Posted by Phil Lilley on May 28th, 2014
Met Phil Lilley at Tucker yesterday morning at 0600 for a day of relax fishing on beautiful Bull Shoals Lake. Just needed to get my engine recharged it has been just a wonderful start off the guide season here, but it was time for me to do a little R&R and just go fishing, so I took a couple of days off.
Started off with topwater on the flats and runnouts across from Tucker, but seemed to not be having it, so we started swimming a grub. Did not take us long to have 2 really nice SM on and lose them both at the boat side. Boat in about 15′ of water, throwing between and in front of the bushes.
Moved to Horseshoe Bend and started catching fish. We had 3 keeper Jaw’s and 2 nice keeper LM in the boat in about 30 minutes. Phil also started catching catfish on the Ned Rig. He put two kitty’s in the boat, one being close to 4 pounds and the other slightly smaller, but not much.
We were kind of alternating between Ned and the grub swimming, but Ned put his head down and went to work. In the next 2.5 hrs. I’m not even gong to guess how many bass we caught. A very nice representation of all three black bass species, with probably the Jaw’s edging out the LM. and the K’s in third.
Surface temps were 74 to 76 degree and it was hot with no wind. Did not seem to bother Ned. Fish were by far congregated on the points, both deep and shallow in front of the bushes, but I really believe they ran out to get the baits, but most often they were on it as you reeled up the slack to twitch the bait on the initial toss.
Caught a couple of short Eye’s and bass after bass and decided to run into Sugarloaf and get some crawlers to try on a bottom bouncer to see if we could catch a keeper eye. Nada on the worms but as soon as we put them up I caught a very nice Eye close to 20″ on Ned.
Was getting close to noon, and I had to take Phil back to the ramp at Tucker so that was the morning. I decided to stay and fish till about 0430 and just got drowned by a huge rain storm. Just before the storm I switched to a spook as there was a very slight breeze blowing into the bushes and it was on. I’m going to say I had over 20 mostly LM on the spook with multiple follows, that were before and after the rain. Also caught another nice Eye about 19″ swimming a grub on a flat windy point just before I quit. Let him swim, as the Catfish had a dinner date with the grill and I already had enough with the one nice eye. He and the rest of the catfish will be dinner again tonight. The grilled catfish last night were just fantastic.
Bull is just teaming with healthy bass right now, it is kind of like fishing in your own private farm pond. All 3 bass types can be caught in excellent shape and size ranges all way fatter and healthier than the fish we are catching on the Rock. Did not catch a single fish with a hook mark in its mouth, and caught bigger and fatter Jaws than I have caught at anytime on the Rock so far this year. This is just due to fishing pressure. There is none on Bull.
Bonus Feature: Bull Shoals Grilled Channel Cat Recipe
We were lucky, we had two cats that were the perfect size. I grilled one and will chunk up the fillets of the other to fry tonight with our walleye.
Filet the kitty, do not forget the belly meat. I usually cut this chunk off the fry.
Immediately wash all the blood from the fillet and soak in salted Ice water usually about an hour till it is snow white. All the yellow and all the blood will vanish, in the salt ice water mix.
I cover the grill with foil and bring it up to 325, using some charcoal along to add a bit of wood smoke flavor.
We have a fantastic herb garden for the Bed and Breakfast Kitchen, so I robbed sweet basil, lemon thyme, and a small bit of cilantro and chopped them very fine adding fresh ground black pepper.
In a small sauce pan I melted 1/2 stick of salted butter and to this I added some slap your mama hot sauce, it is vinegar based. Chopped garlic, Worcestershire sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon with some grated lemon peel.
When the grill came to temperature, I placed the fillets which were just under a pound each on the foil with a table spoon of the butter mixture under them and then poured the mixture over each fillet. I then sprinkled them with Paprika for nice color and sprinkled the herb mixture over each with some sliced scallions.
15 minutes at 325 on the smoky grill and they came out with what my wife and she is picky as Hill said was the best fish she had ever eaten of any kind any place.
Good Golly I did something right.
Try it and let me know what ya think. Fried walleye and cat fish flank tonight.
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