When I showed up at the lake the water was like glass and the steam was so thick I couldn’t see the other side.
Nelson is a power plant lake that I hadn’t had the opportunity to fish it in a while.
The last time made it down there I lost a 7 pound-er due to an equipment malfunction and poor decisions, so I was determined to find a giant.
Getting Into Hot Water
The water on the main lake was between 104 and 106 degrees, and was about 2 feet lower than the last time I had fished here.
With the water temps so high I was surprised to see that only 1 boat went to the creek to find colder water. I started fishing my normal spots but the water was too hot and low to produce fish. I moved out to deeper points and ledges just off the structure I normally fish throwing cranks, jigs and tubes but no strikes.
I moved to the creek running out of the lake and was very surprised to find that no one was fishing the mouth of the creek, which in my opinion is the best spot on the whole lake. I threw out a Dead Stick (purple swirl) and immediately had my first fish (1.5 lbs). The creek is lined with cat tails, and I was fishing a wide jetty that seems to always hold a good number of fish.
I targeted the shaded areas of the cat tails with a Net Bait football head jig and Paca Craw (Alabama Craw) trailer.
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When the fish were short striking I followed with a TT Dead Stick and small BPS Creature Bait. Keeping with the pattern I quickly had a keeper in the live well.
I moved around the corner to a spot which normally holds good sized fish and threw out the football head jig and immediately missed a fish.
I followed up with the Dead Stick casting to the same spot and patently watched my line. My line started moving across the water, I reeled down and set the hook, a solid 3 pound-er.
Tough Choice: Keep the 4 Pounder?
With 2 fish totaling around 5.5 pounds and had to find a kicker (3 fish limit no cull). I worked my way down the creek and caught fish after fish with the dead stick and jig. Mid way down the creek it opens up to a flat with the creek channel running on one side. At the corner of the flat there was an isolated clump of grass.
I made a long cast to side of the grass and about the time the jig hit the water a nice fish hammered it. I put it in the live well and ended my day early.
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A 4 pound fish is hard to throw back and hard to keep in a no cull tournament. I had 9.3 pounds (3 fish) which isn’t great but the stress of no cull had me keep a smaller fish right away in the morning.
I kept fishing to kill some time until the weigh in. I started throwing TT Shakey Heads at the edges of the grass and continued to hammer fish. The fish were consistently around 2.5 to 3 pounds.
Lessons in Fish Care
Around 12:00 I took a look at my live well and noticed that my biggest fish wasn’t doing very well.
I spent the remainder of my day trying to find cold water to dump into my live well to keep my fish alive. I ended up losing my 2 biggest fish and loosing 1 pound off my total weight.
When I realized the fish were starting to die I ran to the deepest part of the lake and the coolest water I could find was 97 degrees. So I ran back to the creek and moved as far down stream as I could to find cool water. I ended up finding water that was 83 degrees.
I pumped the cool water in and pumped the hotter water out over and over again to try to save the fish, but nothing would work.
Lesson learned: ICE!!! Keeping fish alive in the live well can be a challenge. It’s even more challenging in when the main lake water temp is over 100 degrees.
After losing 1 pound due to dead fish, I ended up with 5th place. The weights for 3rd through 5th place were close, only 0.3 oz. difference between 3rd and 5th.