Are you good at estimating things? Me either. In my quest to find bigger redear sunfish at Geist Reservoir, I lost my grip on some basics, which cost me.
With redear fishing becoming more popular at Geist, the shoreline waters no longer give up much big fish. When I fish with Steve Jett in the back of his boat, I often troll my jig behind the boat or do what Jesus told the Apostles and cast on the deep side of the boat. I’ve caught some of my largest fish doing this.
I have a 1984 Bass Tracker with a 40-hp Mercury. Since I don’t use it much, I planned to run the old gas out before refueling. I thought about putting a one-gallon gas can in the boat for insurance, but I didn’t.
I lifted the boat’s gas tank and determined there was enough for one more trip. I put my charger on the two boat batteries the day before and then met my son Brian at the ramp. We wanted to fish a four to eight-foot flat in the middle of the lake, but it was too windy. I soon learned there was very little power getting to my trolling motor. I checked the connections and switched the trolling motor wires to the cranking battery. This worked.
Soon, we were catching big redear in front of docks in about eight feet of water. The bite was slow, and we could not escape the wind. I had a place, in mind, on the dam end of the lake. It crossed my mind to check the gas, but I didn’t. I did catch my largest redear of the season, but we could not fish where I wanted to because of the wind. We were running about halfway between the lower and the Sailboat Club. our motor died. We were out of gas. A long way from the boat ramp.
There was very little boat traffic on this windy Wednesday. When two lovely young ladies came by in a run-about, Brian stood up and waved. They stopped. I said, “We are broken down and need a tow to the ramp. I will pay you.” They liked this idea and agreed to help.
We called the marina. Of course, they had gas but no oil to mix for my 50:1 ratio on this old motor. The young ladies towed us to the ramp. Brian jumped out on the dock and handed one of them $40. My cousin Jay goes to Canada several times a year. “I always keep a two-gallon can of gas stored in the boat for emergencies,” he said. A lesson learned hard is long remembered. I have a gallon can, which will be on board from now on.
I have been testing and refining artificial lures to catch more and larger redear. My preference is the result of a crappie angler handing me a plastic grub at the ramp last year. He said, “Redear love this bait.” It took Crappie Pro James Lasswell to ID the bait and give me some. I learned one color outperformed the rest and ordered a big bag. Lake Fork Trophy Lures make The Live Magic Minnow. It is 2.25 inches and is garlic & salt impregnated. I cut a quarter-inch off the nose for redear. This plastic grub is uniquely jointed and has a small ball at the end of a straight tail. My best color is Blue Bruiser; however, they have several colors I want to try. I often tip my hook with a wax worm or Berkley Gulp Alive Waxie. All this goes on a green-headed sickle hook jig at 1/32 oz.
Berkley’s four-pound test Fireline allows me to cast this little tidbit with ease. The folks at Lake Fork Trophy Lures have used the same segmented innovation to manufacture a Sinko-type plastic worm that will give the bass in these parts a look they haven’t seen. My shipment came in Monday, and I can’t wait to try these worms.
Editor of Rambling Angler Outdoors, Ken McBroom, lives on the shore of Kentucky Lake. This has been his best season ever for big redear. He hand-ties several jigs he uses for redear. Order them on his website.
McBroom told me of a bluegill/redear tournament he fished at Blood River, Kentucky Lake, this past May. It took 20 redears weighing more than 22 pounds to win. He makes a hand-tied jig called a Hairy Cricket to catch large redear. He sells them on his Rambling Angler Outdoors website.
I’ll be there next year with a spare can of gas.