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  1. #13
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    The Flood Watch Weekend

    I decided to burn a couple days off from work and do some solo fishing, just me, the boat, the hammock, and a tarp. Sounds great right? Well, it depends on the definition of great.

    I left out Thursday afternoon, knowing storms were brewing and talk of flooding rains for the next few days were all over the TV and radio. Hey, I have a full enclosure, a rain suit, and I don't mind being wet so it didn't deter me. I got camp set up quickly before the storms and just chilled in the hammock once they started rolling through. It gave me plenty of time to think about the striper and where I should start looking to fish.

    That night I found a somewhat promising looking creek arm just off the main lake and began trolling shiners I had bought on the way down. I started just before dark, and gave up about 11 without a single hit. I didn't even bother with the underwater light. I was tired, it was raining again and the hammock was calling my name.

    I woke up at first light the next morning hearing an outboard humming along, I just couldn't figure out why I couldn't see it. Finally I caught a faint glimpse of green and white and it was gone again. Then I figured out why I could barely see it as it started pouring rain. It was cool, pouring rain on a fabric tarp, and waves were lapping at the shore...perfect sleeping weather! And so I did for about another hour, then got up and watched it rain some more.

    That day all I managed to do was waste gas. I hit all sorts of different areas that I would have thought would have striper, only to see a blank screen on the helix. I was truly stumped. I knew where some striper were that I had found before, but that was a 30 minute run across the lake. There had to be some in the area I was in too, but I just couldn't find them. With heavier storms coming in, I headed back to camp...and took another nap while it rained.

    After the storms I decided to make the run and see if the fish were where I had left them. I found this while I was there. Whether this is a school of striper or a school of carp I have no idea, but it was neat to see on the helix.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    After fishing the area til dark, I still had nothing in the cooler. I had a few good hits, but nothing hooked. Maybe I am fishing for striper in carp waters! At least the boat ride back to camp was nice and cool, and it didn't take long after climbing in the hammock and I was asleep.

    Saturday morning and I'm up at 3am. My wife and son are coming down to fish and I need to make that 30 minute run to where I know there's fish again, put the light out to get bait, and pick them up at the ramp at first light. I really don't envy the life of a striper guide! After picking them up, lines are out and the helix is all lit up with bait and fish in the area we're trolling. Everything seemed perfect that morning and we got a few good hits but just couldn't get a hook stuck. Just when I feel like I'm starting to get this, BAM...back to back to back zeros!

    By 11am my wife and son were ready to go, bored with another day of no fish. I hit the marina for gas and returned to camp to mull over what had went wrong. I was tired and wanted to nap again but the boat wouldn't sit where I wanted it to in the shifting winds. After re-anchoring a few times, the winds let up enough for a nap around 4pm. I woke up in a bit of a funk over spending this much time on the water and still no fish. On the other hand, I have a beautiful view, I'm dry when it rains, my hammock is super comfortable, and I'm out doing something...not working or hanging around the house. That evening I didn't even go back out to fish. I just enjoyed the enjoyable part of my trip and forgot the frustrating part.

    The next morning I was packed and heading out by 8am. Just before I got to the ramp, it started to rain again so I decided to scan a little cove I've eyed a few times and wait out the rain. All the way in the back, there was bait, and trees, and fish! So what the heck, I might as well try to pick up a few crappie to take home while I'm here. Maybe then it wouldn't feel like such a wasted trip. Then I caught two bass and put the rods away for good. I can't catch striper and end up catching bass trying to catch crappie! Good thing I don't fish for a living, I'd be hungry and broke!

    I ended up scanning some areas for another couple of hours, still not finding anything that looked worth fishing. There was a guide boat and another boat pulling the banks of the main lake but I never saw what had caught their interest in the area and finally loaded up and headed home.

    While I had some of the best sleep I've had in a while, the fishing was downright frustrating! It seems like it's a two step forward, one step back process that leaves me aggravated by the end of the weekend, yet ready to give it another go by Friday.

    And by the following Friday evening I'm headed out again, this time with my son as he now believes his only chance of catching one is to fish under the light the way we have caught all the short fish so far. Spoiler...we just had an awesome fish fry tonight with crappie AND striper!

    To be continued...

  2. #14
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Finally Getting The Story Up To Date

    So this past Friday night my son and I head out to give it another go. We bought shiners again so we didn't have to wait until dark to get started. It was another perfect evening as we began scanning my familiar spot. Sure enough, just like the past few trips, the bait and fish are again right where I left them. After a big loop of scanning, we dropped back to where the fish began and put our lines out. This process is thankfully getting quicker each trip, especially since my son is getting good at setting lines.

    With everything set it was time to kick back and watch the graph...and wait. Oh, but we didn't wait long! Not much more than 100 yards from where we started, one of the rods bounced then bowed toward the water! My son was quick to grab the rod, but didn't know exactly what to do as the the line was drug from the reel. I believe that first 5 seconds of feeling how hard the fish pulled, and watching the line peel away, was enough to have him hooked on striper fishing!

    He got the fish turned and got it close to the boat, where it made one last run before we finally saw those pretty black stripes. In the net and in the boat, he had finally caught our first keeper, and he was so excited he was actually shaking! I wasn't shaking, but I was pretty excited myself. Finally, 32" of beautiful striper on ice! After some pictures, a text to his Mom, my Dad, and a few minutes to just chill, we set the line back to see if 3 more were possible tonight.

    We trolled until dark without getting another hit. After a start like that, we were both disappointed but knowing that one was in the cooler kept the mood light. We anchored on a point and put our light out, still hoping for another 3. After nearly an hour, and plenty of bait under us we still hadn't got a hit. Out of nowhere, a 14 1/2" crappie came up by the boat swimming on it's side. I first thought it might be hooked, but our lines were straight so I passed it off as just odd and carried on.

    Getting bored of seeing fish pushing the bait up under us and not getting a hit, I decided bigger, better bait was in order. A cast of the net and we had plenty of four to five inch threadfin. When we began re-baiting, guess what came up on one of the float lines out the back? Yep, that nice crappie! It had swallowed the hook, so it became the stripers new room-mate. I'm used to crappie fishing Green River with minnows, but I think I'm going to start fishing Cumberland with shiners!

    Baited with the threadfin, there were no more crappie...but there were five more striper! Unfortunately they were all short, but at least we were having fun and catching fish. Finally things slowed down, it was late, and getting a bit chilly so we called it a night. We still had to drive home and clean fish before getting to sleep, which finally happened at about 3:30 in the morning.

    After sleeping until nearly noon, it was time to do some running around that needed to be done and out to eat in Danville. While we were eating, taking the brother-in-law fishing went from a thought, to "see you in about 45 minutes." Here I go again, off to the lake just before sunset.

    We hit the same spot as the night before after grabbing more shiners, which seem to be getting smaller each time I buy them. The BIL had had a new baitcaster he wanted to try out so he was up front casting while I set all the striper lines. Lines out and away we went...for about 200 yards this time!

    The rod yanked down and I pounced. This time, what was on the other end of the line pulled harder than any fish I had caught before. The BIL netted it and laid it down by the ruler where I had to do a quick check. Finally I had caught a keeper! My first since around 1990! I was so excited, yet so accustomed to catching short fish, I just had to measure it again to make sure. Yep, 28", the same it measured the first time.

    Again we had a keeper in the boat within the first few minutes, but failed to get another hit trolling. So back to anchoring on the point with the light out. This time I didn't bother with netting bait and just fished our little shiners. We were getting a lot of light hits, coming up with nothing on the hook. Thinking about the crappie from the night before I began watching the rods close, and pulling up on every light bounce. Doing so I picked up two more crappie between 14 and 15" by the time we left. If I wanted to catch striper, I really should have netted bigger bait. From a conversation I had with someone earlier today, I should have gotten a LOT BIGGER bait!

    One weekend, two striper, three crappie...with the way my fishing has been going, I'm going to call that a success! While it's nothing to brag about, I'm happy to finally get keeper fish. And boy were they tasty last night!

    I've got a ways to go but I'm slowly learning. Right now I've got to figure out bait. I need to figure out how to net bait in the daylight, or find somewhere with big shiners for a Plan B. I need a bait tank that fits the size of my boat too, and holy cow are they pricey! And I've got to figure out how to keep bait alive and feisty in said tank.

    Thanks for the encouraging posts, the PMs, and even a helpful phone conversation this afternoon. Nobody has bluntly told me to fish here, at this depth, at this speed, with this bait, but I've been nudged in the right direction to start making my own choices and that's how I'm going to figuring it out.

    The story will continue...
    Likes headbanger liked this post

  3. #15
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Another Piece of the Puzzle

    I know it's a bit small for my intended use, but after measuring 14 times to make sure, it fits perfectly where I want it in the boat. I'm the 3rd owner, yet the first to put water in it, so I also got a great deal!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I know I'll have to be careful on the size and number of shad I keep, but surely this tank will be much better than the luck I'm having keeping bait in the livewell!

    Now to continue my research on baitwell salt, foam off, and other additives....

  4. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Science Hill
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    I really enjoy reading your posts! Keep them coming
    Likes OutInKy liked this post

  5. #17
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Time For Intermission

    Here I go again, Friday night of the last weekend of June. I'm even better equipped now with the addition of the bait tank, and a brand new 10', 3/4" mesh, 1.7 lb net, and 45' of wire on my underwater led. I'm ready to go deep and get this striper thing right, getting the good bait that catches the keepers! I didn't fish the previous weekend because we took a camping trip to Laurel with the other boat, so I left a bit early in the evening to give me time to scout for bait and test out the bait tank.

    Back to my favorite spot where I've been seeing all the bait and catching a few fish, and guess what? It's all still right where I left it again! There are schools of bait, and groups of good sized arches on the graph, so at least I don't have to run around looking for fish. With the bait tank filled, chilled, and salted, now it just needed to get dark so I can round up the bait.

    But there was one thing to do to occupy my time until dark...that big heavy net! UPS had just delivered it that Friday afternoon and I realized real quick I couldn't throw it with the same method as my lighter nets. Off to YouTube to refresh the triple load method, and out in the yard to give it a whirl. After a few throws, I seemed to get a decent spread and I figured "good enough."

    Out on the water, and with a 30' longer hand line, it was a mess. I could get the net to spread front to back, but not left to right. Back to YouTube where I re-watched the video, only to find I was loading the net up right. Another failed throw and then I realized I was actually throwing it wrong. The triple load throws from under the left arm out like throwing a frisbee, not from the right. The next throw nearly opened the net fully, but now I'm wore out from throwing the thing. Oh well, it's about dark and time to put the light out and take a break for a bit.

    Within a half an hour I have a good thick layer of bait at about 35' on the sonar, so it's time to see what this net will do! I threw and let it sink a bit and killed the light. Hauling all that weight up that long handline, I was expecting a big bag-o-alewives. Instead I found a brand new way to get a zero! Nothing, nada, zilch! So I waited a bit to get the bait tight around the light and threw again. And again I got nothing!

    Now I'm really getting frustrated. Just when it seems I'm starting to get some of this figured out, I'm back to zeros. It's pitch black dark, I'm soaking wet from the triple load, and I can't even fish because I can't catch bait. What else can a do but throw again? And so I did, but just as the center of the net began to sink I realized there was no rope between the pile laying in the water and my arm. The rope had tangled a bit and pulled the loose loop right off my hand.

    I grabbed the first rod I could and tried to snag it with a few casts, but that was a failure as well. Then I realized I should drop a marker on the Helix, but I had already drifted a bit in the wind before I did. The next 3 hours were spent dragging treble hooks across the bottom and guess what? Another zero! Geez, at this point I don't think I could catch a cold licking door handles at a Dr's office!

    Not wanting to accept the fact that I had threw $200 in the lake, I went back Saturday to try again. When I got to my spot there was 15 boats within sight, so obviously I rocked and rolled as I wasted another 2 hours dragging the bottom. I didn't want it to happen before becoming the "hero", but I knew this time was coming. The water was as warm as 87 near a rock wall, the pleasure boaters were out in full force, and the fish were deep. Losing the net just sealed the's time to give it up!

    I'm not giving up on striper completely, just sitting out the summer. I cleaned out all the striper gear from the boat and put it away. I'll do a little more crappie fishing, and maybe a catfishing trip or two but now that the water is nice and warm I'll mostly just be a recreational boater.

    Tight lines to all of you that still chase the fish when they get this deep, and thanks for those of you that have helped steer me in the right direction.

    I'll be at it again this fall and the story will continue, after I buy another net!
    Likes fishincreek liked this post

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