Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Next fishing trip

Since i'll be off from work on the 26th of this month and have nothing to do on that day, i'm planning on making the second fishing trip of the season to one of the best crappie fishing locations in all of North Alabama. Bear Creek, which is a very large slough located on Pickwick Lake of the Tennessee River is right on the Alabama/Mississippi line, and yields huge crappie each year to those that fish it.
Never been there before, I only have stories from my Daddy's trips there when he was in his younger days. It'll take some getting used to the new surrounding, but the new fishfinder will be utilized to it's fullest potential for hopefully finding some fish to catch.

Here's a picture of Bear Creek:

I'll be putting in at Colbert County Park boat ramp, then motoring over to locations designated as 6 and 7 on the map. I'm hoping to locate some deep structure to fish around (mainly sunken timber and tree tops), and will be using the tightline method to drop jigs in and around the congested limbs/brush to coax a few keepers from their winter secrecy. Wish me luck.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fishing trip #1, 12/11/11

The first fishing trip of winter was really just about putting the boat into the water for the first time since last May, and also trying out the new fishfinder and how it worked on the water. Wanting to take things easy for this outing, I decided to put in at Florence Harbor located on Pickwick Lake, and simply troll around the marina filled with boats to see what was around them. It was a beautiful sun-filled day, but still just below 50 degrees outside.
Water surface temperature was 50 degrees also....

Here's a picture of Oneal Bridge that crosses the river, and all of the riprap (stones)in the foreground that I really thought would have potential for holding fish. The fishfinder indicated a sunken treetop on three consecutive passes in this location, and although I fished the area pretty hard - no fish were taken from the spot.

My stringer for the day consisted of a nice bluegill, largemouth bass with it's dorsal fin ripped off by something, and of course this drum that was thrown back in. This drum weighed at least 5 lbs., and boy are they some real fighters...
Fighting this dude with a 10 foot pole and 6 lb. test line was pretty intense, but one just has to take their time with landing it.

What was learned from the day? That I really needed to read the user manual for the fishfinder, because I was really struggling with getting it set right. Oh well, at least everything worked - and the only problem that popped up was a leaking fuel line that was promptly repaired out on the water. Tools kept in the dry storage bin of the boat are a necessity to have, because you never know when a problem will arise.

Anyway, hopefully the next trip will bring with it better results....


My equipment for crappie fishing

Once cold temperatures arrive for the year on any particular lake, fish position themselves at a depth more comfortable to their bodies. Crappie will typically be situated somewhere between 20 and 50 feet deep - unless of course the lake is not hardly that deep. Also, if you find one - there's usually several more with it. This is because of their schooling habits, so locating these small pockets of fish on a big body of water is what makes the difference between someone that goes home with an empty livewell , or one who has fish for the evening's dinner.

Even during spring, fish can only be located in 20% of a lake's overall surface area, and you could say that cold weather conditions are even worse.
So, I have invested in some extra equipment to increase chances for success, and would like to share some of them with you.

B'n'M Fishing Camo BrushCutter Crappie Rod, 2 piece, 10 feet total length, qty 3
Purchased from Cabela's for $60 each, these long spinning rods will allow me to fish any way imaginable. From vertical tight-lining into submerged treetops, to trolling with them at any depth - these long rods have a very sensitive tip and lots of backbone, too.

Quantum® Catalyst® PT™ Spinning Reel, qty 3
With a regular price of $140 each at Cabela's, these were marked down to half price. Consisting of 7 bearings in each reel, words can't describe how smooth the operation is.

Humminbird 596c HD DI fishfinder
Being able to see what structure lies on the lake floor dictates where the fish are located, because a crappie or bass wants something to relate to for both security, and also as an ambush point. These two species of fish are predators in their world, and simply won't exert much energy chasing after their prey.
Anyway, this unit was purchased directly from the Humminbird website for $550 plus tax, and is the key to locating fish when others can't. Here's some snapshots of performance from their website.....

And here's what it'll look like on the fishfinder........

Various jigs, tackle boxes, and winter clothing to use especially for this type of fishing were also purchased, and if something has been left out - I just can't think of it.
All decals, permits, and licenses have been acquired, and boat operation has been finalized also.
The first trip of the season will take place in a couple of days, and I'll post about it later this week. I hope to show you some good pictures.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The initial post for my fishing blog

Fishing is something I've always enjoyed doing - even as a kid, my brother and I would walk nearly a mile to fish one of the large ponds that litter the town in which we lived. It's always brought happiness into my life, and I could seriously tell you stories that would be beyond belief. But, I lived them, and hope to share future fishing adventures with all of my readers.

Anyway, to help pass the time during the off-season for my gardening, I decided to go all-out with this old hobby of mine. Never before have the cold months been spent on the water, but several hundred dollars have been invested in doing just that. I have to do it for my sanity - as you surely understand how lonely it is around here now.

The great thing is, I live in close proximity to some of the best fishing spots in the United States, and will share details and pictures of each along the way.

The locations for trips will be:

1. Cedar Creek Lake - located 15 miles from my house, which consists of 4,200 acres of surface area. This lake has some really large fish in it, and a couple of 15 lb largemouth bass have been caught there during my lifetime. This lake is the largest of the 4 lakes that make up what's called the Bear Creek Lakes.

2. Little Bear Creek Lake - also located 15 miles from my house, and is by far the most beautiful in all of Northwest Alabama. Used primarily for recreational purposes, it also possesses pretty good fishing opportunities. Jenette and myself spent many days here each spring catching crappie during past years. The water there is crystal clear, so smaller tackle does best most of the time....It consists of just over 1,600 acres of surface area, and is also included in the 4 lakes that are part of the Bear Creek Lakes system.

You can find more info at www.bearcreeklakes.com

3. Pickwick Lake Reservoir - part of the Tennessee River system, this lake is a previous owner of the world-record Smallmouth Bass. Daddy used to only go here for the catfish, but I'll be going for the slab-sized crappie caught here.

4. Wilson Lake Reservoir - also part of the Tennessee River System, this is my personal favorite for largemouth bass. I actually lived on this lake during three years of my life, and know it better than the other 3 combined. During spring of each year, I'll show you some nice stringers of bass that fall prey to my little secret bait.

Anyway, just wanted to post something to get things started off, and will be adding more posts as the season progresses.