Posted by Phil Lilley on April 8th, 2017
Got down to TR and on the water last weekend and felt inclined to share in an effort to help anyone I can as I have gained a ton of insights from being a bit of a lurker on the forum.
Fished Thursday and Friday from Viney down to the James/White junction. Water color really good up the James but didn’t have a ton of success, Water much clearer but still good color down around Point 8. Water temps consistently b/t 53-54.5 everywhere we fished. Primarily had success just inside or outside the points leading into spawning pockets-plenty of success ON the points but fish seemed to be abundant but much smaller. Fished underspins, small Keitechs, jerk baits…jerk bait by far caught the most and the bigger fish. Usually had to have some wood around and kept the boat in 20-25 casting to 6ft or so and working the bait all the way to the boat. LOTS of fish came farther out than we expected based on what I had been hearing and reading about.
Late on Friday with the sun out and wind slowing down, the JB bite seemed to slow dramatically. Picked up a Menace on a wobble head and got hammered! Hadn’t felt a bite like that in two days. All of the bites had been pretty soft, fish was just there after a short pause on the JB and the underspin/swimbait fish just slowly loaded the rod. Wondering if that was a signal, I picked up the varmint and threw back out to the same location and promptly boated a 2 1/2 lb SM. Continued to work the Ned the remainder of the afternoon and caught 15 more with 4-5 being keeper size. My brother meanwhile kept the JB in his hand on the front of the boat and caught just a single fish the rest of the day.
Had a Buddy Bass derby on Sat/Sun that started off slow for us Saturday morning. Both of us had the JB in hand and we had some trolling motor issues that were very discouraging. Managed to find 2 keepers in the morning before I started dragging around the little guy again. Immediately started boating fish and would up catching 7 more keeper prior to weigh helping to put us in 2nd place leading into Sunday. Fished about a 150 yard stretch of main lake “nothing” bank on the outside of a point in between 2 big spawning pockets. All but 2 of our 9 keepers Saturday came from that one stretch. Solidly believe we were on a bass highway that just kept replenishing itself. Kept the boat in 16-20 feet, floated the bank pretty briskly with the breeze and just kept dragging the little dude through about 16 feet almost directly behind the boat. Deeper than I usually like to fish the Ned but it was working so we rode it. Water was 54 at launch, 55.5 when we weighed in at 4pm.
Went into Sunday with some confidence but had troller issues out of the gate and didn’t throw our first cast until 35 minutes after launch. With a noon weigh-in, we were more than a little puckered. Pulled up on a new spot and promptly boated a 2.75lb SM. Moved back out to our “goto” spot and it was on again. Only difference was that there were a lot of small fish. Had to go through about 25 fish Sunday morning before weigh-in and wound up with 4 keeps for 9.5 lbs. Turns out, Sunday was pretty tough for most and that was enough to win the 70 boat, 2 day derby. Super excited and had a blast fishing with my brother and figuring things out as it was like 3 different day in about a day and a half. Typical Table Rock I guess…Cloudy and cold Saturday morning, bluebird and 73 degrees by 4pm, cloudy and nearly calm on Sunday morning.
My brother fished as a Co-angler today in the BFL deal today and I just heard he finished 5th (his best ever finish) dragging the little guy around from the back of the boat. Told me that although the water has warmed up a couple of degrees since last weekend, the pattern was nearly identical to what we got on last weekend.
Thanks to all who contribute to the success, sharing and positive vibe that is exuded on this forum. Aside from the insights and information I gain, I thoroughly enjoy following the genuine conversations that the folks on this site engage in. The banter is enjoyable and brings a smile to my face frequently. Can’t wait to get down there the last week of April and spend 9 days. Fishing should be on fire by then and I will be bringing a friend who has never been to TR and my dad who is battling colon cancer down to show them that beautiful body of water that we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy.
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