Sunday, October 20, 2013

Kiser Lake Fish Off

Saturday, October 19th, I made the trip to Kiser Lake for the Buckeye Kayak Fishing Trail Angler of the Year tie breaker. I woke up at 3am, got ready, and was out the door around 4am. On my way out I snapped a picture of the bright full moon shining through the clouds.

The temperature was 37 degrees at this point and wasn't supposed to rise above 50 degrees that day. On top of that it was going to rain and be windy. So I was prepared for a cold and rainy day on the water. I arrived at Kiser at about 6:15am, way too early as usual. I waited an hour for the other anglers to show up, including Jeff Bennett, my competition for angler of the year. Check in was supposed to be 7:30am. At about 7:30am, it started raining.

My game plan for the day was my usual jig and chigger craw combo. It worked for me the first time I fished at Kiser, maybe it would work again. Plus, a jig is supposed to be a good fall bass bait. I also had a white spinnerbait and a frog tied on. Since the wind was predicted to be blowing from the west, I decided I would work my way towards the west early on and once the wind got bad I would just let it blow me back down.

We got on the water at about 8:00am and I started working my way west on the south side of the lake as planned. The water temperature was in the upper 50's. I made sure to experiment with my retrieve, depth, and location to try and find any kind of pattern. I tried my jig in the lily pads, along the edges of the pads, along weed lines (which were much harder to see without the sun I had in the previous tournament at Kiser), and even in open water. I also tried my spinnerbait along the lily pad edges and out in the open water a few times. I kept seeing occasional splashes out in the middle which might have been bass schooling baitfish. I wasn't getting bites, but I continued on hoping that the tough conditions was causing similar results for everybody else.

Finally after a couple hours I found a few bites on the jig but failed to hook anything. I figured these bass were just too small to eat my jig, any bass under 12" is typically tough to catch on this particular jig. At this point I just wanted to catch a bass period so I tied on a small swimbait to attempt to catch whatever was biting. I failed to get any bites on the swimbait so I moved on with the jig since it was the only thing I had got a bite on. I was hesitant to retie and try different baits as my hands were cold and wet.

The rain never ceased and the wind began to pick up. The next couple hours was much the same as the first two. I'd get a small bite every now and then but just couldn't hook up with anything. By noon the wind was ripping down the lake and anchoring became necessary. I then decided to tie on a smaller jig and go back to the area where I had the most bites for the remainder of the tournament. The smaller jig failed to produce any bites and sure enough I switched back to the bigger jig and got a few bites but couldn't hook them once again. By 1:00pm I was ready to head back down the lake to see how everybody else was doing, check in time was 2:00pm. White caps were now occurring in the middle of the lake. I made my way to the beach where most people were already at.

After talking to a few people I found that everybody else had done surprisingly well despite the very tough conditions. From what I could tell the bass just must have been shallower. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, small creature baits, and senkos had all worked for anglers on the east end of the lake. Jeff had even caught a 21" largemouth in the last hour to put him at 51". This was more than enough to get Jeff the win on the day and angler of the year. Congratulations to Jeff and as always, thanks to the guys who run the tournaments and all of the tournament sponsors. See y'all next year!

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