First off, huge congrats to Brandon McMillan. That guy can fish and has the mental game to be a superstar. Extremely impressed with Brandon’s fishing and ability to put it all together in win. My 2012 Lake Seminole FLW Everstart was pretty decent, but nothing fantastic. I basically weighed in 12 pounds per day, had decent limits and finished 26th place. We had strong wind and clouds during the tournament days, which had me off my game. I had hoped to get 13-15 pound limits by finesse fishing, and then hunting a big fish with a bigbait or sight fishing. The wind just made me have to work twice as hard to get a fraction of the bites. No excuses, my gameplan just wasn’t very well suited for the weather. It took me way too long to catch a decent limit and I didn’t have the time to hunt the big ones as planned. I kept at it, figuring I might be able to pull off 15 pounds or so both days with one bite. I broke off a fish on a wacky rig on Day 1 in the wind, and that hurt. You have understand in super shallow stump fields, when the wind is blowing, you get pinned up against stumps, high centered and it’s pretty much complete chaos at times. I hooked a nice fish and the fish ran me around on spinning gear, and just basically whipped me where I got stuck on some stumps in the wind with the boat, and broke off where in any calmer conditions I could have avoided the catastrophe. No big deal, but every pound counts and would have improved my overall standings significantly.
So, if you want to catch fish on Lake Seminole right now, here are some insights. The fish are on beds, up shallow, and can be found along the shallow sand bars, points, humps and hard bottom places in Spring Creek big time. You are either catching fish on beds, getting ready to bed, or just coming off the bed/guarding fry. The water in Spring Creek is getting back to its normal clear self and things are getting right in Spring Creek again. We had weeks of muddy water caused by some heavy rains that sorta screwed up the creek for a while. There is also a shad spawn happening early in the morning. So, first thing in the morning, guys had areas with hyacynth edges and/or rock where they were able to power fish their way to good 17+ pound limits in the first hour. I missed this bite pretty much completely, but beware shad spawn fish are winning fish, as per Mr. McMillan, Shaye Baker, etc. Find shad spawn and throw spinnerbaits, topwaters, and swim jigs.
Lake Seminole Conditions as of 3/25/2012
Lake Level: -.05 feet
Water Temp: 72 in the am, 78 in the afternoon
Grass: Mediocre grass at best, hasn’t grown up much in most places.
Finesse Fishing on Sandbars/Points/Humps:
1) Wacky Rigging:
7′ 2″ M (CUS72M) Shimano Cumara Spinning Rod
Wacky Rigging is a perfect blend of Rate of Stall and Rate of Fall. So much so, that when done properly, you can literally ‘float’ your bait in place, suspending it in the water column exactly where you want it. Cast your bait a little bit past your targets. Your targets should be any light spots (beds) you see from a distance, stumps, trees, grass line, isolated patched of lily pads, or just randomly on good high percentage flats. Dead stick the bait to the bottom on the initial fall. Just let it fall to the bottom, pick it up and shake it a couple times. Then let it settle to the bottom. I only fished the wacky rig 5-10 feet in most cases back toward the boat, and then would reel in and make another cast. The wacky rig is death on Seminole and the fish there really react well to a slow fall and slow stall.
2) Light Texas Rigging
1/8 oz. Picasso Tungsten Worm Weight
4/0 or 5/0 Owner Wide Gap Offset Worm Hook
The light texas rig was a better bait for casting and dragging around in the wind. It was just easier to fish in the wind and many guys who did well were finesse fishing. Seminole is not like Okeechobee. You have to approach the bedding fish with much more care and they don’t kill anything you throw over a bed. You have to slow down, finesse and work them into biting more than on the Big O. You could just drag the bait, or do a slight pull and swim. If you came thru the sparse grass, you could rip it or give it some swim, but when on barren bottom, the drag retrieve seemed to be the better deal. Fishing for the same fish as the wacky deal, just less finesse than wacky, but much better for fishing in any kind of wind.
3) Carolina Rigging
8″ Zoom Lizard (watermelon red/cotton candy/june bug)
Zoom Brush Hog (watermelon seed/green pumpkin blue)
3/4-1 ounce Precision Brass Weights
The Carolina Rig is a good bait on Seminole for a few reasons. It can be fished nicely in the wind first and foremost. The fish on and around beds seem to eat Carolina rigs, don’t ask my why, but they do. Just ask Lloyd Picket Jr about that. He catches solid sacks of bedding fish, by blind casting Carolina rigs in the Spring time, I’ve seen it a couple times. Anywho, the Carolina rig also helps you probe the deeper and transitions sides of the sandbars, points and humps. So you can probe the deeper 6+ foot range of the sandbars. Sometimes the fish move out or are sitting deeper due to whatever reasons, and a Carolina rig is a great compromise of finesse and power because it can be fished down to 15+ feet and across a 2 foot deep hump in the same cast. Many good bags were caught on the C-Rig, lizards and creature baits on stump flats, sandbars, and humps in and around the Spring Creek and Fish Pond Drain area.
The bigbait bite on Seminole was nothing spectacular, but there. You have to fish around the bedding fish, or around the standing timber, grass or docks directly adjacent to the spawning areas. That was the key, but Seminole just wasn’t a great time for moving baits. Finesse baits dominated, but I got the occassional bigbait bite.