Thanks to January’s weird weather, I’m wrapping up the month writing about a topless angler on Eucha — sounds like “oochie” — Lake.
This is not an Eucha coochie dancer story, and it is not about a woman, but that does not mean this fish story lacks sex appeal.
Jay Scott, from Jay, lives about a mile from Eucha and he knows where and how to catch big bass on his home lake, one of Oklahoma’s truly underappreciated jewels. Last March, Jay from Jay set the Eucha largemouth bass record with an 8.3-pounder. About a week ago, Jan. 18, he broke his own record with another bass that went 9 pounds. It was 22.5 inches long with a girth of 18 inches – your basic hawg.
For the record, Scott was not shirtless at the time, but the fact that he was at one point this month is important to the story. We’re getting a little March fishing preview in January.
“I’ve just never caught this kind of fish in January, but we’ve never had this kind of weather in January,” Scott said.
That’s when he told me it was so warm one day he fished shirtless for two hours: “All I had on were warm clothes and I didn’t have a T-shirt in the boat, so I just fished shirtless for a couple hours.”
That tells people just how warm and weird things have been this month.
Some warm days, especially in the mid-day heat, the lake has presented what typically are March fishing patterns with bass suspended near drop-offs and hitting umbrella rigs just 10 to 20 feet deep. Scott hooked his 9-pounder on a Yumbrella outfitted with 3.5-inch shad color Gene Larew Sweet Swimmers on ⅛th-ounce jig heads. He uses a hefty Loomis Carolina Rig rod and 50-pound braid.
“The braid is so you can get your lure back if it gets snagged,” he said.
In this kind of weather he looks for baitfish schooled over what he calls “shallow-to-deep” areas — meaning, shallow water that is near a drop-off. His monster fish hit that Yumbrella at 10 feet, swimming over 30 feet of water.
The ⅛th-ounce jig heads make his rig a little lighter weight for cold-water fishing.
“You have to fish it as slow as you possibly can,” he said.
The toughest part of fishing in this odd winter weather is that the fish have been moving around a lot. Scott has an advantage there because he fishes the lake nearly every day, so he usually has an idea where to start looking.
“I won’t start fishing until I see shad on the locator,” he said.
He also has caugh some good bass fishing with weighted Smithwick Rogues lately.
“In the last week I’ve caught probably three in the 7-pound range and quite a few 2- and 3-pound fish,” he said.
Some anglers add weight to their jerkbaits to help them suspend correctly. In cold water, Scott weights them to sink at a constant rate.
“You weight it so it sinks one foot per second,” he said. He gives the bait a twitch about every 10 seconds. “We do that until it warms up, then we take the weights off,” he said.
This should be especially effective on lakes now because some shad are starting to die off because of cold water.
“It’s not a big die-off, but I’m seeing some on the surface,” he said. Bass like to pick off that jerkbait as it drops because it acts like a dying shad sinking.
The techniques, particularly the umbrella rig, are picking up on several area lakes, Scott said. He’s heard good reports from Hudson and Tenkiller, as well.
“Eucha is one of those lakes a lot of people don’t fish and the probably should,” he said.
If it involves catching 7- to 9-pound bass, you can bet I’d take that dance.