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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Your fishing guide

Your fishing guide

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By: Jasper Johnson

Hope my last article helped you put a few good bass in the boat.

Today I want us to explore what to do when you hit the lake and find it flooded and muddy. This just happened to me on Lake Waco. I knew it was high because the corps had closed all the ramps on the lake except Twin Bridges, so I decided to take a shot at it anyway.

Well we arrived at the lake just before sunup and decided that we would wait for sunrise before we launched. Sure glad we did the lake was about 4-5 feet above normal pool which meant that everything that had been laying on the bank was now floating in the water. Terrific amount of floating debris. That’s the first thing I want you to take in is that anytime a lake gets high there is a lot of stuff floating around and eventually it will end up out in the main channel where we all like to run our boats in high gear to get from point A to B. All I can say is don’t, you may end up with a whole tree through you hull.

Second when the water gets really high it confuses the fish and they may or may not be where you caught them last time. They may have either moved up into the higher water and are searching all the new vegetation that’s now in the lake, or they may just move back out to the first major break line and hold until the water stabilizes. They can do that for a day or two but then they have to eat so they will move again. I guess what I’m trying to get across is that when the water get really high and muddy, all previous bets are off. As I looked at the water color I wondered why I had not tied a entrenching tool on to my heavy action rod, with 60 pound braid, so that I could have dug a hole in the muddy water and casted my other baits through it. LOL. It was that bad.

Anyway when it’s like this you are going to have go into the search mode and use your electronics and instincts to try to find and catch them. Here’s what I did.

First I did a bit of running and watching the electronics. I found a creek that was not quite as stained as the main lake, so I began searching for concentrations of fish in the creek. To my surprise there were not many concentrations, one here and one there. Next I looked at the water color and decided to try a chartreuse and black square bill as a search bait. Bam, second cast and a four-pound hybrid darn near take the rod right out of my hand. But that’s not what I was looking for, so I kept searching. About 100 yard father down the bank, that had the current running on it, Wham and a 2 pound white swallows the square bill, and I mean swallows it. I hate it when I have to kill a fish to recover a lure, but the back trebles were in the fish’s gullet, so nothing I could do.. I continued to search and nothing more on the square bill. Came up to this point that had willows half submerged and decided to throw a chartreuse and white spinner bait with a white trailer. Covered the whole point and nothing.

Well by this time I’m starting to get a bit frustrated and decided to try to find any water that wasn’t quite as stained as what I had been fishing….Guess what….There wasn’t any. So what to do next? Try a top water and see if the racket will make them hit as a reaction. Went through Buzz Bait, Burning a spinnerbait, walked the dog, popped a Popper, and frog and still nothing. Wow this is bad!

OK, back to the grind. Put on creature baits with little to no weight and dropped them right beside trees, stumps, brush piles…nothing.

About this time the sun started to break through the clouds and I began to see some movement of the shad on the top of the water so I said to myself “maybe it’s time to slow down and punch a few brush hogs through the standing grass”. So I rigged it up and pegged the weight about four to six inches up the line. Threw past the grass and eased it back through the first patch and Wham about a pound and half. Released it fixed the brush hog and moved to the next patch and Bam another about the same size. Does two make a pattern? “No.” So kept after it. Tried the next patch I saw and Walla the first keeper. Fished on through the patch and caught two more keepers. Now I have a pattern!

The point I’m trying to make is sometimes you have to get outside of your feel good baits when the water and the fish tell you “That not what I want”.

Anyway, the rest of the day was devoted to the pattern I had established, and it paid off with five decent keepers. You must continue to try different things when the water get high and muddy until the water and fish begin to tell you what it’s going to take to catch them. Likewise you have to think outside the box about what was and is the structure you need to be on to make it work. In my case it was 3-4 foot of flooded water near deeper water with visible grass sticking up through the muddy water.

The next time you are fishing high, muddy Texas water don’t get frustrated and go home. Break out those baits that you haven’t tried and tie them on. Let the fish tell you what they want. Sooner or later you will land on something that they just can’t resist. However, remember that it’s persistence that pays off.

Also remember what works today, may not work tomorrow if there are significant weather changes such as a cold front or a significant increase in the wind and its direction. Just keep trying and sooner or later it will pay off.

Hope this helps you get out there and catch a good stringer the next time you’re on Muddy Texas Water!

Catch a Bigun!!!

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