The winning pattern on Lake Seminole was the shad spawn bite first thing in the morning.  Brandon McMillan capitalized on it for the win and so did a few others in the Top 10.  Shaye Baker, from Reeltown, AL, is no stranger to shad spawns and was thinking right with his approach to Lake Seminole.   The above video clip gives you some insights into how Shaye parlayed an early morning shad spawn bite into a topwater bite later in the day.    His shad spawn bite on Day 2 wasn’t so strong, but he had a back up game plan and it payed off and got him into the Top 10 cut.  He came back on Day 3 with another solid bag, anchored with shad spawn fish.  He had his first fish in the boat, a solid 4+ kicker,  four minutes after takeoff.  Think about that.  He wasn’t running 30-45 minutes in the morning.  He used that early morning time to fish and had a spot near the take off so he could be fishing while the shad were spawning up along hyacinth mats and the quality bass were feeding on ’em.   That is fishing smart, and having a back up gameplan (the Bowstick/top water bite) was insurance and helped him make the cut and ultimately finish 4th place.  Nice work Shaye.   Shaye is a success story from the world of FLW College Fishing, where he had a colored career fishing for the University of Auburn, and is part of a class of recent grads that are killing it at the Everstart and Tour levels.

Shaye’s Weapons of Choice:

Jackall Bowstick

1/4 oz. Netbait Paca Swim Jig (Glimmer Shad) with a Baby Paca Craw Trailer

Homemade “Team Baker” (Shaye and his father make their own spinnerbaits) spinnerbait, tandem silver willow leaf  blades and blue glimmer skirt

The guys on the shad spawn bite got into some quality fish in a hurry. Here's is Shaye with two nice ones from Day 3, before most had even shut down their engines from their morning run.

Look closely.  You see the light spots?  Those are the beds.  Beds in snot grass.  This is ideal wacky rig stuff, because you can't fish too many baits around this stuff without mucking up.  The Trick worm falls and stalls so slowly, it makes it the ideal bait to catch these kind of bedders

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.

Wacky Rigged Trick worms are pretty darn finesse. Trick worms fall and stall much more than even a senko. Add a #1 Owner Mosquito hook and loosen up your drag and get to work. Braid mainline with floro leader recommended.

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:

Zoom Trick Worm Or 5″ Senko (in the wind) in Watermelon Seed, Watermelon Candy, or June Bug

#1 Owner Mosquito Hook

15# PowerPro Braid main line connect to a 10# Suguoi Floroleader (2 foot leader)

7′ 2″ M (CUS72M) Shimano Cumara Spinning Rod

Shimano Stradic CI4 (STCI42500F) Spinning Reel

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

Swim Senko

Speed Worm

Zoom Trick Worm

1/8 oz. Picasso Tungsten Worm Weight

4/0 or 5/0 Owner Wide Gap Offset Worm Hook

17-20 # P-Line Halo florocarbon or 30 Pound Power Pro Braid

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.

#4) Bigbaits

3:16 Sunfish with 1/0 ST-41 Owner Treble Hook on 65# Power Pro and Calcutta 300 TE and G-Loomis 965

8″ Triple Trout, two ST-36 Owner Treble Hooks in 1/0, #5 Owner Hyper Split Rings65# Power Pro, Calcutta 300 TE, and G-Loomis 965

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.

I've been learning some basics of bigbaits in non trout fed lakes this year.  Bluegill and sunfish baits are an excellent choice around spawning time.  Bigger fish don't like the bluegills/sunnys swimming near their beds.  They tend to bite with purpose and you can feel it.


Tournament time again.  I’m unusually optimistic about stringing together a good tournament.  I have been catching fish, not in great numbers or size, but I think the fishing is generally pretty tough out there.  Guys who I know can catch them are struggling, which I’m not suprised.  This leg of the journey has been tough.  Yes, there is a shad spawn, and yes the bass are bedding, but Seminole is a different animal than most lakes.  This year, the grass on Seminole has not grown up and it’s relatively barren compared to the other times I’ve fished here.  What that means is you cannot go pound the grass and milk fish out of it.  Grass lakes without grass can be confusing.  Keeping it consistent and being able to have solid sacks of fish for 3 days is the goal.

My gameplan:  Fishing Small, getting a good solid limit, and then breaking out and fishing Big.   I have various areas where I can fan cast finesse style baits and get it done.  I have areas that are in danger of being ruined by muddy water coming down Spring Creek, however, I think I can adjust and fish the moment and conditions.   We have relatively strong winds and thunderstormy type day forecasted for tomorrow.   That means the bed fishing will be tough for the most part.   Not game over, but the bed fishing on Seminole that I’ve experienced is pretty fickle.  The fish are really smart, trolling motor aware, and require extreme stealth and skills to get to bite (the big fish anyway).   Ideally, I get a good limit with enough time to go have some free time to go hunt some big ones. I am hunting them with Triple Trouts, 3:16 Sunfish/Bluegills and the 5″ Big Hammer sight fish rig (bed fish).    The big swimmer bite has been tough, but it’s out there.  I need a good 2-3 hours of chunking and winding to get a bite, and that assumes muddy water and muck haven’t messed with my water.  Muddy water and muck (ie, floating grass niblets the ducks pull up, or snot grass pieces, or just wind blown garbage are the doom of the swimbait at times).

I’m fishing for a Top 10 and God willing, am able to pull off a Top 5 or better.  I think I can be consistent.  Worst case, I get 10-12 pounds per day, but best case, I think I can get 15+ a day, and sustain it for 3 days in a row.  I think 28- 30 pounds, two day total, will make the Top 10 cut or slightly less. Guys are going to have some big sacks, but I don’t believe they can do it 3 days in a row, let alone 2 days in a row.  We shall see.  I feel good about catching some fish and competing.

Music from the above video clip:

“Preying Mantis”

Album: The Left Hand Side


Usage Courtesy:  Body Deep Music