There was a smack down on Lake Russell today between Fred and I… The other week I posted a photo of Fred on our last fishing trip. I made no mention of who caught what or the most. I just shared a serene photo of Fred and the sunset. Quiet a nice photo I think. Never once did I mention I caught three fish; a crappie, spotted bass and catfish. Nor did I mention that Fred had caught only one fish that day, but today he says it was two. One or two, what difference does it make at this point? (I have heard that somewhere before.) Well anyway, it shouldn’t make any difference except for the bragging rights that are bestowed on the winner of each trip. Last year Fred wore me out…I don’t recall what the finally tally was, but I do recall Fred gave me a spanking…A pretty good one…
Well today that all changed and changed big time. The first fish of the day was a nice striped bass pictured here. I went on to catch ten more bass to Fred’s three. Fred changed rod and reels figuring he had the wrong type of line, then changed the way he operated the trolling motor. Saying something about back wash? Being the nice guy that I am, I offered Fred the use of my rod and reel…That didn’t set too well with ole Fred, but I had to get that jab in. I could go on and on about Fred’s tactics on trying to keep me from catching more fish that he, but l won’t because I know what goes around comes around…And paybacks can be hell.
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
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!
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.
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.
Well-Well-Well…Got up at 5:30 AM so I could have plenty of time to get ready and get to the pond before sunrise. Made coffee and instead of getting dressed I just sat around and did nothing, except piss and moan about my back. Finally after two cups of coffee and the start of the medication working on my back I managed to get dressed. When all was said and done I finally got to the pond around 9 AM about 2 hours after sunrise. Got on the water and the trolling battery was about dead. Had to get back to shore and change the battery.Finally got fishing just as the fog was lifting. I was throwing a 6 inch Rapal Original Floater, gray and black. About the third cast a big ole bass rolled on the bait and the fight was on. I was using 12# test Berkley Trylene XL green line, Abu Garcia rod and an old Shimano 1000 bait casting reel. After getting the fish in the boat I found that the battery in my fish scale was out. The bass was the biggest I have ever caught but after trying to take a picture, I eased it back in the water. I would never intentionally keep a bass under 10#s for a trophy. So being unsure I had to let it go. I really don’t mind letting it back in the water, cause the fish brought me great pleasure in the fight. Maybe we will meet again.