Do you love big bluegill?
I headed off this morning, in search of a repeat of the catfish frenzy from last Monday.
I arrived at the same spot, caught bait, and rigged up by 07:30. I started casting around, dragging cut shad on the bottom, waiting for the tap-tap-yank-PULL that the kitties were giving me last time. I didn’t get squat!
After about 20 minutes, I saw a gent on the west platform pull in what appeared to be a good-sized Striper or Hybrid. I had seen a few surface hits, so I decided to put the catfish rod up, pull out my Sand Bass pole, and try to catch some Sand Bass (White Bass).
That little pole is a 7’, IM6 graphite spinning rig, Shimano Syncopate reel strung with 10 lbs test braid, with an 8 lbs test mono leader about 2’ long. I had a Rapala X-Rap size 6 in blue/white tied on.
Third cast out, near the boundary of the frothy water coming from the ledge, and my pole doubles over, throbbing hard. I looked to the spot where my line entered the water, and a few feet away, I see a HUGE tail sloshing around on top of the water.
This ain’t no Sand Bass. I just hooked a Striper. It didn’t run at first, just stayed in one general area, burrowing down and shaking it’s head. THEN it decided to catch the current and head downstream. My drag started ticking off line at a good pace. I held the rod up as best I could, and just let it run. Then I noticed the fish had pretty much crossed the current, and was on my side. I started walking for the bank (I was knee-deep in the river), quartering downstream, heading for my fish. I started gaining some line, but I was reeling faster than the line was being pulled out. Once I got about half-way to where the fish was fighting, it stopped pulling drag. I began putting line on the spool. The fish was still fighting, but tiring quickly. After about a 45-second (or was it longer?) fight, I beached the fish. She was huge!
I wasn’t planning on keeping this fish. I knew I needed to act fast, or she was going to die on me. I wanted a picture, as well as the weight. I quickly grabbed my scale and forceps. I pulled the hooks out, noticing that she already had a nice hole on her upper left lip. I captured a quick picture. I slipped the hook for my scale into the hole in her lip, and gently lifted her up for a weight. 11 lbs. Nice!
I turned, and lowered the fish into the water for the release. That’s when I thought I might be taking this fish home. She wasn’t moving, just floating there on her side. I gently rolled her upright, then moved her back and forth for a few seconds to get some water moving over her gills. Thankfully, she gently swam away.
I decided to go back to my catfish pole, and put a Rebel Jumping Minnow in bone color on.
I ended up catching two more Stripers that went about 6 lbs, and a Hybrid that went 8 lbs. Also had a few Sandies that thought they were big enough to take down the stickbait.
There were times where the Stripers were boiling and blitzing the bait. I tried to get that on camera, but by the time I did that, the Stripers had moved off, and it was just Sandies and smaller Hybrids blitzing top. The bite on artificials started slacking off around 09:30. I started throwing just about my entire tacklebox at them. Flukes and grubs on jigs, various crankbaits, wakebaits, I even threw some live Shad at them. The Shad were to big, around 6”, for the smaller fish that were still feeding. I finally connected with a smaller Hybrid on a ¼ oz chrome Rat-L-Trap. That fish spit up 4 minnows as I landed it.
Of course, I didn’t bring my minnow traps and some bait with me this time. Figures…..
Here’s some video:
All Stripers were released to grow bigger and make lots of little Stripers.
Nice report Allen, congrats on a great catch on a great day!
I'm glad you have enough water in the Ark to fish, there is almost none here in Wichita. The irrigation pumps out west don't leave much.