Posted by Shad Lips on April 28, 2002 at 20:02:19:
In Reply to: Worst Spring Ever on Pickwick? posted by Mike4AU on April 27, 2002 at 20:52:13:
My son and I trekked to Pickwick for the first time ever last Thursday and returned Sunday. From all my research I was sure that yellowtails or other minnows (log perch) drifted in the current would be the ticket. I carried a couple of large coolers full of log perch (crawly bottoms) with me from G-ville and proceeded to catch white bass by the dozens in the Wilson tailraces on Thursday. Only a few dink smallmouth were caught.
My usual black cloud followed me all the way to Florence. My trolling motor looked like Mission Impossible as the big cloud of white smoke poured from it while it shorted out and fried all the circuits. The one year warranty expired April 14. I plan on having a SERIOUS heart to heart discusion with a Minn Kota customer service representative tomorrow. This made other fishing opportunities extremely limited to say the least, but I got lucky. The wind was howling all weekend which made drift fishing possible.
I decided to try slack water to get away from all the white bass in the current so I fished just north of Jackson Island right below the dam. To my surprise the smallmouth were still spawning in this whole area which had boulders scattered along the pea gravel flats in the big cove. So that's why all the boats were in there!!! We caught several catfish up to 8 pounds which were also in this area over the next couple of days in addition to some beautiful smallmouth. We caught several in the 2-4 pound range with the largest one weighing 4 lbs 3 oz that my 9 yr old son caught. It is safe to say that he now has smallmouth fever. I lost one that appeared to be in the 5 1/2 lb range when it peeled off 40 yards of line and broke me off in a rock pile.
We used 8 1/2 foot noodle rods with 8 pound test which meant that we had our hands full on the larger smallmouth. We fished with just enough split shot to bump bottom and circle hooks which hooked all fish in the corner of the mouth. After a few photos we released them unharmed to finish their appointed spawning duties. I threw a large chart/white spinerbait all weekend with no takers. I did have a huge strike that almost took the rod out of my hands on a plastic crawfish but somehow I missed him. It was difficult to watch our two rods with minnows and fish artificials too. We seemed to be catching more fish than the folks throwing artifical baits anyway. I talked to some local guys that were fishing with 4-6 inch creek minnows that were also catching good fish.
We saw the Shoals Youth Bassmasters wiegh-in at McFarland park on Saturday afternoon. They were allowed to fish on Wilson or Pickwick. There were several trophy smallmouth weighed in. We left before the weigh in was over but the largest sack we saw was pushing 19 lbs. Some of the baits they claimed to have caught them on were: (1)Smoke grubs or tube baits (2)chart/white spinerbaits (3)jig-n-pig
Getting an early start and fishing pea gravel flats were the keys. All of our bigger fish were caught before 6:30 AM. There are narrow pea gravel flats at the base of the bluffs straight across from the McFarland boat ramp that I really wanted to fish. The wind direction wouldn't allow me to drift fish it without a trolling motor. With all of the big smallmouth released there Saturday afternoon I would be willing to bet that several migrated across the river and they should be catchable by now.
Just before I left to go home I gave some guys from Tuscaloosa the rest of my minnows and shared my "secret" with them. Be kind and helpful to folks that you see on the water. I am a firm believer in "What comes around - goes around." Good Luck!!!
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