Photo by co-angler Joe Hamilton
Our GPS track looks like a plate of spaghetti. That's because we've been all over this lake with David Kilgore.
He's frustrated. Big keepers keep swiping at the umbrella rig, but none get hooked. That's not supposed to happen with this rig, right?
He's not too concerned, though. The best bite for him has been later in the day.
We're leaving him with three fish. There's a photo gallery to publish and a drive to Birmingham and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.
Over and out.
The B.A.S.S. staff is hard at work preparing things for the weigh-in at the Bass Pro Shops in Leeds, Ala. The weigh-in begins at 3:30 p.m. CT, which you can watch live here.
We're learning more about what makes Kilgore's pattern click: It's all about the sun.
Yesterday the fish didn't turn on until 10 a.m. That's when the sun came out for the first time since Sunday and when he dialed into this pattern. Overhead and middle-of-the-day angle sun is best. The higher the better. That's because of the shade factor. The high sun creates more shadows on the walkways and other parts of the floating docks targeted by Kilgore. In turn, abundant shade positions the fish closer to the shady spots. Concentrated fish allow Kilgore to make more pinpoint casts with the umbrella rig. His bait lands more on target.
The shade also allows Kilgore to get closer to the fish. They're not so wary. We're seeing this happen now. Until now he's been making long casts. Fish are flashing at the bait but not really hitting it aggressively as they would a spinnerbait burned past them.
He's also got three good keepers in the livewell.
David Kilgore has two solid keepers in the boat. And now for what we've all been wanting to know: He's fishing in short creeks and pockets off the main lake. In the farthest reaches he's targeting floating boat docks. In all cases he looks for the last dock at the end of the creek.
Access is key. By "short," that means he's not having to make long runs into longer creeks to find this combination of a dock at the end. He can fish more of the stuff he's looking for and spend less time getting there.
Know where this is going?
He tells us the females are using the docks as staging points before spawning. Yes, the water temperature is in the low 50s, but that doesn't seem to matter here.
What does is the sunshine. When it appears—and it just did—the fish tighten up and hold on the shady side of the dock. That's where Kilgore's umbrella rig lands. He's fishing it like a spinnerbait in a classic prespawn presentation. Strikes happen after three or more casts. It takes that many to get their attention and tempt these fish into seeing and striking the bait.
In a nutshell, here it is: Shady side of docks, prespawn females using floating docks as staging areas prior to the spawn, and an A-Rig fished like a coverage lure.