I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

• Cross Report 1-18-2010

A couple hours of free time gave me the opportunity I needed to hit the water on a day when air temperatures crept up into the 60's. The plan I had in mind was to fish a couple of big baits in areas where bass might be starting to transition. Unfortunately for me, Cross Lake doesn't have a lot in terms of bottom features once you get out beyond the cypress trees. I opted to alternatively cover water in the 5-7 foot range off of a stand of isolated cypress trees.

Surface water temperatures on Sunday evening measured 47 degrees. On Monday morning, the rain from the previous day caused the lake to rise a few inches and the temperature to drop two degrees. I would have preferred the water clarity to be something closer to stained, but this time of year, the lake turns a more murky color. I decided to go big and noisy instead of small and subtle. My Pflueger Summit became the worm rig, set up with a 10" Berkley Power Worm and a 1/2oz bullet sinker to combat the 10-15mph winds I would face. The Curado E5 became the slow rolling spinnerbait backup option with a 3/4oz Strike King Bottom Dweller. In the past, I've been able to find bass lurking among the dead pad stems with conditions slightly warmer than what I was about to fish, but it seemed like a good plan despite the somewhat cooler water. Besides, I bought the Bottom Dweller for a reason. About time I used it. I was also targeting bigger fish and had no desire to spend my two hours going after slots.

I loaded up the small manpowered boat with two rods, a small tacklebox, and a few other necessities. Nothing like fishing with limited available space to force a decision with regard to an approach. Loading up more than two rods in that boat turns into a hazardous situation where a backswing that goes a little too far can clip another rod, sending it over the side. Best not to get foolhardy and take more than I need.

On my way out to open water, I noticed something white beneath a cypress tree. I drifted over towards the tree to find a floating dead bass. By that point, it had become bloated, but I think it could have been a decent 1 1/2 to 2lb fish. I'm not sure what did that fish in, but I know a raccoon left a half eaten gar along the bank, so anything could have killed this fish. However, it was a sign that bass had probably been shallow recently. Maybe there would be fish holding at some intermediate depths.

Some boats were fishing the shallower water and I passed them with a somewhat more confident attitude, hoping my plan to hit slightly deeper water would pay off. Once I reached the spot I would spend the next couple of hours picking apart, I dropped anchor, stood up, and began probing the bottom, working the worm slowly, varying my retrieve by lifting, dragging, hopping, snapping, and even swimming the 10" worm. In this cold water, I made sure to leave plenty of pauses before moving the worm again. I bumped into quite a bit of wood resting on the bottom, something I actually expected. I haven't fished that spot in some time, but I do know it better than other areas on this lake. Didn't even get a bump, although I question one instance where my worm came back twisted on the hook after fishing a stand of three cypress trees. It's a good little spot once you get familiar with it. I'd love to start learning what lies beneath the surface 200 feet out as the bottom gradually tapers down to 8 feet or so. An old contour map from the mid-90's shows a subtle hump out there.

One quick rant to voice here. I saw some idiot roar out of the shallow cove, nose first into the wind. As he hit the rougher water, his boat bounced up out of the water a few feet in the air. He didn't let off. Just kept bouncing along. That had to be a rough ride. I guess I don't mind forcing a boat to do that, but what I will warn area anglers about is the floating driftwood scattered across the surface out there. Bouncing along like an idiot is going to put you in a world of hurt should you hit some of what is floating out there. You won't be able to avoid it if your motor isn't in the water. Not my boat though. You sink, you sink.

The wind was relentless until late in my trip. Despite the warmer air temperatures, the stiff breeze had a chill to it. That cool wind did not subside until around 4:30pm. As the sun began to set, I decided to switch off to the spinnerbait and allow the lighter breeze to push me along the edge of the dead pad stems on my way back in. That's all I was able to hook. Slimy dead pad stems can really muck up the moving parts of a spinnerbait, but I hoped the hard work would pay off. Again, nothing. My depth perception starts to dwindle in low light conditions, so when I saw some activity back in the shallow water between cypress trees, I didn't even bother investigating. Heading in seemed like a better alternative to tediously picking a lure out of a tree limb over and over again.

If this were any other lake, I'd say the bass were holding off in much deeper water, huddled close together near a hump or something. Again, the bottom contour is relatively featureless, so your guess is as good as mine. In a small manpowered boat, it would have been impossible for me to cover other areas with any amount of dedication. Hitting the meandering channels back in Pawpaw bayou seems like a more tempting option, so my next trip out might involve the 18 footer and a trip to the south side of the lake. Cross Lake doesn't treat anglers well in terms of results, so a day without bites isn't something to get frustrated over. To me, it serves as a challenge and time spent on the water is better than not fishing at all.


T Brinks said...

I fished Cross Lake one time. What a tough lake! I fished one day of prefish and two tournament days and only caught 1 fish. Probably my least favorite lake ever. Would like another chance there.