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I fished Wilhelm yesterday and got skunked! Even worse was the fact that I was there with 4 people total in two boats and none of us caught anything!!! It was kind of bittersweet since I sold my boat on Saturday, so I was up there with my normal fishing buddy along with the guy I sold it to and his wife. I had one hit all day, and when I set the hook my line broke…bad not…d’oh!!!
I’d like to hang my hat on the fact that I think that I know Wilhelm very well. Having said that, it seems like once a year she hands me a day like yesterday just to humble me. Yesterday was cold (by recent statndards), and the air temp was 56 when we started at 6:20 AM. Water temp was between 77-78 most of the day. We left at noon and it was still pretty chilly out. The wind (as usual) was blowing steadily down the lake. For most of the morning overcast skies prevailed, although as we were loading the boats the sun was out.
I have not caught a topwater fish yest this year, so I decided to stay shallow around the launch area for about a half hour. My partner threw a buzzbait and I was throwing a Jackall Mudsucker 110. I had never thrown it before but decided to give it a shot. Overall I was not all that impressed with the action. My guess is that it is Jackall’s take on the LC Gunfish, and I found it neither walked the dog nor chugged all that well. We had no hits and decided to head out to the humps to try our luck.
We fished the humps for a while and with a variety of baits and none of us got hit. I think two crankbait rods rigged up, one with a Zoom Z-4 and the other with a DT10. I alternated but neither got hit. I also was throwing my trusty football head as well as a big worm. My buddy was throwing his c-rig, and the other boat was throwing jigs and standard sized worms.
We moved out to hit a creek channel / road bed location and again hit it with everything that we had…again no bites.
Our next stop was a couple of main-lake points that have a nice mix of cover and structure. Morgan did have one hit his c-rig here, but all that ensued was a swing and a miss. We worked depths from 5 ft down to 15 ft.
We then took a drive down the lake to another piece of offshore structure that we found in our last trip. It took us a little longer to find it because we had marked a ton of waypaoints in the area and never went back to clean them up and mark them more distinctively (lesson #1 learned). Once we found it I got hit on the football head and not soon there after Morgan got hit on his c-rig and missed. After that we got nothing else.
Frustrated we decide to do some weedline bank-beatin’ to see if we could scrounge up a few fish. Flukes, spinnerbaits and worms were thrown but resulted in no bites. We got down to a spot where there is a gravel bottom that meets up with a weedbed. Morgan did have a hit and the fish charged to the boat as fast as he could reel. When he finally caught up to it there was a couple of head shakes and it got off. The way it ran we thought for sure maybe a school was there, but none of us got any more hits.
We headed back up the lake and hit the first two spots that we tried again and then just decided to leave.
My strengths are that I am a structure fisherman. If they are not on offshore structure then I can usually pick some up out of the weeds, however I do not excel at it. I do not feel like the majority of fish were in either yesterday, or if they were they definitely were not biting. If they were on the structure then they were not hitting any of the usual fare. I thought maybe we should’ve down-sized, but then I remembered that some of the c-rig boats Morgan throws are on the small size. Nonetheless, we could’ve thrown some small shakey heads and maybe drop-shotted? My other thought is that maybe we should’ve gone real shallow and flipped. Again, this is not something I excel at. When the weeds aren’t as think I do like to do some shallow cranking, but that really isn’t an option with the weeds up there. I am interested in hearing how anyone else would approach it
I almost was not even going to post this lol, but I am interested in hearing any responses.
I have been emailing back and forth with the guys and they asked me to post my report from 7/26 at Wilhelm. The following is my account for the day. Hopefully you enjoy.
I haven’t been out fishing for bass since June 27th, so I was waaaaaay overdue. I headed out with my usual fishing partner to Lake Wilhelm. We arrived at one of the ramps at 7:30 AM to find it almost completely full…ugh, there was a tournament (not a surprise), and a big one at that. Oh well, I didn’t come here to worry, I came to fish and relax.
Our preferred style of fishing is to hit offshore structure with football heads, c-rigs, big worms and deep cranks….having said that, this weird summer has thus far thrown off the fish from their “normal” summer patterns. Between ourselves and some buddies I know who fish here, the offshore bite has been more often miss then it has been a hit. The air temp when we started was 62, and it was supposed to get into the mid 70′s with a lot of wind and possible afternoon thunderstorms. The wind was coming hard out of the south east 10 mph with gusts up to 25 mph.
We started off fishing a couple of humps that are out from the launch. At the beginning of June they set up out here and we were seeing a nice average size of fish here, with most being between 2.5 – 3 lbs. These humps aren’t in really deep water, I believe the tops sit in 6-8 ft and they fall off to anywhere between 9-13 ft of water. There are some scattered rocks on them and also a few large stumps. What makes them special is that an old roadbed runs adjacent to them, and this road bed meets up with the main creek channel a little further out. As we set up on the hump it was easy to see by looking down and up the lake that there were a ton of boats out. We started off with me fishing a 5/8 football head in green gourd color. I like to tip these with a craw imitation (green pumpkin). I tend to dip the claws in orange spike it come summer time. It is pretty big profile bait. My buddy was fishing a c-rig using a small creature bait. We fished for probably 45 minutes here (way longer than we should have), and I caught the only fish from that spot, a small 13″ bass on the jig. I also mixed in a 10″ worm and a deep crank in the mix to no avail.
We picked up our marker and wanted to hit another spot we like close by, but we saw another boat that was maybe a 100 yds down from that spot and we decided to head elsewhere. Our last trip to the lake was a slow one, so we decided to do some side-imaging scans. We finally got around to checking them earlier in the week, and we had 4 spots of interest we wanted to check out. One the way down the lake the first spot had two boats on it, so we kept going. I took it as a good sign that the spot held fish since the boats were there. We thought about stopping on another one of the main roadbeds on the lake on the way down, but it looked like the walleye anglers had staked their claim to it as there were several drift fisherman and a couple of trollers working it. A little further down the lake were three other new to us spots that we wanted to check out from our scans. As we came up to the first one we noticed a boat there….d’oh. Same with the second….and third. I finally just pulled the boat over on a spot that I check out from time to time. This spot consists of a weed bed the runs along the shore the abruptly stops as it hits fairly deep water pretty quick. There is small gravel and rocks that runs on a gradual drop off that is parallel to the shore. It starts in 14 ft of water and runs the entire way up to 3 ft and a big stump, and all of this is probably 30-70 ft from shore. My buddy lost a fish on the c-rig and not soon after I picked up a 15″ on the jig. After that, nothing…things weren’t looking great.
We saw the boat in one of the areas we wanted to check out take off, so we made the short run there and checked the GPS real quick along with our notes to see where we wanted to set up and what exactly this was (at least our best guess). This spot just looked like 4 big stumps sitting in 9-12 ft of water adjacent to a large weed bed. We started casting our baits and we eventually found the stumps. They were in there but we got no bites from them. The wind was really kicking and my buddy decided to throw a fluke. About his second cast he nailed the big fish of the day, a 3 lbs 15 oz specimen. I took off the big worm I was using and switched to a spinnerbait. On my second cast I nailed a 2.5 lbs fish. OK, I thought, maybe we are on to something. We decided to work the weed line up to the next spot we wanted to check out thinking the fish were there….wrong. We got nothing. My best guess is those fish that were hanging around those stumps moved into the weeds when the wind picked up.
Here is Morgan’s 3-15:
Here is my spinnerbait fish:
The next spot was a small hump we mapped that had some scattered cover on it. It sat in 11 ft of water and we each picked up a 2 lbs class fish from it. We moved to our third spot which was maybe 150 yds away. I cannot figure out what exactly this was, but it was probably 100 yds long and was sitting in anywhere from 9-15 ft deep. As I would work my football head I would come to a rise of maybe 3-4 ft, and the rise had a hard bottom (rocks I was guessing). We found two stumps on this spot that continued to plague us with snags lol. The fish were here big time, and as soon as you would work the c-rig or the jig to those rocks one of the bass would just pluck it off there. The fish weren’t big, but they were decent keepers, mainly running between 2-2.25 lbs. The action was fast at first, and then it slowed and it seemed you would pick one up every 5 minutes or so. We probably could’ve hung out there all day, but decided to move along since I noticed a few of the tournament boats gradually starting to make their way over.
Here is one of the better ones Morgan caught from this spot:
And here is one of mine:
As we headed back up the lake I wanted to go to the new spot that had the two boats sitting on it, I could still see a boat sitting on it, but as we got closer it took off. We decided to start on the one side of the point, and as soon as we stopped I noticed another boat racing in. This spot was a large main lake point, but we noticed it had a ton of nice cover sitting out in 9-15 ft of water. There was also some decent cover in a little shallower. The shad were everywhere in there, and occasionally you would see them take flight as something was after them. We tried the fluke and spinnerbait in there for a little bit, but we had no luck. The other boat took off, so we moved out to position the boat to fish the deeper cover we marked. I was working my jig and I came across a big stump. This was one of those ones were I was standing on my tippy toes and stretching the rod as high as I could get it to bring my jig over it. As it was falling down the other side I got thumped hard. I set the hook and it felt like a good fish. Of course this was all happening as another boat was running by. It came as no surprise that they turned around and decided to set up shop just out of casting distance. Anyway, the fish I had on turned out to be a decent one at 3-6. We continued and probe the spot and found just a ton of stumps sitting in that 9-15 ft range, but we weren’t getting hit. The boat that was off to our left decided that they wanted to fish right in front of us. The were beating the bank and I saw them catch what looked like a small 12-13″ fish and throw it in their livewell. My buddy hooked a 2 lbs fish from literally right behind their boat. We decided to take off. The spot is nice, but we got the impression that it was a community hole.
Here is my 3-6:
And here is how this spot looked on the side imaging. Note the cover out deeper and in close:
We headed back up towards the launch and we wanted to hit out favorite spot. This spot is a roadbed (the same on that ran by our humps earlier) that runs up to the main creek channel. At their intersection there is a pile of rubble. My guess is that there was a small bridge there maybe and this is the rip rap. The roadbed is raised, and it 3-4 higher than its surroundings. There are three stumps scattered on the side of the roadbed and some scattered rocks as well. On my first cast I felt a small thump and watched my line go racing off. I set the hook and thought that surely there was a school there since that fish took off like that. I got it in and it was a 15″ fish. We fished that spot for maybe another half hour and got nothing. In the mean time a bass boat set up a couple hundred yards in front of us and let the wind drift them back until they were literally on top us. Another boat came in behind us and was slowly working their way up to us. I took a deep breathe, went over and grabbed my marker and decided to call it quits for the day. The time was 12:30.
Here is how our favorite spot looks on the side imaging:
All told we boated 13 keepers, had no shorts and lost 4 fish. I guesstimate that our best 5 went about 14 and some change. We only weighed the 3-15 and the 3-6.