DSCN4201With sweat pouring down our hands and faces making even holding on to a rod difficult, it is still hard to give up on the bass catching action.  Ron Wong and I are having a great time as long as we keep hydrated with plenty of water.

Wong is a local angler who is heavily involved in service to the community’s charitable activities.  A familiar face on the local tournament scene he often appears at other functions as a volunteer for children and military personnel.  Ron is also a Media Contributor with a local radio program, “Outdoors with Larry Rea.”

This fishing trip is one I purchased from the auction of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association to whom Ron had donated it.

With morning temps in the 80-degrees, the afternoon found them pushing 100-degrees.  The humidity is about 80 percent.  Not usually great bass fishing weather.  But, on this lake, I suspect any day is good bass fishing.  The owners practice “selective harvest.”

The lake is a private one in western Tennessee owned by a family dedicated to outdoor recreation. It is a pleasure to leave manmade architecture of the city as it gives way to the natural forest canopy covering the highway.

A fish resources company manages and maintains the population using the most modern scientific tools and practices.  Should one particular year-class of a species over populate, they remove fish to stock another lake elsewhere.  As part of the selective harvest they ask anglers using the 50-acre lake to keep all fish under 16-inches.

With fish over 16-inches in length returning to the lake, the end result is some fish now reaching up to 10 pounds.

We readied tackle for the day in the form of crank baits, spinner baits, and some plastics.  The success of the Strike King Rodent results in our not even wetting the other lures.

Ron enhances each of the plastic lures with a little FishSticks Lure Enhancer.  It comes in a stick form.  He applies a little to the front of the lure and some to the area where the Texas-rigged plastic lure conceals the business end of the hook.  “I do not think it is an attractant,” explains Ron, “But it seems to encourage the fish to hold on to the lure a little longer.”  Considering the success we are having, it is difficult to argue the point with him.

With high water temperatures the bass seek out the most comfortable water they can find.  They are not as active as would be the case in spring or fall.  We find them in the deeper water or areas shaded by overhanging vegetation.  The lack of aggressive strikes requires a lot of line watching.  One has to watch for the unusual movement of the line in the water.  It is usually movement to the side that is most obvious.

Despite the hot weather we do catch 17 fish in the under 16-inch class.  They are frozen and presented to the Mid-South Raptor Center in Memphis, TN.  The center rehabilitates wild birds such as raptors and reintroduces them to the wild.  It serves west TN, North MS and eastern Arkansas.  The fish feed for the hawks, owls and eagles in their facility.  Many of the raptors are injured and stay at the centered for rehabilitation and later release into the wild.

We immediately release all fish over the 16 inches class.  Our best for the day is one caught by Ron that weighed 8 pounds 7 ounces.  We also catch several fish in the 3 to 4 pound range.

Although the lake we are fishing is not open to the public, it does stand as an example of what is possible with selective harvest in a managed fishery.  It is a positive model for others to emulate.



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