Monday, March 28, 2011

Daddy Always Wins: Part 2

Friday, I wanted to prefish for the upcoming Ditto Wildcat tournament. There aren't a bunch of honey holes that aren't known on that end of the river. However, I have found that the Army recreational area and ramp provide me access to a section of water that doesn't get fished very often. In fact, I have always caught a lot of fish. While it is about 30 minutes worth of a run from Ditto, fishing virgin water in a tournament is key. After all, the old Stratos ain't out running any one, so I have to stick to areas no one wants to fish...or knows to fish.

Truth be told, I was limited to the amount of gas in the truck and the boat, 'cause I am a poor NASA engineer. After looking at the gauges, it became apparent that I was going somewhere close, and not running very far. I had asked Josh to fish with me, since he would be fishing the tournament with me. He gave me a very soft answer, so I didn't plan on it. But, I brought the boat because I was going to fish one way or the other.

Dad called me about 9am on Friday morning, asking if I wanted to go. I said yes, and told him I planned on fishing the river. I knew the reaction already. He hates the river. Don't ask me why! He wanted to fish Guntersville. I said that I thought it was a bad idea, since the Big Bass Splash was taking place. That has 1100 participants, all trying to win big money. I also explained how I was poor and couldn't afford it. Luckily, he volunteered to pay! :-) So to Guntersville we went!

As expected, the place was packed! We headed to our first stop, one of our honey holes. Nothing. I wanted to head to another one, which was very close, but could SEE over 8 boats in it. No big deal. Run to the next spot. Nothing. Well, I take that back. I had a good hit on a carolina rigged baby brush hag. The bass picked it off the bottom and ran right at me, negating the hook set. I decided to get REAL shallow, since the fish should be spawning. Pulled up in some lilly pad stick ups and started throwing a frog. SMACK! One killed the frog but let go. So frustrating to have such a violent hit and miss! I picked up my carolina rig and started pitching, hoping to find that one active fish. Nothing again. That was the way of it. We fished for 3 hours without anything. I was close to giving up, as all the spots I wanted to fish were either swamped, or had been pounded on.

I had one other spot I wanted to try. Preston Island. I had never realyl caught fish there, but Josh always wants to fish it....I guess it's one of those spots they don't tell you about unless they are with you. We fished in front of some really nice houses, along their rip rap banks and boat houses. Nothing. There is a little island sitting in the creek channel, so I trolled us over to it. Nothing special, expcet for some downed timber and structure. As we trolled along, I noticed a lot of top water activity in the (suspected) creek channel. They didn't look big and I asusmed they were stripe or white bass. After a few minutes of watching them, and not getting any bites, I though catching something was better than nothing. I trolled over to the area.

I was immediatly surprised that this was NOT the creek channel. It was a big point that came off the island. On either side was 12 feet of water, but directly under us was 2 feet. And there were fish on the bottom. I could see them on the sonar. Why would fish stay still right under a boat? Hmmm....

About then, dad snagged one on a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper in Money Shot   :-)
  . Good for him. A random fish. I rolled my eyes.....secretly wishing I would have caught the "glory fish". The one fish that wants to eat. I started throwing a Xcaliber Zell Pop, hoping for a top water hit. As I worked it , I surveyed the area, checked the depth finder, SUCK! One this the Zell Pop as it was sitting still. I LITERALLY bit my rod, which was better than throwing it in the drink. Stupid Rod. All the rod's fault.

Dad picked up another fish. Another football, too. A fat female. From a completely different place! Then a third, from a different place. It seemed like there was no ryme or reason to it at all. Wherever he casts, he caugh fish. Distrout,  I picked up my swim bait rod with a Yum Money Minnow.
But, try as I might,  I couldn't get a hit? Why? The money minnow is more expensive, more realistic, fishes better....I was working it hard, pumping it, letting it fall, dragging it, you name it. So, I watched dad. He slowly reeled it. Just like the Lynyrd Skynyrd albmn. Nothing Fancy. I just thought he was being lazy. But it was working. He caught 5 fish before I caught one. And the one I caught was on the Zell Pop and was short. He hadn't caught a single short fish yet. In fact, I bet he had 13 pounds in his best 5, easy. So, I mimiced what he was doing. Nice and slow, nothine fancy. POW! The fish would nail it, but wouldn't suck it in. They were head butting it, which means they weren't after it to eat it, but to kill it. That doesn't get you too many hook ups.

Seeing my frustration, dad threw a pack of the cheap and ultra plane skinny dippers at me. I swallowed my pride and threaded it on. After several short strikes, finally caught a fish! I bet he was up 10-2  on me by this point.

After a few more minutes, the top water died down, although we were seeing a big fish busting shad against the far bank, next to a lay down tree. I trolled us over. I pitched the swimbait into the tree, threading it through the water logged branches. Bam! I slammed back the rod. I had it hooked up. It ran about two feet and wrapped me around the tree, shook the lure out, then JUMPED right out of the tree, as if to give me "the fin". Right in front of me. Bet it wasn't more than 5 feet. As I retrieved the hook, dad pitched his up in the tree. Set the hook, fought it, lost it. The fish jumped again. We tried in vain to catch this fish. He never quit jumping. He would jump on one side while we were on the other. We would move to that side of the tree, he would jump on the other. We played this game for 15 minutes before giving up.

Although the day was stressfull for me, stress-free dad quietly had a terrific day. That's a joke, of course, he let me have it the entire time. Even as I had to borrow his fish to take pictures!

I think we ended up with 15 keepers with the breakdown being arround 10-5 :-(
Can't beat dad!