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.

Author: Mike Cheatham

Me…Mike Cheatham email…mikecheathamfishing@gmail.com something to know……….fished my whole life; now from a kayak….

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