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.