Read about all of my Fishing Adventures!
Follow my Fish of 2014
1) try and make excuses
2) take the high road and be humble
3) I'll do what I do best. Give you an honest accounting.
So, Josh's wife works on the arsenal and she caught wind of this tournament that was being held. So, since Josh was eligible, we decided to fish it. It was out of the Hard Dock ramp in Decatur.
I have never done well in Decatur. I wouldn't even say I've "struggled" on that end of the lake. I've never caught much of anything. Now, I've only fished it a few times, so I had high hopes that I could break up this nasty streak. Josh has fished there a good bit and has had some good days. So, at least I felt like we had a chance. After all, it was ledge bite season and we had proven that we can flat catch them on ledges in Wheeler or Guntersville, as you can see by clicking those links. Ledges are right in my wheel house. Because I can crank as well as anyone. I mean, I can cast. And I can turn a handle. Anyway.....
At blastoff, every single boat in the tournament rocketed down river and got on a ledge. That included the massive 100 boat tournament out of Ingalls as well, though they had a later start than we did. Since Josh and I didn't have any spots marked, we idled around until we found a spot that the thought looked really interesting. We fished it for about 5 minutes before we noticed that there was next to NO current. We don't know much about ledge fishing and even less about ledge fishing Wheeler. What we did know was, if there is no current, there is zero chance of catching fish.
We talked it over for a minute. If there was no current to make them bite deep, where WOULD they be biting. Well, fish are always biting shallow. Additionally, the water was up a good bit. We decided that our best bet would be flipping. Again, a technique that I have just now started using with any repetition. Josh is a good bit ahead of me in that department. But, there is only one way to get better....
So, we rigged up and hit the duck weed. It took precisely 5 minutes and twenty seconds to find out that we had made the right decision. Josh set the hook into a fish. Hard. And, even though it turned the fish sideways so that I could see it, the fish pulled back just as hard. After a few turns of the reel and a flip, Josh boated a 4.29 pig. Finding fish that size on Wheeler has been hard, at least for for us and nearly everyone we know. So, having it in the boat early was amazing. We normally spend all day looking for a hawg as we cull up ounces at a time with smaller fish.
Well, it was a start. Now we needed to see if there was a pattern.
It didn't take long as Josh quickly snagged a short fish only a few flips later. And another 15 minutes, a solid keeper comes flying out of the duck weed.
So, there was definitely a pattern to it. Now I needed to get into the action. I had been flipping a lizard, which is my go to flipping bait. But Josh was using a beaver bait, so I matched him and went back to work.
Another 3 fish later and I hadn't had a bump. Not one. I asked what size weight he was using and he said a 1/2 ounce tungsten. I was flipping a 3/4, so I thought maybe it was falling to fast in front of the fish. So, I retied to a 1/2 ounce weight.
Wait, that isn't right.....
I asked JOSH to tie me a snell knot since I didn't know how to tie one yet (I told yall, I don't flip much). So, while he was tying my line, I flipped with his rod. I tell ya, it was 2 flips in and I boated a fish. I should have stopped right then and mirrored EXACTLY what he was throwing. Down to the flipping skirt he had tied on. But I didn't. I didn't think the fish would care that much about a reaction bite.
But bbbboooyyyy was I wrong.
Josh proceeded to put on a clinic all day, flipping up fish after fish. I never had a bite after catching the one fish on his rod. He culled up. Then culled up again. And again. And again. Until we had what we figured was 12 pounds.
Meanwhile, I was a hood ornament. I tried the front of the boat, even. Thinking they were just seeing his bait first. But no.
It wasn't to be. And that was ok. It was fun being the video guy. Sorta. I mean, after he had caught 10 fish on me, I wanted to be able to blame the fish.
The only thing I DID catch was a lot of grass. And nearly caught a 1/2 tungsten weight to the face a few times. But hey, you can't snag every bite. Right? At least I have these awesome reflexes that saved me.
I also was able to sit down and enjoy the ham sandwiches my wife sent.
We talked about how we thought everyone else would do. Though we hadn't moved all day, we never saw ANYONE else fishing shallow. But, if we turned around and looked to the channel, we saw tons of boats. But, they were facing a multitude of directions, which meant there was no current. Sure, we knew someone might have caught a good sack, but the chances of us getting run out by everyone without ANY current were slim. We didn't want to have big egos, but we couldn't help but think that the flipping bite was potentially the only day-long pattern on the lake. And no one seemed to be doing it. The other thing we noted was the amount of bait that was in the cove we were fishing. Before we ever blasted off, we had discussed how there was probably a shad spawn with the previous night's full moon. That seemed to be correct.
At 1pm, he suggested that I flip a jig, since it also has a skirt. So, I did. And guess what. I had a hit.
We were about to move spots for the last time and hope that MAYBE I could catch THE fish. After all, it wouldn't be the first time that I only caught one fish in the sack. But, I have a talent for catching THE fish in the sack.
But, the battery was dead. With a few minutes until weigh in, we had to kick the trolling motor in high gear to make the weigh in on time.
So, we gathered up our fish and headed to the scales. We noticed that there were a LOT of blank spots on the board. I spotted the big fish, which went 5.2. I knew ours(his) wasn't that big. And, we were really sweating that someone might have ALSO found decent fish but had a REAL kicker. This guy didn't, however. He had only weighed one fish. So, we weighed in and recorded 11 and change. A little off from what we thought we had, but not by much.
A line of boats came in and weighed. There were a few 6 pound bags. A few 9s. And a whole lot of nothing else. But, the last two bags came in. One was another 9 pound bag and the other went 12 pounds.
But, we took 2nd place. Well, Josh did. But he was a man about it and didn't ride me too hard. He tried to give me credit for SOMETHING. But, fact was, I didn't even have to net a fish. I did absolutely ZERO to help our chances. I was pretty beat up about it. I told him just to keep the money.
He wouldn't have it. After accepting the check he said "buy me a drink at the Hard Dock and we can call it square." Well, can't beat that deal. So, we headed over to the Hard Dock, which was picking up. I bought us a drink, made a toast by telling him I was proud of him and he really did well, and we loaded up and headed home....
But not before I called my wife and listened to hear make fun of me for being a hood ornament.