Smiley and I finally had a chance today to do a whole float on our local flow. I was excited to get a chance to sling our new 5" bullshad swimbaits all day long. All I can say is, "What a day!" We started off in style with a nice solid spot over 2lbs on a pop r. It was in the first pool we came to. Not long after I caught a small largemouth on the swimbait. Then we came to some shallow rocks with swift water moving over them and I stepped out of my yak to wade. Tossed upriver, across current and WHAM! Fish on. A 3.5lb spotted bass and it was in very fast water. After a sweet battle I finally belly landed the beast who went 19.75" long and was a shy over 3.5lbs. A good start to the morning. We moved on and I caught a couple spots on the swimbait that were only about a pound and a half or so. We came to a real shaded bank so I tossed my pop r and the second it landed a nice largemouth erupted on the bait. I honestly thought it was 4 or 5 pounds from the strike but he was only about 2lbs.
We came up to a shoal and Smiley hollers that she has one then I just as quickly see her lose it. She's telling me she just lost one and then I see her slam the hook back, the fish came back and got her swimbait. It was a chunky shoal bass just under 3lbs. Her first ever swimbait fish and she was very excited. I tossed my swimbait over to a ledge that the water was rushing over and a fish grabbed it but didn't hook up. I floated over the area and made a couple more casts and on the last I let the swimbait sink and float over that ledge. It got about 5 or 6ft deep and I see a huge shoal bass just come up from down deep and suck it in. I set the hook and the fight was on. I was standing and the water was crystal clear so it was crazy watching it all go down. It was almost slow motion. I was standing up fighting this monster and it was stripping drag. I had to grab the paddle and use one arm to keep me out of some blow downs and all the while this fish is going crazy. Then I looked down and there was another shoalie bigger than the one I had on trying to get the lure. I finally get where I can sit back in my yak and comfortably fight this fish. I can see it's hooked great, one advantage to these swimbaits is the awesome owner hooks that swivel 360 degrees. They hook the fish and don't let go, it's awesome. I get my hands on the fish and sling it aboard. This giant went 21.25" and was just a tad over 5lbs and 5-4. I couldn't believe my eyes. My third shoal bass over 5lbs in the last two months. Insane.
I battled with a small gar for a second, which scared me because it could have cut my line and taken that swimbait. Not good. Luckily he didn't cut the line and we continued on. Rachael scored next on her swimbait in some real fast current. It was another solid shoal bass about 2.5lbs. We fished on and we came to a spot where some fast water funnels into an oxbow of sorts and I had a fish swipe at the swimbait but it missed so I paused it, let the current carry it for a second and then twitched it and the fish picked it back up. I set the hook into this fish and when it turned I could see it was over 4lbs. I was just grinning from ear to ear while fighting the fish standing up and came to a rock where I could get out. Exited the yak and landed the fish. It was just over 20" and weighed 4-11. This is starting to feel like a dream but I assure you guys, it was real. We fished on and after fishing the gar covered oxbow we came to some pushwater of the shoal exiting this oxbow. I slung my bullshad into it, let it sink a few feet and began slowly reeling back to me. Not fifteen feet back my rod doubled over and it felt like I was hung. Then a massive head comes out of the water and all I can think is this might be a 6 or 7lb bass!!!! It was such a fat shoal bass that she didn't give me as big of a fight as I thought she would. She jumped a couple times but couldn't get all the way out of the water. Then I jumped out of my yak on a big rock and pulled her up and threw my thumb in her mouth. Then I let out a scream. We snapped photo's, measured her at 21.75" and she weighed 6lb 1oz!!!! I just couldn't believe this was going on, these big shoal bass were just killing this big swimbait. I stuck one more over 3lbs and a few more small fish and Rachael missed one really good fish that just didn't get her swimbait. She estimated it to be around 4lbs. That was a bummer but overall it was the best day of shoal bass fishing we have experienced.