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Fishing through the algae bloom at Clear Lake with Hi’s Tackle (continued)

Some of the rock piles out at Clear Lake are clearly marked and others are closely guarded by tournament anglers, we hit a combination of both. At each rockpile we were able to crank up a few fish with deep diving crankbaits. It was here that Cal and I got in a few good hours of “Year of the Crank” field testing, then as fast as it picked up the bite was gone and we had to adapt yet again.

Jonah fishes the new Skeet Reese Tessera jig rod with braid and fluorocarbon leader

With options running out we turned to jerkbaits fished against the shorelines where we had witnessed huge schools of bait. I jerked up one 3lb fish but after about 45 minutes with no other takers Jonah reached way back into his bag of tricks and cut up a Yamamoto Kreature and a Flappin Hog and coated it with scent to create a homemade jig. He picked up a bright yellow rod and went to work on the bottom. “Let’s see how good these new Skeet rods are, if they perform well they should be good sellers at their price point,” Jonah remarked as he stepped on the trolling motor and began dragging his homemade jig, this technique is known as strolling. I continued to fish crankbaits and jerkbaits as he strolled over the hard clay and rocky bottom dragging his jig uphill.

A feisty Clear Lake bass breaks the surface trying to shake off the jig

“This rod is really pretty sensitive,” Jonah said “I can feel every little bit of the clay on this stroll.” I turned to see Jonah’s finger extended in front of the matching Skeet Revo reel under his braided line and as I glanced upwards I could see the bright yellow tip on the rod twitching. Almost immediately afterward the rod tip surged and Jonah swung to his side sticking a fish. It didn’t take long before he boated a nice 3lb. largemouth. “Do you want me to make you up a jig?” Jonah asked. “Catch another one and it’s a pattern,” I replied, and that is exactly what Jonah did on the very next cast! “Make me one of those crazy things,” I said as he boated the second fish.

Jonah boats a few more with the Tessera and his custom jig

Jonah cast out his jig again and let the wind and current push the boat as he cut the weedguard back on a jig and put together his special jig for me. Before he could even grease the second jig up with scent a fish nearly pulled the Skeet Reese rod right into the water. It was on!

Zander brings a fish in

In the next ten minutes Jonah pulled up three more fish and I only had one. I had a couple bites where I missed fish and I was finding it hard to detect the bites with fluorocarbon line. Jonah handed me the Skeet Reese rod and I could immediately feel the difference as the rod was paired with braid and a fluorocarbon leader. The Skeet Rod was surprisingly sensitive for a rod at a sub 90 dollar price point, and the braid on the line made a huge difference. I could immediately distinguish strikes from bumps on the rocky bottom. Jonah being an expert in the technique was much better than I was at detecting strikes and setting quickly even with the Fluorocarbon.

Jonah adapted quickly and salvaged what started out as a tough day full of dinks

“This is the witching hour, when the sun starts to go down the fish will go crazy here,” Jonah predicted.  The next 30 minutes was absolute magic and Cal and Scott watched us pick up fish after fish as we laughed it up while strolling the same bank back and forth. Each time we picked up two or three more fish and the bite kept getting better all the way until the sun finally dipped behind the hills. What a fantastic way to finish the day!

With the sun gone its time to let the fish go and head home. Even with a full on algae bloom Clear Lake proved to be a quality fishery and Jonah put us on the fish

Conclusion: The algae bloom at Clear Lake was definitely a factor in our fishing but reports that the lake is in decline and that the algae had completely taken over the lake were exaggerated. The lake had plenty of areas to fish and while the smell in some areas was unpleasant it was hardly enough to keep anglers away. If anything there were less skiers cruising the lake and more room for bassers to fish. Jonah had exceptional knowledge of the lake and utilized all that experience to not only find the fish but adapt to a situation that would have made many anglers just plain give up. On that day we beat the algae, got in some serious crankbait testing, strolled up some quality fish with the new Skeet jig rod and had an absolutely great time out on a not so “Clear” Lake.

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