Winter Wanderings

The days are getting longer, and the temperatures are bouncing higher each week. Even though I am anxious for spring, I thought I should be fair to my least favorite season because despite being cold and dreary, this winter has not been unproductive.
During the cold months, many reservoirs are drained significantly, both to accommodate the coming spring rains (or snow-melt) and also, as in the case of the Stones river, to provide cold water to the trout stocked in their tailwaters.
I like to take advantage of the low water levels to scout new fishing spots. Knowing what’s underwater, the structure, depth, and the type of substrate – sand, gravel or mud, is key to locating and catching fish of any species. Winter provides the perfect opportunity to gather detailed knowledge which can be applied during the rest of the year. Many fishers, especially those who own boats, rely too heavily on charts and sonar and consequently fail to fish some of the most productive spots.
This winter I have been busy searching for expansive flats, and I have found several which look very promising. Just imagining tracking shoals of feeding carp across these spots has helped me through the darkest weeks.
Along with exploring, I have come to enjoy looking for lures, especially plugs, which have been snagged and subsequently lost along the shoreline. Slightly surprising to me is that I do not find many lures along the best bass habitat, but rather along the shores of heavily trafficked recreational areas.
As my collection grows, it’s neat to see the changes over time in the design of the plugs. The older ones are skinny and flat on the sides and are often equipped with a rattle inside to help attract curious fish. The newer lures are mostly fat and rounded, and are carefully designed to “swim” at a specific depth.

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