FISH CATCHING TRAVEL
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It is Monday so it must be fishing Coleto Creek. On the radar it looked like a pretty good rain storm went through there early this morning so I did not get in a hurry. It was 10 am by time I slid the boat off the trailer. It has been a while since I was there and the first thing I noticed was how far down it is. But it was cloudy with a light wind and I had a pretty good feeling about things.
(Thanks for the share Robert.)
Lake Level Current 95.56 Last Trip 95.78 (The decline continues.)
Buzzbait Bite Beginning
I headed up lake intending to fish it all, buzzbait, senko, swim jig, and topwater. And before I quit I caught fish on all of them. Don’t interpret that as I killed them, it was not like that. Starting with a buzzbait no bites, then a swim jig, one small one. When I got to an area of wood I pitched the senko as I have been doing and there was obvious fish on wood. Actually the first one boiled a buzzbait and that started it.
A nice average today.
I caught the first good one and 4 or 5 more, losing another really good fish, all on the Senko. After doing that a while it was time for some serious buzzbait fishing.
The most explosive strikes in a long time.
The first one absolutely exploded on it. At that point I cranked up the trolling motor and started covering water. It was not a bite after bite thing, but the ones who did made about as much noise as a bass can possibly make when it engulfs a buzzbait. There never was a “place” that was any better than another, but when you found one who wanted it was a thing of beauty.
First fall topwater minnow fish. One ugly snake!
Before I left up lake I saw this big ass snake swimming the lake. That is not a regular occurrence on Coleto. Snakes swimming as a rule have a real short life span. Down lake I got very few bites but kept after it. In a small pocket I had “the bite” and flat missed her. She was one of those Coleto big girls who looked an easy 7+.
One of the patterns that has been so consistent on Coleto in the winter is the minnow bait topwater bite. As I went past a log and got no response on the buzzbait a quick toss with the minnow bait produced a fish. That twitching a minnow bait on top has been a pretty consistent pattern for me the last few winters and early spring. But with the water temp still 83 degrees we have a ways to go for a “winter pattern.” Besides the big snake the deer were running everywhere, the Eagle was back, several osprey were harassing it, and I saw my first big bunch of geese. Nothing like the great outdoors in the fall. With the front coming, which will cool us off just a little, our fishing has nowhere to go but up.
Considering it was a short midday trip the results were not to bad. While there were not tons of fish shallow, the good ones are wanting to go shallow and the clouds which should accompany the front will keep the fishing good on the lake. Gets me thinking about a trip to Fayette. And the crappie are continuing to tear it up on the lake with lots of slabs making the cleaning table.
Net or Boga?
The last couple of trips, including 3 days with the Austin Boys, I have used a net instead of the Boga Grip because putting fresh fish on the menu was the plan. Makes sense the net should be better. I had been using the Boga exclusively for quite a while. It has shown me that I think for wading I am going back to the Boga. Several things have led me to that conclusion. First, I still lose the occasional fish who was in the net and for one reason or another manages to make an escape. The Boga might be harder to “catch” them with than the net, but once you got them they are not going anywhere.
Using a topwater as much as I do can lead to real hassles with trout or reds thrashing around in the net, finally getting the hooks tangled in the no tangle webbing. And then twisting the hook in the net next to their face and having to untangle the net from the hook before removing the hook from the fish. Unhooking a topwater out of the face of a big redfish is a lot easier when they are swinging from the Boga. And occasionally the net floats around and the stringer gets tangled with the fish swimming around you. And the final thing the original Boga has going for it is how really well made it is. Mine is over 10 years old and looks and works like new. It is actually the best made tool in my fishing arsenal. So though they are a little pricey, it is worth every dime. That thing will be working fine when I am a memory.
And I got this question from Tomcat the river rat.
Hi Doug this it TomCat. The wife wanted to take the 2 granddaughters somewhere during the Thanksgiving Holidays, she ask me where I wanted to go and I told her anywhere just book it! She informed me that we will be going to Fairfied Bay Arkansas for 4 nights Thanksgiving week. Then it hit me (DUH) that you are a former guide from Ark, I thought who else to ask about fishing that lake.
So can you tell me how to enjoy fishing the lake and how to do it. Or you can just come up and show me….LOL
I will see you before you go but here is a little info on Fairfield Bay. It is a big resort complex on the north side of Greers Ferry Lake. It is a beautiful lake, deep and clear, in the mountains in the central part of the state. It is known for its striper fishing, and has some real monsters, along with some big hybrids, and I mean line stretching big fish. It also has some huge walleyes, as in up to 15lbs, along with good bass fishing. The river below the dam is the Little Red River which is home to trout, and if my memory serves me a brown trout caught there was a world record at over 40lbs by a guy named Rip. And when he died he was stood up in his casket at his wake dressed in his waders and fishing stuff. My kind of guy. That river is always good year round, and there should be several access points where you can fish from the bank. Or you can save your pennies and hire a guide for a cool float trip. Trust me you will catch trout, probably lots of them. The striper fishing that time of year is also very good. Almost any tackle store in the area can fill you in on that. I only guided one of my old regulars on it once to catch stripers, but it fishes like all the highland lakes. Trust me, it is a far cry from your river haunts but a great place to vacation. Have a good time, wish I could join you!
And I got this great question from Matt, who actually thought about trout and the river.
I was wondering if they staged outside of the river this time of year waiting on the temps to drop and bring them in. Just thinking in weather like this if they would be stacked on near by reefs outside of the river.
Very interesting thought. The fish have been making that annual migration for eons. It is not a conscious thing so the question seems to come down to a pretty simple either/or. Does the slow spreading of warmer water into the cool bay draw them in, or does that collective memory position them on the reefs waiting for whatever triggers the big move? That is a question for the biologists. But I do know one thing, if you are correct there is the proverbial honey hole just waiting to be discovered. Other than a tracking study, which would help answer the question, the real way to know is go. I really like it when readers pose interesting questions like this. It makes us think, and ultimately makes us better fishermen. Plus, if you are the guy who finds them positioned in big bunches it would be a big deal, and you would get to knock the living snot out of them. Thanks for the question, feel free to comment anytime.
(I have not written anything about the election as who you or I like is irrelevant to whether they are hitting topwater or croaker. This is a fishing blog, but I do have these first, and last, comments on the election. Sorry.)
It is Election Day and watching all the folks lined up to vote this morning is actually inspiring. As I write this America is making one of its biggest decisions in decades. It has been a long crazy campaign, but today it is finally over, thank God. So I hope you voted, or don’t bitch. And no matter who wins it is time for our federal government to do SOMETHING on a ton of important issues. And if they don’t it is time to starting voting them all out regardless of party next go round. Time for term limits for every government employee, at all levels. And last, whoever wins, wins. They will be the President and that is the end of it and the loser needs to get over it. And if you don’t respect the outcome you might be part of the problem. Time for the politicians to get back to really running the country. That is the last politics you will hear from me, I could not resist, it was that pesky 1st Amendment thing.
It is pouring right now. We have had a shower or two here and there the last couple of days. This on the other hand is a real rain. Not sure what the temperature of the rain is but sticking my arm out the garage it is cooler than the bay, river, and lake by a good bit. The big issue of course is the rivers and creeks. Will it lead to that ugly cool water that really can have a depressing effect on the trout in the river? Looking at the radar it will be out of here soon so it shouldn’t do much more than cool the water off some.
There is really only one way to know, hit the river again. I think a good plan is the suggestion Billy sent us the other day. Fish topwater, especially in the afternoon on those flatter banks close to the bay. Putting it in writing makes me want to hitch the boat and head there right now. I will be fishing several days starting back up tomorrow. Tough when your biggest decision is back to the bay and wade, hit Fayette, or smack them in the river. So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.
Good Luck and Tight Lines