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.