Catfish can be caught from one end of the lake to the other this month. There will be both spawning and post spawn fish located throughout the lake. The Wheeler dam tailrace will be loaded with fryer size fish. Drift chicken livers and shad guts from the dam downstream to Town Creek for best results. For bigger fish try the ends of long points and bluff ledges in 25 to 40 feet of water. The bluffs from Spout Springs to Lime Kiln Hollow will hold some good fish. Peach and Walker Islands will hold some trophy fish. Search for the isolated standing timber then fish straight over the cover with a vertical presentation. Make sure and use heavy equipment so you have the power to wrestle the big boys out of the cover. I use BnM Silver Cat Magnum rods spooled with 85 pound test Hi Vis Vicious braided line with a 50 pound mono leader on a Carolina Rig. A 7/0 or 10/0 Daiichi circle hook is a must for battling big fish out of the heavy cover.
Catfish on Pickwick Lake will be more scattered this month. Best bets are the mouths of creeks and the main river channel. I like to anchor on the upstream points of feeder creeks and make long cast into the channel bottoms behind the boat. A Carolina rig is best here. For fishing the main river channel, drifting with a three way swivel rig or bottom bumping rig is best. Keep the boat sideways and drift with the current bumping your bait up and down off the bottom.
Largemouth and Smallmouth bass will be positioned on the deep river ledges making them an easy target for live bait fishing. Present live shad at or just above the level the fish are holding and hold on. I use either a split shot and hook or a slip float depending on the current and the depth of the fish. June is one of the best months of the year for good numbers of bass. For guide trips for catfish, live bait bass, or stripers contact Captain Brian Barton at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us on the web at www.brianbartonoutdoors.com.
Bubba Jones left the Shoals with a nice payday and some special memories after winning a North Alabama Kayak Anglers bass tournament on Wilson and Pickwick lakes.
Jones, of Hazel Green, caught three bass with a combined length of 56 inches to win the tournament that was held May 21. Unlike traditional bass tournament where anglers take their fish to a central location to be weighed, kayak anglers take a picture of their catch on a measuring board and then compare photographs to determine the winners. The bass are released immediately after being photographed.
Jones caught his two largest fish, a 20.5-inch and a 20-inch largemouth bass, after seeing them feeding in shallow water on Wilson Lake. “The water was so shallow where I saw them swirl that I thought they were probably just some big carp. I decided to go ahead and cast a buzzbait into the spot where they feeding, just in case they were bass…”
Jones won $870. In addition to winning, the Shoals tournament had special meaning for Jones. It was the last opportunity for and his son, Zac Jones, to fish together before Zac left for a mission trip in Guatemala.
“I will remember this tournament for a long time,” Bubba Jones said.
Eric Atkins finished second with three bass that had a combined length of 53 inches. Matt Delaplane was third with 50.25 inches. Rounding out the top 5 were Lanny Watkins with 50 inches and Greg Massa with 49.5 inches.
Susann Hamlin, president and CEO of Colbert County Tourism, which helped sponsor the tournament, hopes to attract additional kayak fishing competitions to Wilson and Pickwick lakes. Hamlin said the tournaments are an excellent way to boost tourism in Colbert County and to provide fishing opportunities for local residents who enjoy fishing from kayaks. She said fishing from kayaks is gaining popularity among recreational and competition anglers.
Scotty Hull has at least 1,500 reasons to be happy about the only fish he caught during the Fishlife Big Bass Battle on Pickwick Lake.
The 7.93-pounds largemouth bass earned Hull cash prizes totaling $1,500. He earned $500 for catching the largest bass during the first weigh-in period for the tournament that was held Saturday, April 16 out of Riverfront Park in Sheffield. Hull also received a $1,000 bonus for catching the largest bass overall for the tournament. Each of the anglers catching the largest bass during the seven one-hour weigh-in periods received $500.
“It feels good to win,” said Hull, of Summertown, Tenn. “The money is going to come in handy, because the motor on boat went out after I had caught that fish. Now I can use the money to help pay for getting it fixed.”
Hull caught the winning bass early and then spent the rest of day wondering if anyone would catch a larger fish. “It was nerve racking.”
Hull caught the big bass while fishing near Wilson Dam in an area of Pickwick Lake known as The Horseshoe. It was the largest bass Hull has ever caught.
Jody Harrison, founder and CEO of Fishlife, said Pickwick Lake is an amazing fishery. Carson Nash won the second weigh-in period with a 7.25-pounds largemouth bass and Chad Brewer won the third period with a 6.42-pounds largemouth bass. All of the weigh-in period winning fish weighed at least 4.45 pounds.
“We had people turning fish loose that would be considered big bass on a lot of lakes because they knew the bass were not big enough to win up here. Pickwick is a great lake,” Harrison said.
Susann Hamlin, CEO and President of Colbert County Tourism, said the Big Bass Battle format was a great way to showcase Pickwick Lake. “The size of the bass caught during the Fishlife tournament confirms that our lakes, Pickwick and Wilson, are some of the best lakes in the country.”
Pickwick Lake in northwest Alabama belies the notion that all good things must come to an end. Completed in 1938, the bass fishing in this storied 47,500-acre Tennessee River reservoir is better than ever.
Bassmaster Elite Series tournament angler Timmy Horton was a fishing guide at Pickwick before he became one of the top bass pros in the country. He still fishes Pickwick often and is astounded by what the lake is producing.
“Last spring you had to have 30 pounds to have a shot at winning any bass tournament here,” Horton says. “A 20-pound limit no longer gives you bragging rights at Pickwick.”
Electrofishing by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources found that Pickwick’s largemouth bass were fatter than bass from other Alabama reservoirs in 2008. That was a harbinger of better things to come. Read More