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Alexandria Area Report: Playing In The Cabbage

From the last time I fished, I was on a solid shallow bite for panfish with water temperatures ranging from 63-67 degrees. That was on a few of the smaller lakes in the area and the gears switched to the mid-size to larger lakes that take a little more time to warm up. The lake I fished this week was showing a water temperature of 63 degrees in the shallows and I felt confident that it would be game on. Wrong! I checked several shallow areas that are proven spots for big crappies and gills and I found nothing. Scratching my head and thinking of what was going on with why they weren't there.

Well, I just thought as I was searching and that we had a cold front the day before I wouldn't have thought that they would slide back out again, but they did. The shallow flats that hold pencil weeds drops of to 6-12FOW and there was good cabbage growth around the flat. So, I decided to work that 7-9FOW break and set the bobber to jig about 4-5 feet. I just started to fan cast the area and it was game on. The crappies and gills were just on the

break staging for warmer water. I was once taught by a bass angler here in the Alexandria area that one to two degrees is all it takes for the fish to move in or out. And, it definitely held true this weekend. This week the temperatures are showing a cooler than normal pattern and this upcoming weekend should be excellent for shallow water panfish. Well, all fish should be going well and I'm glad for the cool down for a better spawn for crappies and gills.

As I was fan casting in the cabbage, several fish were lost due to fishing them close to the bottom to 2 feet off the bottom. They would bite and then make there run down in the cabbage getting hung up. It didn't take me long to switch to a light power 6'6" St.Croix Rods Triumph with 6 pound test. This gave me a better chance of getting them up out of the cabbage and in the boat. Usually I'd use the Panfish Series with no problem but in this case I needed that extra back bone to help get them up and out of the cabbage. I felt like I was bass!

The best presentation was the Northland Fishing Tackle Mimic Minnow Tuff Tube and the colors were all white or pink and white. Before switching to the Tuff Tube I was fishing with my trusty Fire-Fly pink and white tipped with a Impulse bloodworm. That presentation was just taking a beating so a switch was needed. And it was a good switch too. Didn't lose as many jigs after the change. If you haven't used the new Tuff Tube you really should because of the versatility. You can jig it, cast it, troll with it and in this case, use it under a bobber. The more I use it the more I'm forgetting the Fire Fly and I've used that presentation for years. You could use the Tuff Tube all day without re-tying a new one on unless you get bit off by one of those toothy pests.

This week and this Memorial weekend will be a great week to get out for all species, but especially for crappies and gills. Keep in mind to practice selective harvest and let those bigger fish go to keep the natural resources thriving for future fish. Until next time, be safe and we will see you in the outdoors.

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