Quick story from Guntersville, Alabama….a mediocre performance; it seems my standard for the fishery…then a little about today.
I drove down to Alabama late Friday night, arriving at Mudd Creek boat ramp around 1 a.m. Saturday morning. It was a bit early, so I thought I would catch a quick nap.
At 2 a.m., the sound of a car woke me.
I am going to say there were (maybe) thirty parking spots in the lot, so I was shocked to see the car parking 1 spot away from me, not in the many other choices. Since I had my kayak on the back of my truck, I was a bit nervous…then the car started rocking…and rocking….until a truck pulled in next to the boat ramp.
The car drove off. The truck left. The car came back…more rocking…and rocking….and shocks squeaking…and rocking…
Leave it to the imagination…..but they were not fishing, nor were they there to take my kayak….just sayin.
What they did do, was allow me only an hour of sleep. Anyway…not an excuse, I seem to struggle with the acres and acres of grass at Guntersville – something I have committed myself to correcting.
I did catch 69 and some change inches in a place that some caught only one fish, so I will take that….but AJ at 100+ and others in the 90’s….my launch, lure and technique selection left me far behind the pack and wanting for more.
Something else I had committed myself to do…since I have always dropped to the middle of the pack during the warmer months…the months I don’t understand…is to learn ledges, drop offs, trenches…anything over 5-6 feet of water. I had just not taken the steps.
Now it is funny the things that finally spark us to action.
It all started with my Joy telling me that she noticed I always catch a lot of fish early, but that I seem to struggle during the day. At first I wanted to say “no”, I have awesome skills; but she was right – her and that statistically minded way she looks at things had pegged me. When the sun is high and it is warm, I am out of gas on most waters; especially large impoundments.
I had stored that info and was processing it daily, trying to find solutions.
Seeing guys turn in incredible limits at the Hobie Open, this year and last; Jay Wallen had left the location we shared last year to go fish some deeper water. Eric Siddiqi turning in 60+ inch limits two years running…Anthony Shingler, who I knew was on some deeper structure pulling in a fourth place finish this year.
Then I heard Kristine Fischer (third in this year’s Hobie Open on Kentucky Lake), talk about pedaling across some water seeing fish on the side scan; and then going after and catching them. I had always heard “marking” some fish….but I wondered how in the hell do you drive by and see them on side scan??
Then a 48th place finish at Guntersville…a place where AJ had won fishing deeper water.
I left Guntersville, and got on the phone with Anthony and Will Son.
“Take me out of my comfort zone!”
They agreed to give up some time. There first suggestion was to take me somewhere I knew, I said “hell no, I want to go where I do not understand anything”; so we went far into Kentucky Lake.
The two showed me some features on Navionics, then we pedaled to those locations. I followed behind them, watching and “marking” fish. Then I would back off, turn my kayak…and I see them on side imaging. And all of the sudden, the mystery…the black magic of being away from visible cover, of seeing only miles of flat water…revealed itself to me! Ok, that may be overly dramatic, but once I tossed a drop shot…then a worm…into the water, and pulled out fish!! Next I watched the side scan for “dots”, then again, fish! Nothing large, but fish I would have never caught.
They held my hand and walked me through techniques they use, how they orient themselves….shared the “magic”.
WILL SON WITH A NICE ONE
I have a Lowrance Elite TI 7; an excellent piece of electronics. And I knew it had more capabilities than water temp, or to keep me from running aground, but had never harnessed those abilities. I mean I had used it to find schools of crappie, and had luckily found a bass or two last winter; but primarily, I used it to find shallow stump rows I knew existed in high water, or to find trees. Today, I feel like I grew as an angler…added a new skill (not that I am good at it yet, but I will be!).
MY BEST OF THE DAY
Today…today was a good day…I have been blessed in my life!
…thanks Joy for putting those statistics in my head…and for allowing me to be me…even when me ain’t all that awesome…
…thanks everyone for sharing how you catch fish during the months I have struggled…
…thanks Anthony and Will, for putting up with me and letting me grill you for the hours we spent on the water today…I owe you one…or two…when is ledge 102 scheduled?…
…thank you KBF for giving me the format to compete and challenge myself, and for allowing me to into this community; and for introducing me to all the great folks who share and help us all to be better anglers…
…thanks to Caney Fork for the equipment…and for the new Hobie PA14 – yeah, haven’t talked to you about it yet, but after fishing with Will and seeing the differences on the open water…
Off to look at maps of Beaver Lake…later.