Some things on Pickwick Lake were as expected, but some were less so during day one of the dual High School Fishing National Championship and High School Fishing World Finals.
Predictably, offshore patterns seem to be dominating the day, particularly traditional ledge scenarios below the Natchez Trace Bridge. Crankbaits, jigs, swimbaits and big worms were the common presentations.
A subset of the offshore game was rock bars, humps and isolated structure on the perimeter of major river islands. Several teams stopped on Seven-Mile Island on their way downriver, while some spent much of their morning on its structure-laden outskirts.
We visited Franklin County High School’s D.J. Drane and Austin Jones late in the morning and found them with a limit estimated at approximately 9 1/4 pounds. They were dragging Carolina rigs around the lower end of Seven-Mile Island and had their three-fish limit by 8:30.
This and other catches such as Dawson County’s early limit fit the general expectations, but we also found a surprising number of boats fishing shallow. Brooks High School fished finesse baits around bridge pilings on the shoreward ends, while others, such as Lincoln County Bass Bosses, fished docks and shallow grass.
The low bridge crossing Second Creek got lots of attention, as did bluff banks with deep water licking close, creek mouth points and riprap banks. In the shallow scenarios, we saw a mix of crankbaits, spinnerbaits and Texas-rigged plastics.
Also notable was the massive mayfly hatch. This morning found the lakeside trees literally blackened with these short-lived flies.
We spotted mayflies fluttering around the center of the lake, but several areas of both banks found emergent flies literally carpeting the surface. Offshore, the casings from recently hatched Mayflies gathered in dense floating mats.
We saw several instances of bluegills popping Mayflies on the surface – an activity that usually attracts bass. However, no one reported catching keepers on this pattern.
Thankfully, the rains held off today, and a light wind provided some midday respite. If the TVA starts pulling more water through Pickwick, the increasing current could trigger a mean afternoon bite.
The weigh-in begins momentarily and can be viewed live at FLWFishing.com.