Slow day at Hagg, 16 November 2019


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I got to Hagg around sunrise and headed out to start trolling.

The fog was really thick to start but lifted pretty quickly. I started trolling towards the No Wake buoys and immediately caught a micro perch on a tiny crankbait. At least the skunk was off quickly.

I trolled along the buoy line and about half way across I hooked a big fish. The rod was bending all the way to the handle but I got my rod leash stuck in the holder and I just could not get the rod free. I heard it jump behind me and it sounded someone doing a cannonball and then it was gone. I was so mad at myself for not being careful when I set that rod up. Arghhhh.

I was mad but I figured with that quick bite that it was going to be a pretty good day on the water.

Narrator's voice: "It was not a pretty good day on the water".

I trolled back and forth a handful of times along the buoys and had a couple of short strikes but did not hook up again. No big deal I said to myself, I will just head down towards the dam where the bite was excellent last week.

I did not have a sniff as I trolled down towards the dam. By the time I finally got down to the "good" spot I had spent over 2 hours with only the first micro perch to show for it.

I was pretty frustrated and tense and was hyper-focused as I made my first pass. I could not believe that I did not get a bite on that pass. I turned around and trolled back. Once again, it was nothing but crickets. However on that pass I did see what looked like a school of trout that were down pretty deep.

I had been doing my normal trolling along the surface (1/8oz on the dropper). So I switched one rod to a 2oz dropper and put out 35' of line. Line angle was about 45 degrees which should have put my lure down around the 25' depth range.

On my first pass with that setup I hooked up and landed my first trout of the day. Woo hoo, I thought! After that fish I rigged my other rod with 2oz as well thinking I was getting ready to have an epic day.

However, the bite was just painfully slow for the rest of the day. What I came to realize was that the trout were really tightly schooled and that the schools were widely scattered. I would find a school on my side imaging and then try to make a pass where I went through the school. That was difficult but when I did manage to go through a school both rods would go off. I never landed a double, but with both rods deep I always got a bite on the second rod while landing a fish on the first.

The other thing is that the schools were moving around. I would mark a school with a way point but when I came back across where the school had been they weren't there anymore and I would go back to search mode.

I missed as many bites as I hooked and my landing percentage was not as good as normal, but I think that both of those were due to the heavy weight on the line.

As the day wore on it seemed like the schools got deeper and deeper. I did notice that other boats that had success pretty much always had a lake troll (I think that is what those big leader with all the blades on it are called). My guess is that they were able to call the fish from a lot further away than I could.

At the end of the day I added a flasher to each rod but I did not get any bites doing that. After 6.5 hours of trolling I only landed 5 trout and I only got one on video. I wore out my first battery before caught my first fish and the bites were so few and far between that more normal method of turning the camera on after catching a fish was not a winning approach.

Finally, it was getting to be mid-afternoon so I decided to change things up and chase bass for the rest of the day. I zoomed back towards the no-wake zone and started fishing brush piles (or perhaps some are spider blocks) along the creek channel.

I did not have any confidence by this point but I was sick of trolling. I fished a few spots without a sniff, confirming my opinion of my ability to catch fish that day. I finally worked my way to a pretty big area along the creek where there is quite a bit of brush over a wide area.

Up to that point I had been using a drop shot. Dropping straight down helps reduce the snags and is how I had been catching fish this fall. Since I was not catching anything doing that I decided to pick up a Carolina rigged rod. That is a pretty snag resistant setup and lets me to easily cover more water.

I made a long cast and slowly crept that Carolina rig back. I could feel the heavy sinker crawling up over and through cover. All that tactile feedback is pretty fun and interesting. When I am in the zone I really am almost entranced as I picture each rock and tree branch that I feel.

I was enjoying myself (which I had not been doing for the past several hours) when all of a sudden I felt a tug that was not wood and not a rock. I reared back on the rod and it was fish on! Not a big fish but catching anything at that point was huge.

Even a fish that size pulls the kayak around so I carefully re-positioned myself and went to back to getting myself back into the zone. The next two bass were similar to the first. Each time as I crawled the rig over a log or stump I would feel a tug and boom, fish on.

I reallized I still had some battery left on the camera so I turned it back on to see if I could catch one more and get it on video (it was getting late by now and I wanted, no needed, to make sure I got to the Lakestop store before they turned off their fryer so that I could get some fried chicken!).

I got myself back into position and kept fishing that same stump field. Changing my angles and fanning my casts. I was just thinking about packing it in when lightning stuck for the 4th time! It was the smallest fish of the 4 but it was fun to get it on video. So after 5 trout in 6.5 hours I was able to catch 4 bass in 1.5 hours. Relatively blistering action!

After that last fish I packed up and headed back to the ramp. As I was going across the lake I saw this big mayfly sitting on the water drying its wings. Kind of cool way to end the day.

I did not get much video footage of catching fish. Here is a short video of the micro perch, one trout and the last bass. I did buy a mount for the camera so I could put it on the kayak instead of having it on my chest. I think this kind of footage is better. If you watched any of my other videos please let me know if this is better than the chest cam.



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picture is crisp, angle is wide. TV production level. Keep them coming.
Thanks, I thought the video quality seemed better as well. Somehow when I had the camera on a chest strap the video quality was kind of crappy. No idea why I get improvement but something about a gift horse and a mouth :)

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