Here comes my photo dump, then a break down of what I think I've learned about the fishery in the last three trips out there.
The biggest bass caught yesterday came on a Rattle Trap, slowly fished with lots of bottom banging along a retaining wall with gravel/rip rap at the base. It weighed 4 lb 4 oz.
Here's a nice channel cat.
And another kind of catfish, a blue, my first.
Dave's first snakehead.
And my big for the day, a 4 lb even largemouth.
First off, after getting over how differently this LOOKS from a smallmouth river, I realize it works much in the same way. Tidal flow just changes direction every so often. There are eddies, trenches, feeding lanes, taper ups, corner pockets and so on, just like on the upland rivers. By the end of yesterday, my third day on this fishery, I found myself looking for eddies, finding them, and reliably nailing fish on my Confidence Bait, the jig.
Grass, more specifically the pads are a whole new thing, but I am starting to have a handle on where they are, or where they are when they want to eat. Edges are good, thinning areas are better. Grass with an isolated chunk of wood is the best.
As far as snakeheads, they kind of roam and go wherever they want. They cruise in the thick thick thick stuff and you can see them slurping killifish, all but knocking over stems to do so, and if you can present to them, you have a decent shot at getting them to attack. I found myself casting to the commotion, but not being able to get my lure down through the pads to the water.
Manmade stuff that is hard (rip rap, bridge pilings, a set of rims from a 1986 Chevy Celebrity, an old sunken barge, etc.) is good for a few fish. I targeted them with jigs and did well. Others used noisy hard baits (rattle trap in particular, but also fat bodied cranks such as the Mann's One Minus)
Wood is good, but some is better than others. One set of stumps would yield a few quick fish on each cast, and another that looked like it would be a bass mansion gave up nothing. I still need to hone in on what wood characteristics make it inviting.
Tides are also something that I hope to understand more, but the big leap forward in understanding came from relating it to where a smallmouth would be in a river, reading for eddies, then thinking of one step lazier. What I mean by that is that a smallmouth wants to be pushed up to the seam a little bit harder than a largemouth, who knows that their next meal will come to them.
Another big thing is realizing that in such a constantly agitated liquid, and all the turbidity is causes, you need to relate to their lateral line and ears a lot more than even largemouth on reservoirs. The finesse approach may work in some spots, and some conditions, but I haven't found them yet. Bigger, louder, darker, pushing more water, thrashing the surface, crunching more rock/wood/metal, whatever you can do to work around the limited visibility the environment has to offer is an asset. I finally understand multilegged, flipper flappin' creature baits. Couldn't get a smallmouth to buy one of those if it came with a winning lottery ticket.
So I've learned. I've gleaned a lot of information from watching about 20 different kayak anglers catch a lot of different fish over the last three weekends. Thanks to all who attended. I'll look forward to sharing the water with you later this season!