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Red X Angler
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was planning to hit Badin but got the word from a local source that there was smoke again in the stacks at Belews. I figured that meant the plant was back on, and there should be a warm-up in progress. Couldn't resist; if I'd gone anywhere else I would have spent the day wondering what might have been, so I loaded up around 0530 and headed North.

Launched at first hint of light, headed first to the discharge to see what the water temp was doing.
Temps: 29 air temp, had to be careful not to slip on the ice on the hull at launch. Water temp at Piney Bluff was 45 before crossing under the bridge, then it started climbing quickly. That told me what I needed to know. The heat was back on and I was dreaming of a big topwater bite where it was a few weeks ago. Fishing is a case study in unfulfilled expectations.

Water temp at the discharge at daybreak was 55.7 degrees and it warmed to 57 degrees by mid afternoon
Main lake temp around 56-57 and further upstream toward Hwy 65 was around 55.
Sunny, mostly bluebird sky despite forecasts for partly cloudy. I guess one cirrus cloud way off on the horizon is partly cloudy. :cool:

Good news is the fish were feeding everywhere. The bad news is the fish were feeding EVERYwhere. Area-wise as well as in the water column. This is part of the challenge at Belews when the fish are everywhere and nowhere depth-wise. NOwhere could I find any concentrated fish. They were all over the main lake and all over the water column, doing the typical Belews thing... fish and scattered loose bait at anywhere from 60 feet to surface, with some occasional topwater boils. I couldn't seem to get to the topwater hits fast enough, they were hitting surface and by the time I got there were at 40 feet. This is not unusual for Belews when they are active but scattered... they come up fast, hit some shad and dive again. I fished the water column with red-eye shad, umbrella rig, medium and deep cranks, but wasn't able to get in front of them. Went to shakey head on a channel drop, near where the schooling was going on and managed a good keeper.

Smile Sky Fisherman Fish Fishing


Then got a smaller one on the A-rig while trying to chase surface hits all over the place. I spent too much time doing this.

Smile Sky Water Fisherman Outdoor recreation


Got another shakey head fish on a steep rocky drop bank that sticks out to the main lake but no concentrated fish. Fished some other familiar areas and some newer ones without any takers. Ok, so it's slow... what now?

Since it was not quite the bonanza I had hoped for, I started thinking... the current is there, the water is warming, fish it like I had been planning for Badin, in something sort of like a pre-spawn pattern for fish holding in current breaks close to deep water. The bad thing is it took me till after noon to figure it out. The good news is, once I got the pattern, it produced. It was hit or miss and hunt-and-peck the rest of the day but I was fishing fast (for me) and getting hit about every 20 to 30 minutes. I put the hurt on my troller batteries, for sure! Fished points where there was wind and/or current the rest of the day till the sun went down (more on that) and the big producer was (thank you Mr. Jerry Condrey for introducing us!) my new best friend, the Pointer. Got 10 bass on a 5-6ft suspending Pointer on points as well as shorelines with deeper fallen tree tops off the ends of the branches. Going back to the shakey head, T-rig, lipless crank, and some time spent C-rigging points produced nothing, so I then just stuck it out with the Pointer and it worked. No big fish, but a good day for decent action from a few dinks, mostly keepers, to the biggest at 2.5lb. The last hour (once the sun went down behind a cloud bank near sunset) was typical Belews where the topwater bite went ape***t ; there were topwater smashes as far as you could see, and the frustratingly hard part was getting bit. Was cycling between 5 different baits and got two on a zara puppy (had to drop it on their heads while they were still busting the surface... 3 seconds late and it was no-go) and one on the umbrella rig despite dozens of casts at probably hundreds of fish! Failed with x-raps, the pointer, flukes, and red-eye shad. Caught 3 more during that time. BTJ Jim has been witness to this... it's hard to believe there could be that many bass hitting the surface everywhere and it be that hard to get a bite. Didn't want to stop even for a few seconds, so I tossed the last couple in the livewell for a picture later, once it was done and I was packing my gear near dark.

Sky Fisherman Fish Recreational fishing Fishing


Total for the day was 15 over roughly 10 or 11 hours of fishing. Talked to a few folks through the course of the day who hadn't done quite as well, and two guys at the ramp asked me what my secret was... I don't mind sharing so told them what I had found productive, and I felt good about it turning out to be a successful outing. I had fun, but I was tired and sore from working that twitch bait half the day!

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season!

Oh and I think this one particularly scrappy one was a spot, but not 100% sure.
Fish Ray-finned fish Seafood Fin Oily fish
 

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Spots have a patch of "teeth" on their tongue. Great report, glad ya had a good time! I gotta check that lake out agin, been several yrs since I've fished it but used to do very good there in the winter. as on most clear lakes I found that learnin the count down method of fishin various jigs at particular depths was key to success. usin fluke style baits an different swim baits on different size jig heads fished at various speeds has usually been key to unlockin the bite on these type lakes.
 

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Red X Angler
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Spots have a patch of "teeth" on their tongue. Great report, glad ya had a good time! I gotta check that lake out agin, been several yrs since I've fished it but used to do very good there in the winter. as on most clear lakes I found that learnin the count down method of fishin various jigs at particular depths was key to success. usin fluke style baits an different swim baits on different size jig heads fished at various speeds has usually been key to unlockin the bite on these type lakes.
I was counting down several of the sinking baits that I threw, just couldn't find them at a consistent depth; that was my problem. The fish in question did have a rough patch just behind what looks like a tongue so I'm assuming it was a spot. The jaw angle came almost to the eye with its mouth closed but did not go behind it. I'm still not good at knowing for sure with the smaller ones whether they are LMB or Spots.
 

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Can hardly wait for Thursday, my annual Belews trip. Ill probably take a different approach and hopefully prevail over my buddies for another Dead Sea Rally victory.
 

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Red X Angler
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good luck, Neil. Wish I could have gotten free but I"ll be at work Thursday. Hope you catch 'em up!


It's a spot. Told ya what Dennis and Rick did at Badin. 17 bass on pointers and shaky heads..Good job up there, regardless.
Yeah, that sounds like a great day Jerry. I was actually heading to Badin but when I found out the plant was back online at Belews, I just had this mental picture of the fish going nuts with the warm-up. If I'd gone to Badin I knew I would have spent all day wondering what I might be missing. Such a tough decision these days, both lakes have been good to me this season.
 

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Congrats on the fishing Sam, you're really getting good at fishing Belews. Your last fish is definitely a spot. The hinge point of the jaw is not behind the eye. Largemouth always have the hinge point of the jaw behind the eye.
 
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