getting a good fish to bite. The bite is still semi shallow, but I can tell the fish are slowly moving out to deeper waters. We’re very close to topwater and dropshotting time. Here is a picture of the crankbaits Lisa and I have been using to catch the majority of our bass.

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Bald Ridge Report 5-17-2014

We got out on the lake early in the morning to see what the morning bite would bring us. Both Lisa and I had our Zebra Shad jerkbaits tied on and when we left the dock the surface temp was 68 degree and the water in the back of the creek was slightly stained. We made a few casts on a few points in the stained water but all we caught was a couple of dinks so we made our way out towards the mouth of the creek. It was a little slow to start with but once the sun got up a little and we found some clear water, the zebra shad started to do it’s stuff. We found fish around rocky points and in grassy pockets. I really believe the holographic dust on the little jerkbait really sets it off in the sunlight. We also noticed something about the zebra shad and why the little jerkbait pattern works right now. It seems that in a lot of the areas we are catching fish, there is a presence of gizzard shad, and the gizzards are around the same size as the zebra shad. Some of the bass we’ve been catching have been yacking up gizzards in the 3-4 inch size so we know we are matching the hatch with the size and color of the jerkbaits. We’ve came to the conclusion that the zebra shad has a close resemblance to the size of the area gizzards and the fish naturally react to it. We’ve caught fish on the shore and we’ve had fish chase the bait to the boat and whack it right by the boat in 30 feet of water.
We fished from around 9am till the rain rolled in around noon. We took a break and went back out when the skies cleared and the sun came back out around 6pm. We fished from 6pm till around 8:30pm and caught some nice evening fish on the same pattern. All tolled, we ended up boating 14 bass for the day and we had a few that shook the hook on the way to the boat. The jerkbait bite is still the #1 ticket for us right now and I think it’s a sure bet for a few fish while the gizzard population continues to patrol the shallows. Here’s a video of some of our fish on the zebra shad on 5-17-2014.

Bald Ridge Report 5-11-2014

Not much to report this week. We only fished for three hours this evening, the evening of Mothers Day. Lisa wanted to fish for a while and use her new sexy shad jerkbait. There was a lot of boat traffic this evening and we found a lot of muddy water and mud lines out in the main channel of the creek. We primarily concentrated on areas out of the constant barrage of waves and muddy waters. We caught a lot of dinks, but every once in a while we would get a nice fish. I was working the zebra shad jerkbait and Lisa was working the sexy shad pattern. We found our fish this evening around the grass beds. We used floating jerkbaits and we worked them slowly through the grass beds and we found plenty of fish to keep us busy. The water temps were in the mid 70’s and the fish were very active later in the evening. Here’s a picture of Lisa and her best fish of the evening on Lisa’s Sexy Shad Jerkbait and a picture and video of my best on the Zebra Shad.
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Bald Ridge Report 5-3/4-2014

After working in the yard all day on Saturday Lisa and I drove over to Bass Pro for some shopping and then across the street from Bass Pro to a little seafood restaurant called “The Red Crawfish”. They have a few things on the menu that reminds me of living in Louisiana. We got back to the lake just before dark and decided to go out in the boat for a while. I had just repaired the lower unit in our bass boat after it gobbled up a few yards of fluorocarbon. I wanted to stay close to the house with the newly repaired lower unit. We hit a few points in the back of the creek and we found a few willing bass. Last weekend Mercer and I were on Clarks Hill and I did well on a little jerkbait I made called “The Zebra Shad”. I really wanted to get it wet on Lanier and see if the spotted bass were interested in the pattern. We hit our first point in the creek and on my third cast I picked up a dink which made me feel great. It was a spot, however small, it was my first spotted bass on Lanier with the new bait. Shortly after the first, I nailed another spot in the same area, only a little bigger. Man, I was really happy to see the jerkbait working so well. We moved on out further towards the mouth of the creek and on the next point, a striper decided to have my only Zebra Shad for dinner. It was right at dark and a striper chased the jerkbait back to the boat a opened his big cake eater right at the side of the boat and like a dummy, I let him have it. He tore off with it and my drag on my little spinning reel with 6lb test was set just a bit to tight and the line snapped as he made his escape. That ended our evening and we headed back to the house.
The next morning we got up and hit the creek again at about 8am for round 2. Right off the bat I hook a big crappie on a brand new zebra pattern jerkbait I went and retrieved from the shop. The crappie was pretty good sized and a nice first fish of the morning. To make a long story short, Lisa was working a little square bill Sexy Shad crank bait and I did nothing but throw the zebra shad for the next 3 hours. We lost count of how many fish we caught, mainly because there were a lot of dinks to wade through.

We ended up with around an 8lb sack if we were counting but on the last fish of the day it finally happened. After years and years of bare handing fish, a #4 Diiachi Death Trap treble hook found it’s way into the meaty part of my left thumb. It buried itself all the way to the bone with a 2lb spotted bass flipping around with the other treble buried in his lip. I hadn’t felt that kind of pain in a while. After I got the bass under control and released we headed back to the house for some self surgery on my thumb. I dug up a pair of sturdy wire cutters too cut the hook when the time came. First I popped the end of the hook out of the bone and then took the needle nose pliers and turned the hook upward. Once I got the hook pointed in the right direction, the painful process of working it back through the skin began. I will say this, those Diiachi hooks made it a little easier to get it back through the surface of my thick, tough thumb skin. Finally after a final painful bloody push, the barb shot through the surface of my thumb and I was able to get the wire cutters on the back side of the treble and cut it free. I grabbed the barb with the needle nose and pulled the remaining part of the hook from my thumb. After a good soaking in Hydrogen Peroxide I was kicking back watching the Nascar race. Although the larger fish were few and far between in the back of the creek, it was a nice day to be out, even with the painful ending. Here’s a quick video of a few of our fish, including the big crappie.