So I had it loaded up this morning, rods ready, and geared up to go. I ventured down to one of my favorite spots to fish for Shoal Bass, and other species such as Spotted Bass and Striped Bass. I called ahead and knew the dam above my spot would stop generating about the time I would get there. Seeing as the dam is a good bit away from the shoals I was fishing, it took the water a couple hours to drop down to fishable levels. So I paddled up as far as I could, and beached myself on the point of an island facing upriver. I began tossing a 3/8 oz football jig with PB&J skirt and pumpkin seed zoom trailer. I was just killing time until my shoals were reachable, when I had that mushy feeling on my line, directly below the bow of my kayak. I did one of those, half set the hook, half lift the rod in confusion, when the fish took off. It shot out the water and the two and a half pound spotted bass came unbuttoned. This would be my only bite on the jig for the day. I eventually paddled up a little further, where I could cast my 5" Bull Shad into a really fast chute, that had some decent depth behind it. As I was slowly bringing it up for another cast, my biggest striped bass of the day, slammed it so hard that I almost fell out of my kayak. I had to bank my kayak so I wasn't two hundred yards downriver after fighting this fish. It used the current to it's advantage and it took a good, two minutes, to get it onto the bank. I didn't have scales but the 7-8lb fish chocked the Bull Shad so deep it was barely visible outside it's small mouth. This was a hungry striper.
I stepped out onto the bank and in the next twenty minutes, I landed 3 similar sized stripers and lost two or three more that pulled off because I couldn't follow them downriver. This was a nice distraction to the long wait for the water levels to come down.
After the striped bass extravaganza, I made my way to the gradually, dropping shoals. I tried the Bull Shad and the Pig and Jig for a good hour and a half without so much as a bite. I was standing in front of one of the best pools in this shoal complex, so no fish was not a good sign. I decided to make a switch, something that would maybe trigger a reaction strike instead of trying to finesse them into eating a jig or tossing the big bait at them. I tied on a crawfish colored, square bill, crank bait. First cast into the same, heavily fished pool, and wham. A nice little shoal bass loaded up on the crank bait as it bounced through the rocks. Smiling, I released the fish and began fan casting. As I was about to reel up to make another cast, this massive shoal bass, easily over 5lbs, maybe 6, grabbed the crank bait. It turned sideways giving me the full view of her glory with only 4 or 5 feet of line out. I pulled up to start the fight and the crank bait popped out the side of her mouth. It broke my heart to loose the first big shoal bass of the year but she won't be the last. I continued on with one more fish that was either a spot or red eye, also on the crank bait. Seems like the crank bait bouncing off the rocks was key in triggering the strikes today. Overall, I had a blast and needed to do this SOOO BAD!!