Southern Kentucky Lake Report; Sat. June16th.
I generally fish Kentucky Lake in the area from mile Marker 90-110; it’s close and convenient. Saturday the 16th I got on the water kind of early; about 5:30 am to take advantage of the topwater bite in the grass matts. It got hot later, just about 90 for a high with increasing winds throughout the day. The pleasure boaters really starting coming out around 10:00 am !
This year the TVA has been keeping the water level on the lake low for some maintenance work, or so I hear. Regardless of the reason the water level is low, and it has allowed the vegetation to grow aggressively where the water depths are less than 6 ft. deep. The impact on the fishing patterns has kept a lot of would-be ‘ledge fish’ up on the flats. The fry hang out in the vegetation and provide forage off the main river channel. Without much current there is nothing to drive the bass to set up on the river channel’s ambush points that contribute to the ledge bite. At least that’s how I see it.
Anyway, the winds were calm that morning and the water was in the low 80’s and clear. I went to a place recommended to me by a buddy from work. It’s an area with depths of 4-6 ft., it has vegetation growing up pretty thick, and it’s starting to matt up on the surface. It’s also right off the main river channel. I started throwing a rage-tail toad and started catching fish right away. They were blowing up on bait throughout the grass, and in some places the grass was thick enough the fish had to struggle to push back down through it, letting me get a good idea of their size. There was a variety od sizes, but definitely a good portion of the fish were keepers (15” on Kentucky Lake). The first fish I caught was about 16 ½ “ and really nailed the toad. Caught another 16” and lost one in the grass after hooking up. Missed a couple short strikes, but the bite was on pretty good.
One problem, I ran out of the toads. I switched up to the hollow body style frog, a white one in this case, and got a couple of hits, but not as aggressive and no luck hooking up. I don’t know if it was the difference in bait, the additional boat traffic now that the area was getting busier, or the timing, but the top water bite died off about 8.
I moved to the riverside edge of the grass and started swimming a tube on a light Texas rig. I caught one more keeper, but wasn’t doing it right or the bite was still changing because I fished for 45 minutes without another hit. Well, I did get one other hit from a 6-7 lb. drum. He put up a good fight, pulled drag and proved my equipment to be in good working order, but still not what I was after. Anyway about 10:30-11:00 the wind was getting brisk with the heat of the day coming on, and the weeds weren’t paying off so I decided to move out to the river channel to do some ledge fishing and practice with my relatively new Humminbird 898c.
Side scanned for a while along the cannel where the weed bed was. I picked up what appeared to be some some schooling fish on the drop. I’m still getting the hang of the side scan unit, but I like it. I think it is going to have a pretty good impact on my fishing once I get the hang of it. Like any tool, you have to get used to it and hone your skills. My personal goal is to fish an average of one day per week, and I get out there quite a bit. If I didn’t, I know it would take much longer to get the hang of the technology. I feel like it was helpful the first day I had it, but I feel like I am starting to really get the hang of it lately.
I threw out a few buoys to mark my target area and circled the boat around to face into the wind. I grabbed the crankbait rod and put the trolling motor in, which left me at the down-wind side of my target area. I got on the trolling motor and through my first cast up on the edge of the flat and began reeling. Just as the bait got to the edge of the river channel drop off, I got a bite and set the hook. I knew right away it was a good fish. I’ll catch 2-3 six pounders a year, several fives and a bunch of fours so I wasn’t surprised when it felt like a good fish. It jumped a few times on the way back to the boat, but when I got it close to the boat and saw the actual size of the thing I quickly got my net out; I didn’t want to lose this one. Luckily the fish got the crank bait all the way in his mouth, because it was a tight fit to get that bass into my net. Once it was netted, I was sure it was my personal best. I weighed it, and sure enough, 8 Lbs. 13 oz.! I decided I had to have a decent picture, so I called the wife to meet me at the dock and take my picture. Afterwards, I released the fish; CPR!
I went back to the spot after the photo and fished it some more. The only thing I caught the rest of the day was one dink spotted bass and I foul-hooked a white bass on a flutter spoon. I was off the water before 3 pm, gassed up the boat and put it on charge in the garage.
Totals for the day: 4 Keeper Bass, 1 dink bass, and a drum. As I look back at the numbers, it doesn’t reflect the day I had, ‘cause I had quite a few bites in the morning, and felt like I was pretty busy all day and didn’t go that long between bites. One thing to figure in was the time spent running to have my picture taken, the time side-scanning the river channel and putting out/picking up buoys. And of course there is the size factor; 8 ¾ pounds! Whoo0o ha!
Tight Lines to all
J.R. (no longer) in Plainfield