Post by 31Airborne on Dec 26, 2018 15:47:11 GMT -5
Took advantage of the mild weather and got out for a few hours. Was a chilly start but the wind laid down and once the sun came up it warmed quickly. Very few boats on the lake and all of them were bass boats - a good thing.
Put in at the state park and motored ~half way up the Roanoke arm, mostly just to get a good run in on the big motor. Worked a number of main lake and secondary points on the way back, more looking at water conditions and bait fish activity than fishing. Water had a good stain to it (maybe 2' of viz, less in some places) up in the river so I motored back down to the midlake region. Little bit better clarity but still stained (~3-4' of viz). Started seeing some surface activity and thought things would pick up a bit. Nope. Managed 2 bites and landed neither over the course of 5 hours. Had one on (jerkbait) for about 10 secs but he managed to shake off.
With a slow start to the fishing part of the trip I switched to the scouting/charting mode and explored some new water, mostly larger coves and smaller creeks between the 122 bridge and S-turns. This was all stuff I would usually blow past when running to something I know or had some success on. I discovered a bunch of really cool structure (ledges, offshore humps, and channel swings) that didn't produce anything today but have solid potential. A couple of crappie fishermen were kind enough to point out a few brush piles - I scanned and marked these for future reference. In all, I visited a dozen or more new places and found something interesting in each one.
Observations: In spite of the lack of success I managed to pick up on a few things that may help. 1) Water temp at SML SP was 46.6 when I put in, rose to 48.4 when I came off. Water temp dropped slowly as I made my way up into the river. Saw 45.7 in my northernmost stop. 2) Clarity, as mentioned above, got better as I made my way back to the midlake area. Was heavily stained up in the Roanoke. Think it's safe to assume the BW had its share of stainage, too. I scanned backs of the creeks out to the mouths - more stain towards the backs, clears up as you approach the main lake. 3) Very little baitfish activity in the creeks/coves. A few random pods here and there but nothing I could pattern. 4) I marked a lot of fish. 18-25' was the magic range for me for my 2 bites. All of the fish I marked were holding tight to the bottom or on top of brush/wood. (The crappie doods I spoke with were catching fish - all of their bites were coming from the dead middle of the channel. Looked like they were fishing deep.)
So, now that winter is upon us it's a good time to review/refresh our cold weather fishing safety notes. Layers are always better than a single heavy jacket or coat. Don't forget to cover up - exposed skin can be easily damaged during those early AM runs. Don't forget to give the big motor time to warm up before you blast off to the next stop. We all like to reach for the hot drink when it's cold out - that's OK as long as you take in water along the way. Water plays an important role in keeping the body warm. PFD, PFD, PFD - wear it and have it connected to your kill switch. Spare clothes in a waterproof bag can come in handy in the event you get wet.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Happy new year!