Friday, April 22, 2011

Ditto Wildcat Tournament, April 21st

As it has done the past few weeks, come Wednesday night, the rain was pouring. This week, even more rain was expected on Friday. That muddy water ripping at 3-4mph sure makes the fishing awfully tough!Despite everyone telling me it would thunderstorm all day Thursday, I brought the boat to work. Dad and Uncle Jeff WERE going to fish against us, but they lost the nerve. Alyse said I was wasting my time. Someone was smiling on me, though, and my bet won out. It never rained after early Thursday morning. I was running a little late for leaving work, since we had some new (and awesome) rocket parts come in which needed to be inspected. So, I recalled that TJ and I had only used a little gas last week, so I skipped the gas station (and lightening my wallet by another 30 dollars....at least!)

Josh and I met up at Ditto and prepared the boat. There were about 8 boats or so to fish against us. We weren't surprised to see how high the water was. Josh remarked that it wasn't QUITE high enough for a "trash can bite", which is when the parking lot is so full that you can catch fish LITERALLY off of trash cans and picnic tables.


We would, once again, try our luck down river while everyone else ran up river. Josh remarked about the definition of insanity.....and he is probably right! With the amount of "boat killers" afloat, we strapped on our life vests and prepared for close quarters combat with logs and debris. One other boat did decide to go down river, and they rocketed off in front of us. Being an old racer, I thought about racing them...but decided to stick in their wake and let them find all the limbs and logs at 60 rather than doing it ourselves. As it turned out, we couldn't or wouldn't be running wide open anyway, because in skipping the gas station, I had over estimated our gas capacity. We had a quarter tank in one and a little less than half a tank in the other. a little scary....since running wide open to Redstone Rec area is a full tank! But, being a cheap engineer, I knew that running 75% throttle saves about double the gas. About halfway there, there was a bump, and the motor shuttered. It wa running wide open but we weren't going very fast. I braced for the worst and shut the engine down. luckily we had just hit a small piece of trash which had gotten lodged behind the motor, creating a bit of drag. With the 4mph current, we coasted at 48mph., taking 15 minutes to coast into the area we have been fishing.

We start at the little creek just up river of the NASA barge tie ups....again, you have probably read about it already.

Since I am both lazy and unable to run a trolling motor against the current AND fish, I let Josh do it.
Sitting on the "eddy line" as we have been doing, I quickly caught two NICE white bass by bumping my strike king blue powder chartreuse series 3 off of the chunk rock bottom.  Was really burning the bait until it struck the rock and I would let it float.

This fish came unbuttoned as I swung him over, and he just sat there in the seat. I just told him that if he wasn't interested in getting out, then he could just sit there.

A few minutes later, I hung into a NICE fish. GET THE NET! I fought him to the boat and we never saw him until Josh netted him. My stomach sank. Freakin' drum. I HATE catching them. They stink, they are slimy, and they ALWAYS get the hooks caught in the net. I took 10 minutes to free the bait from the net!

The good news was, on the next cast, I caught our first keeper!

Josh pulled us up close to the creek inlet and started flipping into the cover. First cast, I was watching, and the line slammed to the side as a fish picked up the shaky head and ran. Josh set the hook and broke off! It was just like you see the pros...minus the breaking. We were mere feet from the fish!

He quickly threw a jig in there, the fish took it again, and he swung and missed. The jig flew past my head, but my "Matrix" like reflexes dodged it..haha.

We caught a few short fish and floated down the rip rap bank toward the entrance of the barge tie up. Turns out, the only boat other than us that went down river was fishing right where we wanted to be, which was on the inside barge tie up. That was no problem. It happens. So we stuck to fishing the point, which we would fish anyway. There is good chunk rock out from the point. with the ripping current, and me burning the bait, I was getting caught up a lot.When I didn't get hung up, I caught fish on the Strike King 6XD in Sexy shad.

Josh was throwing the shaky head into submerged bushes. As we chatted with the other boat, we managed to pull about 3 short fish right in front of them. The more they talked, the closer they got...HAHA! It's all good, though. Neither boat had anything to speak of, so it didn't much matter. Quickly enough, they fished the other side of the rip rap and ran down river. Just as they left, a bank beater was chuck-and-charling his way towards us, Zebcos in hand. He set up shop on the point and threw about 3 different rods out. The guy could really cast! He had lines in all directions and out about 50 yards......which I proceeded to catch about 5 different times. Every time I thought I was throwing away from him, I managed to catch him.

Meanwhile, Josh was back to flipping next to the tie up and landed a NICE fish...about 2.5 pounds.

We started to notice a little top water feeding frenzy, so we both started throwing Zell-pops.
 Oh to get on a top water bite! It paid off quickly as I landed another keeper on the Zell Pop. In the next 15 minutes, we managed to catch about 10 fish on top water around the 3 sides of the cove. I am fairly certain we caught over 20 fish in the 2 hours we were able to fish.  But nothing to speak of...:-(

With 30 minutes to weigh in, we started the motor and hoped we had enough gas to get back. Add to the the nerve wracking bit about driving in the dark with boat killers on the prowl...and I was a little nervous!  But we made it back. We came up more than a little short, as it took 15 pounds to win. Wow! I heard they caught them flipping, and it doesn't surprise me since our largest fish was caught by flipping and we missed another good one.