Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day of the Dead 12/27/12

Couldn't sleep the day after Xmas. A strange kind of chest congestion from being sick nasally 3 weeks ago. Run, exercise, everything as per normal, just a chest cough (no mucus) that keeps one awake. 3 in the morning, I can't sleep.

I decide, "Hell, I might as well got to work." Pull in the parking lot the day after Blizzardthon 2012 at 4:40am. There is 12" of snow drifted in front of the door. Hmmm, how to unlock and get in before alarm goes off with all that snow? Squeeze. The door and I get really intimate.

The two Ener-Coffees I drank wear off gradually, not until a flurry of activity finishes this week's orders and time to fish gets closer. I'm a strange combination of fishing pre-excitement and Zombie.

Who needs sleep? Get to the water at 1PM. Clear and dropped since the Blizzard froze everything up. First spot, I luck into a solitary dink after accidentally floating over rough fish school in the 'sweet' spot. Siltation has filled in a ledge that used to attract the bass there. Was always good for a few in the past, but now they seem to spread out in the pool. Darn. Maybe I need to test at higher water level to make sure. Nothing on a float and fly, but I get lucky while freelining the hair jig, a dink comes to hand. The little jig was picked up after a long pause on one of the drops. This clues me in the bite might be painfully patient one like the last time out. I move on.

I fish the bottom of a plunge pool, it normally only rarely produces in Winter. Usually dinks. I'm freelining along the slow part of the current seam. I stop the jig for a while. Kind of a 'tick', kind of a 'thunk', not quite either. Soft. Some nice bend fights. This 14-15" gorgeous bass comes to hand.


As I go through the riffle, there's a small eddy on my left, then a wide shallow pool. The only possible Wintering spot for hundreds of yards. I turn the yak and flip the tiny jig into the sweet spot. Quietly anchor, bemoaning the fact I come to a halt further upstream than intended. Another tick/thunk happens, surprisingly bulky and feisty. The big yellow bass gets out into the current, slashing like an F-16. The fish provides an exciting moment, as it tries to wrap around the front of the kayak. I hoist a hefty 17.5" smallmouth bass on board. Beauty. The cold and the colors are stunning. Pretty sure that fish got pushed into the eddy by recent high water and cold.



Nothing happens at all in the hog/numbers part of the stretch. Like they're on to me completely. Crap. Part of the problem, keeping the small jig down, then not hanging up. Still there should have been a few dumb fish there.

I drag and paddle back up to the starting pool. Spying a hill close to the river. I try my hand at sledding the kayak minus rods and fishing gear. Short ride, but it does work.

A sand bar at the end of a 400 yard pool stops current middle river. Again, I've caught a fish or two there on occasion, but usually less than a 50/50 shot of a single bass. Rewarded with another tick/thunk and then a nice fight, 16"er to hand. I try more but it is not to be. Got the overall mind voice telling me they fed yesterday during the storm. Still not bad to pick 4 bass in post front near freezing conditions with a couple nice ones. Bite was just too slow for the amount of territory.

4 SMB 17.5", 16", 14", dink

Evidently, the fishing was an anticlimax. Caffeine wore off and I dozed at the wheel twice. Pulled over and chugged a Dew. Not a fan of that. No sir.



  1. BT,
    Thanks for entertaining the rest of us during the season of shorter days. Your excursions along the rivers of winter puts pressure on me to drag the kayak back out and finally try catching a couple on a hair jig; haven't fished since Dec.3, the last time the water temp. was above 50 degrees here in TN. Thanks again for sharing your adventures. JQ

  2. Be safe if you try John. Layers and extra clothes in a dry bag. You don't want to get wet this time of year. Our rivers are freezing up, so the fishing maybe out for me until the following weekend. Look for consistently slow water near concentrations of fish you normally catch.