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VA West FoM, SML, 19 MAY 2018

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  • VA West FoM, SML, 19 MAY 2018

    The fish cooperated even tho' the weather didn't so much. I used this trip to continue my work at SML - fished all new stuff in practice and on TX day. I find that by breaking it up into smaller, more manageable chunks I can do a better job of capturing details for my journal. Made lots of notes and marked many WPs throughout the weekend.

    Practice. From everything I'd read SML was at about ~the same stage Anna was a couple weeks ago w.r.t. the spawn. I started off working traditional post-spawn holding locations (like I did at Anna) with a medium running crankbait and a c-rig and was rewarded early on. Had a mix of SM and LM on THUR, including a very chunky 5 lb LM. The fish seemed to be favoring long, tapering points towards the backs of creeks/coves. Early in the day, during the cloud cover and rain, they were up shallow, close to the bank. As the clouds broke and the sun came out they eased out towards the ends of the points. I did catch fish off of other points but the long, needle-looking jobs were the most productive.

    TX day. I drew boat 2 and worried a bit that the 122-boat BFL field would stack up on the stuff I wanted to start on. I pulled in and was surprised (shocked, really) to see no one in creek I was fishing. A couple doods out on the main lake point but no one in the back where I wanted to start. Had to make adjustments from practice early on - the wind was blowing pretty good right into my starting place. Made boat control a challenge. Had to bounce around the first couple points (all close by) before landing #1 - a solid keeper holding off the end of a point. Caught #2 shortly thereafter off of the same point. That set the deal for the day for me: the fish were holding deeper early in the day. (I'm guessing they knew the rec boat traffic was coming. Impossible to prove but it's my story and I'm sticking to it.) I bounced around all day along a set of long, tapered points I'd charted or fished during practice. The point where I caught numbers 1 and 2 ended up producing 1 more solid keeper. I missed another. I continued the cycle of point-running right up to the end of the day. Caught my best fish of the day - a solid SM - with about 15 mins to go. Did not have the quality bites I did in practice but I was able to scratch out a small limit. Finished w/ 5 for 8 lbs and some change (incl a dead fish penalty).

    Observations: 1) Water was stained from recent rain but you still had 4-6' of viz midlake, a little less towards the backs of the bigger creeks. Temps remained steady between 73 and 75 everywhere I went. 2) I marked fish holding tight to the bottom all weekend. I suspect it was a combination of weather and high water that caused it. I know from my CoE/TVA experience that fish will hunker down on the bottom when they're pulling water. Need to check the AEP site to see if this was the case on SML. 3) Marked small pods of baitfish all over in the backs of creeks. These were in the creek channels, holding ~at the bottom. 4) The crankbait bites were no-doubters - the fish throated it in every case. C-rig bites were less so. Most times I felt some dead weight on the end, then the line would start tracking. 5) Not all points are created equal and not all points are what you see along the shoreline. Much of stuff I fished this past weekend could only be seen from high quality map cards. The shoreline point was another 20 meters up but the fish were holding off of the finger-like extension jutting out from the shoreline just before it. In every case I fished one of these shoreline aberrations I found fish. The lesson here is don't forget to look at your map card. Money spent on a quality map card is money well spent IMHO. 6) Once may not always be enuff. If you see fish holding on structure and they don't bite, don't be afraid to let it set for a bit. Go back later and give it another try, maybe w/ a different bait. I did this repeatedly throughout the weekend and was rewarded for it.

    The rec boat traffic was pretty light. The weather had everything to do w/ that, I'm sure. Made for a comfortable day. Not a lot of bouncing and wake-dodging going on. The 122-boat BFL event didn't bother anyone. There are plenty of points on SML - more than enuff for everyone. :)

    Another great show by Russ. He was single-handed this past weekend. Putting one of these on takes a lot of work. He did all by himself and didn't miss a beat.


  • #2
    Nice job 31
    Make VAO Great again


    • #3
      Good job B. I've never seen SML. Like to check it out one day.

      2004 Fishers of Men VA-East Division Champions



      • #4
        nice work 31, like you're break down and report


        • #5
          Great report, as always.
          Wishin' I was fishin'...



          • #6
            Nice report Brian.
            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."



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