It’s Like Watching Paint Dry

When I started this week, I was full of energy and ready to get it going, but now I feel like the lake handed it to me this week. I had to work for every bite and pull out all the stops including heading to the northern reaches of Young Deer Creek for my bites.

On Monday the bites were few and far between and my time on the water was very fragmented. I fished for a couple hours in the morning and the same amount of time in the late afternoon. In the morning I was mainly throwing the shaky head for my bites in the creek. This time of year I’m kinda partial to the shaky head and I have a lot of confidence in it, especially around the docks in the back half of the creek. There are a lot of docks in the creek that offer a variety of options, from sunny and shallow to rocky, dark and deep. Pick your poison. On Monday my poison was the rocky docks with the shaky head, and I had to fish them slow. It was like watching paint dry to get the bites. Here’s some pictures and videos from my time on the water Monday.

Tuesday was a slow day, and I just caught a few little fish in the small amount of time I fished, but Wednesday I decided to visit Young Deer Creek and hit some of my rocky dock stuff over there. It was like night and day, between Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday the fish were on the shaky head like a rat on a Cheeto. It seemed like there were fish at every place i thought there would be fish and I had a blast on a warmer sunny day. I started the morning with a quick limit in Bald Ridge and then headed north for a bigger limit. Here’s some pictures and a video from my day on Wednesday.

Thursday was another wash for me, and I didn’t get much time on the water, but I was back out this morning after receiving some new baits from my friend Kevin Badgett and KBDBaits. Kevin asked if I minded if he made some soft baits in my emerald color from the Emerald Popper. I was more than happy to see the baits and he sent me a few to try. Today I only used his trick worm and a little drop shot finesse bait in what he calls “Farmer’s Emerald” color. They worked well and I had a blast using them today. I’m not sure if Kevin is going to put these baits on his site but I think they would be a great addition. They worked great for me today and here’s a few pictures and a video from my day today.

I hadn’t made a video on “On the Cast Away Deck” in a while so I thought I would cover a few baits that I’ve been using for the past week or two. The biggest advice I can give this week is to slow it down and be patient. The fish are there but they are slow to eat and not very aggressive right now. They are in chill mode for the most part and this is a time that a lot of fish take a little break before the pre-spawn staging around the full moon and beyond next month. The lakes a little below full pool, the corps is moving water a few times a day and the lake temps are around 49-50 degrees.

The Two Gallon Milk Run

This time of year, finding gas on the water on the south end of the lake can be a task so I have a little two-gallon gas can that I carry down to the dock when I’m going fishing. The 2 gallons of gas allows me to make my creek milk run that requires about 2 gallons of gas if I don’t push it. My milk run covers a variety of different areas of interest, be it shallow mud, steep rocky bluffs. rocky points, deep docks and shallow docks, both in the sun and shade. Usually, I can kinda figure out what the fish are doing from a sampling of the different locations, and I don’t really need electronics to do this as the fish are somewhat predictable this time of year.

This week was the week I returned to the lake after a 3 week lay-off and a battle with covid. I knew the rona was coming for me and I was ready for the battle. Thankfully, it’s all over now and I hope I’ve added to my antibodies in case this ever comes around again. That being said, it’s back to the lake and figuring out these fish for me. On Tuesday, my first day back, the first thing I did was make a run to my sunny dock stretch to see if the bass were still responding to the sun and moving up shallow during the course of the sunny afternoons. My bait of choice was the shaky head on Tuesday. I used it for the duration of my trip, and it was the only bait I used on Tuesday. One of the first things I noticed was the lack of bigger fish that were moving up shallow. It was mainly the fish in the 1-2.5 range rather than the 3-4lb fish that had been there before my 3-week break. From there I went to the darker shady deep docks and ran a set of those. It seemed that the fish were laying low in the dark chunk rock and their little metabolisms had slowed a bit. I could tell the fish were slowing down because I really had to let the worm soak for a bite. Another observation was that the fish weren’t chasing the worm back to the boat like they would do 3 weeks ago. They had definitely slowed down so I made the adjustments.

I want to share a picture with you and explain what I key on this time of year, whether it’s a dock run or just going down the bank in the creek.

I circled the red area because that is a dark steep rocky bluff where the water gets deep quickly. You can tell by the contour lines being close together. That is where I caught my fish on Tuesday whether it was around the docks or going down a bare shoreline. Dark, deep chunk rock. Most of the fish I found were hanging around the rocky bluffs and laying low, so I soaked the worm very very slow for my bites. Here’s Tuesday’s catch.

On Wednesday I was back out, and I found some fish sitting on the leeward side (downwind) of the ledge in 25+ feet of water and they were ambushing the bait as it was blown across the little point. All I needed to do was mimic the bait moving down the ledge on the bottom with my little swimbait. You can use this scenario to locate and catch fish for the next month or two with the little Keitech Damiki rig. I’m just throwing the little Damiki up shallow, letting it fall straight down to the bottom and slowly dragging it down the ledge. Once the wind kicked up a little, I got the urge to throw the crankbait up shallow and do the same, letting the crankbait come off the bottom in 10 feet of water and the fish would respond to the crankbait as it separated from the bottom at the top of the ledge. A little word of advice for this time of year is to NOT rule out a crankbait on windy rocky points and humps. If there is wind, throw the crankbait for bites and try different crankbaits that dive from 10-20 feet this time of year. I couple of my favorites are the DT-10 and 12 in a craw pattern or try aXD5 in a shad pattern. Both should work over the next month or two. Another little crankbait I like is my little 1.5 crank in a craw pattern and that’s what worked for me Wednesday as well as dragging the little Damiki down the ledges. I was putting it together by Wednesday.

Ledge fishing isn’t just for the Tennessee River fish in the summer, it’s also a thing for me on Lanier in the dead of winter. Here’s Wednesdays catch.

Yesterday was a jailbreak for Damiki fish and after loading my livewell with cookie cutter 1-2lbers my buddy Mike jumped in the boat for a couple hours and we were able to fill the livewell again with the Damika fish. It was cold and spitting down a little rain and sleet, so we didn’t last long out in the cold wind, but the same scenario applied yesterday, we found a ledge where the fish were stacked, and it was just a matter of hitting the right little area up shallow and dragging the swimbait down the ledge. The fish were once again set up at the bottom of the ledge and watching for bait coming down wind across the ledge. Here’s a few pictures from yesterday. The first picture was a nice shaky head fish, and the rest were caught on a little Lanier Baits 1/4-ounce Damiki with a 2.8 Keitech in a Bluegill Flash color pattern. Anything with blue in it is a winter favorite of mine. I also included a video from this afternoon using the Damiki rig. Sorry about the cheesy music. Trying out some new video editing software.

Lastly, over the next few weeks I’ll be trying out a few new rod and reel set-ups from KastKing. I just got my second rig in yesterday and I’m going to break down 2 different rod and reel set-ups for the worm and the swimbait. Yesterday all of my fish were caught on the KastKing Speed Demon rod and reel combo. I’m really looking forward to giving this KastKing gear a workout.

Water temps are in the low 50’s and the lake is just below full pool and falling. The corps is pulling water during peak power usage in the morning and evening. The fish are slowing so we need to slow down and soak those bottom baits now.

A Hometown Hero

When I saw this picture all those memories I had as a child came flooding back to me and I had to say something about this man. The man who brought me into this world.

When I was a young kid growing up, I developed very bad allergies. I couldn’t eat normal food and was restricted to nothing but rice and a few other foods. I was allergic to things like flour, corn, dairy products, plants, animals and a whole host of other things. If I would have an allergic reaction, it was pretty bad. My lungs would immediately fill with fluid and sometimes I would pass out as a result. For a little kid to experience this day after day, it wasn’t the kind of childhood someone would want. I had to take shots every week and it was hard to find things that I could eat without a reaction. As a result of the allergies, my lungs were always congested and at times I really struggled to breath. I developed pneumonia a few times and one time I had to spend days in the hospital under an oxygen tent for double pneumonia. There were times when I could barely breath and struggled to draw a breath because of the asthma caused by the allergies. This continued for years until I grew out of most of the allergies.

Our little town had a doctor by the name of Wesley Hall, and he was my hometown hero because when I got sick, Dr. Hall would come out to our little house, day or night and get us fixed up. I’ll never forget that face standing over me a looking down at me with a smile and a diagnosis. Just the mere fact that he was in my presence made me feel better. I don’t know how many times doctor Hall got me patched up when I was a kid, but I can say that had it not been for this man as my doctor I don’t think I would have seen my 18th birthday. He truly had healing hands.

My dad was one of my biggest heroes in life, and he taught me a lot, but to be perfectly honest, because of those healing hands, Dr Hall was actually my biggest hero. I know Doctor Hall is in heaven now and what a glorious time for him. When I get there, he’s one of the first people I’m going to hug.

RIP Doctor Hall, you were a Hometown hero to a lot of us kids growing up.