As a kid growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I developed an interest in all sports. A friend of my father was giving me his used weekly (back when it was weekly) Sports Illustrated magazines every Tuesday, so I’d ride my bike into town and pick them up from a little wooden stand just inside his front door. I wore all those magazines out soaking up all the information. Back then I got to read about the greats like Pete Rose and the Big Red Machine. I got to read about and watch “Wilt the Stilt” play in his prime, as well as “Kareem” and the sky hook. I watched Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier go at it and I’ll never forget the lightning speed of Sugar Ray and Julio Ceasar Chavez. I went and watched Lou Brock in his final year and got a Birthday cake for a drunk Bill Russell, from the LA Dodgers, at a grocery store I worked at in 1978. My heroes were multi-sport athletes like Babe Dedrickson and Jim Thorpe (there’s 2 names you don’t hear about anymore). How about Bo Jackson, Neon Deon and Michael Jordon, three of the most talented players to every play. I really took an interest in golf after watching some of the greats from back then and my dad bought me my first set of golf clubs in 1972. It was a left-handed Tom Weiskopf starter set from Northwestern and I wore those things out in our little 5-acre pasture pretending I was in the final round-dead heat with Arnold or Jack, at the Master’s when they were in their prime. Although I played many sports I really took to golf, and I’ve played off and on for over 50 years now. I bought my dad his first set of clubs when he was around 50 years old, and he eventually got good enough to beat the brakes off of me in some epic matches at his home course in south Texas before his passing. After that it was hard for me to find a reason to keep that handicap low, so I pretty much put away the clubs. This year I have made a vow to kick-start the bad habits of my golf game and try and play a little more golf in the infancy of my retirement. This week was the start of that so I’m spending a little more time on the course and less on the lake.
Monday was Memorial Day this week and it’s really a very distant memory at this point but if I remember correctly Lisa and I got out for a bit before the traffic got bad. We cycled through the usual stuff for this time of year and I was able to capitalize on a surfacing fish with my little Azuma Zdog topwater walking bait. We were mostly checking brush out on the ends of points before the traffic started going over these areas. There’s something that I’ve been noticing from the start of the week and even going much further back than that and that is that a lot of the fish are relating to the bottom right now when the sun gets up about mid to late morning. Early, the fish are doing their thing and chasing bait around the brush but around late morning they start to chill, and I’d hit a dead spot. During the early morning hours, I could convince a few to come to the surface or pop a few by backing off the brush and throwing the spybait around the area of the brush. The little G-fix 80 from Duo Realis is the only spybait I use, and the American Shad pattern can be deadly in the early morning hours or when it’s overcast. My rule of thumb for spybaiting is light solid colors in low light and translucent colors on sunny days. Here’s 4 of our biggest from Monday and Tuesday using the topwater/spybait pattern.
When I got up Wednesday morning the wind was out of the east, and it was getting it pretty good. The skies were overcast and to me it looked like it was setting up to be one of those awesome topwater days. I’m not advocating for anyone to get out on the main lake when the water is white capping and you’re the only poor soul out there looking for big spotted bass, because there is an element of danger and help may be hard to find on rough days. I’ve just come to the realization that fish are less cautious when the chop is beefy. That’s where I headed on Wednesday, into the beefy chop with my white pearl walker and the chrome Sexy Dawg. I spent the first 2 hours of the morning fending off stripers and the occasional big Blue Heron or Osprey from my walking baits, to try and connect with bass. You really had to stay on your toes with the stripers. Those suckers would wait till the bass started school under the bait and then they would come out of nowhere to steal the prize. You had to be quick with that little white pearl walking bait. I found that the stripers were a little more reluctant to hit the chrome Sexy Dawg, so I mainly stuck with chrome after fending off stripers for a while. I was back at my dock by lunch and had a nice morning of topwater in the chop under cloudy skies. Here’s some of my fish from Wednesday.
I’ve been hitting a few golf balls in the evenings at a nearby driving range so Thursday I finally played a round of golf with a good friend, Jeff Williams, after finding out he plays golf. Jeff’s like me, a passionate competitor and I’ve always had fun fishing with Jeff with that competitive spirit. I found out very quickly that he was very good at golf and just what I needed as a goal to improve my game. I had a blast getting a thorough beatdown from Jeff and after these aching muscles heal, I’ll be back on the range to make some adjustments.
I’m saving the best for last, and I’ll put my week together in a nutshell. The absolute best bait we had this week was the shaky head and if you’ve been following my reports, you should know exactly what we’re using for the shaky head. Lisa and I would go out in the evenings after work, and we wore them out during the generation periods this week. From about 5:30 till 8:30 we targeted the brush in 15-25 feet on the ends of points and humps in the creek and we had a blast. It’s a very good idea to hit the bottom with the baits during generation right now. Yesterday I went out into the creek before the generation period just after lunch to see if the shaky head bite was going well before they started generation and just as I had thought that worm bite is much better during generation. So, in summation, my best pattern this week has been the topwater walking baits during low light and windy/choppy conditions with the occasional spybait mixed in if they aren’t coming up but after the sun gets up, there starts to be a transition to spybait/underspin type stuff for the suspended herring eaters. Then in late afternoon when the boat traffic kicks up, the best thing we did was go to the bottom with the shaky head or drop shot. Here is a picture of my last fish yesterday, a nice shaky head fish from a brush pile in early afternoon before calling it a week. I couldn’t have scripted the weeks end any better and thank the man upstairs for another great week. Water temps are in the mid 70’s and the lake level is more than 2 feet below full pool and dropping fast.