What a great day with fellow KBFers!!!! 4 of us met at the Park-n-Ride (cadhopper, ruff_finz, flyfisher and myself) while yakndave, jdbaseball and lonestar met us at the launch.
I'll let everyone else post there day, but mine is summarized as follows:
5 fish landed, 3 missed, 1 almost stepped on (more on this in a minute).
The 5 fish were - 3 LMB, 1 Pickerel and 1 Yellow Perch. I took photos of the 3 bass, however, to ensure safe revival of the pickerel and the baby perch, I opted to give them more time in the water than a photo op. The pickerel was real skinny and 16 inches at least. He engulfed my lure and fought so viciously that he actually tore up one piece of the gill slit in his mouth but not his gill thankfully. To be quite honest, if he had simply stopped fighting and opened his mouth, the lure would have fallen right out.
Anyway, the yellow perch was a fingerling that I believe was the result of him playing chase with my Rooster Tail and hooking himself in the side of his mouth as he turned into the bait to turn around. Oh well.
Today's general stats:
Temp - 85 degree by 3pm but was around 74 when we started I believe.
Water temps - 80 degrees
Weather - partly sunny with a good stiff breeze at times.
Now for the good stuff. For those unaware - Diascund Creek Reservoir is a Newport News public water reservoir and is drawn down at various times throughout the year. On this particular day, there were shallow flats all over hte lake where I fished. I found what I believe was the start of a pattern until the sun reached its zenith. The pattern from what I could gather was smaller fish in the shallows (2 feet and under) feeding on fry. While the larger fish were suspended between 8-10 feet of water in deep ditches that were 18 to 22 feet deep.
I tried everything I could thing of from a traditional swing arm spinnerbait, wake bait, chatterbait, etc. Even resorted to slower presentation to no avail for these suspended fish. Then I remember a lesson from years ago that stated the obvious - match the hatch. Well, the fry swimming about was close to 2 inches and length and almost a light gold/clear in appearance. I immediately put down all the traditional gear and grabbed the medium spinning outfit and tied on a white Rooster Tail in 1/8 oz weight. My first two casts were poor and resulted in clumps of algae. My third cast (mind you fighting the wind still) was a side arm rocket cast about 2 feet above the water out into the deeper channel past the flat I was on that landed with a gentle "ploop". I engaged the bail by hand and gave the Rooster Tail a quick twitch the get the blade spinning and FISH ON!!!!
Well, what happened next was both thrilling and at the same time hairy for the first fish of the day. As I start to reel line in, the fish changes his mind and does a 90 degree turn and starts ripping drag on my Shimano Sienna spinning reel. I have it spooled with 20lb PP in red with about a 6 foot 10lb. XPS Flourocarbon leader. I get a couple winds in and another 2 feet of line escapes with another run. After about 1 minute of give and take, I finally land him. 17 incher!!!
Apparently his extended fight served as a warning to the other fish that I had seen on my Cuda 300, because I never got another hit. So I paddled over to a point with some shade and made another cast. Here is where I landed the perch fingerling. No more hits along the bank, so I make my way around the point and make another cast into the shade and get another strike - an 11 incher.
A few more casts and a couple short strikes but nothing else.
Move on to another little cove with a shallow flat that moves into a gradual shallow point. One cast into the shady pocket created by an overhang results in my last fish for the day - a 13 incher.
All this action and it is still only 10:30am. All signs point to a good day - then Mother Nature decided periods of dead calm followed by winds so stiff that my anchor and stake out pole were rendered useless.
Now one might say that no more fish for 4 1/2 more hours would be frustrating and yes it was, however, there is a nice side note. Remember my quirk about the one I almost stepped on? Well, while taking a quick stretch break, I decided to wade the flats and use the same approach that landed me the first fish of the day. I made a long rocket cast out into the deeper channel and reeled back to the flat. A couple of short strikes and some follows by what appeared to be 12 inchers or slightly less. Well, I decide to make one more cast before packing it in and moving to the next flat, but my Rooster Tail gets snagged briefly on some algae that was about 5 feet in front of me.
Here's the interesting part, as I look down at the Rooster Tail to see how bad it is covered in algae, I notice it has come through almost perfectly clean. Following behind said lure was a LMB that was every bit of 20 inches if not more. She stops literally in front of my feet, so I freeze to see what she does. As she sits there painfully teasing me with her presence, I give the Rooster Tail a slight twitch. She turns to look at it, and no lie, looks back at me as if to say - "Not today sir - I am on a diet - later." One twitch of the tail and off she swam into the depths of the channel never to be seen again.
Thinking maybe the Rooster Tail was too small of a profile, I switched to my favorite lure, the Strike King Rocket Shad on one rod, and a medium sized SK spinnerbait in white with blue and double silver colorado blades on another rod. Not even a sniff - apparently the Rooster Tail was the lure of choice for the day as every one of my fish, including all but one of the misses, were caught on this lure. One of the 3 bass missed got right to the kayak before doing a leap and throwing the lure.
My one big complaint about Rooster Rails is that the trable hook, albeit sharp, is not substantial enough for larger fish. I feel rather lucky to have landed that 17 incher.
Anyway - still a good day. No skunk.