Rain, big rain. But the good news was that we broke the old record of numbers from last week. Nothing like taking the number of fish caught for the whole month and doubling it in one day. The new standard is 134 stripes and a hybrid. With 300 threadfins and in 4 hours we racked up a total of 134 stripes in netting range. (that constitutes a "caught fish") We didn't actually use a net, but if we were, the fish was had. About 20 fish were gut hooked, that makes about 1 out of 7 fish. Not bad, but not the 95% lip hook ratio that hook manufacturers claim. Only one stripe was taken on artificial. After the bait was gone at 2 pm, we tried some very effective lure techniques, but nothing was getting fooled. Water temp was 61, clarity 3-4 feet. It was a literally just drop down the shad and almost start reeling in and you had a fish. I thought we were saltwater fishing for a while the action was so fast. The rain was pretty relentless and we only saw 2 other boats. Air was around 55 degrees and it was slightly windy at times mostly out of the SW around 10. The catching was previously unmatched. I feel another record coming soon though. The only problem is holding enough bait in the tank.
Kingston was on the bill this am. We caught all fish on 4-5" gizzards. Total of 45 stripes, and the only one over 6 lbs was a 17-4 that I got in on the old 8 lb spinning outfit. The wind got up around noon and was steady at 15-20 gusting at least 30. Those are conservative estimates. It was sunny and temps were around 70 in the afternoon. Outflow was 62 degrees and river clarity was 3 feet. Great catching.
Second excursion started at about 6:15. It was in an undisclosed location, but something happened to me that has never happened. I got spooled. 20 lb test big game, ambassadeur 5500 C3, super-tight drag. I have not felt power like that from a fish. I hooked it on artificial and fought it for close to 2 minutes. The fish owned me the entire time and I could not run it down. I hate to guess, but having hooked and landed a 40 lb striper and many in the upper 30's, this fish was well on it's way to 60. But I hate to speculate. I feel a 50+ coming on.
Got an early 11:00 start at Melton Hill. Bait was flipping everywhere and wasn't a problem. The only problem was that we only got 1 hit in 5 hours of pulling bait. River temp is a chilly 48-50. Clarity varied, but the river is probably 4 feet. It was sunny and wind was steady from the S 10 mph. Air hit 70 degrees. We did manage to boat one striped fish, a chunky 32 lber that I got throwing a new lure that I bought the day before. We ended the bait pulling at about 5:00 and I dropped Andy and his boat off and picked Jason up and his new boat.
Excursion #2 was the first cut-bait episode of the year. We had a beautiful anchorage and got four 1/2 lb chunks of skipjack out on the bottom. The action started in about 10 minutes. By 11 pm we had 8 fish in the boat.....all whiskered, and from 5-20 lbs. 5 channels and 3 flatheads. It was still fun hoisting those kitties in. I turned in at 12 and my buddy quit at about 4, so he says. It was a nice night, temps in the 40's, very little wind, full moon with clouds building in. The current stopped at 11 and we quit catching anything.
Took the crew out and fished Melton Hill then on to Kingston. Nothing happened at Meltonio, 26 fish got touched at Kingston. Nothing over 4 lbs. River still muddy, outflow about the same. The biggest differences were a 4 degree drop in the outflow to 62 and a bright, blue sky. Good catching.
Rivers are trying to clear up. Fished Kingston, main river is a mudbath, but bait was surprisingly easy. Fortunately, the Emory clears out quicker than the Clinch and the outflow looked pretty good. Temp was 66. Fished from 2 until 7:30, caught 78 stripes and 3 hybrids. Biggest fish was a 10 lb hybrid. All stripes were under 5 lbs. Went thru two full tanks of bait. I only fished 2 rods the whole time and was a very busy person. Probably caught 15 on a 6 lb spinning rig with a 1/16 oz white/blue/white jig. Personal record on striper numbers. Quite a day of catching. Air was overcast and mid 50s.
It's raining and thundering right now (9:00 am), but the radar looks promising.
Yes, it flooded severely. 3-4 inches of rain, but the radar showed it moving slightly north at about 4:00 pm, and fishing had to be done. I met buddy Andy at the ramp where we witnessed some flipping of the shad close by. One throw of the net yielded plenty of threadfin and gizzard martyrs. The water was UP, MUDDY, LOGGY, and flowing. Ramp temp was 61, river was slightly warmer. The plant has kicked back on and is making warm water. We only had one big hit all evening. Muddy water makes it tough. Bait was flipping heavily everywhere. Makes a person wonder where all that bait is when you need it most. It sprinkled a bit right as we were putting in, then nasty clouds and no wind. Air temp probably low 60s. Good fishing, poor catching.
Acquired bait at Bull Run, it was fair. Took it to La Ria and pulled it on boards. It was windy up until about 4 and then it died down. Air was in the 60s, mostly cloudy with a few breaks. Water temp was 55-63 and clarity was 4 feet or so. Had one bait get gone, had another get raped, but didn't see any fish much less any stripes. Educational trip.
Bull Run: a few hits and one explosion. No caught fish. Nice evening, calm temps in upper 50's, overcasting sky. Still no power from Bull Run, sucks.
Fished all over creation today. Started at Kingston, caught 3 babies. It took 2 anchors to hold in the 20-25 mph winds out of the N. Air high was low 50s, high blue sky. Hauled out and went up on the Clinch, MH dam, nothing at all. Hauled out and went back down the Clinch and up the Tennessee, FL dam, nothing at all. Hauled out and went to super secret hidden location in front of a certain marina. Nothing except for a destroyed 10" gizzard and no fish to show for it. Kingston temp: 69 hot, MH: 52, FL: 49-50, Super Secret Location: 54-58.
No action at the run. Kingston proved to be a bit happier. We caught 11 fish despite gale force S winds. Outflow was 67. All fish were small, but had lines down their sides. Still fun on 8 lb spinning. It started out overcast with some nasty black clouds and then rained for a couple of hours. The wind never quit. Turns out that the sleeves on my rainsuit leak, weird. Temps were in the 60's, windchill was down to about 2.4 degrees. Nasty day, saw small stripes.
Bull Run is making no warm water still. Temp is about 53 at the outflow which is still warm for this time of year. We got bait pretty well and pulled some boards. Had two slayed baits and no hookups in area #1. Tried area #2 and had a decent fish hooked up for a couple of minutes and then he gave me back the hook. I estimate 15-20 lber. Clarity is up around 4 feet. Air temps started at about 70 and dropped to negative a million after dark. It was a dark dark ride back to the ramp, I can't recall it being that dark on the water in a while. No fish caught, but they were there.
Been very very sick folks. 102.3 degree fever on Friday. Spent over 48 hours on the couch. Was up for the trip on Sunday, but the weather was less than desirable. It snowed during the trip to Kingston. Winds were 15-20 from the NW. Bait was fairly easy in the middle of the channel outside the outflow....about 5 throws of the net. Outflow temp was 64, clarity 3 feet. We got a bunch of hits, but the big cold front had them picking at the baits. Boated 3 small stripes. Got cold and left by 12:30. Raw day.