Saturday I fished the Fate Sanders tournament with BCGS got Justin Armstead. It was almost 70 degrees with winds near 20 miles per hour all day. Water temperature when we started with 46 and throughout the day at warmed up to 49-50. I started up lake in the West Fork at the blown out bridge 100 yards into the fork. I wanted to try and catch a couple good fish before heading down lake and casting the Alabama Rig all day. The water was 46 degrees with 2.5 foot visibility, perfect for the winter pattern to be active. We started on the bluff wall on the left while sitting in 15 – 18 foot. We tried 1/4oz shaky heads with Junebug Zoom Trick worms and small 3/16oz Strike King bitsy jigs in blue and brown…..nada. As we reached the end of the bluff wall we picked up our chatterbaits with Berkeley Hollow belly swimbait in shad pattern and an Alabama Rig. We started chucking towards the end of the bluff and up onto the flat just passed the bluff. We would let the bait sink all the way to the bottom and then retrieve slowly waiting for a bite. After 45 minutes without a bite we decided it just wasn’t going to happen at this spot. I cruised all the way down lake near Hobson Pike Bridge and stopped at the north side of Mouse Tail Island. Committing to the Alabama Rig I cast to the rock point and fished a hundred yards up the bank just inside of the island. We never had a bite…. the water was 47° with 1.5ft visibility. Next we moved up to Hotel/Motel Islands. Starting on the closest point to the bridge we fished down the entire Island, across the saddle in the middle, and passed the next island. I kept the boat in the main channel anywhere from 12 to 50 feet while we cast and let the lure sink 4 to 6 feet before retrieving slowly. At the second island we caught our first fish the Alabama Rig…..a small largemouth. Trying to cover a lot of water I cruised up to Hole In The Wall bluff. We started on the closest point and I caught a nice smallmouth over 15 inches, but not big enough to put the livewell. We fished all the way down the bluff wall slowly with our Alabama rigs without another bite. Once we got to the end of the bluff wall where the channel turns to the right and there’s a long sandy point. We had the boat in 18 feet of water casting our a-rigs to 4 feet, retrieving over boulder rocks on a ledge. We got our first bite a nice 3.lb smallmouth! Not five minutes later I hooked into a giant in the same spot and brought him all the way to the boat and netted a 5.47lbs largemouth! Now we thought we were really getting ready to load the boat and have over 20 pounds, but the bite started to slow down. 10 minutes later I caught another keeper about 2lbs in the same area. We fish for the next hour and a half going back and forth only catching one more on a shaky head that was too small. We decided to leave the area alone and come back later. I cruised further down lake and stopped at sailboat Cove on the right bank at near the no-wake buoy. I picked up my Alabama Rig fished back out to the main channel, around the left to the next pocket, and to the next point without another bite. We tried the island across from Anderson recreational swimming beach but the wind was too strong and I didn’t feel like it was going to be productive so we packed up quickly. It had been 2 hours since we left the spot we caught our fish at and decided to go back. As we reached in sight of the island we could see another boat sitting almost in the same spot! As we got closer we could see that he was reeling in a fish! With that plan falling apart quickly we decided to go up lake and try Sister Cove next to Fate Sanders. We pulled out our shallow SSR7 shad rapse in shad pattern, put the boat in 2 feet of water on the left bank, and started casting to the boulder rocks in hopes of a big fish. The water was less than a foot visibility and 46-47 degrees, almost too cold for the for the fish that shallow. We fished the entire stretch catching one carp that we thought was a nice large mouth and then packed it up. For the last hour we went back in to Stewarts Creek and fished near the back boat ramp. The water was super clear and 49 degrees. We tried Alabama Rigs jerkbait and shaky heads catching one short fish from the back boat ramp to the rip rap 50 yards further up. Our time was up and we headed in. We needed two more good fish to have a shot at winning or a check(which I thought we were going to get at one time during the day) but it never happened. We were able to win second biggest fish in the tournament and get our money back, so that was exciting. The water is now up 2 feet from all the rain we had last night and it will take a few days to clear off and start coming back down. I’ll be out Wednesday and Thursday for crappie and will post a report on how they have been doing.
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