…since my last time out fishing. It’s only been eleven days, but really seems a lot longer than that. I haven’t missed that many consecutive days of fishing in years, except when I was hospitalized for something or the river was locked in with ice for an extended period.
No ice this time, just bitter cold, high winds and a couple snow storms.
And no fishing.
Until today, anyway.
Steve and I launched in the cold and wind at first light. At least we thought it was windy when we launched. We’d find out later that the wind was only warming up.
We headed down river until we marked a semi-sizable bunch of fish. Steve caught the first one, I think on his 2nd cast. I got the next 4. Or maybe it was 5. Doesn’t matter. They were all rats. Steve’s next bite turned out to be our only keeper of the day, and the start of a mini-flurry of better quality fish. We each caught a keeper in training on our next cast after Steve’s big one, and I hooked and lost a quality fish on my next cast. And then, as quickly as the flurry had started, it was over.
Soon, we were back to chasing around mobile schools of runts. The wind was picking up. Seemed like the air temp was dropping too, but that might have been our imaginations.
Speaking of temperatures, the water temp, which had been 40-plus ten days ago was 36 ~ 37 today. Hadn’t lost nearly as much as I had feared, but it’s still a long way frm the 46 we had on 3/19 a year ago.
With a slow bite and small fish, we decided it was time to do some exploring, looking for a faster bite.
Or bigger fish.
Better yet, both.
Put a lot of miles on Steve’s boat, and didn’t find anything worthwhile. Ended up coming back to the fish we’d left a while earlier, and resigned ourselves to spending the last three hours or so of our available time (we had to be gone by one) trying to tempt as many bites out of those fish as we could. We had about 25 fish between us at that point.
The action continued slow. 1/4 oz jigheads with 4″ baits, finding bottom in 30 plus feet of water, then working it a slow as possible, with long pauses.
In the wind.
Tedious isn’t a strong enough word.
But with our fine tuned presentation, we managed to get our combined total up around 40 fish by the time the tide reached dead low about an hour-and-a-half later. Naturally we braced ourselves for the even slower fishing that usually shows up on the slack tide. But today, that was when the bite turned on! And it stayed on as the tide started to come in, too. By the time we stowed the tackle and headed for the trailer a little over an hour later, we had 86 between us.
Steve won the day with the only keeper, and he caught almost all his fish (including the big one) on his 1/4 oz head with a 4″ Albino Shad bait. I had the numbers, boating 48 of our 86 fish total, and caught all my fish on Sexy Shiner Fin-S Fish, but caught fish on a 4″ on a 1/4 oz head, 5.75″ on a 1/2 oz head, and 7″ on a 3/4 oz head. The majority of my fish came on the half ounce, 5.75″ combo, and the biggest reason I got the big edge in numbers was switching to the half-ounce head and bigger bait so I could fish a bit faster once the fish weren’t demanding a bait that was barely moving and tiny any longer. Steve eventually made the switch, but by then it was too late.
Seemed to be a lot more shore fishermen braving the elements today than boaters. Saw about a dozen anglers fishing from the shore, and only two other boats, plus a couple kayaks, all of which didn’t come out until the last hour or so that we were on the water.
good great to get out again after the long layoff!