Fishing in the Rain!

I kinda invited myself to a fishing trip with Kent to Clarks Hill Lake. The new name of  the lake is Thurmond Lake, but being an old-timer it is Clarks Hill to me. Kent is a young man 40 years my junior and he loves to fish. We have talked about going for years but I would never get off my lazy butt to go. Times are a changing for me and I am back into fishing, ponds mostly, but I wanna fish the big reservoirs we have here in South Carolina again. Back in the 80’s I fished the big lakes 150 to 200 times a year, but somewhere along life’s highway I quit. Only recently have I got to fish the big lakes again. I was lucky enough to go with Freddie G. on fishing trips to Lakes Hartwell and Russell earlier this year.

The weather forecast was for thunderstorms pretty much all day, but I was gonna go fishing anyway. (If Kent still wanted to go.) We have been having storms most everyday for the past week, but 90% of them  come in the late afternoon and we figured it wouldn’t be any different today…Wrong!

We fished from 7:30 to 3:30 in and out of the rain, wind and lightning.  At times the lightning was unnerving to say the least. But no matter how bad the weather, Kent put us on fish. I put eight bass in the boat, broke off twice, lost two swinging them in the boat and just flat-out missed six to eight fish. Kent caught at least twelve bass, we kinda quit counting his. Ain’t no doubt he is a good fisherman, I think he is good enough to make a living out of it with a little help. Who knows, maybe a sponsor will come along.We got wet for sure, but it was still a great trip! Talk Later

Hot

I have fished four days in a row and have very little to show for the time spent on the water. Plane and simple it is just too hot, not only for me but for the fish too. Well, I don’t know about the fish, but for me it is just too hot. Yesterday I was on the water at 6:05 AM trying to beat the heat. There was some cloud cover but no breeze, so they off set one another…hot. I don’t know what the temp was, but by 10:30 I had enough…it was hot.

It is Thursday afternoon and I haven’t gone fishing today. The thermometer in my back yard reads 102 degress…hot. I don’t feel like working on tackle either, now that is pitiful. I did make a 135 mile road trip Sunday afternoon to Academy Sports in August, GA to buy a new seat for my boat and some fishing tackle. When you aren’t catching fish you must be chucking the wrong thing so go buy something else and plenty of it. I’ve heard so much about the Alabama Rig that I thought I should own four of them and all the jig heads and flutes you need to go with them. So far my success story with them will never make a fishing magazine; one small crappie and a three-pound mudcat…to hot I guess. I haven’t given up hope on my purchase, just gonna let it cool down to the low 90’s before I try again.

Last cast of the day

Went fishing with Waldo (my brother Walt) yesterday afternoon, the same morning I left the tubing on the spinner bait. Well anyway, I took all the bass stuff out of the boat. Kept some ultralight spinning reels with four pound test line. We were after crappie and brim, not bass.We had a good afternoon, catching 41 crappie (mostly small) and 19 brim. The brim were real nice and put up a pretty good fight. When they turn sideways in the water it feels as though you have caught a monster. It’s  fun to catch brim with ultralight tackle.

When it came time to go Waldo and I were stowing away are rods when I saw a swirl near the bank. It was the same place I had caught the big bass a week or so earlier. I couldn’t help myself I threw a beetle spin right on top of the swirl, and sure enough I hooked a pretty good bass. I would guess that he was the male protecting the nest. I don’t know all the particulars about it but I do know that male bass protect the nest from intruders. After getting my picture taken with my catch I slid him back in the water. I’d been fishing for over eight hours and finally caught a bass on the last cast of the day, Great, just great.

After the fun of fishing, comes the chore of cleaning the catch. There is a pretty good cleaning station set up overhanging the water.  receptacles for the electric fillet knives are provided and a hose pipe for clean water. Being able to clean your catch at the water’s edge is so nice.  I cleaned about 20 crappie then Waldo asked to try his hand at it. Walt  never cleaned a fish in his life, so I was a little surprised he asked. I gave him a little instruction on his first two fish, after that I wasn’t needed because he took to it like he had been doing it his entire life. I am blessed to have a fishing partner in my brother, and now that he can clean fish it is that much more fun…Wonders never cease…My brother and I, both Viet Nam veterans thank you for the welcome home!

Not prepared

Thursday evening I realized I was never prepared to fish all day; no coffee, no water or soft drinks and no food.  No wonder  I get tired and antsy after four or five hours in the boat plugging away. Well, Friday morning I  was gonna fix that. I filled my Stanley thermos with coffee, put two soft drinks, two waters, along with a Snickers and some cheese crackers in the cooler. I put the cooler and thermos in my truck and off I went. Once at the pond I loaded the boat with six rod and reels, two tackle boxes, a gym bag full of extra lures, my food and of course my camera. Most of the morning I threw a spinner bait, getting three strikes, but never a hook set. I threw  crank baits, top water, worms and jigs the rest of the morning…nothing.When it was time to leave I noticed  that I never removed the tubing from the tip of the hook on the spinner bait. How dumb? Just the night before I told myself that I was gonna be prepared for my fishing trips. All I could do was chuckle and remind myself of how dumb I could be.

Fishing from the bank

Saturday I met a young man of 82 years on the bank fishing. We both sat in chairs throwing plastic swimmy jigs trying to catch some crappie. We caught crappie by the droves, a few brim and a catfish. Yes a catfish. If you move the jigs real slow and bump the bottom catfish will eat it. As we fished we talked, nothing deep or serious, just talk between two retired men sitting on a bank fishing. We mostly talked of life after retirement, about the part-time jobs that almost all retired gentlemen have at one time or another. The love of golf both of us have, he still playing, me not so much anymore and the people we both knew, without knowing each other. The one common thread was laughter and the love of life and family we both have. I am glad I met this fine young man.

The real fun came when it was time to clean the fish. There is a cleaning station at the pond. As the fish are Filleted their remains are thrown in the water, creating a chumming effect. Within minutes catfish are all over the place and so easy to catch. Everybody caught catfish midst laughter, giggling and screams of excitement. It is just good ole country fun. All but two of the fish were thrown back, keep and clean what you can eat and leave the rest for another day.