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Follow my Fish of 2016
First fishing trip of the year! What better way to ease back into the grove of work than a hard day of fishing? Well, that's kind of what we expected. Truly, the 2nd was the perfect day. It was prefrontal and rainy. We had always heard that the nastier, the better. Judging by Facebook, the smallies were biting on Pickwick. Our last trip on Pickwick hadn't gone quite like we wanted, though we did catch some fish. The battle was, did we trust the intel we had or should we start fishing Smith Lake, which is the first stop on our club trail.
So, we went with our gut, though we said that this would be the last time we fished a lake other than the lake we would be fishing for the next tournament. Truth is, we didn't have much faith that we would catch much.
Now, for a funny story. Shortly after eating breakfast at Chick-fil-A, the coffee was getting to me as we passed through Rogersville. I had assumed that Brad would stop for gas and snacks, but he didn't. I asked him if he was going to stop and he seemed to read my mind.
"You need to go? I was going to the Mapco in Florence."
"I can wait. No big deal?"
About that time, we passed the sign that said "Florence: 22 Miles"
"Just kidding. I need to stop."
However, we were in a really, really bad stretch and the only gas station was the Chevron next to Lucy's Branch. I jumped out, ran inside, and looked around. No bathroom.
"It's outside, around the corner" one of the 12 men eating breakfast stated. I duck walked around the the building and opened the door. I immediately regretted the decision. It was one of the nastiest bathrooms I have ever see, and I don't have high standards. But, I was limited on options.
On the way to the truck, Brad headed towards the bathroom. I stopped him, told him to think better of it, and we drove away. Avoid it at all costs.
We hit our community hold early, trying to knock the stink off the boat for the new year. Nothing. Not even a white bass. We went down the first stretch of bluffs, just as we had been told to do. Nothing. We were even trying some of the things the local pros we know told us to do: downsizing drastically and fishing the current with tubes and grubs. Now, I admit that until I actually get bit, I won't know what I am doing...I feel like I was doing right.
So, Brad and I got to talking. What we decided is that when people say they drift the bluffs, they aren't talking about a hundred yard stretch but HUNDREDS. Perhaps the fish move up and down the miles of bluffs from McFlarland to the end of Seven Mile Island. Therefore, we decided to just let the 75,000 CFS of 54 degree water take it where it would.
In the meantime, we would alternate baits. I gave up on my Spro crank and went to the A-rig, despite Brad having had much more luck on the rig than I. Another 100 yards went by without incident before BAM!
The fish nearly took the rod out of my hand! Brad grabbed the net and we boated a BEAUTY!
What was interesting was the the fish at the PowerTeam Lures Swinging Hammer, which was the largest of the swimbaits and also a different color. Initially, we didn't think much of it.
That is until the second and third fish slammed my rod again, all of them on the same swimbait.
Another 100 yards and a fish hit so hard that a bow of slack shot up the line. I reeled in the A-rig but it was missing an arm! Not wanting to take a chance, I tied on my spare.
In the meantime, Brad couldn't get one to hook up. His A-rig was getting slammed, but he couldn't get them stuck. Meanwhile, I added another set of pigs! Finally, Brad boated a couple of really nice strippers before landing a nice smallie.
Right about lunch time, the bite died and we headed back to the ramp, but not before snapping this pic!
Here's another funny. As we appraoched the dock, we had to select one without fisherman on it. As we approached it, we were going a little faster than we should have. So, I tried to brake the boat with my foot before stepping onto the dock. Only half of that worked as I slipped and faceplanted!
Anyways, first fish of 2017 are in the books and it was a SOLID start. Our best five were all smallies and they went about 18 pounds.