Saturday afternoon I was at the airport in Phoenix surfing fishporn on the laptop while waiting for a flight home when I got a text message canceling the plans I had for Sunday…
Hmmm… I thought for a moment – then quickly pulled up the weather forecast, checked the hourly wind prediction, and fired off a text message to Jeff which was responded to within a matter of seconds, “I’m in!”
I get home with an hour of light remaining in which I manage to change a flat tire on the trailer, clear out a clogged pee-hose on the outboard, repair a broken support stiffener, and diagnose that the starting battery is a goner.
On my way to Wally World for a replacement battery I call Jeff to tell him that the kinks are getting worked out tonight and we should have a smooth day tomorrow and the potential is there for some really good fishing. I end the call with “I’ll pick you up at 5am” and even go so far as to hint that I may even be on time for a change.
Sunday Morning, 5am: I roll over in bed, see the alarm clock, grab the phone, and fire off another text message, “Better make it 6”.
This shot was taken from the observation point over looking the Bay of Pigs. Check out the pier at the base of the dam.
We arrived to find the big lake every bit as low as I’d been hearing but it was still shocking to actually see. Our first stop was at the observation point overlooking the Bay of Pigs where we stood gazing over the barren lake bottom. On one side it was exciting to clearly see all the bottom structure that had provided such great fishing in the past. On the other side, it was pretty depressing.
Boat launch April 2007
Boat launch August 2007
The boat launch is now just a steep road that leads down toward the lake and then takes a turn to the left to follow the shoreline for ~100yds to a new boat launch I didn’t even know existed
Approaching the new launch
I was anxious to go out and explore the new lake level in the boat but the wind was still up a little higher than I like so we decided to head over to “The Nursery” (Oneil Forebay) and see if we could find some little guys to pester while we waited for the wind to calm down.
We got to our first spot and Jeff was hooked up on what was probably his 3rd or 4th cast.
Another dozen casts into the drift and he was hooked up again!
After the next “There we go!”, I threatened to take my fly back.
Eventually I took the hint, and out came the fly box.
We hit a couple of other spots over the next couple hours and found fish in every one of them. They weren’t big by any means but there were plenty of them, the sun was out, and the wind was down. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Around noon we both agreed that we’d harassed more than our share of little guys so, with the wind now calm, we pulled the boat out and headed back over to the big lake to hunt for the big boys.
Trash Racks, aka “Chum Dispenser”
Once back at the big lake we motored carefully away from the new launch keeping a close eye on the fish finder. The depth steadily dropped off as we idled straight out reaching greater than 40 feet when suddenly it started rapidly coming back up. A hundred yards into the lake and the bottom had abruptly gone from 45 feet deep to 2 feet deep!
We spent a few hours poking around near the trash racks, found one group of fish but missed the grabs and spent most of the time just taking in the sight of the low lake level.