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Night tournaments. Some people love them. Most people hate them. While I have tremendoust success in night tournaments, I have RARELY caught fish after dark. In fact, in the 4 or 5 night tournaments I have fished, I bet I have caught 4 or 5 fish after dark.
So, what does that mean? Well, that means that I average about 6 hours of doing nothing but sitting in a boat with another dude, in the dark. And since I don't have any romantic involvement with them, it makes for a long night...haha!
Josh couldn't fish with me because he was working Saturday morning following the tournament, so I began to pole other boating partners because I just didn't want to get the old Stratos out and rely on it. Especially after dark.
Alas, that's exactly what it came down to. So, I called up someone I should have called right off. I called Ole' Bertus, one of my "best good friends" as my fellow Alabama Native Forrest Gump would say. Bertus agreed to fish with me.
So, we met up Friday, grabbed a bite to eat, and headed to Lock 6. Got out and waited for the club to arrive and meanwhile, setup our rods. I got out the culling beam and the net and immediatly noticed that the net was SCREWED. So, rather than it become a hinderance, I tossed it.
Now, some of you may recall that my wife's aunt has just bought a lake house on Wilson. I had fished there back on July 4th and found fish on a few good spots in Shoals Creek. Namely, one that I had caught fish on last year with Josh.
Come blast off, I looked around and only one other boat was headed down lake. So, I figured the likeliehood of this boat running to the same place were slim considering we had 1/4 of the lake in front of us. But, as I turned into Shoals Creek, the boat followed. And then it was a race. Of course, it wasn't one that I could win the the Stratos. The Bullet would have been ok against a rigged out Skeeter with a 250. Not the old heavy Stratos with the 150. So, he passed me, made it to the 72 bridge, and sped off.
At this point, I conceeded that they were going exactly where I wanted to go.....grasslines on a main creek point. Second bend of Shoals Creek.
However, Bertus and I had discussed this earlier. Our strategy was to run to that grassline and catch a small limit. I knew there were lots of fish there because I had caught them two week ago. But there were no big fish. I probably caught 20 small fish with maybe 5 of them measuring in the hour that I fished it. After we caught our limit, we would motor back to the point where I had caught bigger fish. It was a decent strategy, I thought. But now we had to strategize a little more. I believe my hero Early Cuyler would call it sit-you-i-a-shun-all stratification. If you don't know...don't look it up. LOL! See, every time I fish this one point, I see other fishermen fishing it. But they fish were common sense would tell you to fish. And yet, while there are fish there, the bug wad of fish is about 100 yards away. I had found them by accident last year because wind blew me off the main point and onto submerged boulders in 20 feet of water. So, I wasn't really wanting anyone to see where we were fishing and it would be dark soon. We followed the other boat. Naturally, they stepped on the brakes exactly where I wanted to fish. We stopped short of them and fished.
We didn't give it long. The whole point had been to catch a QUICK limit. 20 minutes without a bite isn't quick. So, we EASED on out and headed down creek.
Naturally, a boat was parked exactly where I said it would be parked....about 100 yards from where I wanted to be. We were concerned that we may be viewed as "cutting them off", but we asked and they didn't mind. I am sure it raised some eyebrows where we asked to fish a spot about the size of a VW beetle and that they could fish on either side of us.
First or second cast into it, something broadsided the crank and ran straight at me. I couldn't get in front of it and it shook off. Never saw it. Next cast, some thing...except she stuck. I knew it was a chunk right off. No question. Bertus jumped off the trolling motor (I hate running the trolling motor), looking for the net. It was then I told him I didn't have one and had JUST trashed mine. We weren't really sweating it until it jumped. It was a smallie. A big one. HUGE one. 4+. And I had to swing it. But, she made it in the boat and boy were we stoked. A fish like that would be tough to beat for "big fish". A smallie like that was probably big enough for "smallie of the year". In the livewell she went.