West TN Bass Yakkers are back in action with the next event taking place on Beech Lake which is one of many lakes along the beech river watershed. This lake is located in the heart of Lexington, TN and has long been a favorite destination on the WTBY schedule with many 20 plus inch fish being pulled from it's waters. The options are plentiful for anglers to fish their style with shoreline docks, offshore structure, shallow vegetation, and plenty of laydowns to flip a jig too. The time of year is right to visit this lake, but with the spawn still in it's beggining stages we may see a little bit of everything come into play. 3 years ago the KAST state championship was won on this lake by Cameron Gatlin with an impressive stringer measuring 104.75 inches, so needless to say this will be a very interesting event to follow.
26 anglers came out to compete on a cloudy and rainy Saturday at Beech lake. Water temperatures were hovering around the 58-61 degree mark depending on where you were, and the fishing was absolutely on fire. Multiple anglers reported catching over 30 fish throughout the day which is a great sign and encouraging for the years to come. Here's the top 3 finishers and their recaps for the day.
Chuck Smith takes 1st place with 53. 75 inches -
Coming into Beech, I had every intention of pre-fishing Friday, but life happened and I settled for a quick trip to S.Y. for some Hobie oil and some Primary Tackle goodies. (more on that in a sec)
I thought there would be a good mix of pre, post, and maybe some spawners still in the shallows, so I figured I would start in the pads in the back of the lake.
I started within sight of the ramp and really never left. I had planned to start with the old strike king scum frog, and was bit almost immediately, a good one but it spit the hook (per normal). I didn’t want to live in the heartbreak zone all day so I switched up pretty quickly. This is where those goodies came into play! I switched up to a Texas-rigged speed craw, but on very light Primary Tackle tungsten. Caught the first 19.5' at 6:30!
Followed that up with easily 30 bass, and all but 3 were 12-13 inches. I adjusted slightly to the edges of isolated pads and started hopping around and connected on another 19.5' around 11:00. All in all a blessed day in the rain, grossly under-dressed & cold, but catching fish with friends!
Justin Patrick takes 2nd with 52 inches -
Beech lake is definitely one of those lakes where you need at least one big fish in your bag to have a opportunity to win, but typically you see a 20 plus followed up with a couple 17s or 18s to take it. I figured with the low pressure system moving through it would take every bit of that to have a chance.
I didn't get any practice beforehand for this event so I decided my best bet was to fish a combination of new water and also areas I knew historically always held fish and just in general be thorough and diverse. I started out running a pocket with a buzz bait up shallow near docks and shallow cover. I started getting bit but right off the bat the fish were telling me they weren't fully committed to that bait. They would come up and basically nip at it, not really eating it. My guess was the water temps weren't fully there for the topwater action to be on, so I made a switch to a Black Bass Tackle spinnerbait and began waking it right up under the surface. Within a few casts of switching I started hooking fish and netted a 16.50. I ran with that for a while until I got into a new area and the water started really clearing up. I switched over to a BBT Tour bound jig and a Berkley general wacky rigged and started blindly casting around docks to check for bedding fish. No luck with any spawners but caught a couple small fish that filled out my limit. As the day progressed I moved out to a point and started fishing a lipless bait around a shell bed where I caught a 20.25. I'm throwing my lipless baits on a new rod. It's a 7'3 MH Proteus made by Little Miami outfitters. I've been super impressed with how well this rod handles big fish. It's a 30 ton carbon composite rod with a relatively moderate/ fast action tip. It serves as a very well rounded rod for different applications and has excelled well as a lipless cranking rod. You have more parabolic action throughout the rods entirety which allows the fish a little give to get the bait better and not throw it as easily. I rounded out the rest of my day by catching another 15.25 incher in the last hour to cull out my last smallest fish and finish with 52 inches.
Patty Stewart took 3rd with 51 inches -
We didn't get the opportunity to catch up with Mrs. Stewart but it sounds like she had a great day of fishing.
West TN Bass Yakkers will be visiting Browns Creek Lake for it's 3rd trail event of the 2021 season. This small TWRA lake is always a favorite for the WTBY crew and shows up on the schedule year after year, and for some big reasons. We'll be hitting this lake at a great time of the year. The fish should be thinking about the spawn and on the move to the shallower water. This lake tends to fish even smaller than it's size with a handful of spots that usually kick out the bigger fish, but with the bass in their spring patterns and on the prowl it should have them spread out more. To win this event, it usually takes over 55 inches so anglers will be looking for a couple good kicker fish to have a run at the trophy. This little lake has single handedly been the reason why so many in the west TN area have fallen in love with kayak fishing. It's the perfect size for kayaks and with it's rule of idle only for bass boats, kayak anglers can move around freely. Come out and join us. This is sure to be a slugfest.
Ashley Ault took 1st place with an impressive stringer measuring 62.5 inches anchored by a 22 inch giant - Heading into this tourney I told myself "don't fish based on the past/memories you have of this place." So prefishing Friday, I really just went out to explore/observe as much water as I could. In doing so a few 20" fish "showed" themselves as I tossed a buzzbait around. All fish I came across that day were pre-spawn to full out spawners, scattered in pockets amongst the thickest cover or on that first break/deeper water nearest these areas. The forecast for Saturday, rain, wind and overcast, TOPWATER weather, so tourney morning I headed straight to the area one of the 20"'s was hanging out the previous day. About 5 minutes in, a 22" ate the buzzbait. A few moments later, not 10 yards away, a 20.75". Both fish ate on casts parallel to the cover/bushes, sitting in 3 to 4 feet. The next 5 hours tested me, nothing, notta! How, that's Browns. During this stretch I abandoned the buzzbait briefly, maybe an hour. Skipping a soft jerkbait into the thickest cover I could find in the backs of pockets. This produced a few bites but they would NOT committ to eating it.About 11:30, I run in to Matt Skelton and decided to take a moment and chat, trying to get my mind out of dumpster fire mode. Doing this turned things around!! The wind had picked up, so I picked up a spinnerbait, one of my confidence baits. 15 minutes later I had a 15", finally! Sitting at 58" you'd typically feel pretty good, not at Browns. Having caught my two better fish on the buzzbait earlier, I immediately went back to it. My final bite of the day came shortly after doing so. An even 20", she hit in the exact same type area/presentation as the other two earlier that day. Parallel presentation, small pocket, thick flooded bushes with fresh grass growing in/near by. 62.75" and I still wasn't sure that would get it done, it's Browns.
Justin Patrick took 2nd with 56 inches and Big Bass with a 23 inch prespawner - I have done well on Browns Creek in the past and giving it's size I decided to not practice and just put the pieces together on tournament day. Going into the tournament I suspected the fish would be up shallow and in transition to spawn if not already on beds. I heard some rumblings about some guys seeing fish up on beds the day before, but I had my suspicion that giving the rainy and cloudy forecast for the day they might pull back off a bit. I spent most of the first hour or so fishing main points to half way back in the creeks. I wasn't getting much luck flipping jigs or throwing a squarebill around cover, so I picked up the buzzbait. The temps were right for it, so I tied it on. Not 3 casts later I connected with my first fish. What's so interesting is that I just worked that exact area with a jig and didn't get a bite. Throw back in there with the buzzbait and bam. Gotta let the fish tell you what they want. I stuck with the buzzbait and netted two more fish, one being a measurable and the other not. I gathered that the fish were mostly hanging around the second half of the pockets, so I moved into a major spawning flat and started fishing this little cut that had flooded grass in the back with about 2 ft of water over it. The wind was pushing into this section so I opted for a lipless crankbait over the buzzbait and started burning and ripping it out of the grass. Just a couple casts in I connected with a 17.5. I continued around the other half of the pocket and still fishing the lipless I caught my new personal best, a 23 incher weighing in at 10lbs. My two best bait were the Strike King Red Eye Shad and a Megabass Buzzbait.
Andrew Hanson finished 3rd with a strong bag at 54 inches - I prefished a week early since I knew I wouldn't have time the day before and went all day without a bite until I landed a 20.5' just before leaving. Tournament day I went right back to the same pocket I caught the fish in the week prior and using the same technique I flipped every bush in there. I was throwing a Strike King Rage Bug in the Junebug color with a pegged 1/4 oz tungsten weight. I went with the 1/4 oz to help me be a little quieter when the bait was hitting the water. I caught my first fish around 7 that morning and it measured 17.75", on my second pass through the cove I netted a 19.5". This proved two things for me, 1) keep fishing that same pattern the rest of the day, and 2) be patient as I spent almost 3 hours in that one little pocket. I finally got a limit fish around 11 that measured 14.75 and then I upgraded around 1 oclock with a 16.75". I threw a couple of other baits without any action throughout the day but all of my fish were caught on the Rage Bug.
The Hobie Bass Open Series takes it back to Lake Dardanelle for stop 4 of the 2021 season. Expect to see some big limits submitted on Tourney X from this one. Hobie is hitting the lake at one of the best times of the year, with the water warming, the bass are on the move to the shallows. Moving baits will most likely be big players here as the fish will be in transition, but I suspect somebody may get on a good flipping bite if the water levels are right. Some sight fishing may be a factor depending on water clarity, and you can't completely throw out the possibility of an offshore bite coming in to play. The Lines In crew will be on site at Dardanelle for this one!
124 anglers took to Dardanelle for the 4th stop of the Hobie Bass Open Series on April 17-18. Lake Dardanelle is known for being a shallow water fishery and with the spawn lurking this event was sure to be a slugfest. The event began Saturday morning with a cool morning welcome as temperatures dropped into the 40s overnight. The water levels dropped over 1 ft. as well throwing in another curveball for the competitors to contend with. Typical tournament day fashion. Despite the changing conditions the bass seemed to stay shallow for the most part hanging around hard cover and vegetation and were targeted with chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, and texas rigged soft plastics. View the complete results on Tourney X - https://tourneyx.com/leaderboard/standings/hobie-bos-lake-dardanelle-2021#scores