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  1. #11
    Senior Member QueenAnnesRevenge's Avatar
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    Re: 2018 Clear Lake Derby

    Quote Originally Posted by knotgillty View Post
    If you want double digit fish, avoid stink baits. Fresh cut bait is my go to. Big fish eat meat. Chicken Livers work well too.
    This^
    Big chunks of mackerel, sardine and American shad are my favorites at clear lake. Blue gill and crawdads under a slip float when they stack up on structure
    We like to "troll" into the wind at .2-.4mph. When I see a good arch or arches on the bottom I'll use the anchor button on the Minn kota to give them an extra long look
    I use a slider and hollow pencil lead to tick along bottom
    Hardly snags but if it does. Just pull free and recrimp a new weight.

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk

  2. #10
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    Re: 2018 Clear Lake Derby

    If you want double digit fish, avoid stink baits. Fresh cut bait is my go to. Big fish eat meat. Chicken Livers work well too.

  3. Likes QueenAnnesRevenge, ApexPredator liked this post
  4. #9
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    Re: 2018 Clear Lake Derby

    Feel like I learned a lot just reading these posts. I am not really interested in tournament fishing but they way you described the catfishing I would love to take my kids to fish it.

    I don't want to offended anyone by asking for spots, but I am curious if there is a bait that works better than any other (than again that also may be a secret). But if you want to give any other points I would appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance. Kevin

  5. #8
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    Re: 2018 Clear Lake Derby

    Axe the hi-lo rig when drifting. Use the standard sliding sinker rig.

    Also, you're going too fast. Cut that speed in half.

    A regular sliding sinker will work on a mud bottom when drifting, but not in snaggy areas. I like to drift in areas with lots of boulders and lava rock. Cats at Clear Lake are not spawning yet. But they like areas with structure, and rocky areas are eventually where many of them will build their nests for spawning.

    A drifting sinker won't typically hang up in rocks, but a regular sliding sinker will hang up far too often. Estimating here, but we got hung up probably 30 times while drifting last weekend. Only once did we end up breaking the line. All the other times the drift weight came free after 6 or 7 seconds of steady pressure. Remember, when you have a float above your hook, the hook ALWAYS floats above the bottom, the only thing that can hang up is the weight. Cats don't give a damn about float 6 inches above your hook when drift fishing.

    If you've ever seen a cat feed in an aquarium you'll notice that when food is on the bottom, they have to angle their bodies (tail slightly up / head down) to get their mouth on the bait. However, when the bait is suspended 12 inches above bottom, like when I'm drifting, a cat can engulf it in a millisecond.

    We got all our drift fish last weekend in 6 to 12 feet of water. Shallower water is warmer. This time of year, the cats are looking for warmer water. Deeper is often better in the winter at Clear Lake.

    Also, at anchor, we use 8/0 circle hooks and no sinker. Use a piece of bait big enough that you can cast it without having to use a sinker.

    In the last 10 years, 99% of my Clear Lake derby fish have been hooked in water less than 15 feet deep.
    Last edited by knotgillty; 05-23-2018 at 04:46 PM.

  6. #7
    Senior Member ApexPredator's Avatar
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    Re: 2018 Clear Lake Derby

    Yeah, we did a little drifting this year and the wind that kicked up Saturday morning made the call easy. We drifted for about 5 hours on Sat during late morning/afternoon down the top leg of the lake. I tossed a sock to keep us around 1.2-1.4mph I think we were too deep in the 30-45’ range and used a high low rig with a banana sinker while my friend was using a slip sinker rig. Was nice to take turns taking short naps on each of the drifts. I like your drift set up idea with the longer leader/float. Too bad the lake is such a haul, would love to get some more experience out there.

  7. #6
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    Re: 2018 Clear Lake Derby

    Quote Originally Posted by ApexPredator View Post
    I too keep detailed records of my trips/catches; however, I haven’t spent enough time on Clear Lake to get much use out of the data I have. 2015 I landed 5 with an average of 11# and my partner caught 1 at 18.2#. We both skunked 2017 and this year just the fish listed above. I would love to put up numbers like you have; at least it keeps you up and going while weeding through the small ones. Going long stretches of time without hits takes a toll after a bit and makes it hard to keep going.
    Yup, in 2015 we had an average of 11.9#s.

    One tactic that takes the boredom away is drifting for cats. If you don't have an electric trolling motor, invest in a drift sock to hang off the back of the boat and let the wind push you. It's always a little breezy at Clear Lake. Use a 3 to 5 foot leader. Add a peg-float about 6 inches above your hook. Use a drifting weight above the leader (think long slender weight). The float keeps your hook from snagging bottom as you inch along. Keep the speed slow. If the fish are inactive, you are bringing the bait to them, instead of waiting on anchor for them to come to you. Plus you are putting out a long scent trail as you cover ground. Covering a lot of ground makes a difference sometimes.

    Good luck next year.

  8. #5
    Senior Member ApexPredator's Avatar
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    Re: 2018 Clear Lake Derby

    I too keep detailed records of my trips/catches; however, I haven’t spent enough time on Clear Lake to get much use out of the data I have. 2015 I landed 5 with an average of 11# and my partner caught 1 at 18.2#. We both skunked 2017 and this year just the fish listed above. I would love to put up numbers like you have; at least it keeps you up and going while weeding through the small ones. Going long stretches of time without hits takes a toll after a bit and makes it hard to keep going.

  9. #4
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    Re: 2018 Clear Lake Derby

    We launched out of Red Bud in the lower end of the lake. Between the two of us we landed 19 fish day one. Landed 6 on day two. I noticed there seems to be a new class of smaller cats at the lake. We only landed 3 fish over 10 pounds this derby (15, 14, & 11). Lots of 4 to 6 pounders in the mix. We got an equal number of fish anchored as we did drifting. Adding up all the weights, our average fish for the derby was only 6.6 pounds.

    2008 was the last time we had a derby average below 6.6 pounds per fish.

    By comparison, in the 2016 derby, we boated 37 cats, with a 12 pound average.

    2014 was our best derby ever. My partner and I landed 76 cats with a 13 pound average that trip.

    We weigh and log every fish, take note of water temps, and anything else we might find beneficial for future derbies. It's all contained in a little book I keep in the boat glove box, and is a useful tool to be able thumb through, to look for patterns that worked in the past (weather, water temps, locations, depths, etc).

    One of these years I hope to win the damn thing. Until then, I'll keep dreaming...
    Last edited by knotgillty; 05-23-2018 at 01:54 PM.

  10. #3
    Senior Member ApexPredator's Avatar
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    Re: 2018 Clear Lake Derby

    Spent the majority of the weekend (and landed the only fish) in the upper arm of the lake between Glenhaven and Oaks. Also spent some time in the main lake for no dice.

  11. #2
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    Re: 2018 Clear Lake Derby

    You were less than a pound from earning a paycheck. What part of the lake did you fish?

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