Welcome to the quest.

The world record shoal bass is 8 lbs and 12 ozs and was caught on October 27 1977 in the Apalachicola River Florida. It has only been in the past few years that it has been targeted specifically by river fisherman with the rising popularity of kayak fishing.
A few years ago I discovered kayak fishing and decided to make the shoal bass my my main focus. It was even more recently that I was approached by a fellow kayak angler that was interested in making a film about the hunt for the world record shoal bass which sparked my interest greatly and spawned the creation of this blog. The hunt for this record fish has since become the focus of all of my fishing activities. I now target the shoal bass exclusively. I was recently asked by a fellow angler if I thought I really had a chance at catching a world record ? My reply.. Well my chances are are as good as yours or any body else but if I do YOU are damn sure gonna hear about it. I would like to dedicate this blog and my efforts to Philip (Swampthang) Mays who is the first person to ever take me on a kayak trip down the river for shoal bass and started this addiction that I love so much. Phil left this world recently for a better place. He was a true sportsman and will be deeply missed. Thank you Phil.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Winter is just around the corner.

Our northern neighbors are already experiencing some tough winter weather but one of the beautiful things about living in Georgia is if the weather turns nasty just wait a day and it will change. You cant ever tell  what the weather is going to do here. I remember times in recent years when we were wearing short sleeve shirts at Christmas time. One day its cold the next its warm.. Its constantly changing.  Georgia weather can be down right weird at times . Last week in a span of three days we experienced winter like conditions one day then it warmed up and we had thunder storms and tornadoes and then turned off cool and windy.

Even though winter is approaching there will be warmer days here and there right up to January before the cold weather really sets in. So when the really cold weather does set in what do we do ? Stop fishing ?
Naaaa.. Just put on some extra clothing and stay at it.  Even though the fish get a little more lethargic and their metabolism slows down they still have to eat every now and then. Its tough to get em to bite in the winter but it can still be done. Usually when you do get a bite though it will be a good fish. Here  is a fish that I caught early this year on a very cold January day.  I fished for eight solid hours that day and literally only got one bite but as you can see it was a good one.



Fall fishing this year has not been as productive as I had hoped it would be but I did catch a few good ones and best of all I was able to explore a couple of new spots that look promising for spring.  Fall is technically not over and there will be several warm days and good opportunities to fish before winter arrives though and I plan to take full advantage as long as possible. Once the cold weather sets in I will use my time to scout out new locations and prepare my kayak and gear for the spring and you can bet I will slip in a few days of winter fishing too.

So stay warm out there folks and don't let the boring winter months get to ya. Put on a few extra layers and get out there and enjoy the great outdoors. The fish still have to eat they just don't eat as often but you never know when you might just hook into a monster that happens to be hungry when your bait comes passing by.
If you do get on the water this is the time of year to take extra precaution. Wear your PFD and always take a dry bag with some dry clothes in case you get wet. Be prepared and always fish with a partner.
I hope everyone has a happy holiday season.
Stay safe out there 
WJ

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fall Fishing and roosters on the river.

Fall on the river in Georgia is the most beautiful time of the year to be fishing in my opinion and can also be one of the most productive times to fish. As the water starts to cool down the fish sense that it is time to start preparing for winter and fattening up. You don't catch as many  but when you do its usually a quality fish.
Fall is a great time to be fishing large baits and is also the best time to fish top water type lures. The big bass are out in search of a large fulfilling meal that is really going to fill them up without expending a whole lot of energy to get it. The weather conditions can be a bit challenging in the fall but if you really want a chance at a trophy fish or a shot at the record you should take advantage of any opportunity you can to get on the river. It will not be long until winter is here and that opportunity will not present itself again until spring.

River fisherman like most fisherman are always looking for a sign they are going to have a good day and this was exactly the case on my latest outing. First sign of the day was realizing I had left my paddle and two cameras in my truck at the take out after we had done the shuttle and having to go all the way back to get them. This seemed like a bad sign at the time. The next sign we encountered was three roosters that greeted us at the beginning of the trail where we were suppose to enter the river. It appeared almost like they were blocking the trail trying to stop us from fishing.. Turns out both of these events would be good signs at the end of the day.


After we made it past the rooster guards and launched our boats it would not be long before there would be another sign that we were in for a good day on the river. Within just a few minutes of getting started I had cast a buzz bait into a large deep pool and was greeted with a massive top water explosion. This fish smashed my bait like she had not eaten in a week. I immediately knew I had a good fish on. My scales would not register so no weight was taken but the fish measured 19 1/2 " and we estimated her to weigh some where in the 4 lb range. As you can see this fish was fat and very healthy. A good sign that the fall bite is on and the fish are feeding heavily.


As you can see in the picture I am dressed for cold weather. The wind was brutal gusting up to 20 mph so as you can imagine it made it tough to fish but we made the best of it. We were moving so fast that all we could do was fish fast moving re action baits and buzz baits turned out to be the ticket for the entire trip. A few minutes after I caught my first fish one of my partners Glenn hooked into this nice 6 1/2 lb largemouth and before they day was out he had caught another one over 5 lbs and several other good fish. Glenn had dialed in on the largemouths holding on wood cover and ended up catching quite a few good fish. Two over 5 lbs in one day is nothing to sneeze at. Here is Glenn's big fish of the day.



I did not catch any more big ones on this day but did manage to catch quite a few fish but that one big girl made the trip all worth while. You never know when that fish of a life time is going to show up but the fall of the year. is a good time to be out there trying. Our other partner Sean rounded out the day with his big fish of the day very near the take out point. This fish also nailed a buzz bait.


The fall of the year is truly a special time to be on the river in Georgia. With the changing leaves and crisp autumn air it can be very relaxing and rewarding time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. On the weekend prior to this one I had made a trip by myself and did a short paddle up and also had a productive day. Here are a couple of fish that I caught that day.



So the quest continues.Don't miss out on some great fall fishing my river fishing friends and watch for those signs. Its a great time to be out there and you just never know when you might catch that fish of a life time or who knows maybe even a world record. Good luck out there and be safe folks.Until next time.. FISH ON !!
WJ

Friday, September 30, 2011

How to sink a Kayak

Well you start by fishing a river that is so low and has so many exposed rocks that you never knew ever existed and then you do your best to crash into or drag over as many as you possibly can. This seemed to be the case this past Sunday when me and my partner for the day Andrew AKA Piratewader set out to fish one of our local flows here in Georgia for shoal bass.

The past few years we have experienced some of the worst drought conditions that we have ever had in the state and this year is no different. In fact this has to be one of the worst that we have seen. On this day we set out in hopes of finding the shoal bass in the places you would typicality expect find to them in the beginning of the fall months but there was no water there. The usual pattern that we had hoped to see was none existent. We did eventually find fish and both of us managed to catch a fair number but the fishing was just not what we expected it to be.

By the end of the day I had managed to bang into and get stuck on so many rocks that I developed a half moon shaped cracked around one of the scupper holes in the bottom of my kayak under the seat area. By the time we were a mile or so away from the take out my boat had taken on so much water it had become very unstable and kind of mushy feeling and hard to handle. Felt kind of like driving a 70's model Vista Cruiser station wagon with 10 drunk teenagers in the back on the way to a Ozzy Osborne concert. Trust me I know what that feels like.

Anyway..Got back home and made contact with the fine folks at http://www.oceankayak.com/ to find out if they sold a repair kit to fix the leak. Sure enough they emailed me that same day and offered to send me some welding rods free of charge. Thank you good folks at Ocean. Hopefully I can patch the old girl  up and get back on the river real soon. My drifter has been a good boat and taken a lot of abuse for 5 years now so it was just a matter of time before this happened. You cant expect a plastic boat hold up to that much torture and not develop a leak eventually.

So there you go... No big fish to report at this time although we did manage to catch a few decent ones and salvage the day. I had a great time fishing with Andrew. He is a great guy to fish with and I look forward to fishing with him again. We are currently planning a 3 day float in south Georgia this fall that I believe will turn out to be an exciting trip.Here is Andrew with a very nice spotted bass the he caught on our trip.


Here is my best best of the day which I am sad to report only weighed in at 2-5 but it was fun to catch none the less.Shoal bass always put up a good fight no matter the size.


Until next time folks when the old Drifter is repaired and I get back on the river again.In the mean time lets all pray for some rain and hopefully the river rises and rocks sink and the fish get back into the usual fall pattern that we all love to fish.. 
Take care and be safe out there.
WJ


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Trip report 08/06/11 **A tricky situation**

Despite the brutal summer heat that we are experiencing in Georgia I decide to get out for a day of fishing even though I knew not to expect much in the way of big fish or big number either. I guess I just needed to get my fishing fix anyway. You see after a week or two of no fishing I start to get river fever and even though I know deep down its probably a waste of time I just have to go wet a line anyway.

Well just as I suspected the fishing stunk to say the least.After about 4 or 5 hours I had only boated 3 or 4 bass and all of those would have weighed in ounces not pounds. That's a pretty sad day on the water right there. Finally later in the day I did manage to boat one that might have went 1 1/2 lbs tops.
My partner Glenn did manage to find one hole that had a few hungry fish in it and he was able to pull out two good ones. A large mouth that was around 3 lbs and nice shoal bass that weighed in a 4-4 he caught on a Sammie walking the dog on top. Here is a picture.


Then things got a little tricky. A storm started to roll in that was producing some lightning off in the distance so we decide to move back up stream toward our vehicles just in case things got nasty. Glenn and Sean had gotten ahead of me and I came to a set of shoals where I had to get out of my kayak and drag it up over some rocks and through a chute.As I was doing this I slipped on some rocks and reached down to grab the side of my kayak to catch myself. When I did this there just so happen to be a rod in the same place that I grabbed for that had a Devil horse top water bait that was full of treble hooks and as my luck goes two of those hooks impaled the top of my index finger on my left hand. One went in right above the big knuckle and the other between the big knuckle and the second knuckle before the finger tip. OUCH !!!!!!!!!!


Well there I was in a tricky situation once again. I have hooked my self many times on the river since I started kayak fishing but this time had me in bad position. My buddies were up stream from me where they could not hear me and there I was stuck in the middle of this chute on slick rocks in swift water holding on to my kayak and hooked to one the rods. I couldn't go forward and I couldn't go back. I was stuck and there was only one thing I could do. I had to remove the hooks right there in the river.

Luckily the first hook that was just above my big knuckle did not penetrate past the barb and I was able to remove it without much trouble but the second hook had went in past the barb and was not coming out easily. I was able to reach back into my kayak and get my pliers and pull out the first one but number two would not budge. I tried then to get around the hook shank and cut it off of the lure in hopes I could get to the bank and remove it there but the trebles were so small I could not get the cutters between my finger and the hook. And of course while trying to do all this the pain was excruciating.  At that point I realized I had no choice but to do what I feared the most and snatch it out.
I grabbed the shank of the hook with the pliers and gritted my teeth and gave it a hard yank and it was out.

Man that hurt like heck but it was out.Thank goodness but now I am bleeding like crazy but before I could perform first aid I had to finish pulling my kayak up over the rocks and get over to a dry spot where I could get to my first aid gear. All the while I am bleeding all over the place. Once I got to the bank I quickly got out my first aid kit and cleaned up the wound , applied some antibiotic ointment and wrapped it up and stopped the bleeding. It always pays to have a fully stocked first aid kit on board when you are on the river in a kayak full of fishing gear. You never know what might happen. I have been hooked no less than 8 times now in the last 6 years since I started kayak fishing and in all kinds of places.
I once even had two hooks past the barb at the same time in my thigh of all places.

After that excitement was over I continued to fish a few more hours with hardly any luck at all. It was so slow I finally got out my ultra lite rod and a beetle spin and fished for bream and red breast just so I could feel that tug on my line. I manged to catch a few of those which was fun. The bream and red breast in the rivers in Georgia are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
Well there you go folks. Be prepared for all situations especially when you are out fishing on a river in a kayak where the conditions can quickly change on you. This is a good example. There I was with a hook in my finger and a thunder storm quickly approaching stuck in the middle of the river. Thanks goodness the dam operator up stream didn't decide to release water from the dam. I would have been in a real pickle then huh ?

Until next time stay safe out there and be prepared. Fall is just around the corner and that is when the hunt for the World Record Shoal Bass will be back on my priority list once again.
My quest is not over. Its just been to dang hot to fish.
Take care.
WJ



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Build a better bait.

Sometime you just have to make it your own. What I mean by that is you cant always take a new bait right out of the box tie it on and expect to catch a fish with it. If you are like me sometimes you just have to tinker with it a bit and make it work for your style of fishing. This is what I had to do with the jig. When I got into this whole river fishing thing  I realized that I would need to adjust my fishing style a bit and update my tackle box. The jig is a bait that I had just not ever had much success with and probably more for the reason that I had not given it much of a chance. When I started researching river fishing and especially the Shoal bass I realized that the jig was a bait that I would need to learn to fish.
River bass love craw fish..In fact the craw is one of their primary foods so there was no doubt it would need to be on WJ's menu of baits to offer up to those monster shoalies that I wanted to catch.

Well the jig also happens to be one of those baits that I had struggled with in the past. I always seemed to get hung up on logs or rocks and break them off. I really had a hard time learning to fish this bait but it wasn't the bait itself that was the problem it was more of me not being able to pick the right one that worked for my fishing style and for the river conditions that I was fishing. This is where it pays to do some research. It also pays to join up with one of the local fishing forums and reach out to some of the veterans for advice. Well that's exactly what I did and was fortunate to get some really good advice and direction from one of my fellow river bassers on how to make my own jigs. Now I am not talking about building from total scratch which you can do if you like but I am talking about getting the right components to put together a bait that works best for your fishing style and the river or lake that you are fishing.


In the picture above are the components that I found that enable me to put together a jig and craw combo that worked well for the way I liked to fish and worked excellent for the conditions that I was fishing. The jig itself was the most important part in that it was the perfect weight and shape and style.The trailers are made by http://www.netbait.com/home/ The skirt is a finesse style skirt which allows for a slow fall and the trailers worked perfectly with the jig and skirt combo. It took some experimenting to come up with the right combo but with some guidance from my fellow river fishermen and some old fashion trial and error I finally came up with a good combo that worked well for me and has helped me catch some nice fish.


The picture above is the finished baits and I can assure you that these have become some of my go to baits in my arsenal.  So the whole point to this post is that you cant always go to the store and buy lure and expect to catch fish right out of the box. Some times you just have to modify it a bit or tinker around and figure out how to make that bait work for you and your fishing style.. It can actually be very rewarding when you modify or create your own and go out and catch a nice fish. All you have to do is a little research on what you are trying to accomplish and go out there and find or make the tool you need to do it. Fishing forums and clubs can be great resources to find the information you need and there are some great suppliers out there that have all the parts you need to make or build just what you are looking for .Before you know it you will have a box full of home made special weapons like these.


So there you go folks.If you are trying to learn a new bait and the stuff you are buying at the store is just not working for you just take a look at it and do a little research and see if you can modify the bait to work better for you or just build your own..Don't get frustrated and give up.
I would like to give a big shout out to http://www.jannsnetcraft.com/ who is a great resource for all your lure building supplies.At the bottom of this post I will also had a few links to some other great river fishing resources.Fish on my river fishing friends and don't give up if you are getting frustrated with a  certain technique you are trying to master. Reach out to some of the forum resources, study hard and make that bait your own..Make it work for you. Hey and I am always willing to help where I can..Shoot me a email..If I dont know the answer I bet I know someone who does.
See you on the river .
WJ









Thursday, July 21, 2011

Remembering the good days and the bad.


In the image above there are a couple of interesting things that brings back some memories for me that are good and some that are bad. In this photo you will notice there is a calender that is still on the month of Sept 2001 and it hangs in my garage as it as since that faithful day that is now almost 10 years past. It has remained unchanged and now covered with dust and cob webs since that day. There are also two mounted bass on either side that were caught back when I was around 9 to 10 years old. Hate to tell my age but that's about 35 to 36 years ago. They are looking a little tattered these days from being moved around a lot but they bring back some very special memories of my childhood.

As a child I was very fortunate to have a family that enjoyed the outdoors and loved to fish hunt and camp and all sorts of outdoor activities. I spent many days roaming the country side with my grand father fishing farm pond all over Henry county Georgia. You see my grand father was a welder by trade and had many farm customers that needed his services on their farm equipment and most of those same farmers had ponds on their property. My grandfather would make deals with with these people and do a little welding on the side for access to these ponds so you can imagine we got to fish in some great private lakes that rarely were fished by anyone other than us.

These two fish were the only two that I ever had mounted so don't worry I stopped taking fish a long time ago and even back then we only kept what we needed for dinner and released the rest. Heck.Now days I don't have the heart to even keep a couple to eat..They are all released unharmed. These two fish really bring back some fond memories of days spent with my grandfather and brother bass fishing.
My dad was more of a trout fisherman and hunter so he and I spent many days on trout streams in north Georgia or hunting for deer.

The calender also brings back some memories of a time that none of us should ever forget. Very soon it will be ten years to the day and I know exactly where I was and what I was doing at the moment it all went down. I have been in the air freight industry for over 20 years flying cargo on commercial aircraft every day. Not many people know that when you get on a jet to go see grand mother in another state there is more than likely a whole lot more than baggage up under your seat. This is what I do so you can imagine that my professional world was turned upside down on that day but more importantly than that thousands of people lost their lives and freedom to enjoy this beautiful world and make memories like we all we do everyday.

So there they hang day after day the old fish and the old calender collecting dust and spider webs. It wasn't meant to be a memorial of of any sort but it it just kind of turned out that way.The calender is like a old clock that just stopped ticking and the fish were just to tattered to hang in the house any more. Every now in then I just stop and look and they bring back memories of some good days and some bad. So we keep on going out there and hope that that the good memories out weigh the bad I guess.

Keep on keeping on my river fishing friends.That's all we can do.
I want to leave you with a good one though.
The pic below is of my good friend Glenn Anderson's son Evan just this past weekend..The smile says it all and that's what its all about right ?
WJ





Saturday, July 2, 2011

Learning to fish soft plastics

Here is a rehash of a article I submitted to another website a couple of years ago on fishing soft plastics.
Fishing soft plastics can be very productive if you know how to fish them but very frustrating if you do not.
I hope you enjoy.
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How many times have you made a trip to the river in hopes of having a day of repeated top water blow ups and rod jarring spinner bait strikes only to find that the fish were just not in the mood? That’s why I always have a worm or soft plastic craw tied on for just such occasions. Usually even on the worst of days when the fish are not cooperating you can mange to catch at least a few small one’s if you have the patience and knowledge to effectively fish soft plastics.

I grew up fishing home-made black plastic worms with my grand father in middle Georgia farm ponds, and that was all we fished. So, today it’s a type of fishing that comes naturally to me but for some people it can be a difficult style to learn. Why so difficult? Patience. It takes a lot of patience and the hardest part is not how to fish a worm but knowing when you are getting a bite. I saw the section on the site that said “submit content” and thought I would use it to share a few tips that might help you catch more fish on a worm.

The Rig and Bait:

There many different was of fishing soft plastics but what works best for me in a river is the Texas rig. I generally use a 1/8 up t 3/8 ounce bullet style weight depending on the amount of current I am fishing. You want to use just enough weight to sink the bait to the bottom but not so much that you get hung up in the rocks. This is something you will just have to experiment with and see what works best. As far as a hook goes I use a 3/0 to 5/0 extra wide gap (EWG) off set worm hook. Try to use as large a hook as you can get away with especially if you are using a really big worm or craw. I like a big sturdy hook.

Go as natural as possible when choosing your bait. It helps to know what the fish are feeding on where you where you are fishing.Turn over some rocks and find a craw fish and see what color and how big they are if you can.Use natural colors like blacks browns and greens. I use lighter more natural colors and smaller baits in clear water and darker and larger baits in stained water. In clear to slightly stained water a green pumpkin 6” finesse worm works well for me.



The presentation:

Not a lot needs to be said about where and when to present the bait. Cast to structure like trees, rocks, current breaks anywhere that looks like it might hold a fish. Most of the time when you are fishing current with a plastic, you’ll want to try and cast up stream and allow your bait to flow down with the current in a natural direction. The main thing is to stay in touch with your bait. When you cast allow the bait to fall and at the same time keep your rod tip up in the 10 o clock position and keep the slack out of your line. Keep just enough tension on the line to keep it up off of the water but not move the bait. When you are ready to move the bait reel down on the line and then pick the rod tip back up to the 10 o’clock position dragging the bait at the same time.

Here is a tip. If you are using a baitcasting reel (preferred) instead of holding the butt of the rod, palm your reel and hold your index finger under your line just in front of the reel where the line lays across your finger at the point where it comes out of the reel. This way you can feel the slightest tick in the line if a fish picks up the bait.

The Bite:

This is the most important part, yet the most difficult part to learn. How to know when you are getting a bite. Have you ever been fishing with someone and you were fishing in the exact same place using the exact same worm but your partner was catching fish but you were not? Well you can just about bet that you were getting bites but you did not know it. Here are a few tips on what to be looking for.

Watch your line! If you see a twitch in the line that you did not cause, set the hook! If your line starts to move in a unnatural direction like to the side or up stream, set the hook!
If you feel a slight jerk in you rod tip or in the line laying across your index finger, set the hook! If you have tension on your line and you start to feel a heavy sensation in the rod, set the hook! When you really get good at it you will often be able to tell the difference between a bite from a small fish and a bite from a larger fish. Smaller fish tend to give those machine gun type tap tap taps you feel but with a larger fish you will most likely feel one thump followed by that heavy mushy sensation.

Finally when you do decide its time to set the hook don’t waist time trying to feel the fish. Reel down on the line taking up the slack and draw back with the rod as hard as you can.
Remember that a bass’ mouth is nothing but bone and thick membrane so you want to get a good deep hook set. Imagine swinging a bat in reverse trying to hit a home run.

Be patient and don’t get discouraged. If you keep fishing the worm it will all come together and eventually it will become your back up bait when all else fails..

And always remember…..When in doubt…SET THE HOOK!

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I hope you enjoyed this and it helps you become a better angler with soft plastics. Fishing worms and craws have become my favorite way to fish. And dont let anyone tell you cant catch a big fish on soft plastics.
My largest riverbass to date was caught on a 6' Zoom Finesse worm and I have caught quite a few others on the same worm.

Fish on my river fishing freinds !!
I hope everyone has a safe and happy July 4th.
God bless our service men and women that make it all possilble.
WJ

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Spring 2011 recap **Blessed by the river gods**

I first want to say that the spring 2011 season was a absolute blast for me and I caught some of the best fish that I have ever caught on the river. I did not catch a world record fish nor did I even come close.
I know deep down that my chances of catching a world record fish are about the same as winning the lottery but that is not what this is all about.

The whole idea behind this blog was about setting a goal for myself and instead of just randomly fishing for what ever is biting focusing my efforts on a specific target. This blog was created to be a place where I could share my adventures with friends. Hey and who knows..If I really did end up catching a record fish how cool would it be to have a record of the events leading up to the big catch.

One thing that I can says is that by setting this goal it has helped me become a better fisherman. Over the past few years since I started river fishing exclusively I was going places and fishing all over for what ever bass species that might be biting at the time..Not any more. The past few months I have focused totally on catching a record shoal bass and nothing else. In doing so it helped me really hone my fishing skills in on this one specific target.. I have traveled places I would not normally go and fish in ways that I would not normally fish. . I have not landed the big one so far but I sure caught some of the best fish that I have ever caught on the river which tells me my efforts are paying off.

Below is a slide show of some of the fish that I caught this past spring. It was a total blast and now all I can think of is the upcoming fall season..The shoal bass will move up once again in preparation for the winter months and guess who will be there waiting..
Thanks for looking and I hope to see you all on the river.
Take care.
WJ

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hot summer fishing..A recent trip report.

Well there has not been much to report lately as far as big fish go. Seems like since summer kicked in and things heated up the big shoal bass headed for deeper waters to hide out until things cool off. Over the past few weeks we have experienced drought conditions around the state and the rivers have been extremely low and super clear.

I believe the big shoal bass seek out deeper water with cooler temps where they can hide out during these times. In a couple of months though we will start to transition into the fall pattern and the fishing should improve. The fish will move back up into the shoals to feed and fatten them selves up in preparation for winter..This is when I will have my next opportunity at that record fish.

You can bet that I will be there and be ready.
Here is a recent trip report that I made on one of the forums of a trip that me and my good Friend and fishing partner Glenn Anderson took a couple of weeks ago..The fishing turned out to be ok with both of us catching quite a few smaller bass and both ended up with one good fish each for the day.
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Trip report 06/11***Big ol bass and fresh fruit***

RatherBfishing likes his fruit prepackaged frozen in a bag.
 I like mine fresh cut and chilled.

Nothing like some ice cold fruit on a hot summer day to refresh you and give you a energy boost.
And it was a hot one..It was in the mid 90's for about the 16th straight day I believe in the state of Georgia.
That did not keep up from getting out there though..

The morning started out slow but once we got into some shoals we found a pretty decent top water bite
that lasted until the sun cleared the tops of the trees around 11:00am..RBF scored on buzz baits and rag tail shads and
I caught a few on the ol trusty Torpedo..After the top water bite turned off it did not take long to figure out the ticket would be
soft plastics fished on the bottom in the deeper sections with current..The hot bait of the day was a watermelon seed zoom trick worm.
Watermelon seed is a excellent color choice when the water is super clear and we proved it on this day.
Between the two of us it was a 50 + fish day..Mostly dinks and 1 to 2 lbers but fun fun fun no matter how you look at it.
I had thought with the heat that we would be ready to call it a day around mid after noon but now way...We fished from sun up to
sun down..It was a blast...I even took along a ultra lite rod and some beetle spins and had a blast catching a few small bass and red breast.
There were red breast beds every where that we found a sandy bottom..

We caught a bunch around this size.


We caught a good many in the 1 to 2 lb range.


RatherBfishing caught the first big one of the day and what was really cool is he saw this fish and
kept casting to it until he coaxed the girl to pick up his worm..Way to stick with it there buddy and
a darn nice shoal bass...Congrats


Now RBF is my buddy and I enjoy seeing him catch a big bass but no way could I let him get away
with catching the only big fish of the day...Well it took me the majority of the afternoon to do it but I finally
was able to hook into a good one myself.


At the end of the day we were totally drained from the heat and the long day on the water but we had fun so all that just did not matter.
I would do it again in a heart beat..Summer fishing is always fun when it it comes to numbers of fish..I have had many a day
like this in the summer months when it seemed like you could almost catch one on every cast when you found the right spot.
It was fun but I am looking forward to the cooler days of fall when the big ones start fattening up for winter.

Fish on my river fishing friends..I'll see you on the river.
WJ






Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What happend to going from spring to summer ?

We are going backward ? The weather in GA has been really jacked up this spring.The lows this morning was in the 40's and only warmed up to the low 60's today..It has been super windy and cool for the past week with low cloud cover but no rain ? In fact it has been super dry and the rivers are very low and clear.To be so cool you would think there would be more moisture but it is almost draught conditions at my house.My grass is dying and has not needed to be cut in two weeks.

After all the mothers day activities and the big birthday party weekend before last I was all geared up to go catch some big spring shoal bass before the spring time spawn was over but it just did not happen..We went but the conditions were less than favorable.The water was low and super clear and a cold front moved in the day before that just screwed the fish up big time. We caught a few fish but mostly juvenile males in the 1 to 2 lb range..There were several times that I could see big mommas in that were easy 4 or 5 lbers swim by but they were not interested in any bait that I had to offer.

Shoal bass like all other black bass species are at their prime in the spring when the females fatten themselves up for the spawn..This is the time of year when you have the best chance at catching a record shoal bass..I think that I may have missed my chance at the record this spring.The fish that we did catch last weekend were either small males or spawned out females that were very skinny so that tells me that the spawn has already taken place or is in progress and about to end.I also noticed some big fish sitting on top of the rocks in open water acting like they were totally uninterested in any feeding activity.This tells me they are in that post spawn funk.

I may have missed my chance at that big fat spring time momma shoalie that I have been looking for but I did catch some really nice ones so no disappointment here..There is always the fall and next spring.
They will be back in that heavy feeding mode when the water starts to cool down in the fall getting fat for winter.Who knows...Might even hook up with a big one over the summer months.

I will be back at it soon..May even take a break and go after some small mouth up in the Carolina's soon.
Stay safe out there folks.
See you on the river.
WJ




Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I am going to loose my mind !!!

I cant go fishing this weekend !! Mothers day on Sunday and the grand baby has a birthday party on Saturday and I am the hot dog cook....Of course I would not miss either event for the world but it just dawned on me that I have been lucky enough to fish just about every weekend at least once since the first of the year...Cant complain about missing one weekend can ya ? I have truly been blessed to be able to get out and fish and have a family that understands my addiction..So where is that world record shoal bass you might ask ?
Still in the river I guess but I can assure you it not because I have not been trying to catch it.

So no report this week but maybe the big girl shows up next weekend .I will dam sure be out there.
This weekend the focus is on the the grand baby and the mothers..I hope every one has a great weekend and a great time with your families.

Take care and be safe.
WJ

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fishing Tornado alley 05/01

The shoal bass fishing has fell off a bit for the past couple of weeks.For me it has anyway..My buddy Bruiser has been on a streak the past couple of weekends catching several nice one including two over 5 pounds.The shoalies seem to be in that mode where they are about to spawn or have spawned out and they are in the pockets and deep holes right in the roughest part of the shoals that are tough to get to and fish.Its not like fishing a lake or even a river its like fishing in a small pool or a barrel even.
You have to be able to sneak up on these pools and drop a lure in there without spooking the fish.
Bruiser has been doing pretty well at it.I have been catching a lot of fish but mostly smaller ones.

Anyway here is my short report of my trip on 5/1 which also include a couple of pics from the tornado damage in Georgia from last week..

======================================================================

Trip report 05/01

While Bruiser was down stream breaking paddles and reeling in 5 plus lb shaol bass I was up stream messing around with the worn out spawned out largemouths that were hanging around the banks in the shallow water and trees..I managed to catch this girl that looked like she had been though the ringer..Her fins and tail were ragged and red and she was very skinny..She may have been a 6 lber prespawn but
she only tipped the scales at 4-11.Caught on a green pumpkin zoom finesse worm thrown right into a tree.



I only managed to catch a few small shoalies and spots up in the shoals for the rest of day on worms and finesse jigs..After around 1:00pm when the sun was up high the bite turned off.
After we left the river we went buy to take a look at a spot where a tornado must have crossed the road.
It was absolutley amazing to see what a tornado does to a tree..I feel for the people that took direct hits from these storms and pray for those who died or were injured or lost loved ones.

Behind these trees is a house that looked like it only had roof damaged but we could not see it to well..Looked like the storm went through the front yard.







Fish on my riverbassin friends.
See you on the river.
WJ


Friday, April 22, 2011

Pre trip report 04/23***Low water tactics***

Yes..That's right..I said pretrip report...I am sitting here brain storming on how I will handle some really tough fishing conditions tomorrow..Some of my fishing buddies hit the river today while I was at work since they all had Good Friday off. All are reporting that they had a pretty bad day due to the fact that the water was really low and super clear.I will be hitting the same water in the morning with my fishing buddy Bruiser..I have no choice but to go since I only have Saturday to fish this week because of Easter and its prime shoalie time so I have to go give it a shot..So what do you do when the water is super low and super clear and the fish seem to be  in the lock down I'm not biting kind of mood ? Well I have a theory and tomorrow I am putting it to the test.

This theory includes the following..A stealthy approach..Finesse type baits.As natural as possible looking baits and as much patients as I can possibly muster.
I will up date this report tomorrow night on my return and let you know how I do.Even though the river has dropped dramatically and conditions have changed I know the fish are still there and they have to eat some time.I am going to see if I can figure out how to get them to bite tomorrow..
Stay tuned.

=======================================================================

The Results
I think I broke the record today..The record for the most times falling down in the river in one day that is. It was a major struggle to get up stream to the shoals with the low water conditions..The rocks were very exposed and very slick..Seemed lick every time i turned around I was taking another spill and by the time I finally reached me destination I was soaked from head to toe. On top of that it was fairly cool this morning with a lot of cloud cover and a mist in the air which made it very uncomfortable..I was cold to the bone for most of the morning to the point of shaking until around noon when the clouds finally broke and the sun came out..

The fishing tactics that I had planned to use in the low water conditions did not seem to pay off in the way they I had hoped.I threw worms, jigs swim baits and even tried a little top water action but could never really get into a groove or pattern that worked..I tried my best to stay in a stealth mode to keep from spooking the fish but that was tough with the slick rocks and my inability to stay on my feet.I did manage to catch a few fish  but most were small..My fishing partner Bruiser seemed to have his game on though catching three fish over four lbs early in the shoals..Not sure what he was doing different than I was but he had them dialed in for a little while.

Most of the fish I caught were around this size.

I managed to catch a total of maybe 10 fish for the day mostly on a green pumpkin Zoom Finesse worm and a couple on top water on a Hedon Torpedo..Once the sun finally came out and warmed things up including myself the bite pretty much died off for the rest of the day for me.

This was my best fish..Don't let the picture fool you..This fish only weighed around 3 lbs or so..I used the old fisherman's picture technique to make it look bigger than it really is..



The shoal bass is a tough fish to figure out..When will they spawn ? Where will they be? In the shoals ? In the slack water ? The river conditions are constantly changing and are influenced not only by the weather but you also have the dam up stream effecting the river levels..This make it very difficult to to figure out when to and where to go..So do I allow myself to be discouraged by this one bad day of fishing ?
I think not.
Two weeks ago I had one of the best days ever and last weekend was not so bad either so I cant let this one bad day discourage me from my quest.

I will be back out there next week I am sure trying to figure out this fish...Looking for that big one.
The World Record Shoal bass !!

Fish on my friends and have a Happy Easter !!
WJ

Friday, April 15, 2011

Trip report 04/16 **Big storms and high water**

I am hitting the river in the morning no matter what the conditions might be.Right now it is raining cats and dogs here at the house in Mcdonough but I don't think all the water will actually make it into the river system for 24 hrs or so..May stain it up a bit but that can be a good thing.I am going to visit an old friend that I have not fished in a while and if history holds true the big shoal bass should be up in the shoals.

I have been thinking about this all day planning where I will go and what pockets that I plan to fish..I am so freakin excited I know I will not be able to sleep tonight.Tomorrow could be the day..The day that the big girl shows up or at least a six or seven pounder could be caught..Who knows but I can tell you this ..I am going to fish it like i am fishing for the world record..Just like I have done every time I have been on the river this season..Maybe tomorrow night I will post the report of a life time maybe not but I can assure you that tomorrow come hell or high water that I will be out there fishing for the world record shoal bass.

Wish me luck !!
WJ
=======================================================================

Well this trip turned out to be a good one over all but the big girl that I am looking for did not show up this time.I met up with my partners for the Glenn (RatherBfishing) Anderson and Sean (Bruiser) Brodie at the river around 07:00am.The dam operators decided to release I guess because of all the rain we had received the night before so the river was up and running at a pretty good clip. In addition to that we had planned to put in at our normal take out and paddle up to a set of shoals about a mile upstream that is known to be home to some big shoal bass this time of the year.

I have never paddled so hard in all of my kayak fishing days.It took every ounce of energy I had to even paddle enough to stay in the same spot let alone actually get up stream. There were several times when I just had to get out of the kayak and wade in water sometimes up to my chest to make any head way..It was absolutely exhausting but after a couple of hours I finally made it up to the shoals where I had planned to start fishing..RBF and Bruiser decided to take the high road and start at a spot farther up steam than I did.Once we split up I did not see those guys for several hours.

Once I got in the shoals it did not take long before I would hook into the biggest shoal bass that I would catch on this day.I got into position and made a couple of cast with a swim bait into a promising looking spot and on maybe the forth or fifth cast BLAMO...It was on ..A big shoalie smashed my swim bait and began a fight that would last two or three minutes in some really swift water..I was not sure if I would get this one in..She was using the high  swift water to her advantage and put up a hell of a fight but I finally got her in.
Here are the results..A nice 4 lb 11 oz shoal bass.It was a real struggle trying to take this picture in the swift water.




After catching that fish I thought to myself..Alright it is on now..Today just might be my day..Today might be the day that I catch that fish of a life time..I continued to fish may way upstream moving from pocket to pocket looking for deep holes in between the rock and shelves that might hold fish..Each time I would come to a likely spot I would catch a small fish or two out of each one but nothing bigger than 2 lbs or so but by the time I had reached the top I had caught over 15 decent fish..Needless to say I was having fun.

Later in the day I finally met back up with RBF and Bruiser and they reported that they had caught a few with RBF landing the biggest with a 3 lb 3 oz spotted bass.We continued on fishing together for the rest of the day but the bite had seemed to slow down a bit..The fish were just not as active as they had been earlier in the day...I did manage to catch another nice shoal bass and a decent spotted bass before we were done.




I think I ended up catching a couple of more small fish before making it back to that take out but that was pretty much the end of my day..Not to bad over all..Total fish caught was some where around 20 to 25 with that 4-11 being the biggest..I'll take a day like that anytime.

One more thing I would like to mention that happened to me on this trip..Early that morning after I had split up from RBF and Bruiser I had a bad experience that reminded me that I should not have strayed away from the company of my partners.I had come to a narrow section of river where the current was very swift and there was a small water fall that I needed to get over..There was no way to go around and my only choice was to climb the middle which was a three to four foot drop.As I was climbing the fall and dragging my kayak behind me the water formed a suction and pulled my kayak in under the fall and swamped my boat.It immediately flipped the boat and dumped every thing in it including my tackle box.

I was quickly able to flip the boat back over and grab my rods but I looked up and saw my tackle box headed down stream fast. My tackle box not only had all of my tackle in it but I had also stowed my wallet and truck keys in a side pocket. I immediately jumped in the kayak and and started paddling after it..I had to get to it as soon as possible because there was a fallen tree that was across the river about 45 yards down stream..My heart was racing and I was scared to death..Well I caught it just in the nick of time but then had to stop my self before hitting the tree in my kayak which could have turned deadly.

After this ordeal was over I stood there in the middle of the river holding on to my kayak and tackle box shaking uncontrollably until I regained my composure.It was at that moment that I realized that I had done something that no one should ever do when kayaking or any other out door sport like it..
NEVER GO ALONE..If something would have happened to me there would have been no one around to help me and Bruiser and RBF would have never known that  I was in trouble.In addition to that I did not have my gear properly stored or I would not have found myself in that position in the first place.

So there you go folks..No fish in the world is worth risking your life over not even the world record.
I almost started to say that I learned my lesson on that one but that is a lesson that I should already know.
Fish on my fellow riverbassers..Stay safe out there and go catch a big one.
WJ

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trip report 04/08/11**New Personal best and a all around big fish kind of day

Below is the is the post I made on Riverbassin.com the night I returned from one of the best trips I had been on in quite some time.I was so excited to finally have a good day on the water that I just had to get some pictures up for everyone to see.My week of vacation that I took primarily to fish for the record had been uneventful up until friday 04/08 so you can imagine how excited I was to finally get into some big fish.

Even though the river was still to high to fish I had to go give it a try anyway as my vacation time was quickly running out.

Here is the post I made in riverbassin.com

I took a entire week off of work this week in order to get in on some spring time shoal bass action.
With all the recent rains and high and muddy river contions all over the state I have only been able to get out on the river twice since last saturday.Even though we knew the river would still be high again today we took a stab at it but at least this time we found some clear water.Today was just one of those days
when you just happen to be in the right place at the right time under the right conditions with the river gods on your side.

Today I caught my personal best shoal bass and my second best shoal bass and a few other nice bass to boot.Swim baits worms and finesse jigs seem to be the pay off baits.I broke a rod got hung up in the trees
run most of the line off of one of my reels lost a few baits as my gift to the gods but they rewarded me for my losses.Please excuse the the poor picture quality and multiple pics of the same fish..I forgot that my flash was off and took some dark pics but I tried to lighten them up a bit.

My new personal best Shoal bass....5-6 caught on a swim bait.

Another shot of the same fish..Sweet huh ?


Nice 3 something shoal bass...Did not weigh this one.
I would have been happy to call it a day at this point.
But then just a few minutes later I caught this fish out of the same spot..Holy cow I could not believe what was happening..I just caught this big girl.
My second best shoal bass..4-15 nailed a finesse jig..two pics.



This was incredible..Not only had I caught my personal best Shoal bass over 5 lbs but I had also
caught my second best Shoal bass in a matter of minutes apart and another nice fish to boot..I could have left and went home a happy man and not made another cast but no.. I still had one more kicker fish to come.
We had headed down stream after a while of fishing the same hole and getting no more bites when I hooked into this one very near the boat ramp where we had put in..

A 5-5 Large mouth...This girl was spawned out..Long skinny with a big head.She may have went over
six prespawn..



In addition to that I had caught this largemouth a few minutes earlier..
No weight on this one but no dought a nice fish.



After several trips previous to this one that were far less productive and a few where I did not catch anything at all you have to know that this was a major confidence booster..Breaking two personal records in one day just minutes apart was incredible and put me up on cloud nine..But I soon realized that although I had caught some really nice fish that I had come no where near my goal of catching the world record.. I would need to catch a shoal bass that was more than 3 lbs heavier than the biggest fish I caught on this day..That is a huge leap...I cant even imagine what it would be like to fight a shoal bass of that size but I sure would like to know.

So my quest to catch the world record shoal bass continues although for one day I did have a few minutes of glory I still have along way to go.
Who knows..The very next cast I make may be the one that catches the record.

Stay safe out there folks and fish hard.
WJ








 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trip report 03/26**The quest gets dangerous**

The spring time weather in Georgia can be very unpredictable which makes the hunt for the world record shoal bass all the more challenging. Spring rains,high muddy water, the threat of thunderstorms and the possibilty of tornados and lighting can bring some dangerous conditions on the river. Well this is exactly the types of conditions that I have been faced with the past few trips to the river. Since my last post I have been on the river three times and each time I have had little success due to the weather and river conditions and the fish being uncooperative. I keep going back in hopes that I am going to be on the river at the right time when all the conditions are favorable for a steller day. It also does not help when I can only go on the weekend when I am off work and can only hope the conditions are in my favor on that day.

Well on Mar 26th me and my good friend Sean Brodie aka Bruiser decided to go give it another shot, even though the weather forcast was calling for late afternoon scattered thunder storms and the possibility of strong winds and lightening. We were hoping the storms would stay to the north of us or at least hold off until late and let us get in a few hours on the water before we had to call it a day. Right from the start I had my first challenge of the day. I ran into a major traffic jam on the interstate on the way to meet Sean caused by a major accident with fatalities that had the highway shut down. I had to cross the median and make a 28 mile detour causing me to be over an hour late. As I drove I was wondering if this was some kind of sign that it was going to be either a bad day or a awesome day..Hummm ???

I finally met up with Sean at the agreed location which was a new put in location that we had been surveying for a while that looked to be promising. This location was directly below a major hydro electric dam. I had called the dam to check the generation schedule for the day and although there was no generation schedule for the day they were releasing 1000 cfs additional water thru the spillway. This had the water churned up a bit and murky but not so much so that it was unfishable and the current seamed safe enough to navigate in the kayaks so we geared up and launched the boats.

After a couple of hours and covering about 200 yards of river I had only managed to get one short strike.
It was not looking very promising until Sean hooked into a nice Largemouth that weighed in at around 4 lbs.
After a couple of pictures the fish was released and we continued to fish down stream for another hour so. We finally decided to pack it up head for our back up float down stream a few miles and try and find some Shoal bass..That was a nice Largemouth that Sean caught but Largemouth were not what we came for..We had to get into some Shoal bass territory before the afternoon storms moved in..The weather had cooperated so far but it would not be long before all that would change..
Here is a picture of Seans Largemouth..



So we packed up our gear and headed for the honey hole as we like to call it. After a breif stop for some lunch we were back on the river..We were in a little town called Valley AL and little did we know that a Tornado watch had been issued for the area and some strong storms were headed our way. Things were about to get real interesting. We paddled up stream to a spot on the river which is right below a head dam where there is a large area of shoals that is known to hold some large Shoal bass.. Just as we started fishng it began to rain some large drops and we could see some lightning off in the distance but nothing close.. We could also see an area of blue sky off to the south so we decided to pull up on the bank and wait it out hoping it would pass us by in a few minutes.After about 20 minutes or so the rain stopped and we got back in our boats and headed up on the shoals.

It was not long before I looked up stream where Sean was and noticed he had hooked into a good fish and I thought ok here we go... Maybe that storm had turned them on and we were about to have the day we had hoped for. Sean was at least 100 yards away in swift water so I did not try and paddle up to see his fish but I later learned he had caught a 4 lb Shoalie and a few minutes later a good size Striper.
So I positioned myself up in the shoals and decided to tye on something I had not tried that day. I tied on a silver and black back slash bait and started ripping it through the shallow water in the shoals.. On the second cast I finally hooked into my first fish of the day a 2 lb shoal bass.. Right at the same time is when the weather started to make a change for the worse.

After that fish was photographed and released I noticed some black clouds had moved in and we started seeing some ominous lighting strikes headed our way and the wind was starting to pick up. I made another cast and WAM another fish hit and this time it was much bigger but I lost it after just a few seconds.. Holy cow I thought.. Is the weather change getting these fish fired up? The lighting was getting closer and the wind stronger.. I made a couple more cast and hooked into another shoal bass around two pounds. I landed the fish and while I was taking the picture lighting strikes were firing off repeatedly and getting closer.
In this picture you can see I have my eye on the storm that is quickly aproaching.



I could not believe what was happening.. I honestly believe that this storm or maybe the lighting had turned on these fish and we were about to have one of those days we all dream about, but should we risk our lives to stay and find out? That question was about to be answered when we heard the sound of Tornado sirens going off in the town of Valley. Sean looked over at me and I raised up my hand and made a twisting motion with my finger. He knew what I meant..Its time to get the hell out of here.. Sean paddled over to where I was standing on a rock and asked me what I thought? I said I want to keep fishing man!!!  But I knew it was time to go.. Thats when we stated hearing a roaring sound much like the sound of a jet engine on a plane reving up for take off. There was no question what needed to happen at that point so we started paddling for the take out which was a good 200 yards down stream. My heart was pounding out of my chest and I kept looking back to see if I could see the funnel cloud.. I kept running into rocks and getting hung up and having to get out and get unstuck and back in my kayak.. I was wondering if I was going to end up climbing under a rock to keep from being blown away.. We finally made it to the take out and quickly loaded our gear and got out of there.. Wow..What a scare that was..

On the way up the highway I was thinking about what had just happened and wondering what if? What if we had stayed and rode out the storm and had one wicked day of fishing? It could have been the trip of all trips or I guess it could have turned deadly.. I don't know but it sure did get my old heart ticking for a few minutes.. I think we did the right thing and left and probabaly should have done that before it got so bad.
On the way home I came across an area on the highway where the strom must have passed though because there was hail piled up on the side of the road and a thick erie fog in the air..
I took a couple of pictures.




I guess I can chalk this trip up as a hell of an experience if nothing else.. Taking that kind of chance on the river is probably not the best idea in the world and I would not recommend it to anyone but I can't help but wonder what would the fishing had been like during or after that storm. It sure seemed like the fish all of the sudden became very active... I guess I will never know. One thing I do know is that Spring has arrived and if we can catch a break from mother nature and rivers remain fishable then right now is my best chance to catch a monster Shoal bass so I am going to keep on trying.

I would like to thank my good friend Sean Brodie for joining me on this day.
Sean is a great guy, a master fisherman and is also an awesome photographer.
Be sure to check out Seans web site http://www.canepoleadventure.com/ for some great articles
and information and also Seans awesome photography.

Until next time folks. Stay safe and be careful out there. There is no fish worth risking your life over.
Only I can do that.
WJ