…of a fisherman. That’s the only way to describe my hangover from a bad day of fishing. Don’t get me wrong, the fall day itself was fine with the changing of colors along the shoreline of the lake. Btw, if you haven’t taken the time to look up from those sonar screens lately, take a look around at the scenery on the lake, as I highly suggest taking it all in right now because the fall colors are really starting to pop. No, the day itself was fine but the fishing was very rough and I’m not sure I’ve experienced this kind of slump in early October in recent memory. I’ve been asking myself if the pattern has changed and am I just too stubborn to admit it and move on to the next pattern?
The Cove: Getting up and down the steps to my dock has become a chore in itself, with a bad knee and now a bad back that has probably been caused by the compensation from the bad knee. I’ve been eating Motrin like Skittles this week and I feel like I’m back in the Navy, all jacked up on caffeine, Motrin and adrenaline…. not so much the adrenaline anymore but coffee and Motrin for sure. In the Navy we used to call Motrin “fighter mints” and we always had a big bottle at the ready in our Maintenance Control. My knee surgery date is set, and I have 3 more weeks to fish before the surgery takes me off the water for a while.
The Fishing: This week started out good and slowly digressed throughout the week for me. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were decent days with the typical bite getting better as the sun got higher, but I could sense a change was coming. Early in the week the fish were showing a good interest in the little chrome Z-dog walking bait over brush and out on points, but I could tell that the fish were showing less and less interest as the week progressed. On Monday I was throwing the little walking bait about 90% of the time and it accounted for all of my fish. By Wednesday I was mixing in a translucent Z-dog because the fish just wouldn’t commit to the chrome Z-dog. By yesterday, most of the fish would just follow, swirl or blow up on the Z-dog but only a few actually got the bait in their mouths. Another little move these bass make when they have a bait figured out is that they will knock it high in the air and move on. Nine out of ten times, they don’t actually bite at the bait, but they smack it with their tail in a move of denial. For that reason, I started mixing in other baits and other patterns late this week and the topwater was only occupying 50% of my time. I’m keeping my topwater rod at the ready because there still may be an opportunity to catch a surfacing fish or schooling fish within casting distance, which accounted for some of my fish this week. Basically, if and when the topwater bite comes back around this fall, I’ll spend more time on topwater but for now I’m spending more time with baits below the surface and on the bottom than surface baits.
If you’ve been hitting the back half of our creek or other south end creeks lately you’ve probably seen the water color change, and the lack of schooling fish on the surface. Another sure way to tell is the dirty, frothy bubble trails on the surface from recent prop wash. This is something that happens every year and it’s not because of any recent rains for sure. This actually started happening a few weeks ago back in our neck of the woods. Every morning last month I would see bubbles coming up everywhere in our bay. The bay was covered with ripples from the bubbles on the glassed over surface of the lake. A few weeks later the water changes color around the back areas of the creek and the fishing slows down. You can still catch fish in these areas but the fish slow down and tend to hug the bottom during this period. For that reason, I’m spending more time out on the big water of the main lake or just inside of the mouths of the creeks for my bites. I can tell that the water is a lot cleaner out on the main lake right now and there are some big schools of bluebacks cruising the points and a few humps. Humps have slowed down and I found more fish in areas attached to the mainland than I did out on isolated humps this week. I’m guessing that is part of the migration process.
I can tell that the pattern is changing, and I’m not sure what next week will bring. It looks like were in a full moon phase right now so the bite may be better in the cloak of darkness but my little Z-dog chrome and Casper Shad color pattern did the bulk of the damage out on the surface this week. Water temps were in the mid 70’s yesterday afternoon and the corps in generating a few hours in the evenings. Water levels are more than 3 and a half feet below full pool and dropping fast. Here’s some of my memorable pics from the Z-dog this week.