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 31, 2012

• Cross Lake Report 1/31/2012 - Three Hogs

I intended on doing some fishing this past week end, but something came up and I had to disappear into monotony for the day. Saturday was traded for Tuesday, so today, I made up for all the fishing I haven't been able to do this year. It was an itch that needed to be scratched.

I hit the water around noon, armed with four reels. I ended up only using two of them, catching fish with only one rig. My ideal plan was to fish a minnow bait, the Rapala F11, but also to keep my Patriarch XT handy so I could get some use out of that new reel. My E7 became the jerkbait setup and the XT sported a finesse jig. Both baits tend to work this time of year, on into late spring.

The weather down here has been dry and over the past month or two, we've had significant amounts of rain help fill up our area lakes. We're far from normal levels, but at least things are better than they were a few weeks ago. That said, the most recent rain coupled with fluctuating temperatures left me curious about what the water would be like. Once I was near where I planned to fish, I checked the temps and water clarity. The stain was fairly moderate, as expected and the water temperatures measured 54 degrees. I had a feeling the lake was in that low to mid 50 degree state. The skies were overcast and we had a light wind coming out of the southwest.

When I fish the Rapala F11, I approach color selection two ways. First, it depends on what I'm fishing for. Crappie and white bass tend to like it when I switch between a silver minnow and a gold minnow. However, when I'm fishing for largemouth bass and the water has some stain, I go for the gold and leave the silver for cleaner water days. Either way, it's one of my confidence baits.

Knowing that bass might be heading up in preparation for the spawn, I hit up my usual haunts, spots where I've caught hefty bass before and also locations where specific structures like laydowns and clusters of cypress trees should hold fish.

I fished a run down boathouse for a little while, in addition to the cypress trees around it. No luck there. I went over to a laydown I've known about ever since I started fishing this lake and positioned my small boat near the log, but not too close, dropping anchor so I'd keep my distance. After the boat settled in its anchored spot, I thought for sure I had scared off any fish lurking around the log. I cast to the front side a few times first. Nothing. Then I worked the back edge, just like all the magazines and tv shows tell us. That's when she hit. She hammered it and proceeded to take me for a little ride, pulling me around with no intention of being caught. I netted her, snapped a photo, weighed her, and then let her go. This fat egg-filled bass weighed in at 5lbs 13oz.

Minutes later, I found myself near a cluster of cypress trees I've written about before. Some of my regular readers might remember when I lost a big fish that leaped out of the water upside down and backwards. Ever since, I've been aware of the little nook tucked away between a stand of trees. First cast, whammo! She nailed it, just like the first one. This bass, however, started putting my Curado's drag to work. I felt things slipping a little, so I actually played the fish a bit, tightening down to keep things under control. I scooped this one up in the net, too. This egg-filled gal weighed in at 6lbs 3oz. My personal best is above 7, but my best for Cross Lake was an even 6lb. This fish just slid into that spot, edging out the other, literally by only a few ounces.

I spent the next couple of hours hanging up in tree limbs, getting my line tangled up in myself and in tree limbs, and cursing at each little mishap. The wind picked up, so I had to contend with waves in addition to my accident prone self. Once it died down a bit more, I was able to comfortably fish, but my rhythm was completely off. I I fished lots of trees, but nothing was there to bite, so I went back towards the spots I had fished earlier, thinking maybe the shallower depths in the back of the pocket were the key to success.

I ended up fishing a few trees and one fallen cypress, but floated into one of my oldest favorite spots on Cross Lake, a flat that treated me well back in 2006 and 2007. Within a few casts, I hooked into my third fish. If the first two hammered my bait, then this fish just clobbered me. It was a hit and run. I rolled it upside down at one point and noticed I had foul hooked it with one set of trebles and only stuck the outside of its lip with another set. I wasted no time in getting the net in my hand and when I scooped this fish up, my F11 was already loose and stuck in the net about eight inches from the mouth of the fish. All I can say is, that was luck. Sheer luck. Weighed this one in at an even 4lbs. It had a bit of a gut, too, so I'm guessing all three fish today were female.

Those are my first three fish of 2012. I'm off to a great start, eh?

12 comments:

bluecollarguy said...

Glad to see you finally got into some quality fish-i'm still waiting for the day you get a double digit fish!

-waiting in CO for the spring

BassDem said...

There aren't many double digit bass, if any, in Cross Lake. My best shot at one is probably over in Caddo, but because the water was low, I was afraid I might run the boat into a stump in one of the boat rows. Now that we've had some rain, I plan on getting out there soon. Tow vehicle is in the shop, though and the Classic is this week end.

Ryan said...

Hi,

I enjoy your blog. I'll be fishing Cross Lake in the TNT this thursday. It's my first time fishing Cross Lake and first time fishing a tournament, so any pointers would be appreciated!

I'm probably biting off more than I can chew, but I was invited by my wife's boss so I couldn't turn it down. :)

Thanks,
Ryan

BassDem said...

Most local anglers will tell you to go west, but they'll also say that what patterns you found one day will not exist during the tournament. Cross Lake is a tough lake. If you catch anything, count yourself lucky.

Right now, I'm thinking topwater would be a good bet, but I haven't been fishing in a while. Soft stickbaits like a Senko are always reliable on Cross. Try throwing a small jig to see what's hanging out among the trees. If nothing bites, you're going to have to be in search mode all evening, I'd wager.

If it were me, I'd want to find an area that has not been pressured. Where I normally fish is getting hit pretty hard, so I am not eager to fish after 10am on any day of the week until thicker vegetation fills in.

Have fun and be safe. I hear take off can be kinda crazy.

Ryan said...

Thanks for the quick reply!

Senkos and jigs are on my list for sure. I'll probably try top water late and maybe a chatterbait or something I've had success with if it gets down to the wire.

I'm not getting my hopes up too high for my first time on Cross, but it'd be nice to have at least one fish for the weigh-in.

I'll report back on Friday with results. Thanks again for the help.

-Ryan

Ryan said...

Well, we didn't fish the tournament last night. We went to Caddo Lake instead since the fishing is a bit better (so I'm told). Ended up doing alright. Caught 5 bass all between 12-14 inches and one goggle eye. One got off at the boat that probably would have been in the slot. All fish were caught on watermelon flukes around cypress trees. The bite was slow but we had a good time. May try Cypress Bayou Reservoir this weekend since I live about a minute from it. Cross will have to wait until next time. Thanks again.

-Ryan

Fishing Blog said...

The three little pigs!!! Nice fish dude!

Daniel said...

Good catch dude! =)

Camping Trailers said...

Nice catch! Thanks for the share!

wyatt kalichman said...

hi I enjoyed your blog, sounds like a great day on the water. I've had a great day like that too a few weeks ago, I had a 7.3lb nail my pink fluke and a 4.6lb hit my easy swimmer.

Marco (Havelritter) said...

Wohooo - Verry nice!

Supermicro Server said...

You Rock! Nice fish,, I'm no luck with fish..