Caney Lake is monster bass country, but it’s also a great place to “just” go fishing this month. It isn’t all “go big or go home.”
Just ask David Walsworth. He isn’t the best-known fisherman on the lake, but when he’s fishing, people can’t miss him.
“Look, this is just fishing,” said Walsworth, pastor at Jonesboro First Assembly of God. “I haven’t been doing this a long time, but I try to learn something every time I go. My son, Gabe, watches YouTube videos on bass fishing all the time. My brother, Mike, has taught us a lot and I talk to others. I watch other fishermen. It pays off. I’d suggest getting all the information you can for any fisherman, veteran or beginner.”
Walsworth may be the most readily noticed angler on Caney Lake. He fishes from a Pelican 10E Bass Raider, a two-man pontoon boat powered by a 2.5 HP outboard. When he and his son fish, they carry four rods, six small plastic tackle boxes, a $90 depth finder that gives depth and water temperature and a battery for the trolling motor. He call it the “SS Minnow” because it’s the smallest rig on the lake.
“The uniqueness of what we are doing helps make it fun,” Walsworth said. “I can’t afford one of those $50,000 bass boats , but I can’t worry about what other people think. We just want to fish, and doing it like this has made us better bass fishermen.
“People sometimes forget that this lake is full of 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-pounders as well,” he said. “We have a unique approach to fishing here, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Use your time wisely
Having a small boat and not being able to run up and down the lake has made Walsworth focus on something many anglers forget.
“We have to be careful where we go, because we can’t just head out across the lake burning a tank of gas,” he said. “There is one cove that we love to fish, and I have spent so much time there, I know pretty much every place a fish might be. I fish the cove just like it was a little lake unto itself.”
Some of the things Walsworth has learned can help you be a better fisherman.
“First thing I’d say is to slow down,” he said. “Fish it out good where you are. I have to do that by necessity, but it pays off. In almost every area, there are docks, grassbeds, humps. If fish aren’t in one place, they’ll be in another.
“Second, fish baits you have confidence in. I don’t know why fish like it so well, but my best bait on Caney right now is the Sweet Beaver. I like green pumpkin or watermelon red. I also fish a shaky head with a Zoom finesse worm They eat it up. We also fish Zoom worms in the same colors with good success.”
Walsworth said that if you can, try to go when the fishing pressure on the lake isn’t so high. As a pastor, he’s fortunate to be able to fish on Mondays and Tuesdays, and while he said the best times to fish are early and late, he doesn’t pass up the mid-day bite if he gets a chance.
The potential for bigger bass
The Walsworths don’t catch just small bass. David Walsworth has caught one better than 8 pounds, and his son has landed several better than 5. Recently, Gabe Walsworth hooked a fish that jumped out of the water and was clearly bigger than 10 pounds, according to anglers who witnessed it. But it was “the one that got away.”
Walsworth enjoys catching some smaller fish because he likes to take a mess home to fry for supper. He believes in keeping enough fish to eat if you like, but releasing the big ones. That’s an easy thing to do on Caney.
One other thing that people need to remember. Fish don’t bite all the time, so you have to be patient, he said. When fish are beginning to bite, you’ll know it — besides catching fish.
“When the bite is on, you’ll see movement in the water,” he said. “Minnows jumping, swirls in the grass beds, even birds flying and going after fish. Pay attention.”
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