ooooooh that smell….

I wanted to write about last weekend, and am finally dry enough to feel comfortable with my hands on the keyboard. It was the most miserable day. My rain suit failed about three hours into the constant rain….everything was soaked….and now my Nissan smells like wet socks, wet shirts, wet everything…wet skunk…because I was skunked…and that is a smell I do not want to get used to having around.

Oh well….

On the way to last weekend’s tournament, stop #3 for CAKFG, I made a few observations.

Rain fell, lightly, carried by the east wind.

“Wind from the east, catch the least.” That is what has always been told.

Passing a field, all of the cows were lying down.

“The fishing is going to be tough if the cows are laying on the ground.” Heard that too.

I spent the last hour on Google, trying to prove (or dispel) the myths; actually just trying to understand why I only caught small fish. My human arrogance refuses to believe that I just wasn’t good enough on that water, on that day. The cows must have dropped to the ground and allowed the east wind to pass over the hills and hollers; intentionally.

All of the research (granted an hour does not constitute true research) led me to one conclusion; there are so many opinions on the subject! Studies say this or that, meteorologists say this or that, old folks argue this or that….but something most had in common; the weather was changing.

Ok. The most common results of my totally biased study…condensed…

  1. The east wind usually occurs with a cold front, and is accompanied by a barometric pressure shift. Low pressure, cold front…..
  2. The cows usually lay down when it is colder to lessen the amount of their body exposed. They curl their legs up and reduce the surface area affected by the wind.

And there you have it. The conditions were not optimal for fishing. It wasn’t me.

Those cows!

…but a few guys did catch some nice fish….and that is where my theory that it was the cows fault will never become scientific law.

What I did learn as water pooled in very uncomfortable spots, watching 24 inches place in the money, was the difference in my technique and what others did….

  • I fished for a reaction strike too long.

Those who caught larger fish caught them early fishing slow and tight to cover.

They found the fish were like the cows, not really roaming around a lot.

  • I eventually slowed down and fished smaller baits, but chose the wrong cover.

Those who caught more fish were hitting wood or bushes along the creek channels

Not on rip rap, or larger rocks with no wood structure.

 

Lesson learned and filed away.

As I drive to work tomorrow, smelling the weekend all over everything, I will look out across the fields and know that the cows sometimes lay down for the same reason we do…they get tired. But the environment does impact their decision to take a break from standing at times.

I will also start watching the weather before next weekend on Kentucky Lake, paying more attention to wind direction and changes in barometric pressure.

And the week after, on the trip to the Open at Santee Cooper, I will look for both….and adjust accordingly….and search all of the other data I have filed away…..and hope I pull out the right combination of rod, reel, lure, hold my mouth in the correct position…wallet in the right pocket (or left)….lucky underwear…

….this fishing stuff has a lot to keep up with……..and sometimes, you just don’t figure it out soon enough….

…….but man, ain’t it fun.

No woulda, coulda, shoulda…nope..

Woke up, left Clarksville…12:30 ish in the morning, drove to Guntersville for a KBF event. I pulled into an empty parking lot about 4 am and started to question my choice.

I had fished the same spot my only other time at Guntersville; recording a mediocre limit, but still expected to see others there.

Why was the lot empty?

I had caught a limit in less than 40 minutes on a point of chunk rock during my trip a year ago; and it looked like a spot that would be on fire in spring…no way there was not a solid limit in all the rock and wood that lined the shore.

Maybe I had just arrived early, maybe others were just late. Never once did I face the inevitable truth about the situation.

“No way”, the me, in absolute denial, said out loud.

“This looks like where I was just slaying them on Barkley and Kentucky Lake.”

At around five, two other kayakers showed up…along with a group of 10 bass boats who had organized a “friends” tournament. Whew…maybe this is ok…

On my first cast, a bass blew up on (ok, swatted) a Stanley Top Toad. On the third, the same. No hookup, but the bass were hitting.

(still in denial – they were just too small)

Thinking they were hesitant, I threw the bait I had been killing them with at home; a Mann’s Classic spinner bait.

And threw it.

And threw it.

After a while, switching to a Rapala Skitterpop, I hooked up with a small bass. Then another kept flashing on it, but not biting.

Fluke. The thought ran through my head and was immediately followed by the image of them laying on the bench in my garage (see above – four hours away).

“maybe there is one….you know you cleaned out the bottom of the Hobie…”

Back to the spinner bait…….

“stop! cut it off so you will not throw it again!!!”

Senko.

Weightless Yamamoto Senko, fished like a fluke….??

Fish.

Another.

And another….still small, but caught a lot.

Brent Lanier and Tim Beers, the only two other guys to fish the area with me came by and we talked about our luck, about each other…about someone’s battery dying…Mardi Gras Bitter’s baits.

It seems the parking lot was not full for a reason. Don’t get me wrong, fish were there. The guys on the bank had caught so many crappie that I looked once for some jigs…kidding, I always have crappie jigs in the Hobie…I wouldn’t need to look; they are my bass lures some days…but I wasn’t sure of the size limit.

But, the bass bite was small.

My 70.25 inches was the largest in our location by a whopping .5”, but this was Guntersville and it was 23” behind the leader. Had I been allowed a seven fish limit – and culled the 9.5” beast…I coulda been a contender!

We did beat the guys in the glitter boats; there is that!

A pity party for one is not my style, no matter how much it sounds like it, so, the four hour drive home was filled with building a new plan. Not a woulda, coulda, shoulda diatribe on how much better the day may have been; but reflections on the locations those in the top had chosen.

Why?

What was the difference?  Some was knowledge of the area, others had picked key things to their styles; just as myself.

Guntersville.

Grass.

The conversations around the pavilion, the majority anyway, had that in common.

My error….I had chosen Lake Barkleyesque features because of their familiarity; the one thing missing from the area I fished, Guntersville grass. There was plenty up to the water’s edge, then it stopped…and was freshly mowed. I am sure the area has its days, but the key on this day was grass and where I was; it wasn’t.

Driving back to Goose Pond in the light of day I saw a lot of (woulda, coulda, shoulda – was trying not to do it) spots….I have locked those away. I think that knowledge along with the education I received (and always listen for) while waiting for results will help next time.

——————–

Anyway…a few comments…..

…as always I love the competition and the KBF events…

…45 out of 93 (the engineer in me looks at stats) – better than 51.6% of the field – ain’t always number 1…

…made a couple new friends and talked with my KBF family, love the community feel of it all…

…saw my buddy and fellow CAKFG member Greg Phipps place in the top ten…

…saw Josh Stewart – glad he was ok after the car smashed his…

…laughed…not a Josh or Rebecca…

…ok after the post from Billy Reynolds, maybe a little about (not at) Rebecca…

..….found a way to catch fish….and learned how to catch more…

…My Hobie, the BoHobien Rhapsody, wore the Caney Fork Fishing Team colors for the first time…

…a good day.

Yep, a good day.

7th place trophy…….

On March 9th, I posted a pic from the internet of my first Hobie. It was a Hobie Hustler skateboard from the 70’s, not the original I owned. It was almost the same color as the PA12 we purchased from Caney Fork Outdoors, and I had ridden it for a few summers in Tennessee.

See cast….not like in the credits…like on the broken arm….from those summers….

I talked about that post with my Joy and Logan at Caney Fork. They talked about how cool it would be if I still had that board. My first thought was yeah, my second was that I would have killed myself by now. In my early twenties, way too long after spending every day on it, I took that Hobie to a playground across the street from where I was living and tried to ride it down a slide…..well, you can imagine the results; the first part of my body that touched the bottom of that slide was my chest…then my face…you get the image. The board had flown of the other side and down the steps. I am still cringing from that memory as I write about the events that followed that conversation.

My Joy….well….you would just have to know her to understand the efforts she goes to in supporting me and my fishing; or anything she thinks would make me happy. I do not deserve her, and I will never understand what she sees in me….I digress…she loves me and that is enough.

I came home the day before the KBF National Championship awards ceremony, knowing I had done fairly well, to a card. Inside it was a picture of a skateboard – the Hobie Hustler – she had ordered off of the internet as a trophy for “her champion” (told you I don’t deserve her).

It was not here yet, but it was on the way!

She said she thought maybe it could have been mine.

I told her that wasn’t possible.

She said don’t ruin my dream!

I said mine had anti slip tape I had added.

She said…..well, not typing that…I am going to clean it up to “no way!”.

I asked what was wrong – she usually doesn’t use the words she used, especially strung together.

She pulled up a pic on her phone and showed me. This is one I didn’t get because it had the tape on it.

I took her phone and looked at it.

She said it just sold.

I looked closer.

She said it was sold in Allen, TX.

I looked closer.

She said it had been from yard sale to garage sale to some dude in Ohio yesterday.

I picked up my phone and called my brother.

Hey where did your boy live in Texas?

Just outside of Dallas….

Did he live in Allen?

No, but he went to school there.

Bye…

I looked at the pic again.

Joy asked me what was wrong.

I told her, that this looked like it, and the locations fit….and ….and…had she found the thing?

More words strung together by her – I most definitely am not the best influence on her!

I could have gotten that one….(*&%(&$^&$……..

I had given the Hobie to my nephew during a visit. I had no use for it, and thought he might like riding it in Texas, just outside of Dallas. There is no way this was real, but I can remember how I had cut the anti-skid tape and wished there was more to cover more area. I really didn’t want her to think she had come that close…but man. This was it.

I messed up didn’t I?

No Joy, it was a great thing you did.

But I could have had that one!

It is ok…it is just a thing.

Man I could have had the one you had as a kid!

It is ok.

Again, you would have to know my Joy to understand that it was never going to be ok. She took the time to message the seller on Ebay asking him to forward her information to the buyer.

He did.

They contacted each other.

Doug Weeks listened to the story. He appreciated the whole thing. His girlfriend Kelley told him what he had to do…and Joy offered to cover any costs for the swap….so….

I now have what I am fairly certain is my Original Hobie. A Hobie Hustler skateboard (Papaya too??) with anti-skid tape put on by a young kid who never imagined the journey it would take to land back under his feet at almost 56 yrs old.

The money I won for 7th place was pretty freaking awesome; but the trophy my Joy went through all of that effort to get for me…and the kindness of a stranger to help her….

…..sometimes you just cannot explain why the world turns the way it does….