Well, I wish I could be reporting that I was the lucky one this weekend… or the good one for that matter. Instead, I was neither. But even on days when you struggle an angler can still learn something. And that’s what I did last Friday.
Getting out on Kentucky Lake just for the evening with FLW Outdoor Magazine’s Creative Director, Brian, we knew we could go shallow and catch five limits worth of 8- to 12-inch bass. If you haven’t heard, Kentucky Lake is once again home to vegetation. Every bay seems to be filled with weeds, grass or both, and in that vegetation are massive schools of minnows. And around those minnows? You guessed it, packs of little bass who are more than happy to hit a lure. For those who just enjoy catching fish, let me tell you how fun this little scenario can be.
But instead of taking the easy fishing, we decided to go after some bigger game. Despite all the massive amounts of forage up shallow, very few, if any, big fish had come up there, leading many, ourselves included, to feel the bigger fish were still out deep. Well, we were close.
We managed to catch a decent number of fish, only one of which was near legal size, fishing shorelines, points, and mouths of bays. Most of our success came on jigs, crankbaits and soft-plastic jerkbaits.
But after getting back to work, we found out we had made the mistake of assumption. We were right that the bass weren’t up shallow, but they were still in the weeds. Instead of using the shallow weeds in the back of bays, the bigger bass seemed to be using weeds close to deep water — one place we didn’t hit despite it fitting into our criteria for places to hit. It’s just a reminder that when searching, don’t just lump all structures together. Just because a structure, like weeds, isn’t holding a certain size fish, doesn’t mean all weeds will be holding the same size fish. Had we realized that, maybe I could have had a better report.
Oh, and as for the lucky. Another coworker went out Saturday with the same game plan we did. And just like us, he struck out for the most part. Except en route to one spot he happened to stumble upon a massive hump that was covered in shad. After getting nothing on spinnerbaits and rattlebaits, he tied on a topwater. Three smallmouth over 3 pounds later, including one closing in on 5 pounds, and he was glad he was lucky on that day.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go out and purchase a new good luck charm. My hat and horseshoe aren’t cutting it anymore.
Slam the hooks!