Lack of Current Means Scattered Fish on Drop-Offs & Deep Flats
Written by Doug Wynn - Published on July 22, 2022
Hey Y’all from the Excel Storm Cat 230. There is no doubt summer is here with all its fury. Near triple-digit temperatures are keeping most fishermen at home.
We were on a trip Monday and left Lynnhurst Family Resort at 6 am. We saw the first boat beside ours at 10:30 AM. That’s four and a half hours of zero other fishing or recreational boats on Blood River and the main lake!
My clients from Louisville were puzzled. I’m sure hot weather later in the day was part of it but in my opinion, almost $5 per gallon gas had the most to do with it. Folks are much more selective as to when they can put gas in the boat and head to the lake.
If you happen to see me by myself or with Miss Vicki on the lake, you will probably see our new running mate, Savy the Boykin Spaniel. We adopted Savy last fall from a wonderful organization, Boykin Spaniel Rescue.
We had also applied for and been accepted by Operation Little Brown Dog. Both are great national groups who rescue and accept Boykins that owners must give up.
Savy became available and after a lengthy interview process, she became a member of our family. The vast majority of Boykins are tail docked, not Savy. She has a beautiful flag tail that never stops.
Having raised labs for years and mostly chocolate labs in recent years, we decided a smaller dog was better for us going forward. Having never had a dog that lived in the house most of the time, Vicki took some adjusting.
At first, she tried not to like Savy: “That is YOUR dog!”
But Savy won her over and now she is a valued member of our family, along with Bleu the cat and Phoenix, our last chocolate lab.
I’ve been around labs for 50 years but have never seen one that loves the water more than Savy. Her first trip on the Storm Cat was just to see how she would react. She jumped into the lake at the ramp, then jumped out of the boat twice before I could leave Sportsman's Marina.
Once she learned where her place was and how she should act, she enjoyed the afternoon on the lake like an old pro. She is not ready for prime time with clients yet, but she will be soon, with small groups at first.
I had taken a few days off to rest up from my travels and get some things done around the house and my shop. The TVA Lake Info app on my phone is checked daily and even though TVA is dropping the lake slowly toward winter pool, there is very little current being generated.
Summertime ledge and deep flats fishing is dictated by current. Low current means the fish will scatter all over the lake, seeking food sources and finding comfortable waters. This makes my job much harder.
Guide trips Saturday and Monday were slow. Yes, we caught crappie and other species but nowhere near what I set as a standard for a good trip. Saturday we were hampered by threatening thunderstorms and constantly changing winds. My clients got to see how fast a southeasterly wind can change KY Lake from calm to scary.
The crappie and catfish along with yellows, whites, largemouth, etc. have been scattered on drop-offs and deep flats near deeper water. It has taken a variety of colors and brands of crankbaits to entice bites.
Once the bite happens, many of the strikes result in slightly hooked fish that soon escape. I’ve been digging in my age-old baits to try to find a magic bullet. I’ve also been painting some baits that will be experimented with.
Our lack of rain means the current situation will last until our dry spell breaks.
Some cat fishermen have done OK with jug lines in coves and by fishing cut bait on main lake drop-offs. Jug lines normally do best in late afternoon and early night.
Please be sure to tally up all your jugs or noodles and not leave any floating around with fish hooked on them that you weren’t aware of. I’ve released dozens of hooked catfish on noodles and jugs that I saw swimming along, unattended.
There is nothing in the long-range forecast that shows a break in our current weather pattern. Dog Days is what I’ve always heard old-timers call this time of the year. The fish don’t go to Canada for cooler waters. They are still there for the taking.
It’s going to take spending the hours right after sunrise and the last couple of hours before sunset seeking your chosen species. Be sure to wear sunscreen, protective clothes if you burn like I do, and stay hydrated with water or sports drinks. Don’t forget your PFDs when the big engine is above trolling speeds.
Please be careful out there. Fewer boats out there mean fewer chances you will be rescued quickly if you do take a dunking or have boat trouble. Watch out for those who won’t watch out for you and please take the time to help somebody who needs it.
Fall has always come, right after the summer heat. Some of us look as forward to fall fishing as we do the spawn in the spring. Get your gear ready now for great fishing to come.
Welcome to our slice of Heaven!