This past Monday morning, 13 Feb., I fished with Mr. Ron Snodgrass and his son-in-law, Kyle Brown. Ron drove down from Ferris, Illinois, over the weekend to visit his daughter and son-in-law, and to celebrate the birthday of their 4 year old grandchild.
114 of our 122 fish caught were white bass. These were the largest of the bunch, ranging from 13.675 to 14.50 inches.
As the water slowly warms from the relatively high winter low temperatures which only fell into the low 50’s, fish are beginning to move up into shallow water. As they do, bladebaits like this Binsky in Sexy Shad color pattern, do an excellent job of covering ground and tempting fish to eat as it is retrieved horizontally.
During the peak feeding time the fish became so aggressive that Ron actually caught a largemouth and a white bass on the same lure at the same time and I routinely landed fish on a rod left in a rodholder as I left it to take fish off for Kyle and Ron.
February and early March tend to bring with them the most wildly varying weather conditions of the year. Several days ago, the forecast called for a morning low of just 48F, but this kept getting revised upwards the closer we got to trip time. As it turned out, we started our day at a balmy 61F with little wind and thick cloud cover.
The fishing got off to a sluggish start thanks to the light wind conditions. In fact, in our first 2.5 hours on the water, we managed only 30 fish. Around 9:15, an ENE wind began to steadily push and increase to 12 mph. By the time that wind had worked on the lake’s surface for about 15 minutes, the fishing turned into a whole other ballgame. Most of the fish we caught during this slow time were caught fancasting bladebaits in water less than 18 feet deep in areas where birds were showing interest (but not aggressively feeding).
In the 65 minutes from 9:30 to 10:30, we doubled our catch, taking our tally from 30 fish up to 60 fish. Then, in the final hour on the water, from 10:30 to 11:30, we once again doubled our catch, taking our tally from 60 fish up to 122 fish. During our final 15 minutes on the water from 11:15 to 11:30, the bite died back to nil. During the peak of the feeding frenzy, Ron actually landed two fish on the same lure at the same time, and, as I set my rod in the rod holder to go take fish off the hook for my clients, I routinely returned to the rod only to find a fish had attacked my lure as it hung beneath the boat, thus hooking itself. This happened a half-dozen times or more.
The trick today was a slow easing tactic using small 3/8 oz. slabs to imitate the small threadfin shad we observed many of the fish we caught regurgitating. Once the slow easing tactic worked to attract the fish from off the bottom, we replaced this tactic with a slow smoking tactic in order to get our baits higher off bottom.
We caught a mix of 114 one-, two-, and three-year old white bass, as well as 4 drum and 4 largemouth bass.
TALLY = 122 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:50a
End Time: 11:30a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 61F
Water Surface Temp: 59.4°F
Wind Speed & Direction: <2NE at obscured sunrise through 9:00, then quickly ramping up to ENE12
Sky Conditions: 100% grey cloud cover until 10a, then quickly clearing to 70% white cloud cover on a fair sky
Water Level: 0.15 feet above full pool
GT = 10
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 092 – easing and working blades horizontally for 14 fish
**Area 531 – easing for 6 fish
**Area 363 – easing for 10 fish
**Area 1895 – easing for 92 fish as wind finally ramped up and fish turned on
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