Southern Bass May 15-17 - Ed Gerdemann

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Edward Gerdemann

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Lake Powell continues to amaze me. Just when I think the fishing can't get any better it does. At least that's what it seemed like for my fishing partner John Conrad and I last week. In three days we caught 211 fish - 205 smallmouths, two largemouths, two green sunfish, one walleye and one bluegill. This turned out to be one of the more unusual and productive trips I've ever had here.

To begin with, I've never seen so many bass in such shallow water. Most of the fish we caught were in 10 feet or less, with many in three feet or less. Little, shallow pockets at the end of a cut often held a smallmouth or two. We found bass on slick rock, chunk rock, boulder fields and sand. We found them near brush and in seemingly barren water. We found them in stained water in the coves and in gin clear water off the main channel. We caught bass in pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn modes. We caught bass that had been eating crayfish and others that had been feeding on shad. In short, we just caught a lot of fish nearly everywhere we fished.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we ran up to Last Chance. I like to fish up there as there is always more solitude than down near Wahweap. We saw a total of one other fishing boat there in two days and just a couple more pleasure boats. I can't recall seeing a jet ski. Tuesday was our slowest day as we "only" caught 50 smallmouths and one largemouth. We did go extended periods of time Tuesday without a strike - something we didn't experience Wednesday or Thursday. On Wednesday we caught 72 smallmouths, one largemouth, one walleye and two green sunfish. On both days we found the most action beginning about halfway into the coves with strikes tailing off as we got to the ends. Long, shallow points of small chunk rock seemed to be the best structures, however we caught many in other locations as well. Thursday, with wind being forecast for the afternoon, we decided to stay closer to home fishing the rocky bay off the main channel just up lake from the mouth of Warm Creek as well as the shelves on the northeast side of the junction of Warm Creek and the main channel. In these areas we took more smallmouths off the tops of the reefs and shallow shelves. Our Thursday total was 83 smallmouths and one bluegill.

Our biggest bass of the trip was a three-pound smallmouth I caught on Wednesday up in Last Chance. We caught a number of fish in the two-pound class and many more in the 1 1/2 to 1 3/4-pound range. The average size of smallmouth caught was larger this trip than in some years. Our best technique this trip was fishing weightless Yamamoto Senkos. I used a four-inch model in the 901 (watermelon and white laminate) color fished wacky-rigged. All I did was pitch it out and let it settle down. Most of the hits came on the initial drop, although I did catch some fish while slowing working it with a lift and fall retrieve. Those smallies were really inhaling the bait as a number of them were gut hooked causing us to have to keep some fish we would have rather released. It paid to watch the line closely. Sometimes it really took off on a hit, and other times we noticed just a twitch. And sometimes there was no indication of a strike at all until we took out the slack and tightened down.

The action was so good I had run through all five packs of four-inch Senkos I had by 6:30 a.m. Thursday. I then tried both a Yamamoto Kut Tail Worm and a Flappin' Hog. I caught a couple on the Kut Tail and a few more on the Flappin' Hog which I twitched along the shallow bottom to mimic a crayfish, however neither of these baits could equal the Senko. At that point I went back to my usual drop shot technique with a Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worm - something that was not overly effective either Tuesday or Wednesday. However Thursday was a different story as the bass jumped all over it both on the initial drop and the slow drag. While I'm a confirmed drop shot fisherman, I really enjoyed fishing weightless and plan to employ that technique on future trips if the bass are up shallow. It's highly effective.

For John and I this was our first trip of the year, and a very successful one at that. While we don't catch fish like this all the time, that potential exists on Lake Powell every time we hit the water. That's what makes Lake Powell so amazing.

awesome write up! thanks!

nice yamamoto hat... I have one that says Internet Family which will be on the water this Wednesday!
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