Summer Weather Continues Its Grip
Written by Doug Wynn - Published on September 16, 2019
Hey Folks from the Excel Bay Pro 230 “Fishful Thinking”.
Are you as tired of summer as I am? It seems summer won’t give up its grip. Falling lake levels with surface temperatures of 86 degrees and above? The poor fish don’t have a clue as to what they are supposed to do.
Come to think of it, fish never have a clue, they just react to the situation they are put in. They eat, sleep, and do all sorts of other fishy things. Right now, their food source is where anglers should be looking but can’t bring themselves to look for gamefish in areas they normally wouldn’t seek them out.
Crappie and bass just aren’t supposed to be in skinny water areas now, but many are.
I had a trio of gentlemen from Minnesota Friday who had brought their wives down to the Quilt Show and were wanting to check out Kentucky Lake and a couple of new techniques. We started out longlining jigs and roadrunners in 8 feet of water but ended up finding keeper crappie hanging out in areas as shallow as five feet.
Longlining is very much like pulling cranklbaits but one uses lighter spinning tackle, light line, and small baits, rarely over 1/8 oz. Depth is set by letting out line or adjusting the boat speed.
We were running many baits as close as 50 feet to the boat at speeds of 0.8-1.0mph. They were amazed that the crappie would frequent areas like that this time of the year in the south. Our best baits were roadrunners with black and chartreuse curly-tailed trailers. We sprayed all the baits with “Slab Sauce” attractant.
Later Friday found us on the main lake pulling Pico cranks but the bite was much slower. Saturday’s trip was a mirror-image of Friday, but we did catch some better-quality crappie on Barkley. Neither Friday nor Saturday saw much current being generated, even as the lake levels continue the slow fall to winter pool. Current is almost always a good thing, but especially in warm water conditions.
As we launched from Kuttawa Day Use Area Saturday before daybreak, I was able to talk to several guys who were fishing a bass tournament. They were from the Bowling Green area. One heard me talking in the dark while I was tied up in a slip and asked, "Is that Doug?" Ends up he’s a fan of my reports and tips videos and I thanked him for reading and watching. Small world, I guess. I do have a bunch of good friends, readers, and clients from that part of the world.
The bass guys were confiding that they had been catching many of their better fish in shallow water where minnows and baitballs were present. I wished them all safe and productive fishing but added a word of caution about the many hazards in shallow areas of the lakes. Top water baits seemed to be tied onto many of the rods I could see in the light cast onto the boat decks.
It looks like the high 80s-low 90s and dry conditions will be around for another week. I will be spending some time on the lake adjusting some equipment and tactics we will be using next week while fishing the Crappie Master’s National Championship at Grenada Lake, MS. The tourney dates are Sept 27-28 and weigh-ins will be broadcast live on the Crappie Master’s Facebook feed.
This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will be the big Cabela’s King Kat tournament and celebration at Little Lake Park in Grand Rivers. I will have the Bay Pro 230 there Friday and Saturday since Excel Boats is a major sponsor of the King Kat Trail.
Be careful out there. The gremlins are in full force with the shallow water. It’s pretty intimidating to see concrete bridge railings above the water where none were seen until recently. They were there, just not visible. With many marinas closing soon will also come a hard time finding gas on the lakes. Wear your PFDs and watch for others.
Welcome to our slice of Heaven.