17 June 2009

Arkansas Spearfishing 2009 Season Has Opened With a Bang!

Posted by Darrell under: SPEARFISH HUNTING! .

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Arkansas Spearfishing season opened on June 15, 2009. It was a Monday and there were fewer people on the lake then usual. My friends Jeff, Zack, Billy, and Mike met me in Bull Shoals, Arkansas on Sunday the 14th. Jeff, Zack and I did some dives Sunday to determine where the fish were holding and what to expect on Monday.

We weren’t dissapointed. Over the course of 4 dives and two tanks each, we saw hundreds of catfish and walleye (yes, I said hundreds). We were all confident that we could have limited out on both Walleye and Catfish several times over! It was a little dissapointing that we didn’t see too many big cats. We saw a few 10-15 lb fish, and I saw 1 20lb blue laying out in the open on a rock ledge at about 12 feet.

The thermocline seemed to be between 21 and 25 feet. The water on Sunday was the clearest I’d ever seen on Bull Shoals. Visibility seemed to be 40 feet or more! It was some insane diving.

We found the fish in the shallows. The catfish were all between 8 and 12 feet (or shallower) and the walleye were 12 to 18 feet. Over the course of the 3 days we dove, I saw more Walleye than I’ve ever seen in the past. I probably saw at least 500 or more walleye. Many of them were 12 to 16 inches. However, I saw lots of “keepers” too.

Monday (opening day) turned out to be a great day. We had several biggest fish pots going, including biggest catfish, biggest walleye, biggest crappie, and biggest white. We also had a deal going where whoever shot the smallest catfish had to pay everyone else $5. Mike and I tied on biggest catfish. We each had a 5 3/4 lb blue. I had biggest crappie with a nice 13 incher. Jeff had biggest white. Zack had biggest Walleye with a paltry 8 1/2 lbs! Mike had the honor of smallest catfish with a 1 3/4 lb channel cat.

On Monday, we limited out on cats with 25 and over 100lbs. Most of the cats were between 4 and 5 lbs. We were close to limit on walleye and had over 40lbs! Along with this, we had several crappie and whites. My personal take was 5 catfish, 3 walleye, 4 crappie, and several large sunfish.

Billy and Zack left Monday night - leaving Jeff, Mike and I to carry the torch. We awoke to thunderstorms and high winds. So, after a leisurely three hour breakfast at Gastons (the famous resort on White River), we finally hit the lake. We dove some new spots that we’ve had our eyes on and once again hit the jackpot. I ended the day with 5 cats, 3 walleye, and a white bass. Jeff and Mike both limited out on Walleye, too. Jeff took the largest cat of the trip with a blue near 8lbs and Mike took lots of white bass. The highlight was a 15″ crappie that Jeff took. Crappie are extremely hard to get. They are really skittish and you have to be really good at being still and holding your breath.

Flathead season opens on July 15th. I’m looking forward to it, as I saw several 10lb flats during these dives. Overall, we had some amazing dives and I can’t wait until our next trip. For all of you that don’t spearfish, I’m sorry. There is no other experience that compares with hunting for fish. If you are a certified diver - you have to try it! You’ll be thanking me for the remainder of your life.

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25 Comments so far...

Phillip Says:

17 July 2009 at 9:21 am.

Haven’t dropped in here in a while. Glad to see things up and running again!

Can’t spearfish for freshwater game fish here in CA or back home in NC, so I’ve never had the opportunity to shoot cats or anything, but I have always loved spearing grouper, hogfish, and others in the offshore waters. It’s definitely a blast!

Albert A Rasch Says:

21 July 2009 at 1:52 pm.

Spearfishing? In freshwater? Cool!! I would be too busy picking up peoples snagged tackle…

Best regards,
Albert

Scally Says:

23 September 2009 at 12:46 am.

If you ever get the chance you should come to Alabama, there are some MONSTER cats here. I’ve lived all over the country but I’ve never seen blues as big (50lbs+) as the ones we’ve pulled here. I’ve always wanted to go spear fishing but never thought of it as an inland sport, guess I better get certified. Although these huge ass gar make me have second thoughts…..

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