Jordan Lake Report 3 – 22 – 20

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Since lake levels around the state have come down in late winter, I’ve had the chance to fish Jordan Lake 3 times in the last week and the fishing has been pretty good.

I hit the river area about a week and a half ago in search of white bass to see if their run had started. Hadn’t been on the lake in months so I really didn’t know what to expect.

I tried trolling cranks and spinners but found nothing. Not even a perch. The white bass of Jordan Lake were seemingly not present yet. The water was a slight stain, maybe a touch darker than normal. It was cloudy with a slight west wind, and weather approaching, the barometer was moving, so I expected something to happen.

After paddling up one of the multiple creeks in the area, I decided to try casting for a bit. I threw upstream, downtream and crossstream and still had no takers. I threw a couple different cranks and spinners and finally selected a hairless brass spinner; it would be the last switch before I tried to troll out further on the lake to fish deeper water.

The line flew off the reel perfectly. I let it sink into the current downstream, and just before starting to retrieve, the line thumped hard. I set the hook and felt a large fish. I knew I was hung, but then the head shakes came. The fish darted towards me and into a tree and hung up. I detached from the tree I’d connected to and drifted slightly downstream and it came off still attached to the line. After a decent tussle, I pulled the largemouth bass from the river. It was easily 4 pounds (feature photo).

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I sat there for another two hours catching one after the other. They almost all ran for the same tree and several hung in it and escaped, but most came off just like the first fish, and eventually into the kayak. I released all of them and left that afternoon without another species.

Michelle and I returned the following Sunday and fished deeper water in the river area. A buddy told me he’d caught some in an area he, my brother and I had done well in last year. Even though all the fish were short, due to, IMO ridiculous new regulations the NCWRC placed on white bass last year. They are a panfish, and now they have to be 14″ for the creel, and they reduced the creel limit from 20 to 10.

Gamefish artwork at cedarscrimshaw.com like these!!!

Crappie can be kept at 10″ on Jordan Lake, which is tougher than anywhere in the state I can think of. I just don’t understand it. White bass are extremely aggressive, plentiful, they are in no danger of decline and are stocked as put and take fish for the table, but now someone got the bright idea to make Jordan a trophy white bass destination, ignoring why the fish is stocked. We catch hundreds literally every year and have always released the overwhelming majority; the creel should not have been changed so drastically. It just makes it harder for law-abiding anglers to catch a meal, while 5 buckets get crammed full of every fish caught by many who don’t even have a license to fish. Happens every year in the Haw, the wardens get called, but nothing happens, they never even come. The reason is political and ridiculous.

Anyhow, we did find a lot of the notorious white bass, but only 3 were legal. We trolled chartruese bomber crankbaits and sexy shad as well. The fish also responded to inline spinners with and without hair. I use barrel weights to get them deep enough. We trolled 2 mph and fished water 10 to 15 feet deep and did really well. It was windy and cold but the fish cooperated. We probably boated 30ish white bass, most in the 10 to 13 inch range, as usual. We also caught crappie (a couple keepers which luckily allowed us enough fish for one good meal) catfish, largemouth and a striped bass. We released everything except 3 white bass and 2 crappie. The biggest white bass was 15″; the other 2 just over the 14″ minimum.

We came back one more time and caught even more fish, repeated doubles and triples. I’d say 70 conservatively in a morning outing and none were 14″. But again, luckily we found several fat crappie to make a meal out of.

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Did I say how much I think the white bass regulations stink?

I saw several folks taking short fish, even one kayaker at Ebeneezer on the way out with a terribly short striper.

Folks, we can do better, and I’m not just talking to anglers.

 

 

White Bass Report at Jordan Lake & Latest Woodworking

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So it’s been a very busy end of winter and early spring, both on the water at Jordan Lake, and working on some really cool commissions I wanted to share.

The 2019 white bass run at Jordan Lake was a trickle at first, then starting last Tuesday, it really tuned on.

I took two different days off work when the rain was light, and at least the weather conditions were what I considered optimal. The water conditions were however, not. The river was stained and the main lake was as well. And talk about high water. I usually can’t stand fishing Jordan Lake when it’s high, but I’ve been so busy, frankly, I needed a day on the water and at least everything else had lined up to get out there.

At least it was easy to launch.

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I was looking at a skunk after nearly an hour and a half of searching, but then found them, and when I say found them, I mean found them like never before. Double after double after double trolling, so I just started casting.

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Now most people who fish for white bass for any number of years know they can just about count on days when those fiesty critters just keep biting; fair weather, blue-bird days, overcast, it doesn’t seem to matter, when you get on a biomass of them and have the right lures; it’s indeed non-stop fishing. And I have had many of those days. I thought I’d known no more frantic fishing until last week. I got tired of catching and releasing them; mainly because out of probably 200ish fish on the day, only 1 met the new 14″ minimum for my creel. And they’re just about my favorite fresh water meat for the table.

It was a surreal day of fishing. Cloudy then clear, off and on. Winds weren’t light, and the current (the Army Core of Engineers was aggressively pulling water at the Jordan Lake Dam) was intense. I fished in the river and the main lake, on two seperate occassions, and the results were nearly the same. A ton of fish were caught, but only 1 keeper both outings over 14″.

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But the fish are staging in 10 feet of water now and seem to be scattered around even into the shallows from there. Anything under 15 feet and you’re in the zone. Crankbaits, inline spinners, beetlespins and grubs, whatever, go throw it. Just remember the new regs, only 10 for the creel too.

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Now I have had several woodworking commissions of late and they really let me get creative. Hope you like the stuff. If you think you might be interested in anything, there’s a custom woodworking page on this site, feel free to give it a look and contact me if you’d like to talk about a piece. It’s all chainsaw-milled lumber, and I mill it and do all the work. The little hummingbirds are inexpensive and great for gifts.

Good luck fishing!

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Here is the introduction for my upcoming book…

This is the introduction for my book, which is almost complete. I wanted to release it to help generate interest. I will be sending the stories and articles to my editor soon. And I have a promising lead that could mean it might go direct to print, rather than being self-published. Fingers crossed. I’ll keep the updates coming. Thanks to all who have been visiting my site – I really appreciate it.

Introduction

Paddling, rock climbing, hunting and fishing can be extremely dangerous activities. They can also be very rewarding. There is wisdom to be gained during our adventures as we go through this life. We can gain greater self-confidence from the obstacles we overcome, and the successes we experience during our quests. We learn to trust our companions in many ways we may not comprehend until long after each journey’s end. This book is a collection of short stories, and also contains several “how-to” sections which should help you become a more efficient and successful self-guide. It is highly suggested that anyone reading these stories and articles become keenly aware of the many dangers involved in these hobbies. There are many resources available in print and online, including this book, which will assist you in that regard. Always be honest with yourself concerning your physical and mental capabilities, and do not tread lightly into unknown territories. It could result in the loss of your life – or that of someone you care for.

My goal in this writing is first to tell of some of my more adventurous and interesting stories, including life lessons I gathered from the experiences, while encouraging readers to become self-guides themselves. Second, I will give some specific tips and tactics for becoming more efficient and successful in the art of self-guided excursions. This I hope will enrich your travels, and inspire you to get out and explore your local waters and forests. Third, I hope the writing, while being engaging and descriptive of many beautiful places, will also bring some awareness of the need to conserve and properly manage these irreplaceable natural resources – be they living creatures, bodies of water or trees and plant life. Our rivers, lakes, streams and forests need our help, and we should always strive to practice a leave no trace philosophy when out-of-doors. The future of these magical places and unique wildlife depend on our careful and thoughtful stewardship. We own nothing of the land; this is not possible. We are only being allowed to trespass at present and should never forget this.

Within these writings are tales of fishing and hunting expeditions, as well as rock climbing trips. And of course there are a plethora of photographs provided to back up many of my wild claims! I have been joined by a few very close friends and family members who will also be featured at times. For it is often those we venture abroad with, that ultimately enrich the journeys we undertake to their fullest potential. This is the first volume of my most rewarding and unique wanderings to date. I hope you can enjoy, learn and be inspired from the accounts within.

Safe travels,
Tom Sullivan