Several years ago I was fishing Thanksgiving morning, casting a Shadrap to shallow cover. I caught a bass from a treetop and it weighed 7 lbs. 2 ozs on my Deliar hand-held scales. As I released her, I noticed it was a few minutes after noon and thought of all the people sitting down to a meal of turkey and dressing. I realized I would rather fish than eat, even if the eating was a holiday meal. It helped to know my turkey and dressing would be served that night when my all my family gathered for the meal.
When I went in a little before dark, I got a surprise - and cold stares from my wife and my mother. The big meal that year was at noon so my brother could go to his in-laws for dinner. I had been so excited about going fishing I had not really paid attention to my instructions. I missed the meal and was the only one in the family not there. I got only a cold turkey sandwich for dinner, to go with the cold stares - and still would rather fish than eat.
Fishing is usually excellent around Thanksgiving. Big bass are often feeding in shallow water in late November in mid-Georgia and you can catch them by fishing a crankbait around stumps, trees and rocks. It is fun fishing because you are casting to a target and it is usually productive, making it even more fun.
Another choice is to try for crappie. There are several trees standing in 40 feet of water near my trailer at Clark's Hill. They were topped about 15 feet below the surface at normal full pool so, when the water is five feet low like is usually is in late November, the top of the tree is down about 10 feet. Schools of crappie suspend in these trees and I have had good luck getting right over them, dropping a tiny jig down to their level and catching a lot of big fish. They fight good on ultralight tackle and are excellent when fried.
Hybrids were stocked at Clark's Hill many years ago and they are very active during Thanksgiving Holidays. Big schools of big hybrids roam the flats and points, filling up on threadfin shad. Sometimes I catch one on my crappie rod and really have a fight. Usually I use heavier tackle and drop a spoon or tailspinner like a Little George down to them. I ride the lake watching my depthfinder for shad and fish below them. Jigging for them usually pays off is lots of strong fighting fish.
One Thanksgiving I saw lots of fish on my depthfinder on drops in 18 feet of water but could not get them to hit. Every time I stopped and started jigging for them, they disappeared. I realized the fish were moving rather than holding in one place so I devised a rig to take advantage of this. I tied a small floating Rapala to a Carolina worm rig. The one ounce sinker would carry the plug to the bottom quickly and the leader let it float up.
I would cast this rig out and drag it along the breakline with my trolling motor. I was able to intercept the fish and caught lots of hybrids and bass using this method. I now keep a plug rigged like this most of the time, and it has helped me catch fish when they would not hit anything else.
When I first started fishing during Thanksgiving back in the mid 1970's, it was unusual to see another boat on the lake. That has certainly changed with lots of people taking advantage of the good fishing. It was too good to hope to keep to myself.
I can't wait for the holidays to see my family - and get in a little fishing!