Since my last report there was still a little bit of the topwater bite going on in the creek and we managed to squeeze out a few more bass and stripers on the surface before the water temps got too cold and the fish went a little deeper. Back in the month of November a few nice schools of stripers were moving around the creek and they provided us with a little running and gunning entertainment with the my topwater popper. I wanted a dedicated spinning rig for topwater stripers and bass this fall so I paired up a Lew’s Mach 1 Speed Spin 300 series with a Lew’s 7′ MH Laser SG Speed Stick and loaded it up with some 6lb mono for my new topwater spinning combo. I like a spinning rig for throwing my topwater baits and I really depend on a good drag system for light tackle stripers. The total cost of the rig was around $110.00 and I got to put it through it’s paces right away on the striper in the picture below. With the 6lb test mono I didn’t want to over power the fish and the drag system on the reel performed flawlessly with the big striper. If you’re looking for a good spinning rig for around the $100 mark, the Lew’s spinning combo is what I would recommend. This was also my last topwater striper this fall. When we got a substantial amount of rain last month the lake shot up some 3 feet and the creek changed color. When this happened the stripers moved out for a while until the stained water cleared. Since they came back there hasn’t been much surface activity but there are some smaller schools of stripers cruising around the pockets chasing bait and can be caught with a variety of tactics. A plain underspin in white or something similar to the picture below is what I’ve been using.
Also a white War Eagle spoon jigged vertically or cast in the areas they are present might get a nice fish or two. I have also seen some larger single stripers in the backs of some pockets where bait is present very early in the morning.If you’re a live bait fisherman, this is prime time for trout on freelines and planer boards. December has always been my favorite month for stripers on live bait and I’ve seen some big ones being caught already this month. Here’s a memorable video from a few years back on a cold December afternoon of pulling big rainbow trout on planer boards and looking for big stripers:
My last topwater bass this fall was a doozy and cost me a trip to the hospital to have a hook removed from my thumb. Here’s a picture of my last fall topwater bass on the popper and the hook in the thumb as a result of releasing the fish.
The experience wasn’t a pleasant one and something I don’t want to go through again. Since then, I’ve been working on some remodeling projects and getting the last little bit of winter preparations done around here. The deck needed repainting and the dock needed re-sealing so we made the best use of the sunny days by painting and sealing instead of fishing.
We managed to make it out for a few hours last Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Our main focus has been the shakey head with a 6 inch watermelon/chartreuse trick worm and working in a few jerkbaits and underspins as the fish move deeper as the day progresses. Although the shallow water bite has slowed for us, there are still a few fish to be had that are relating to the shallow rock piles. Most of our efforts have been docks and rocks with the shakey head and that has been paying off on every trip. Last week I caught my best shakey head fish that tipped the scale at 4.8lbs and put up one heck of a fight. Here’s a picture of the big fish and a few other Shakey head fish:
I’ve noticed more and more fish that we are catching on the rocks are spitting up crawfish. I’ve paid particular attention to the color of the crawfish that the fish were spitting up and I went shopping for a jig and crawfish trailer to imitate the color of the crawfish being regurgitated by the bigger bass. I found a certain color pattern on a Facebook bass bait buy and barter website and I purchased a few 1/2 ounce jigs with trailers in a color that matched the color of the crawfish. I got them in the mail a few days after my purchase and I soaked them overnight in my favorite oil. Here’s a picture of the jigs I’ve been throwing:
I’ve been determined to catch a fish on the rocks imitating a crawfish with a jig and it didn’t take long to catch my first after getting the color right. Here’s a picture of a nice bass I pulled off the rocks with a jig pattern I chose after seeing the color of the crawfish the bass have been spitting up. This fish spit up at least a half dozen that I could see and his belly was slap full of more.
Here’s a pic of a feisty largemouth on another crawfish pattern jig:
When I haven’t been fishing the rocks and docks, I have been spending time in some of the creek pockets that are holding bait near or in the ditches. The fish can be caught with a spoon and have generally been in the 35-45ft depth range. Although I have yet to catch a sizable fish over 4lbs on the spoon this winter, I think the spoon bite is just going to get stronger as the winter progresses. Here are a couple spoon fish pics from a recent trip:
One more piece of tackle that has been working for me is a 1/4 or 3/8 ounce underspin in plain white or pearl and I’ve been casting it down the deepest part of the cut or over the ditch where bait is present and just using a slow normal retrieve. I’ve caught both stripers and bass on the underspin over the past couple of weeks.
As long as nothing changes drastically in our weather pattern I think we should a mix of shallow and deeper fish and a variety of tactics to catch them.