Usually, when the sun gets hot, as it was with Battle Scarred Bill, I too get half nekked. So I had the boat pulled up in the mouth of this cove on Center Hill and after a minute found the end of the rock wall that went from the bank into the water. The end of the wall was in 14-feet of water. You had to know what to look for. Most times, it held a good smallie or two.
I had my shirt off cause it was hot and I jokingly told the late Chuck Wilson you couldnt catch smallmouth in this cove with your shirt on. He did not seem to believe me so I set the hook and let the drag scream. The two-pounder was almost as dark as I was. I pointed that out to Chuck.
Couple days later, we just happened to be in the same cove and I had my shirt off. All morning I had been talking about how much better the smallmouth fishing was when you were half nekked.
Well ole Chuck, he didnt seem to believe me so I swung the boat around and approached the wall from the opposite side as the first trip. I cast the 1/8-ounce, yellow hair jig with a white U-2 lizzrad as far back up the side of the wall as I could. You know, looking back, maybe I should have told Chuck there was a rock wall I casting to not just open water. But I didnt.
What I talked about was how many more fish you would catch with your shirt off. To emphasize that, I set the hook in a three-pounder. When I landed him, I showed him off to ole Chuck. Aint no way in Billy hell I am taking my shirt off. Said he. I weigh 280 pounds and I aint letting nobody see me half nekked.
Wasnt more than 30-seconds, I set the hook in the twin to the first one while Chuck; he kept casting at the bankabout 30-feet away from where the fish were holding. Now that he is gone, I do kind of wish I told him about the rock wall. Course, truth told, I wish he had given me my trophy belt buckle back, too.
But anyway, another time there we were, about halfway between Bettys Island and the mouth of the Caney Fork. We catch a lot of trout there. They had stopped generating and the flow was slow. I told Mickey the best way to catch fish, once it warmed up, was to fish half-nekked.
Mickey, he dont believe in letting the sun touch his sad old wrinkled body. Course, he is also no longer with us so I will tell this.
We were sitting at the top of this ole shady, deep-looking hole when I opined that it looked like the place a man ought to could catch a sauger if he was to get about half nekked. I shucked my shirt and sent that 1/6-ounce, in-line spinner in a kinda rusty color out towards some jutting rocks.
I pulled it a ways and then let it settle a few feet before I started it with a jerk. (Lots of opportunity for a humor shot here but Ill let it go.)
After about two turns of the reel handle, something hit. It was a just keeping size sauger. I showed it to Mickey. I believe that is about half of all the sauger I ever caught on the Caney.
I cannot say enough about fishing half-nekked. I have done it all my life and it has worked most of the time. I tried to get Brady to try it but she was no more encouraged than Mickey or Chuck. That was very disappointing because she caught fish anyway. I kinda think her brother John being along may have hindered her thinking some.
There is one drawback to fishing with your shirt off. If the water is crowded, the women just will not leave you alone. At least they wont when you look the way I looked 30 years ago.
That is a joke, friends. But seriously, try it if you have some sunscreen. I believe you will like it. Sometime Ill tell you about the warm Feburary day when Harold Dotson and I got plumb naked on Center Hill and I fell in. Dang! That was cold water.
Contact John L Sloan at: firstname.lastname@example.org