Reprint from “The Daily Home”
By Larry White
I have made several fishing trips to Lay Lake in the last few weeks.
I have fished for catfish, white bass, stripers, and of course bass.
The catfish have been sort of up and down. Some days they bite good
and some days they don’t.
Because of the excessive amount of rain we have had in the last few
months and the temperature soaring around the 90 degree mark, the
power co. has really been sending plenty of water through the turbines
and on down stream.
One of the main factors in determining fish activity on the Coosa
River is the amount of water flow and current. All types of fish seem
to bite better when the water is moving, and still, stagnant water
has definitely not been a problem lately.
In fact, most of the time lately, if you plan to fish the river you
had better have a very strong trolling motor and some good hot batteries.
There have been quite a few white bass, stripers, spotted bass, and
a surprising number of largemouth bass surfacing in large schools
lately. Although most of the schools are small fish, they are still
fun to catch on light tackle.
I spent one day fishing for larger bass in deeper water and was pleasantly
surprised at some of the fish I caught, especially one. This particular
largemouth bass was in the 5 pound range. Now that in itself is not
very unusual, but the fact that this bass was only about 17 inches
long really got my attention.
This bass was almost as big around as it was long. I had caught several
more largemouth bass in the 2 to 3 pound range that were as long as
this fish, only not as big around. This bass also put up an unusually
hard fight. I got the fish to the boat three times before we were
able to net it.
We released all of the fish we caught that day, but when I got back
to Sunset Marina I told Steve Sherbert about the fish and he just
laughed. He said I had caught one of those Florida Largemouth Bass
that Mark Whitlock has been stocking in this lake since 1992.
He said he had weighed in 3 of those “Chunk Bass” the
night before in his tournament.
It seems that Whitlock, owner of the popular Mark’s Outdoors
sporting goods store in Birmingham, has put one of the largest bass
tournaments in the state on Lay Lake every spring since 1992. One
of the most unique things about this tournament is that Mark gives
each boat a bag with live Florida Bass Fingerlings to be released
anywhere in the lake that they see fit.
This is the best way to distribute the fingerlings all over Lay Lake
and be sure that some of them survive to be really big fish. It must
I have read reports that government stockings of Florida bass in rivers
where they just dump 100,000 fingerlings in at one site resulted in
a feeding frenzy of bass and stripe and a large percent of the fingerlings
were consumed by larger fish in the first week.
Then they had the problem of getting dispersed all over the lake before
something else ate them. Actually only a small percentage of bass
fingerlings actually make it to the 5 pound class.
With Mark’s idea of sending the fingerlings out in boats headed
all over the lake, their chance of survival is much greater and the
distribution is super.
Florida Largemouth Bass grown larger than our native Northern Largemouth,
but they are harder to catch. Northern Bass are more aggressive. The
two types of bass will cross breed and make a more desirable large
bass that is more aggressive.
Who knows? Maybe the bass I caught was a “Hybrid Bass”.
Whatever it was, I want to catch some more of them.