Monday, September 26, 2011

The day I almost died (again) and how not to eat sushi

So, this fishing trip actually happened a few months ago, but I have been sitting on the pictures for it for some time. Now I have them on my computer and figured it was time to tell about it.

Bertus and I decided to head to Williamsport Tn to our bit of land and Ole Humphrey lake. After the 90 minute car ride, I hopped out to unlock the gate. As I pushed the gate open, I really ticked off the wasp/hornet. It was one of those all black ones.  I saw it out of the corner of my eye, but didn't pay it much attention. That is, until it stung me. Right on the hand.

It hurt real bad, but I got over it and we got to fishing. It was a hot day and we started sweating it.
Of course we noticed the duck weed buildup.

I read not to long ago about how this super algea is terrific for lakes. Sure, it covers the whole lake. It makes throwing topwater nearly impossible. But, it's mana for baitfish. Which makes good eating baitish for the bass. One of the things I had been worried about the last few years was a baitfish kill-off, due to a leak in the lake. We have attempted to fix the leak several times, and each time we had to draw the water down and let the affected area dry out. Since there are 4 baitfish spawns a year, there is a good chance that it affected them. Also, we dug out a lot of stumps and rocks, all which provide cover for baitfish. Bass don't think about preserving their food stock. They just eat and eat. Because of this, the size of the average fish dropped. To combat this, I started sinking things in the lake to help.

We started catching them pretty good. After one of the catches, I looked down its gullet it and saw this

That's right. Baitfish in the gullet. Good.

I handed the fish to Bertus to show him. As he got a closer look, the fish hocked the proverbial ultimate luggie into his mouth and down his throat. Uh huh. Half digested minnows. All up in his mouth. Yum. He turned green. I can't blame him.

The day was tough, the sun was high. But we caught many fish, including a lot of fish by flipping into sycamore limbs in the water.

Now. How did I almost die? Well, you remember the bee sting? Well, the next day, the family and I took off for Florida. I went to sleep that night and the hand was a little swollen. But when I woke up, I had a "Hulk Hand."
I started dosing myself with benadryl. As a result, I slept the ENTIRE way down to the beach. When we arrived, the swelling was getting worse, so I called my cousin who is a doctor. She prescribed Claritin and zantac. No biggie, right?

As we sat down to dinner, I ordered a round of raw oysters. About 6 into the tray, I felt flush. My throat constricted. Am I having an allergic reaction to shell fish? The worlds most common allergy other than pollen? Could the EMTs get here on time? Am I going to die? Over and over, in my head.

Not being one to complain much, I finally spoke up and said something. Which caught the immediate attention of my family, who knows I don't complain about physical problems. If I complained, it must REALLY be bad. And I thought it was bad. I thought I was going to die. Right there. In Florida Seafood.

Well, it turns out that benadryl and claritin don't play well together. So, I lived. But it was sketchy.


Monday, September 19, 2011

MFC Tournament #11 Brownscreek/Guntersville

Heading into this tournament, I was 6 points in the lead against the #2 competitor in the club. What this meant was, as long as I didn't loose and he didn't win, I would have it sewn up even with the last tournament on October 1st coming up.

However, the old Stratos had popped another regulator/rectifier. So, it was out. I still had a guest pass to use, but Josh was married off the night before the tournament. Bertus' boat was still down. I started down the list of potential guests, and one by one, they answered in the negative. My only option was to go into the draw. That's not a BAD thing, but it does put you at the mercy of your boater. I drew one of the older members of our club, one that I hadn't fished with before. So, at least I would learn a few things.

The rain and cold weather the week of had given me high hopes. That morning, it was overcast with good chop on the water. I maintained that I wouldn't mind loosing as long as we caught a ton of fish. What I didn't expect was another rough day on the water.

We caught 3 short fish early, 2 of those on cranks in 7 feet of water. One on a spook.
Then the bite died. We fished one large hump in front of the Guntersville Bridge. After trying everything from C and T rigged plastics, Pop-Rs, frogs, I swapped to my custom swimbait.
At about 9 am, I was throwing the swimbait up to the weed line when I had my first hit. My custom rod (7 foot heavy) let me know that this was a quality fish. I had 10 pound test line, so I had to maneuver him to the boat.

About five minuets later, casting to the same spot, had another hit from an identical size fish. Fought him for several seconds, but he let go. When I got the swimbait back to the boat, I inspected it. It had grabbed the sides of the swimbait. It was so convinced it was real, that the bass didn't want to let go as I was hauling it.

so, I don't want to waste anymore of your time. That was it. One measuring fish. But, it was a good size one and I figured I had a chance at least at big fish. I was right. My one fish was enough for big fish and 3rd place. Of the 5 boats that fished, a total of 8 fish total were caught. No limits weighed. Sad Sad. But, I got a check and the points. However, the fisherman in second place has now closed the gap. The last tournament will be winner-take-all.

Special thanks to my boater for his hospitality!

Friday, September 2, 2011

How to waste a lot of money and blow a lot of time

I was trying to come up with some witty title.  I decided against it. So, here goes.

It was Thursday and softball season was finally over. I loved playing, I really did! We made it to the finals and lost by 2 runs on shotty umpiring (sp?). But, Josh and I both were excited to start fishing again.

Initially, the plans were that Josh's friend (and first string back boater) would fish with him and Bertus would fish with me, so that we could take their money. But, Anthony had something going on and my dad took the boat to Double Head for the long weekend. So, we paired up in the Bullet. We decided to run to the dam...which would be a first for me, seeing that the old stratus would take an hour to get there and two tanks of gas. All we had to do was outrun MOST of the boats headed to the same 3 spots by the dam.

Just to be able to go, I had to juggle a lot of things. My wife is on a cruise, so I have both the kids. I had to arrange child care, get my stuff from home, etc. But I made it to the ramp in time to tell lies with a few of the fishermen. Come blast off time, we battened down the hatches, tossed any unneeded ballast and I assumed the aerodynamic position.

Out of the hole, this new Bass Cat blew us away. Granted, it has 25 more HP on us....but it must be set up really well. It ran off and left us. We were left running a few other boats, including a Nitro that just wouldn't go away. One of the downfalls of the Bullet hull is that it doesn't handle waves. At all. Every time we came across a wake, Josh had to chop throttle, letting that Nitro whom we had made oh so little ground on catch up.

For 15 miles we played this game. We passed paintrock and Josh let the throttle out. Thinking it was a spot we were going to fish, I started to unhook all my rods. But, he just sat there with this look on his face. Then I figured it out. He hadn't selectively shut the motor off. It had stopped on it's own.

Sensing something was wrong with us, this Skeeter stopped. A guy named Pork Chop was riding shotgun. He knew the problem even before the two of us did.

See, a few weeks ago, Pork Chop was running up to the dam...ironically in a Bullet. He was doing 90+, but noticed it dip to 85. Then 80. The last thing he remembered was 78...when he found himself in the water. The lower unit locked up on his boat, forcing the boat to do a hard 90 degree dive. It tossed he and his partner out of the boat. So, he could identify the problem easily.

We put the motor in gear and the prop would spin oh so slightly, but given any throttle...nothing. The lower unit was dead.

He politely offered his help. He told us to troll down river and he would tow us after the tournament.

So, after running 70+ for 15 miles, we now were doing a blistering 2.8mph downriver. We made it to Flint river by 830, when Pork Chop and his buddy towed us home.

Fun stuff.

But, special thanks to Pork Chop and his buddy. They never asked for money or any thanks. There are good people out there, and there is a God that watches over fools like us.