Today is Saturday, August 19, 2017

Oh, those ideas of March

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My first fish of 2015 was the hungry hybrid. Notice, I am wearing my new, quite comfortable floatation device. I love it.


Clear skies, bright sun and a light breeze. Finally, a day for fishing without being semi-miserable. So we went, Judge (ret.) Dave Durham and your "humble" outdoor writer. Yes we did. We launched my Grey Goose at the Hermitage Yacht Club ramp and away we went.

On my first 25 casts, I came back to the boat empty. I wanted to catch some fish. Given a choice, I would have preferred smallmouth bass. But, if I did not catch a fish, it was still going to be a great day. Everything was working smoothly. All was well...except the Judge forgot his sunscreen and he tends to burn. Since he was the one doing the burning, I did not give it much thought.

Cast number 26, something like that, just as my lure, a new Road Runner offering, reached the boat, something hit like a freight train. I quickly surmised, since I only had about six feet of line out, that I was attached to a hybrid. They are sporty to catch but that is about all you say about them. In short order, I had him in the boat and fish #1 for 2015 was on record.

Being the sort of day it was and given the fact that nobody works any more, there were quite a few boats out. Not enough to make it crowded but an eclectic bunch of anglers for sure. I saw several kayakers who appeared to be mostly spending all their time either getting their lures unhung or trying to retrieve their dropped paddles. I even saw one guy get out of his kayak and start wading while casting.

Also, there were a couple middle age, yuppie couples trolling behind sailboats?

And one family in a ski boat apparently was trolling about half a mile behind the ski boat. When I crossed behind him-plenty far behind him-he called me a dirty name. I guess he was fishing for blue fin tuna or something.

But see, about then, I got my arm jerked again. And once again, right at the boat. This time the net was required.

The Judge did a fine job and fish #2 for 2015 was in the boat. This one, was about a 1.75-pound stripe. Fat and healthy and full of fight.

We changed locations, hitting some of my favorite banks and coming up empty. The problem was this. I had figured that since we had all that rain, the lake would be up. I reckon they pulled the bottom out because it was below even winter pool. Many or most of my spring hot spots were dry land.

So we slipped into a little pocket and started working the bank. At first, I thought the judge had fallen off his chair.

But actually, he was setting the hook. Whatever he had on, took off for Smyrna...then pulled loose. He was using a lure he borrowed from me and so of course, he blamed me. Looked like a good fish. Later we surmised, (Chuck Keel's favorite word), that the Judge had also hooked a drum.

Around the bank we went, casting at every likely spot. It is a good thing it was such a beautiful afternoon, March 16. Surely you remember that 80-degree afternoon).

Then, I set the hook and something pulled back.

Again, the net was required and I, as I have done on so many spring days, caught a drum. I may well be the drum king of TN. Any spring day, no matter what piece of water I am fishing, I am going to catch a drum. So the day progressed with 15 or less fish brought to gaff, as the tuna men say.

Then, as always happens, it was time to go home. Even the boat loading went smoothly. Except for the Judge's 4th degree sunburn, it was just a great afternoon.

Now, it is time to talk turkey. They are gobbling like crazy around here. Remember, the kids go this weekend and we adults start hunting on April 4. I may go or I may be fishing.

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John L. Sloan, John Sloan, Outdoors
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