Got winds from 10-15 MPH will push you off the lake !! The "hot bite" was over. We weren't fishing the tailwaters. We fished the dam at Marion. The shad stack there, then the blues do, then they are caught by the boatloads & eaten ! So after a few weeks of 150 boats bringing in 50 fish, the schools are depleted. Prime time to go bank fishing is close to when Catking goes. No one was catching fish except for a guide who obviously didn't tell where his honey hole was, and someone who lives there too. We outfished the other locals. They were getting 2-3 fish a day, we caught about 12 the 1st day, maybe 8 the second and 8 the last. Got chased off the water on Tuesday by waves crashing over the bow. Our best fish was 16-4. On the way in, the waves got up over 3-4'. The whole 105,000 acres is all submerged trees & you must idle the whole time. So once you work you way out into the old river channel, it takes a long time to work your way back.
Of course there's a learning curve anywhere you go. We heard of a 38# fish in the stump field & a 60# fish caught in the diversion channel. Our total weight the first day was 47 pounds. We saw the guide bring a guy in who got 63# of fillets !! So his catch was actually about 200#
I got alot more than 150 pictures too !!
A cold front moved thru, lows 27-33 at night, highs 47-53 during the days. Winds W NW @ 10-15 put the bite down. That's the worst you can have them. We talked to a commercial fisherman for quite some time & the guide too. It's a different world there. He runs 6 jug lines with 50 hooks, has a FDA fish factory. Puts them out every day. Today's winds were 15-25 so it's not fishable, The guide said under 20 & he'll run his big pontoon, but he'd rather not as the waves will come over it. Better to fish under 10 MPH The winds at night seemed like they might blow the trailer over !
We didn't catch what we wanted, but we wern't skunked, and we faired better than all the natives with 2 exceptions. Trick is you HAVE to hire a guide to learn some spots. We were fed some misinformation. It was good information for last week, but not good for this week. The shad were all over the face of the dam, in a solid cloud 6' thick for miles. No fish in it's right mind needs to do anything but swim with it's mouth open to gourge itself !!
To catch fish there now, you have to get out from the crowd, way out. Look for pods of bait & a few fish. Guess what? Not real safe trying to graph the area as you WILL bump submerged trees. We were just starting to get onto some fish on the last day when the wind whipped up. At idle speed, we were a good hour from safety. Those waves impale you on the trees, have to take it real slow. Thanks everyone for your compliments. We'll definitely get them next time. Maybe we'll just hitch a ride in FM's new Carolina Skiff next trip and show you our "secret spots"
Next time we know what to do. We considered leaving on Friday, but there was no point, no way to fish.
There's another possibility, that would be for about 4 of us to go, rent a 2 bedroom trailer, go with a guide the first day, then rent a pontoon. Make it a full week, 2 days to travel, 5 days to fish. Pontoon is $100/day- only $100 each that way for the boat. Probably get by under $500 each for a week.