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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Trouble Finding Quality Fish

During the past few weeks on Fort Loudon, I have been catching loads of fish. Mostly these have been largemouth and smallmouth, but some have been white and yellow bass. There is only one problem. Only a few of them have been large enough to keep! The catch to keeper ratio for me right now is around 12:1. When I do hook into a keeper it is usually the only fish I'll catch in that area. I'm just having trouble finding the quality fish.
I have developed a few strategies for my next few tournaments based on my thoughts about what the fish are doing. First, I will try the run and gun approach. Based on my experiences with the keepers being scattered with one here and one there, I believe if I hit enough points, bluffs, and humps I can get my limit. In doing this, I will probably fan cast each spot with a deep diving crankbait, Carolina rig, and football jig, in that order. I will also have a fluke tied on and ready to grab for the schoolers that tend to frenzy in these areas.
Second, I may stay in very deep water for my lake (50 feet) and chase the schooling fish that seem to keep appearing in these deep areas. I would be using a fluke, popper, walker, and crankbait to target these fish. The only problem with this is the catch to keeper ratio. One can catch many fish doing this, but most of them are small. However, when the schools of big fish appear, the livewell can fill up in just minutes. To me, this seems like a boom or bust approach.
The last approach I am considering is to target just 4 or 5 areas where I have caught some bigger fish recently and probe every inch of them. For some reason, these areas have not produced lately even though the weather has been consistent. In fact, the only difference is the lake has been dropped between one and two feet. Maybe, I will move out a little deeper and fish really slow. If I decide on this strategy I will be using Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, and heavy jigs. The plastics used will vary from lizards to straight worms. I've not had one particular lure stand out on the Carolina rig or Texas rig this year. It seems like as long as it is some hue of green or pumpkin, they will bite it.
I'm very determined to find these larger fish during these hot months. I fish well in the Spring, Fall, and early Summer. Mid to Late Summer baffles me. I will find the fish! I will succeed! No matter if you love or hate Michael Iaconnelli, his "Never give up!" slogan is a great one. If I do fail, I will continue my Summer pursuit next year. After all, I'm still young.....just impatient!
Any suggestions you may have are encouraged and greatly appreciated!

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