Almost two hours into his eight-hour fishing day, Randy Howell has yet to boat a keeper bass. He has moved from the launch area to the western shore of Oneida Lake, where he's flinging a spinnerbait as he bides his time. The witching hour is about 45 minutes away, but I'm sure he's antsy to get back to where big smallmouth have been schooling the past couple of days. All of us are expecting the wind to lay. One of my weather apps predicted 4 mph winds for this morning. The forecast was a digit off.
Howell just fired up his big engine to move south a few hundred yards. "There's birds down there," he yelled. We never saw any, and a couple of minutes after arriving, Howell pulled up his trolling motor to race to another place he saw birds milling and diving. I assumed in an earlier blog that gulls were the telltale indicators of schooling activity. James Overstreet tells me the pros, including Howell and Brent Chapman, are watching out for terns diving toward the water.
On other lakes where birds indicate bass schooling, my fishing buddies called terns "liar birds" because you can't count on bass being beneath where they were diving. So far this morning, they haven't been telling Howell the truth.