Posted by Phil Lilley on April 21st, 2014
Here was my week in review:
Friday 4-11 left St. Louis and headed to my parents near Table Rock for my yearly fishing pilgrimage. Unloaded the truck and my dad and I put in at Flat Creek to see if there was an afternoon bite. Started by fishing the flat just downstream of the bridge and caught a few small male white bass. Moved to the bluff and started catching the occasional crappie. They were probably ten feet deep and you needed to reel pretty slow to get them to bite. We threw swimming minnows on 1/8 oz heads. Ended at dark with 12 keeper crappie and three small male white bass.
Saturday morning we put in again at Flat Creek and decided to try the same type of fishing. Caught fish again along the bluffs but they were scattered here and there. My dad claims that I front boated him because we ended after lunch with 19 crappie and one small white bass. 15 of the crappie were mine and he only caught 4 keepers. We did throw several small fish back. We also tried some minnow fishing over a few brush piles and caught fish, but mainly small ones.
Saturday night we decided to head up the James River to attempt to catch some white bass. I had the hopes of catching two limits in one day. We fished along with tons of others. We didn’t really start catching many fish until right at dark or just after. We threw purple swimming minnows on 1/8 oz heads. My dad returned the favor as he back boated me. He ended with his limit of nice big sows and I managed 10 before our stomachs told us to head home.
Sunday came and so did the rain and cold temps. I should have still fished but decided it was a good day for some family time.
Monday was cold and I sat around most of the day and tried to decide what to do. I finally decided to head back to the James River with my fly rod to see if the white bass were still there. I walked above Taylor Shoals and crossed the river. I started fishing clousers in chartreuse and white and grey and white. The fishing was not fast and furious by any means. I caught mostly males before dark. After dark I walked down stream and threw the purple swimming minnow for awhile. Only caught three on it before giving up. Ended the night with 11 total fish only one female.
Tuesday I decided to head back in search of crappie. I put in a Bridgeport and fell into a pattern. I began fishing transition banks from bluffs to spawning flats. Ended with a limit of crappie by dinner time. Again the fish were not fast and furious or stacked in one spot. But they bit hard when they wanted it. I again fished the same 1/8 oz grey swimming minnow and occasionally threw a minnow under a bobber. I did throw quite a few short fish back.
Wednesday was a bone head day of bad decisions. Started early with my brother who wanted to try white bass fishing. We ran up the James River where we had been catching them in the evenings. The water was gin clear. You could see shad, bass everything including the occasional white bass. However, so could they. My brother caught one small spotted bass before we gave up and left. He had some chores to do so I decided to try something else. I ran to Cape Fair and put in there. I ran downstream in gail force winds and fished a spawning pocket that has been good to me in the past. First thing i noticed was the algae bloom and then the water temp was about four to five degrees cooler. I fished for several hours in the wind before running back upstream. I didn’t have so much as a nibble by anything. I ran into the back of the cove where Cape Fair boat dock is located. The wind was blocked and the water temp was 57. I found a MDC brush pile in the back and caught two crappie out of it. One small spotted bass fell to my swimming minnow before giving up and cursing the wind. I got home and my dad wanted to try the night bite for white bass again. We ran back upstream to where we had caught fish before the front moved in. We fished for a couple hours catching only two big females. Let them swim and headed home. I regret my decisions this day because looking back I know i could have caught crappie fishing like I had been. I was in search of bigger crappie and my greed bit me. But you never know unless you go.
Thursday I wasn’t so stupid. I put in at Bridgeport again and fished till about 1:30 before returning home with my limit of crappie. I ended up actually with 17 keepers in the livewell and a recount allowed me to flip a couple out before i headed to the take out. This day was a little different however. I started fishing right at the ramp as I have been catching some crappie on the rock wall all week. Caught one keeper there before wanting to move. There were so many fisherman on Thursday I couldn’t fish the banks I wanted to. So i tried a new transition and immediately got into fish. On this bank i found a spot that I ended up catching ten or eleven keepers and several short fish. It was the first spot that I had found fish stacked up other than a few brushpiles that i know. The brush piles just weren’t producing the keepers for me.
Thursday afternoon I took my two year old fishing for the first time. We put in at Bridgeport and after the fuss of putting on his life jacket and getting him in the boat he was finally entertained enough to quit crying. I took him to a small cove and cast his pole with a worn near some brush. First cast he caught his first bluegill and said,” I caught a big one dude!” After releasing the bluegill he found the minnow bucket and proceeded to release about 3 or 4 dozen minnows into the lake one at a time. He loved every minute of it and I couldn’t have been happier.
Friday, my dad and I hit the water for a few hours really early. Hit the ramp at daylight and fished the transition bank from the day before. In two hours we caught 10 keepers before returning home for some Silver Dollar City Fun. We did find fish early a bit deeper on this bank and actually dragging a minnow about 10 feet deep caught most of our fish.
Saturday morning we put back in a Bridgeport and fought the crowds for 12 keepers before giving up. My dad did catch a small walleye on a minnow near Bridgeport. And we did start to see more females in our keepers towards the end of the week. I think this week they should hit the bank running and would like to be there for it. However work calls so back to the real world i go.
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