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Headed out this morning, first full day of my 2-week vacation.  I had three goals that I wanted to accomplish today:

 

1)       Catch some minnows to take home for use as bait.

2)      Catch some Shad, again, for bait.

3)      Catch some Skipjack, to process into cut bait for catfish.

 

I knew it was going to be LOW, as I’ve been watching the level on the internet.

 

BOY, was it low! I haven’t seen it this low in awhile.  Walking out, I noticed shells everywhere, where the Drum and other fish are eating various mussels.  When I got to where I was going to set up, I noticed LOTS of Zebra Mussels around.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFa_F6TvQxM&feature=youtu.be

 

I set up my minnow traps.  I actually did some fishing gear with me; I was planning on harassing some fish while waiting for the minnows to get trapped.  After about 30 minutes, I hadn’t caught any minnows.  Nor did I see any Shad.  I did, however, see a bunch of lead.  I decided to spend a little time picking up some lead, and try to salvage my trip.

 

I decided to move downstream a bit, to the hole over on the west side.  There was one person already there, fishing for cats, without any luck.  I did see some shad, but didn’t try to catch them, as I was still trying to harass any sport fish that might be in that hole.

 

After a few minutes, I ran down to the chute, as I KNEW that would have some fish.  Sure enough, lots of Shad, some Gar, Buffalo, etc.  I tried fishing a bit, but wasn’t catching anything there either.  I decided to get the cast net out and catch some shad.  I had a cooler with me.  The first several throws yielded only a few Shad.  I realized the water was to deep, to clear, and my net was to small.  They were escaping out from under the net before it hit bottom.  I decided to pack up, and head for shallow water.  On the way out, I found some good bait-sized Shad working in shallow water.  I managed to catch enough to fill my little cooler in two throws.

 

I decided to go and pick up some more lead.  I had competition.  I ended up with 8 – 10 lbs.  I saw a big deposit of sinkers that I just couldn’t get to.  I wonder if I still have my metal-detecting “water scoop”…….

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Comment by Vince Fusco on September 18, 2012 at 10:59am

Ah ok, Allan. I never stopped to think of those using long surf rods. Quite a few people that fish the pay lakes for big cats use them here.  

Comment by Allen Morgan on September 18, 2012 at 10:28am

Vince, folks using a surf rod?  You'd be surprised how high my casts get when I toss my 12' rods.

Comment by Vince Fusco on September 18, 2012 at 10:05am

As a kid growing up on the Mississippi River we would collect sinkers and a occasional lure. Our town had a 15ft. wall along the river, and most springs it would flood. As the water was rising, people would walleye fish along the levee. Once the river went down, we would collect the sinkers that were lost in the rocks below by the fishermen, sometimes filling a coffee can with our treasures. I remember hitting the jackpot, and finding a MirroLure jointed minnow one year.

  It's funny in a way how power lines and cables, no matter how high they are, attract sinkers and bobbers like magnets. I have often looked at them, and wondered about the people that get hung up on them. They can't all be first time fishermen just learning to cast. How would one explain getting hung on a power line twenty feet in the air??? LOL

Comment by Allen Morgan on September 18, 2012 at 4:34am

Mike, I have a similar situation.  One of the tailraces I fish has a suspended cable that runs bank-to-bank, marking the boundary of the restricted area.  There are masses of tangled line, sinkers, hooks, floats, etc., in several places on that line.  I'm going to guestimate that there is over 100 lbs of sinkers alone.  These tangles are HUGE!  There's no way to clear them, due to the size of the river and the height of the cable.  They've been building up for years, possibly decades.

Comment by Leo Nguyen on September 17, 2012 at 7:46pm
Nice report, and recovery effort of lost lead. Nothing more critical than to leave a healthy ecosystem behind for the fish to thrive in. Give us more great reports in your future.
Comment by Allen Morgan on September 17, 2012 at 5:13pm

Sorry, Mike.  Allow me to explain.


This particular spot is a very popular, high-pressure spot for many different types of fishing.  We get a lot of catfish people here, and they will use anything from split-shot to bank sinkers weighing up to 8 oz.  As you can see from some of the video, it's really snaggy.  Lots of sinker-grabbing rocks to break off on.  When the water is really low and clear, you can wade out and recover previously-lost sinkers and even lures.


Earlier this year, I brought in a tangled mass of mono, sinkers, hooks, and lures, about the size of a football, that weighed about 7 lbs.  Last year, I went out one day, and literally pulled out 45 lbs of sinkers.  A few days later, I went out and pulled out 55 lbs of sinkers.


If you watch "Gold Fever" on the Outdoor Channel, the current will wash the sinkers into deposits just like gold nuggets.  Find those areas, and you can almost "mine" lead sinkers from the river.


I melt lead and pour my own bank sinkers, so this lead has a use.  I'm thinking about getting a split-shot mold as well, since I tend to use split-shot more than bank sinkers.

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