LaCrosse Wisconsin; ten and a half hours from Tennessee…sounds like a nice drive (up, never home). Fish infested waters everywhere you look, great weather expected; ice finally gone…ok. KBF open coming up in a few months; never been…so a chance to learn before then…sweet.
All of these were reasons to load up BoHobien Rhapsody on my (super tough) Tennessee Trailer Little Frog and head north; or what I told myself as I booked a campsite at Goose Island with visions of largemouth bass crushing topwater!
Somewhere less than halfway through the ride the reality of what 10.5 hours does to your butt, your back…your mental stability…sets in. The sun drops, it gets dark, the radio cannot pick up anything worth listening too….the voices start talking, questioning why this was a good idea…
…finally at 1ish in the morning of the next day, I backed into my campsite and dropped the seat back for a nap. I decided to put up the tent later….
…5ish, put up the tent under constant attack by what I assumed was hummingbirds – later I learned they were Wisconsin mosquitos (slight exaggeration, but they were tough).
…5:30 ish, dropped the kayak into what I thought should be dead backwaters only to find that the water was flowing faster than any creek does within 30 miles of my house. The visions of topwater frogs on tranquil waters was beginning to waver.
…6:30 ish – WHOOSH!!!! – something absolutely crushed my Rapala Skitterpop just on the tip of a laydown…it rolled and I had hooked a solid three plus foot Northern! One roll later, I had lost my first Wisconsin Northern. Nice! To be honest, I had to share a pic with some locals to know what I had hooked. It was fun.
…8ish, after covering water in my Hobie searching (fighting the constant current) I finally hooked my first Wisconsin largemouth with a 412 Bait Co. free minnow.
Then my second, my third, fourth…then another Northern, and another after switching to spinner baits.
…by 11, I was sitting at a Perkins Restaurant (recommend it!), eating something my cardiologist would not recommend or approve, scouring over maps. I found a place where it looked like the water was right for my fishing, and would allow me to get a bit out of the steady current.
…noon…put in at the new location, the current smashed me into the dock and broke of the paddle holder I use to keep my paddle handy. It seems that current was just going to be way of life. I pedaled around for a bit; it was getting warm outside. I saw a narrow channel with some shade and pulled in to just get out of the sun.
I tied a weightless black Yamamoto Senko with blue flakes on my favorite St. Croix rod and flipped it against the rocks….THUMP….a 13 inch small mouth.
…10 minutes later, I was pulling in my third smallmouth; no size, but decent fish. I moved to a few other locations to test the area…more smallmouth…I was just tossing the weightless senko into the current against the rocks, and shaking the rod tip back toward the boat. The retrieve speed was fairly swift, if I slowed down, it did not seem to produce. I am not a smallmouth guy, but if they are biting….
…loaded up by 1 and drove to other potential locations.
So, I am going back to the campsite after the captain’s meeting thinking that I had not found the quality fish I needed. But the black with blue flake Yamamoto Senko had produced just about everywhere it touched the water; at least I would not repeat the day I had in South Carolina (I hoped!).
I lay down in my tent, and will tell you that I am certain that those mosquitos picked it up and turned it around in an attempt to get inside! They backed up and slammed it again and again…ok, it was the wind…but the mosquitos are no joke there…and I had very little sleep…and it is my story…
Anyway. Tourney day….
The fish were where I had left them, and they were a bit larger. Not enough to win, but I had in a few hours developed a pattern that held strong to the end of the next day; tossing that senko onto the edge of the shore into the current, and shaking the rod tip back toward the Hobie put over twenty fish in the boat and allowed me to finish in 7th on waters I had never seen. I will take that after my finish at Santee Cooper – where I had almost decided to fish tourneys nevermore! Still pouting about that one….
Jump ahead to about 5 hours into my trip home.
…stopped into a rest area because my old butt was needing a nap.
…1.5 hours later pull out and drive a bit..
…WHAM!!!!!!…I look into the mirror to see my trailer flying into the air at 70 miles an hour.
….the driver’s side tire starts screaming when it finally lands, and I see a deer running into the path of a Wal-Mart truck.
….I scream (me and the trailer) to a stop and look back on the interstate to see the first deer in my lane. I never saw it coming.
….about 2 hours later, I have finally pried the fender off the wheel with a ratchet strap and a tire tool, explained to the truck driver that nothing had flown off my trailer and hit him – he had clipped the second deer – and started home.
….finally 14 hours after pulling out of Onalaska and the Omni center, I pulled into my driveway with BoHobien Rhapsody intact (that Tennessee Trailer is freaking tough) and washed the deer off of everything before getting my body into bed.
LaCrosse Wisconsin; ten and a half hours from Tennessee…sounds like a nice drive (up, never home!!!!).
Fish infested waters everywhere you look, great weather expected; ice finally gone…ok…but the current is CRAZY!
KBF open coming up in a few months; now I have been…so a chance to fish there again…sweet…should I make the drive….hell yeah…hope I can get my trailer fixed by then…
The folks at the Tennessee Trailer Company are awesome. They are already trying to fit me in to get the repairs done with only a single request – that I power wash Bambi off (check). To be honest, I was extremely impressed with how sturdy the trailer is, how well made – then to make one call and have the response from them that I have received….now I know why Caney Fork is offering the trailers at their stores.
To be very open, I am a brand loyal kind of guy; but it takes a lot to get me on your side. Tennessee Trailers…Sandra and Billy…I am a fan.
If you are looking for a trailer, make the investment in a good one; give Ryan and Logan a call at Caney Fork Outdoors and let them help you get on the road with one from Tennessee!