January 29, 2012
Here we go. FLW Outdoors EverStart tournament series is in town this week and lots of folks are fishing all over the lake. Since I returned from Florida on Monday with a mediocre finish at the BASS Southern Open on the Harris Chain, I gotta say… it is good to be back. The lake has seen some changes… since January 13 the lake level has dropped 2.77 feet and is now at approx 1104ft above sea level. Water temps are in the mid-high 50’s and most fish are in late winter patterns with a few finding their way into pre-spawn patterns. The lake conditions should make for a challenging but outstanding tournament. I predict that it takes 36lbs to make the top 10 cut for the pros after 2 days and the winning weight should be around 62lbs for 3 days of fishing.
Current Patterns -
Shallow: Finding the grass is key for catching shallow fish. Rattle baits, square bill crankbaits and jerkbaits are effective when covering lots of water. Small pods of fish can be located when moving about the shallow hydrilla areas especially in the Mexican creeks. I have caught a few decent fish working this pattern but most of these small groups of fish are 2-3lb bass.
Mid-Depth: Deep diving crankbaits are working very well with good quality bass sitting over top of dormant hydrilla in the drains and along the creek channels. The key to getting these bass to bite is a slow presentation. Stop and go retrieve and slow reeling a 5:1 gear ratio reel will go a long way to connecting with these pre-spawn bass. Be patient when finding the fish because many times multiple casts and working an area very thoroughly is important to success. I have also found some fish willing to bite football jigs. These bass are relating to the top of river ledges on the main lake in the 18-22 foot range. The key ingredient here is rock. Feel for those ‘rough’ patches on the bottom and then work them slowly.
Deep: Drop-shot fishing has really slowed down for me. Typically during time of year this would be the go to pattern for a quick limit. The fish I have located deep over this past week in 30-50 feet seem difficult to catch. I would stay in the 10-25 foot zone for the time being.
Good luck to everyone fishing the EverStart event!
See you on the Lake,