UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Old Hickory Lake

Holy Spot!

Holy Spot!
Jason Johnson and Cody Meyer enjoyed the best day of fishing in their lives.

“I’ll take the memory of that day to my grave,” said Jason Johnson, the day after he and Repel pro Cody Meyer put together a 38-pound limit of spotted bass. Little did he know that limit would turn out to be the “smaller” limit of spots just a couple of days later.

Johnson, a longtime co-angler on the Walmart FLW Tour who plans to compete as a rookie pro in 2015, has been planning to make it out west, away from his native Lake Lanier, for a while. So far, the trip has been worth it. After cracking a 30-pound limit on a local largemouth lake to start the trip, Meyer and Johnson never returned to it – the lure of the region’s magnum spotted bass was too strong, and the spotted bass fishing has been far too good.

They shared their story, which has been playing out on Meyer and Johnson’s Facebook pages this week.

 

Johnson and Meyer both surpassed their personal bests over the course of a few days on the water.

The Location

Though Meyer also toured Johnson around some more usual California destinations, such as Clear Lake, big spots in a secret high sierra lake were the highlight. The lake that Meyer fishes is somewhat unique in that it is easier to catch an 8-pounder than a 2-pounder. The big spotted bass feed on kokanee salmon, but there apparently isn’t much else to eat in the lake, and there is very little cover. Regardless of how it happened, there is a limited number of precious, beautiful and giant spotted bass growing old and to record proportions.

“I think there are for sure five lakes in California that have a world-record spotted bass in them,” Meyer explains. “The record was broken in February (a 10.48-pounder caught by Keith Bryan on New Melones Reservoir in California), but I think it will be broken again within the year.”

Though the record is out there, Meyer made sure to stress the need for proper fish care – he and Johnson had to promptly photograph and release several fish that were caught from very deep water.

 

How They Did It – Part 1

Meyer and Johnson had some very unusual conditions to deal with. The original plan called for a high degree of finesse and super-clear water, but the recent rains in California raised the lake about 50 feet in a nine-day period and changed the water from gin-clear to something far closer to a Tennessee River shade of stain. Nevertheless, the pair put the pieces together on the second day of fishing. They found the fish suspending about 20 feet down off points and drops in anywhere between 50 and 100 feet of water. Five bites later, Meyer and Johnson had a 38-pound limit that included one meager 4 1/2-pounder.

Instead of drop-shotting, Johnson and Meyer cast Strike King 6XD and 10XD crankbaits, swimming them through the fish without bumping off of any cover or bottom. Johnson’s previous personal-best spotted bass was from Lake Lanier and weighed 6.42 pounds – his new personal best (for a while) came in at 9.18 pounds.

 

Part 2

After a day at Clear Lake, the dynamic duo headed back to spotted bass country and dialed things in.

“We really figured out the types of banks they were on,” Johnson explains. “We could just look at the contours and get a bite almost every time.”

Getting bit every time equated to a magical day of fishing – they boxed a limit that weighed 42.76 pounds before lunch. In fact, both topped their personal bests, Johnson with a 9.52 and Meyer with a fish that weighed in at 9.78 pounds.

“I went online and looked at pictures of the world record when we got back,” Meyer says. “I almost wish I had weighed it on a better scale, just to see.”

Still keying on banks close to 100 feet of water, the pair tossed a PB&J-colored 3/4-ounce G Money Football Jig and a sexy blue back herring-colored Strike King 10XD. They fished the jig as deep as 60 feet for bass hanging on the bottom, and continued to cast the 10XD for suspended fish. Rapidly clearing water (Meyer estimated they had about 5 feet of visibility) and sunny weather had the fish biting as they had never bitten before.

Ish Monroe will tell anyone who will listen that California is the only place for a bass fisherman to live, and he’s probably right. There aren’t many places where three limits weighing more than 30 pounds are possible, much less within a week, with two of those limits being all spotted bass. According to Meyer, the chase for the next record spot is undeniably on, and that could be a fascinating story to follow in 2015. The heyday of record-sized largemouths from California might have passed, but the reign of spots seems to have begun.

Editor’s note: For more information about California’s spotted bass boom, and advice from the pros, including Meyer, on how to target trophy-sized spotted bass, check out the feature Slob Spots in the February 2015 issue of FLW Bass Fishing magazine.

 

Jason Johnson and Cody Meyer enjoyed the best day of fishing in their lives on Thursday.

Tackle Notes

Johnson threw his 10XD on an 8-foot Daiwa Zillion Swimbait Rod he described as “for sure the absolutely perfect 10XD rod.” It wasn’t among our recent roundup of big crankbait rods, but could certainly be worth checking out. Both pros used Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon, and Johnson believes that despite the lack of water clarity, a high-quality fluorocarbon line made a difference.

Jason Johnson Releases Two Nine Pound Spotted Bass

 

Related Links

A Magical Day for Spots

Bryan’s Spotted Bass a New World Record

 

Here are some more photos for your enjoyment:

Despite dealing with water that was murky from recent rains, the fish still showed off tremendous colors. The tremendous fish that Johnson and Meyer were catching are a product of a very unique situation. Jason Johnson showing off the belly of a Kokanee-fed bass. Meyer with a handful of beautiful spotted bass. Meyer lands one that ate a Strike King 10XD.Jason Johnson hoists the two best fish of the trip. This photo also gives a good idea of the water clarity. The fish that Johnson and Meyer are catching are not prespawn-fat, they are simply fat from eating.

Tags: spotted-bass  cody-meyer  jason-johnson  jody-white  article 

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