Friday, September 9, 2011

Neely Henry Baits and Patterns

Neely henry is a lake that I'm beginning to really like.  It just seems to be one of those bodies of water that you feel comfortable with, despite the fact that I have spent a grand total of eleven days fishing there.  My last trip as you know was the final stop on the 2011 Bass Pro Shops PAA Tour.  I was fortunate to make the final day cut, a blessing indeed.  So let's dig in to the patterns and baits I used in route to a 17th place finish.

I actually discovered the main pattern that I fished on the first day of practice at 5pm.  I had been on the water since daylight and had concentrated on areas near the main river, mostly on wood and grass and had failed miserably in figuring anything out.  What I initially thought was act of desperation turned out to be one of the best moves I could make all week.  I was in a major creek arm and noticed a long stretch of rip-rap at the back-end of the creek.  Out of frustration I ran to the back of the creek to make a pass down the rip-rap.  I hadn't been to the backs of any of the creeks, and I hadn't fished any rocks as of yet, but when I arrived I realized how many bait fish had migrated to the back of this creek.  In my intitial pass, I caught 3 keepers, two were what I would call "good ole big-uns" a 19"er and a 20"er.  I truly believe the 20 inch fish was pushing 5lbs.  With only an hour or so of daylight left I got out my map and looked for similar situations, found several and the first one I fished, within three casts I caught a nice 2.5lber.  I immediately stopped and felt confident this was a pattern I could run all over the lake.  Day two of practive I spent up the river above Gadsden, AL I managed a pretty decent limit, but no big fish, but I also was able to establish a pretty decent pattern for those fish upriver.  Day three I spent back down lake looking for more stretches of rip-rap that had all the right ingredients.  I found several more areas.  I quit at noon to work on tackle and get ready for the tournament.

The Derby...
I started the tournament downriver towards the dam, by 10:30 I had cobbled together a pretty small limit.  Fearing, I had made a bad decision, I ran 40 miles from where I was to the areas upriver where I had caught them on day two of practice.  I managed to cull four or five times, but never had a quality bite. My day one total was 8.17
On day two of the tournament I ran back downstream in hopes of catching those bigger spots I had found.  I decided that I would spend all of my time on the lower end, slowing down to see if I could locate and catch these fish.  I knew I needed a pretty decent limit to make the cut, I felt like the lower end had the ptoential to produce bigger bites for me.  Day two ended, I had a limit that went 10.09lbs, landing me as the last man in the cut...Halelujah!...Payday!
Day three was pretty uneventful.  The fishing got tough, I managed another limit, and moved up two more places to finsish 17th.  Overall it was a great tournament, I never did connect with any of the big fish I had found in practice. Undoubtedly, I was in the right areas to do well, I just never got a big bite. I'm thankful for what I did catch.  Below are some pictures of the baits I used during the tournament. Until the next tournament,
God Bless,

I initially found the fish on the rip-rap with this Original Little John crankbait in Citrus Shad color. 
I used a Powell 703cb glass rod and 10lb maxima monofilament with this bait.

This is a Lunker Lure Shakee Head in 1/8th ounce. I used a Zoom trick worm in Red Bug Color on 8lb Seaguar fluorocarbon and a Powell 733 mef spinning rod.

In the tournament, the fish seemed to shy away from my Lunker Lure Buzzbait, but it helped me locate several areas holding fish.  This is a 3/8 oz white on white buzzer, I fished it on a Powell 704 cef rod with 20lb Maxima monofilament line

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