While much of the nation is still gripped in Mother Nature’s chilly vise, Dixie has been enjoying temps in the 70’s and 80’s over the past couple of weeks – Precisely the reason I like to winter down here…and the reason why this post was delayed.
This begins the time of year when Valet Boy clears the cobwebs from his tackle box re-strings his reels and prepares to head to the lake for some serious fun.
Namely: Bass Fishing.
I would rather be fishing than just about anything else and most of the time I’m only moderately successful at it. Not because my technique sucks, but because I cannot see beneath the water to where the fish actually are located. So there is a lot of trial and error on big bodies of water such as Lake Martin in central Alabama.
At the time of its creation in 1926, Lake Martin was the largest man-made lake in the world. With almost 40,000 acres of water and over 700 miles of wooded shoreline, each year this lake is a recreational destination for thousands of families who come to camp, hike, swim, boat and fish.
Our family is no different and beginning with Spring we prefer to spend as much time at and on the lake as possible.
Every boat owner knows that these finicky little bitches seem to have minds of their own and just because everything worked perfectly yesterday does not mean it will be so today. This past Saturday my sister Peggy and I were aching to get on the lake and stretch some 12 lb. test while trolling the depths. The weather forecast was perfect: Hi 70’s, low 80’s – very little wind – and plenty of sunshine.
The previous weekend, my sister Kellie, her boyfriend and I had gone to the lake to take the boat out and see what was what. After a cold start, the engine on the 24′ Bennington pontoon finally kicked in and we tooled around the lake trolling and worming the shorelines. Kellie caught 1 bass trolling and I caught 1 bass worming. That was the sum of our big catch. Still, a day on the water beats just about anything else.
Naturally, Peggy and I figured we’d be able to enjoy another beautiful day on the water and fish until our little limbs could cast no more.
We reached Wind Creek State Park (where the boat is docked) a little after 8 AM. The morning was crisp but already the beaming sun was promising a swift warm up. We filled the tank with fuel, loaded the boat with our tackle and accessories, eagerly licked our chops with anticipation of the day only to discover the boat’s motor would not turn over.
We tried and tried everything we knew to do for over an hour with no luck. Even a couple of fishermen pulled their bass boat alongside our stern and tried to assist. Nothing.
Peggy, who possesses a personality much like our father big Bob, fussed and fumed and cursed. I was just as disappointed. But, the prospect of returning home without doing any fishing was not an outcome I was prepared to imagine.
Peggy and I decided we’d go visit some friends who have a cabin on another part of the lake, in an area called Sandy Creek, and at least do a little bank fishing so the day would not be a total loss.
During the winter months the lake level drops significantly as Alabama Power draws the water through Martin Dam to generate hydroelectric power, so the water was down about 8 or 9 feet or so. This means that fishing structure is a bit easier because you can actually see where it is located.
Once we arrived at the cabin, I grabbed my tackle and hustled down to the shoreline. Peggy said, “I’ll wait and see if you’re catching anything before I bring my stuff down there.” It was just before noon and the day was perfect.
I had a Zoom soft plastic worm on the hook (Smokin’ Purple Finesse) that had been on since last week and figured I’d just toss it in and see what happened. Within a couple of casts I had a nice little Large Mouth Bass on the line. I landed the fish, thanked it and asked it to tell its friends and family to come on out and play with Valet Boy. I released the 3/4 pounder with a little kiss on its head and cast my line into the very same spot as before.
Bam! A fatter relative of the first Bass hit my worm and we were off and running. By the time my sister reached the waterfront with her tackle I had caught and released 3 bass. My poor worm was in tatters.
Apparently, I had discovered a pocket of bass in this cove off the main body of Lake Martin.
The competition between my sister and I was on. big time.
Now, something you need to know about Peggy’s skill as an angler. She is the best in the family and may be the best of all the folks we know. You can be fishing right along side her, using the same baits, the same techniques and she will still out catch you every time.
So, even though I had a head start that was not enough to guarantee I’d win the day
We worked that little cove pretty hard for the next few hours.
The fish weighed in anywhere from 1/2 lb to about a pound and a half. The final tally of our day of simple bank fishing: Sister Peggy – 4, Valet Boy – 9!
It was the very first time I ever caught more fish than she did. And she was just as thrilled for me as I was.
This week looks to have some nice weather on tap and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if I didn’t re-visit that little cove to see if lightning might strike twice.
Dear Friends & Readers,
This April 10th marks the 1 year anniversary of Valet Boy’s return.
Sadly, it also marks the end of this little experiment with the blog-o-sphere.
I am going to continue writing, but I am bowing to pressures ( the good kind ) to finish my novel. While I’m sure I could do both VB and the book – one or both of them would probably suffer for the distraction.
The VB site will remain up, however, for those who would like to peruse the archives and I may pop in occasionally to update those who might have an interest in Valet Boy’s “doin’s”.
I will do my best to adhere to the Sunday morning post time, but with such a gorgeous Spring at the Lake….You’ll have to grant me a little flexibility.
Thanks so much for reading!