Over the past week the striped bass bite has had its ups and downs, but I have had a couple of good days. Yesterday, Feb. 24, was a great day of catching some big fish. I started out fishing on a large main-lake flat in about 80 feet of water. There was a lot of bait in the area, at times the bait was from the surface down to 30 feet. I was marking a few big fish inside of the bait. I started trolling with a Walleye Deep Diving crank bait that dives to about 20 feet. I landed a really nice striped bass (17# 2oz.) and a 7# hybrid. The interesting thing was that I caught both fish when I was making a turn and they hit the inside bait. The inside bait on a turn would be going slower and might be coming up a little. My baits may have been running a little too deep or the fish was wanting a slower moving bait. I then decided to see what the crappie where doing. I headed to a cove where the wind was blowing in. I checked out a brush pile in 20 to 35 feet of water. I caught a few short fish and started to move to the next brush. When I got out to the middle of the cove in about 40 feet of water, I found bait that was from 10 feet down to the bottom and marked a lot of fish. I thought most of the fish were largemouth so I threw out two Berkley Flicker Minnows that dive to about 14 feet. I started to slow troll with my trolling motor at about 1.4 mph and headed a little closer to shore. When I passed a secondary point in about 28 feet of water the Shad colored bait got hammered. I assumed I had a nice bass on the line. I set the hook and the fish just took off to deeper water. I knew instantly that I had a nice striped bass on the line. I only had 6-pound monofilament line on and the Flicker Minnow has 2 very small light treble hooks, so I knew I had to baby this fish. It took 20 minutes to land it, but it ended up being my personal best striper so far this year at 18.69 pounds. During the battle I marked quite a few big arcs, and I think they were heading out of the cove. I continued to troll in the cove going back and forth between 25 feet of water and 40 feet of water, staying in the bait. After the striped bass, I got to land 4 really nice largemouth bass in the 3.5 to 4.5-pound range. One of the bass attacked the shad colored lure and the other three liked the other lure, which had a bright purple back. The bass seemed to hit every time I came out of the bait or right before I would start to go through the bait. Seeing bigger striped bass in shallow water is a great sign that spring is on its way.
Norfork Lake is currently falling 3 to 4 inches per day with both generators running continuously. The surface water temperature has remained about the same, between 45 and 47 degrees. The water is stained in most places where I am fishing, but seems to be clearing daily. Most if not all of the brown water has fallen out leaving a greenish stained water, which is fantastic for fishing.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.