An Untraditional Thanksgiving

Growing up, Thanksgiving was always about heading to the woods to see about finding that dream buck and putting some meat in the freezer.  I’ve spent way more Thanksgivings in the woods than out of the woods and I expect that a lot of you are the same way.  But with the temps in the mid 60’s, my son and I decided that rather than spending this particular Black Friday in the woods, we’d head to the lake for some fishing.

Fall fishing has always been my favorite time of the year.  The weather’s generally nice and the bass are active and feeding up for the long winter months ahead.  This imperative need for food make the bass aggressive and stupid, just the way I like them.  I’ve had many great days on the water during this period and yesterday has to be one of the best I’ve had in quite some time.

These 2 fall bass couldn't resist that Zara Spook!

We decided to head down to Florence where my Mom has a 15 acre lake that’s just full of Ribbit happy fish.  If you’ve followed my videos on Youtube, you’ve probably seen some of the footage from last fall there and know what I mean.  Today’s trip, like a lot of fishing trips, didn’t exactly work out as planned.   For the first time in a while, I decided to leave the Phoenix at home and just fish out of the aluminum boat that there.  What I didn’t know was that the trolling motor wasn’t working.   Time for Plan B.

Plan B consisted of going to a private lake in Madison that met my requirements for  the day.  I had access to the lake and to a working boat on the lake.   I’d fished it a couple of times recently and knew that there had been a fairly good topwater bite going on for the last few weeks.  As it turned out I should have gone there to start with.

A typical fall bass. She hasn't fully swallowed the previous meal and yet she inhaled William's Spash It!

The conditions were perfect for a fall topwater bite.  The air temp was in the mid 60s, total overcast and an occasional light rain shower.  Within the first 15 minutes, we’d caught 2 fish; one about 6 pounds and one a little over 7 pounds.  And it only got better.  Over the next two hours, we caught 15 bass.  My best 5 would have gone somewhere between 22 and 23 pounds total and my son’s best 5 would have gone between 25 and 26 pounds.

Best of all, I had my second double of the year, where I caught 2 bass on the same bait in the same cast.  This generally happens when one bass has the bait and during the fight back to the boat, a second bass tries to take the bait away from him.   I’ve seen it happen a lot in clear water lakes and caught two hooked together on a Spash It at Lake Norman earlier this year.  But those two were about a pound each.  As you can see from the pic, the two today were much bigger.  The largest would have gone about 5 pounds and the smaller better than 3.5 pounds.

Lunker of the day, William and his 7 pounder!

Days like this are rare, but there are some great fishing lessons to be learned from them.  First and maybe most important, when things go wrong, adapt.  Sometimes the backup plan can be better than the original plan.  Secondly, fall is not just for hunting.  Between football and hunting, most people aren’t thinking about fishing, so the lakes are empty and pressure low.  And finally, you never know how a day on the water will turn out.  I went out expecting to catch a bunch of medium size fish and we ended up having on of the best couple of hours fishing we’d ever had.  Changing from a traditional Thanksgiving hunting trip into a fall fishing trip turned out to be a great idea.  For us, Christmas came early this year.

Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible:  Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, BoatUS Angler, Power Pole, Costa del Mar Sunglasses and Mississippi Van Lines.  Without all of you, none of this would be possible.

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