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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from The Tidal Labyrinth – at Fort Fisher, NC

Check out this snippet from The Tidal Labyrinth, a short story which will be published on Naturewriting.com in the next week or so. This is one of several essays which will be released in a collection, along with many “how to” articles, which will reveal secrets and tactics for becoming an efficient self-guide, set to be complete in the next few months. I hope you enjoy!

We were continuing up the channel; probably thirty or forty yards apart when I saw it. I hadn’t had any thoughts of sharks before entering these waters. I knew they would be present; I just hadn’t contemplated interacting with them. But there I was, paddling just ten yards from the grass line, and a dorsal fin broke the surface just feet away.
I won’t write the exact wording but…
I yelled something to my brother Joey that we laughed about later. The fin was perhaps a foot out of the water, and heading towards the grass mat’s edge. I thought, that’s a ten or twelve foot shark. If that wasn’t enough, in seconds, with Joey paddling closer, pulling a camera from his bag, we saw that huge fish break the surface of the water almost entirely! Shocked at first, with the current turning me, I worked my paddle to keep pointed towards the commotion.
“Its eating Drum!” Joey yelled.
And I could see he was right. As it crashed the edge of the grass, thrashing water violently, you could see red drum scattering wildly away – exactly the species we were targeting. At that moment, I realized I wasn’t sure if it was a shark at all. But it was huge and threatening to say the least. It settled into the water and headed directly for my boat. As God and my brother would witness, that thing’s dorsal fin was fifteen feet or so from my bow when it finally sunk out of sight. Joey was snapping a few photographs, and I was unaware. I had other concerns. Then, in seconds, just a bit farther down the grass line, we saw multiple breaches again; simultaneous explosions of fish, swimming for their lives – the large predators eating what they could in the disturbance. From this new distance, and security, we could finally tell they were porpoises. I never realized how brutal their feeding could be. It was fascinating. I’d seen breaking fish crash bait, both in fresh water lakes and salt water, but never something so large, or a species I associated with Flipper. For a short period, we watched the action follow back the way we had come; short outbursts against the grass line, visible in decreasing detail at each sighting. Then they were gone.

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Joey Sullivan