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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fishing Report 7/30/09, Fort Loudon

Fishing has been great lately in terms of quantity. Quality on the other hand is scarce. The fish have been scattered in different depths. I have caught them anywhere from 3 - 30 feet. I have also caught many suspended fish in depths of 10-30 ft over 50 feet of water.
The shallowest fish are coming off Carolina rigged craws and Texas rigged worms. Many of the deeper fish have been taken with the same techniques, but also on deep diving lures such as Lucky Craft CBD20s, Norman DD22s, and Luhr Jensen Hot Lips. It is worthwhile to have some type of fluke or popper rigged up for when the schools pop up at these depths.
The suspended fish have been taken on topwaters such as the Rebel Pop-R, and Excalibur Pop'N Image. They are actively trapping schools of shad against any type of deep bank and can be easily caught with a fluke type plastic.
The quality fish I have caught have been underneath these schools and have been taken on big worms and jigs. They are biting these on the fall. The only problem is keeping the smaller fish away from the lure long enough for the big ones to respond.
The lake has risen the last couple days from the rain. There is decent current in some areas, so fish any current breaks made by points, docks, or bluff walls. Always fish windblown points and humps. If you catch one fish, chances are extremely good there are more in the same area.
Good luck and be safe!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Strike King Perfect Plastic Caffeine Shad Review

Caffeine Shad

Zoom Super Fluke
Recently, I have been chasing schools of fish that are actively feeding on or near the surface of the water. I believe the most efficient way to catch these fish is with a soft plastic jerkbait. It's also a heck of a lot of fun! Normally, I rig the shad imitation on a weighted 4/0 hook, cast in the middle or just beyond the target school, and retrieve it in a fast jerk-pause-jerk-pause motion. This has been the most consistent and efficient way to catch these fish for me under any conditions.

There are many different manufacturers of these baits with different names for them, but they are generally referred to as "flukes". Technically, the Fluke is produced by Zoom. They have different versions such as the Super Fluke, Super Fluke, Jr., Tiny Fluke, and a few others. Some other makes and models of these type lures are Yum's Houdini Shad, Lunker City Slug-Go, Netbait Super Twitch, Strike King Zulu, and the Strike King Perfect Plastic Caffeine Shad. These are only a few of what is offered on the market.

Lately, I have been using the Strike King Perfect Plastic Caffeine Shad. This lure works a little differently than my normal choice, which is the Zoom Super Fluke. In Strike King's interactive, online catalogue they describe the Perfect Plastic line as follows:

Strike King's Perfect Plastics are the softest, saltiest plastic lures ever produced and feature Strike King's exclusive coffee scent (patent pending). These baits contain the world's best blend of soft plastic ingredients! This allows use of large amounts of salt yet keep the bait soft, pliable and fishable. Coffee adds to the appeal as it masks human scents and oils and causes added bites and longer hold times which increase your hook-up chances.
I will also mention that Perfect Plastics are endorsed by Kevin VanDam and his picture is featured above the image in the catalogue.

When I first saw this product and read the packaging, which says the same thing, I thought to myself, "Those are some pretty bold statements!" So, I decided to find out for myself. I bought one pack of Pearl colored Caffeine Shads and rigged one in place of my Zoom Super Fluke.

Right away, I was impressed. The lures are much softer than the Fluke. The tail is bulbous instead of split. I like this feature because as the lure falls it shakes similar to a senko-type bait. It is also heavier, which provided two more advantages over the Zoom Super Fluke. First, it casts farther to reach schools of fish farther from the boat. And second, it sinks faster allowing for much easier, deeper retrieves.

The only thing I disliked was the lure's durability. I could catch several fish on it before replacing it, but not as many as the Zoom Super Fluke. This is because of the lure's softness, but I would rather replace a few more lures than sacrifice it's pliability.

The reason I chose the Pearl color was because I like to color the top of them either chartreuse, blue, black, or purple. I can change the Pearl into whatever I want it to be.

I highly recommend the Strike King Perfect Plastic Caffeine Shad and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Many lures today are hyped by advertising campaigns and this one is no exception. However, it is one of the few that delivers as promised. The Zoom flukes will continue to have a place in my arsenal, but I can easily picture them being gradually replaced.

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!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Check Out This Blog

I was visiting some of the blogs I subscribe to today and came across this blog titled, The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles. From what I read this guy is a really good writer. The blog revolves mostly around hunting and fishing in Florida. Please check it out and I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fort Loudon Fishing Report - 7/11/09

We fished in a tournament on July 11 out of the Loudon/Tellico canal ramp from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm. Well, we had to quit early because of a brand new starter that ended up being bad. Anyway, we were able to fish until about 11:00 am. We focused on the areas near Lenoir City Park and Concord boat ramp.
There were huge schools of fish feeding on top early in the morning until about 9:00am. It was really easy to catch them, but getting keepers was a different story. They were smokin' any color fluke we threw at them! White Bass, largemouth, and smallmouth. I was looking the other way on one cast and my partner said the biggest smallmouth he'd ever seen rolled on my fluke right behind the boat. He said judging by the size of it's head, it would have been around 7 pounds. I'm glad I didn't see it or I would have been sick! These fish were anywhere between 10 and 40 feet deep.
Poppers were working well in the morning. Any brand and just about any color have been working. Brandon caught some nice smallmouth around 16 1/2 inches, but just short of keeping. Many fish were smacking at it, but just wouldn't take it well enough for a hookset. These fish were close to the bank and the boat was in 25 feet.
Perhaps the most action we saw was on a Zoom worm. At one spot, I caught 8 fish in 8 casts. I probably ended up with about 15 fish on the worm in about a half hour of fishing. The best colors for me were watermelon seed, junebug, and green pumpkin. I had them rigged on a 3/16 oz Spot Remover jighead. These fish were suspended around 15 feet deep over 30 feet of water. You wouldn't feel the bite, but you could tell one had it when the line went limp.
The day started out partly cloudy and ended up being bright, sunny, and hot.
Good luck! Catch the big ones and watch out for other boats!

The Cursed Home Lake?

Recently, there have been several unfortunate events happen on my home lake, or reservoir, Fort Loudon. First,I would like to say that I'm not one of these people that believe lost souls of the deceased wander around at night trying to find peace to move on to the next world. Frankly, I don't believe in most paranormal activity. Before moving on, let me explain. If these poor souls did exist, where are they during the day? Certainly, billions more people have died throughout history than are alive today. So, wouldn't there be ghostly images everywhere? And lastly, the Bible says we die and go to heaven or hell.
By now, I guess you're wondering where the heck I'm going with this! As I stated in the first sentence, there have been some unfortunate things happen on my home lake in the last week. The worst thing that happened was at a Thursday night tournament, July 9, out of the Concord boat ramp. A friend and fellow fisherman and his brother were idling to the no wake zone to weigh in around 9:45 pm. A drunk in a wake boat came barreling through and ran over top of their Nitro. One of the brothers is in ICU with broken ribs, an injured liver, and cracked vertebrae. The other wasn't hurt. The drunk was arrested and taken to jail. Please keep these guys in your prayers.
On a not so serious note, my brand new lower unit went out last Monday night during the Monday Night Madness tournament. We won the tournament with 5 fish that weighed 10 lbs and some change, but now my boat is back in the shop for warranty replacement, which leads to the last event.
We have been using my fishing partner's Ranger fish and ski as a backup boat. We installed a brand new starter on July 10 in preparation of the USA Bassin' tournament on July 11. We were tied for first place and the division championship with one other boat. Whoever finished higher would win the plaque. All was going great and we were getting ready to head back to some spots closer to the weigh in which was about 15 miles away. I went to start the motor and the starter just spun! It wouldn't jump up to hit the flywheel! Here we were drifting in the middle of the busiest bay on the lake with no motor and a trolling motor that was almost dead. I was so aggravated that I just said to Brandon, "Forget it! Just hand me a damn sandwich! We might as well eat!" So after eating my sandwich, we flagged someone down and got a tow to the nearest ramp, where Brandon's wife picked me up and took me to get the truck and trailer. Needless to say, it was impossible to fish anymore and we lost the championship by 1 point.
Now, some folks might think I'm crazy, cuckoo, or losing my mind. Heck, they might be right! But, until a string of good things begin to happen on this lake in my presence, I have to believe in the paranormal, just a little bit, and say that this lake is cursed!
Y'all have a great week and please remember to keep the Durham family in your prayers!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fort Loudon Fishing Report - 6/29/09

We fished the Monday Night Madness church tournament out of Concord on 6/29 from 6:00pm to 10:00 pm. We won with 10.3 pounds, 4 largemouth and 1 smallmouth. Right from the start I was on them! I started with a shakey head and landed our two smallest keepers in about 10 minutes on a rip rap bank. Moved down lake about 100 yards and landed another keeper largemouth on a Texas rigged worm in the heart of a fallen tree. He was about 16 inches. By this time, it was about 7:15 pm. We made a move another few hundred yards down the lake to a very large point, where on the 2nd cast I landed another largemouth that was about 18 inches on a Carolina rig. A few casts later I landed the smallmouth on the same rig. It was about 19 inches. Now, it was about 8:30 pm. We spent the rest of the tournament trying to upgrade our smaller fish, but just couldn't hook up with any more keepers. Altogether, we caught around 25 fish. It was cloudy and overcast almost all day until we launched. Then, it was clear and sunny. There was a little current moving and I believe they were pulling water at the dam. The water temperature was around 80 F and the outside temperature was about 85 F. Had a good night and caught some on some new lures I've been trying. You folks have a great day!