The 2016 season is off to a hot start, as is apparent from the chart below. Both the total weight and the number of fish caught has steadily increased over the course of the first three tournaments. We have seen winning team weights at 20 pounds or more for each event.
TNCBA at the Scales '16
So as we leave Douglas in the rear view mirror, we need to reflect in order to learn. This new column, "Beyond the Scales," is going to be a complete 180 from the "Dock Talk" article that is on here before our tournaments. The goal is to breakdown the lake and improve our skills based on our experiences.
My mindset as I launched the boat was that the bass would be in less than three feet of water or less, and many would be on the beds. Throughout the day I actually saw few fish cruising the shallows and I never saw a single bass on the bed. I caught my early morning fish on reaction baits, such as chatterbaits, swim jigs, and a floating worm, but as soon as the sun got up that bite died. Now some anglers were able to locate bass on a rattle trap throughout the day, but it seemed that you had to be around roaming groups of bait for the lipless crankbait bite to work.
Once the morning bite died I moved from my first area and picked up a carolina rig. I caught my first bass on the rig within ten minutes of picking it up and I quickly noticed that the fish was out deeper. Throughout the day almost all of my fish came deeper than they had during practice and the water temperature everywhere that I went was two degrees cooler on average.
After fishing our second area I moved to my third area that was a deep, main lake, limestone wall. I picked apart the main lake wall with a 1/4 oz. Spot Remover head and a green pumpkin worm. I was able to upgrade all but one of my bass on this main lake wall. Most of the fish came in five to ten feet of water. From this point on I rotated through my three locations for the remainder of the day.
Even though we had consistently warm days, the nights were to cold for the bass to commit to the shallows. The buck bass would move up to work beds in the warm sun, but the bigger bass held off a little deeper. The main thing that I think I would have changed from Douglas is that I would have backed further off from the same areas and thrown the carolina rig and worm deeper, say 7-12 feet. I still think the deeper bite was dying off and the shallow bite with some adjustments could have produced a fifteen to twenty pound bag. Overall it was a great day and the spawn in only going to get better!