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Sml 27-29 feb 2020

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  • Sml 27-29 feb 2020

    This is indeed a fishing report. No catching whatsoever to report on. By the way, it was cold and windy, in case y'all missed it.

    Got to the lake on THUR and opted to do what little scouting I could from land. Gave me a feel for where the stain line was. There was a brief period where the wind felt like it was dying down (it was a lie) so I drove down to the state park ramp and backed the sled in. I took two waves over the left side before I could get her unstrapped. That was all I needed to see. I made note of the water temp before I pulled out and headed to the cabin for a fire, some map study, and a review of my journals.

    FRI was a lot better. Uneventful launch and day - wind was present but not a bother. I made my runs based on what I recalled from my journals and from what I'd gleaned from some of the reports on here. Found bait and fish right away. In fact, I found bait fairly active throughout the water column - some as shallow as 5-10'. All of the fish I needed were tight to the deck. And tight-lipped. Had 3 bites all day - two on crank baits, one on a swimbait - but did not get any of them to the boat. Would love to regale you with a story of a big one that got away but the truth is they were all punks, most likely snagged as they accidentally swam into the bath of my retrieve. It was that kind of day.

    To rub salt into the wound the big motor decided to act up. Have been battling a low oil pressure warning on the boat since I bought it. Have had it in the shop a couple times - new syphon, new line, new on-board reservoir (the little one the big motor). On my run in to the ramp it did it again. I shut it down and trolled in the rest of the way. After I trailer her I pulled off the cowling cover. Had a 1.5" air gap in the top of the on-board rez. Cycled thru the purge routine again then cranked her up. No issues. Better luck tomorrow.

    SAT started off great - little wind, some snow flurries, and ~calm water. Made my run to the best of the baitfish activity and found it all still there and still active. Unfortunately no change in predator fish appetites. Bounced my way back down lake thru my planned stops only to have the low oil pressure alert flash on the gauge again. That was it - back to the shop. Not taking any chances losing the big motor. I trailer at 9:30 and headed to Bluff City. The boys at the shop backed her into a bay around 12:30. She'll be ready tomorrow.

    A few observations that may be of use: 1) Water temps are 45-47 everywhere I went (half way up the Roanoke arm, down below the state park and the S-curve). Cloud cover did not allow the water to warm up much on FRI. Had sun on SAT but it was just too friggin cold for anything to warm up. 2) Stain line is just south of the 122 bridge. Above, you have 2-4' of viz everywhere 4-5 miles above the bridge. Water is stained but fishable. Once you get to Merryman Creek it's the usual SML clear water. 3) I marked fish holding tight to the bottom on breaks in 6-12' and on isolated rock, stumps, and on submerged brush in 10-25'. I threw everything at them except my low oil pressure warning gauge. No takers. 4) I saw a bit of bird activity above the 122 bridge. Even saw some brief periods of surface feeding up shallow. It was gone as quickly as it appeared.

    The most important take-away from this report is the importance of using and trusting your on-board gauges and warnings. I invested in two digital SmartCraft gauges when I ordered the new sled. I have them set up to cycle thru the key indications of motor and electrical integrity. Every time I crank the big motor I look at the screens as they cycle by - water pressure, engine temp, oil pressure, voltage, etc. The tone alerts are another built-in asset some fail to recognize or appreciate. If you get a beep of any kind just shut it down until you can get it checked out. If you've been a boat owner for a while and have been thru a few episodes with beeps and warnings you have a routine you go thru to ensure it's safe to continue or time to trailer it. This kind of knowledge is extremely helpful but it all begins by using and trusting the on-board systems.


  • #2
    Sorry your motor is acting silly. That's a huge pain in the arse when they do that. You still workin? I found a tourney trail called "Playing Hooky" that fishes on Wed. Mostly Smith, Claytor and Philpott.


    • #3
      Hope they can find out whats wrong with the motor Brian. It's a pain when stuff goes wrong, especially on the larger boat items.
      2013 Frog Only Tournament Winner
      2010 Tie for VA-Outdoors Angler of the Year
      2009 Caroline County Rotary Club Tournament Winner
      2007 Tuesday Night Classic Champions
      "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."


      • #4
        and they say a bad day of fishing beats a good day of work?
        Make VAO Great again