New fishing season means more multitasking

Jan. 18, 2014 @ 08:28 PM

I have a lot going on already despite planning to slow down a little this year so I can focus on fewer but larger tournaments and to try not to overload myself with commitments.

That includes working on three magazine articles at the same time, leading a team of computer systems people (geeks) to support, maintain and in some cases replace key computer systems for one of the world’s largest manufacturers of underwear, hosiery and socks — and planning for a fishing season.

Planning for a fishing season involves paying deposits for tournament entry fees, making reservations for places to stay at the events, studying maps and fishing reports from prior years (for example, reading every fishing report for the James River from 1999 until now) and getting my equipment ready for the year.

But I’m not complaining. In fact it makes me feel good (usually) to be able to juggle all these balls at the same time.

Hopefully reducing my fishing schedule and putting my efforts into a few large events will lead to top finishes where it counts the most.

While fishing on Kerr Lake Saturday I was watching the weather reports and radar closely since the forecast called for a line of strong storms to move through the area mid-afternoon.

I headed to the house around 2 p.m. to secure the boat and wait out the storm to find the TV blaring tornado warnings and saying for folks in our area to take shelter.

Susan and I were scared as the sky turned dark as night and the wind whipped up. Amazingly the storm parted right as it reached Kerr Lake, and the sun even came out briefly before a slow rain moved in.

We slow cooked a small chicken on the charcoal grill during the drizzling rain and enjoyed some of the best barbecue chicken we’ve ever eaten, along with mashed potatoes and spinach.

I followed my own advice and found healthy largemouth bass biting in 22–25 feet of water along steep drops in Butcher Creek.

I would ease along on my electric motor looking for fish on the sonar, then drop a blade bait to them. Bouncing the bait on the bottom with just enough movement to make it vibrate makes the bass think a shad is dying from the cold and they eat it. There were quite a few people fishing for stripers Sunday in Butcher Creek near where I caught bass.

Kerr Lake fishing report – Big blue cats are still biting on Kerr Lake. Largemouth are huddled up in tight schools at about 20 to 25 feet deep, and a blade bait or jigging spoon will provide some great catches, along with some stripers and catfish for the table.

Upcoming area tournaments – No bass tournaments I know of but February is coming.

The annual Virginia vs. North Carolina Ice Bowl catfish tournament is scheduled for Jan. 25 on Kerr Lake and will be launching out of Occoneechee State Park landing in Clarksville, Va.

Next week’s report – Squirrel hunting and bass fishing report. With the cold weather we are having, squirrels should be in their nests. I plan to walk around the farm in Epsom and find some nests with vines leading up to them - shake and they’ll scramble.

Tip of the week — Try different colors of blade baits. On cloudy days I like gold or chartreuse, and on bright sunshine days I favor silver. Keep trying until you see what’s getting more bites.

Contact the writer by email at waltbowen@yahoo.com, on Facebook under Walt Bowen, and on Twitter at @WaltBowen.