Fall Transition

Bass in the spring are normally concentrated in shallow creeks and pockets. In the summer and winter they typically hold in deeper main lake areas. However, in fall the fish are scattered both shallow and deep. And junk fishing is popular in the fall for this very reason. In the morning you may throw topwater. During the day you may flip shallow docks, fish deep brush piles, and then go back shallow in the evening to throw lipless crankbaits around schools of shad. During this transition time of the year fish make their way toward the backs of pockets in search of baitfish schools, but they do not all do this at the same time which is why the fish are so spread out.
One way to help in this process is careful map study to find routes into these areas. The fish will be somewhere along that path. I use Navionics mapping to find these routes. First I will check main lake points for brush to see if the fish are still out deep. If they are not there I will make my way back into creeks stopping on channel swings and secondary points along the way. If that fails to produce I will go to the very back of the creek. Somewhere during this process I will run into fish. A good rule of thumb for most of country is during September the majority of fish will still be deeper. During October and November fish will be shallow and as December approaches they will start moving back out toward deeper water.
Just keep an open mind and look for baitfish either on the surface or on your graph. This time of year I normally won’t fish a place very long unless there is bait present. But remember to focus on the routes in and out of creeks and you will eventually find bass.

Morristown Marine Tournament Douglas May 17, 2014

Morristown Marine 2014 Douglas

With the colder than normal winter the lake was fishing further behind than normal. There wasn’t a lot of schools, but we knew the tournament would be won in deep water as it always is this time of year. After spending multiple days idling the lake we knew where all of the good schools where thanks to our Navionics chip and Lowrance Structure Scan. It made this finding process much easier. We drew a late boat number and knew all of the good deep water areas would be taken so we decided to spend the first few hours of the tournament just fishing topwater and waiting to see if a deep water spot would open up. We boated a few small fish early on topwater. After about an hour we noticed a boat leaving a good deep water spot so we immediately went over there. It was slow for the first hour or so and then we would catch a good fish about every half hour until about 1:30. I knew we had a good weight as we were culling 3.5 lbers. The last fish was around 6 lbs, and once we boated that fish I thought we had it won. We did end up winning with over 24 lbs. and took home the $10,000. We caught most of the fish on swimbaits, spoons, and a-rigs. It was one of the best days of fishing I have ever experienced.

The Next Move?

As bass make their way from their winter haunts to spawning grounds our goal as fisherman is to try to intercept their path along the way.  With the exception of the extreme south and north, in most parts of the country bass are in their pre-spawn stage and just a few weeks away from spawning activity.

Bass are setting up on secondary points and filtering back into the shallows as the days get longer and the water warms.  Right before they spawn I like to focus on secondary points in shallower creeks and then move my way to the very back during the spawn.  The majority of bass will spawn in shallow water areas to provide good sunlight warmth for their eggs.  On a map those shallower creeks will be visible with contour lines that are father apart.  Rather than shuffle through paper maps I prefer to use the digital version.

Navionics underwater mapping shows 1 foot contour which gives great detail on how the bottom is laid out.  It allows me to see what creeks and pockets I need to concentrate on in quick order.  I can cover sections of a lake much faster, which is especially important when practicing for a tournament.  They have one foot contours available on 2,500 lakes.  Check them out at Navionics.com.

Long Branch Lakes Nov. 17-19, 2013

Just got back from a kayak trip to Long Branch Lakes in middle TN with my brother and some friends.  There are no motor powered boats allow on any of the lakes.  There are 3 lakes all between 50-70 acres.  As far as number went the fishing was a little slow due to a cold front that came through.  However, I did catch my two biggest bass ever…8.62 and 8.79.  We will definitely be going back in the spring to try to get a 10 lber.photo 9

photo 4

 

Get Plus

 Navionics has long been the industry leader for underwater mapping.  They have recently introduced a new and exciting product called Navionics+.  In the past if somebody wanted a certain body of water’s contour map they had to purchase that regions chip: North, East, South, and West.  That was ideal if they only fished in that certain region.  For anglers who travel and fish many bodies of water Navionics+ is the solution.  Now with Navionics+ you simply insert the chip into your computer, go online, and download customized areas that you create.  You determine how large or small of an area to download.  With 2GB of storage space you can choose to download just certain lakes or an entire region.  It gives the user more control to obtain areas they would like to have on their chip.  Users can select regions to download from all over the world.  The download process is quick and user friendly.

In addition the Navionics+ chip comes with Sonar Charts™, which is an HD bathymetry map that reveals bottom contour detail.  It uses sonar logs from the Navionics Community along with existing data.  With Navionics+ you also get 12 months of the freshest data updates.  Navionics is the only marine charting company to offer daily updates.  There are over 2,000 updates per day.

Navionics+ has made obtaining contour mapping easier and you have the comfort of knowing the data you receive is the most up-to-date on the market.  Check out Navionics+ at http://www.navionics.com/en/navionicsplus

Norris Lake Aug. 15, 2013

Had a guide trip on Norris and took out some great guys.  We caught a lot of smallmouth and spotted bass on drop shots and shaky heads and a even a couple on topwater.  We just never caught any real big fish, which is common this time of the year as it is probably the toughest time of the year to fish Norris.  Most of the fish stay deep during the summer months as it is cooler water temps down there.  Most of our fish came from 15ft.-25ft.  The pleasure boaters came out in the afternoon which made it interesting, but we still had a great time.

Morristown Marine Tournament Douglas June 1-2, 2013

Morristown Marine Douglas 2013This is a recap of our tournament on Douglas.

Day 1 We started out on some deep structure that I found with my navionics chip in practice.  We caught a couple of 3.5 lbers on a deep crankbait.  We went to another spot and caught a 7 lber on a crank.  After 30 minutes of nothing we went to another area and didn’t get anything.  We then decided to go back to a previous spot and caught a 7 lber, a 4, and a few smaller fish.  We bounced around the rest of the day on some other areas but didn’t upgrade.  We weighed in over 24 lbs. and was leading the tournament.

Day 2  We went to some of our best areas and got nothing but a few small keepers.  It was noon and we only had 2 fish.  At that point we knew unless we did something completely different we would lose the tournament.  We went shallow and caught about 14 lbs in a matter of a hour.  We then went back out deep and caught 2 weigh in fish to cull out a few of the smaller ones we had.  We ungraded to  over 18lbs and went on to win the event.  We had a great time and made the right decisions at the right times.

Douglas Lake Mar. 24, 2013

I went out for a practice trip for the upcoming BASS Open in 2 weeks.  It was a raining day with very few boats on the water.  I caught a couple of good ones, a 5.5 and a 4, and rest were smaller.  Both of those came shallow.  I tried to find some deep and didn’t see any real concentrations of fish on one spot.  With a few warm days this place is going to bust wide open.  I will be back up there this coming Saturday until the start of the tournament on April 4th.  I’m looking forward to it.

Morristown Marine Tournament Cherokee Mar. 16-17, 2013

We just fished in the Morristown Marine Tournament Trail on Cherokee Lake this past weekend.  It was a two day event.  The first day was pretty good, but most of the fish bite in the afternoon so there was some slow times early on.  My partner caught a 4 lber in the first hour and then it was 3 hours later before we caught our next one but it was a 4 lb smallmouth.  We fished out our limit and had 14 1/2 lbs. and were sitting in 18th.  On day two it was very similar in the fact that most of our better fish came in the afternoon.  We caught some 2 to 2 1/2 lber throught the day and had a 3 lber in last few minutes.  We had 13 1/2 lbs with a 2 day total of over 28 lbs finishing 12th.  The winners had 39 lbs.  We were around some good fish but our timing could have been off a little.  We still had a great time.  We caught most of our fish cranking and flipping in muddy water.  Cherokee is fishing really good right now and will continue for the next month or so.  If you want some experience power fishing shallow muddy water book your trip soon.

Classic Times

Photo: BASSMASTER - Gary Tramontina

Photo: BASSMASTER – Gary Tramontina

I just got back from Oklahoma last weekend watching Brandon, my brother, fish in the Bassmaster’s Classic.  I actually got to follow him both days and watch him from the water.  We cheered him on with every fish catch.  The crowds out there were great.  It was in the 20s in the mornings and there were hundreds of spectator boats on the water chasing KVD and others around.  It just goes to show you how serious tournament anglers are now to learn and become better anglers by watching the best.  While I had a lot of fun I hope the next time I go to the Classic it will be to compete in it.