Don’t turn your back on the cork
Daily thunderstorms have been more of a blessing than a hindrance as they not only cool things off temporarily, but more often than not produce some of the easiest fishing immediately after they blow through. At least twice last week we were forced to abandon a very good bite and run for cover only to later return to a calmer lake and better gull activity.
It looks as though the most consistent patterns will be blown away this week if the “weather guessers” are to be believed. A lot of the lake gets eliminated at the 15 mph mark and they are calling for 15 to 25 with gusts up to 34 mph!
In the event that they are wrong again, the early morning bite, 4:30 till 7:30, has just been phenomenal for both trout and redfish. Wading is the optimum approach, but we have also done very well drifting the shallow flats. If you stay in the boat, the key to catching a lot of good fish has been to plant the power pole or Stake Out Stick any time you get a strike.
When the action slows, resume your drift until you locate another small school of feeding fish. We have scored well with 5-inch Assassins rigged on 1/16th-ounce heads, but we are finding most of our fish with a Super Spook or She Dog in a bone pattern.
We had been starting out each morning with the larger Super Spook and downsizing to the She Dog if the trout were not taking the larger bait well. That was until I got schooled last week by a client fishing the new mid-sized Heddon “One Knocker” Spook. It is a half inch shorter than the Super Spook and has one tungsten rattle that not only emits a deeper clicking noise, but makes it easier to walk the dog with as well.
I finally found some of them at Terry’s Reel Repair in Groves and I was also pleased to find that he now carries Crème’s Spoiler Shads as well. It only takes one or two customers to buy them all up every time a new shipment arrives at Wal Mart. As far as the reel repair aspect, Karen and I cleaned and repaired a zillion reels when we were in that business and I have been more than pleased with the reels he has serviced for me!
Any time the bite slows down this time of the year, but I feel like the fish are still in the area, I immediately switch to a Kwik Cork rig with a tail on a 24 to 30-inch leader. If we are in 4 to 6 feet of water I will often fish with a slightly longer leader. I am quick to experiment with different colors and lengths of plastics, but I am confident that there is no better set up with which to hunt fish.
I fish with a casting combo the majority of the time, but I only throw the Kwik Cork rig with a bail type spinning reel and 7-foot medium action rod. It is actually a lobbing motion and the spinning reel eliminates the backlashes that can occur when the cork stops before the spool on the casting reel does.
I fish braid with this setup exclusively and a leader consisting of 20- to 25-pound test monofilament. After much experimenting, I have found no better combination than a U S Reel’ 230 or 240 model paired with a CastAway 7-foot XP-3 medium action rod. The medium action XP-3 is light as far as weight is concerned, but has plenty of backbone. You do not want a light action rod for this type fishing!
Clients that do not buy into this technique do not question its effectiveness, but usually counter with, “It is great for numbers, but not big fish.” That simply is not true as our largest trout this week ate the longer Assassin fished beneath a cork while everyone else was throwing topwaters.
The lion’s share of my e-mails this time of the year concern, “Where can I catch a few fish,” or “Can you go over that Cork thing again?” The hottest areas and colors can change overnight, but we have now officially covered the “cork thing” one more time!
One last thought while on the subject of reel choice. I prefer the US Reels because their oversized spool is more forgiving when fishing braided line and they have a great drag system. If you still can’t buy into the advantages of fishing braid, any quality spinning reel will work with this technique.
Brad Deslatte apparently couldn’t stand any more big bass reports from his kinfolk so he drove up to Toledo Bend and fished with his nephew, Keegan, Friday night. “It was as good as advertised,” reported Brad.
“We didn’t catch any monsters, but how disappointed could I be with boating 15 bass, missing at least that many more and our best five fish weighed 27 pounds,” said Deslatte. “We had a few shots at some huge fish and my sister and her husband were enjoying the same action only a short distance away in their boat.”
Terrance Light also caught an 11.60-pound bass Saturday night fishing the Toro Bay area. His new personal best hit a black-blue 5/8ths ounce jig in 23 feet of water. Night fishing is not only cooler with less traffic – it obviously affords you a legitimate shot at a trophy bass as well.