Last Thursday and Friday I found myself with both my Wife and Daughter on separate trips. It was my duty to feed the dogs and FISH. I decided on Thursday I would revisit my youth and do a little bass fishing, all the while the little voice in the back of my head was saying “why the hell would you do that”?
I loaded up the boat and headed out to Rodman Reservoir. I had not been there in some time. After digging out my freshwater box and heading east I realized that it takes me longer to drive to the lake from my house than it does to the gulf. Basically by the time I got to Hawthorne I was thinking I should have gone west young man. If you have never been to Rodman it is worth going just to see the place. It is pretty amazing. Submerged forest covered by water. I almost fell out of the boat at least four or five times as the new water levels now have all of the submerged trees completely covered by water. Basically you know there is one there when your motor or trolling motor hits it. That is when momentum is not your friend. I did manage to catch two small bass on a crawdad colored rattle trap. There is an art to fishing rattle traps through a forest. Some casts are great, some not so great, as the empty rattle trap slots in my tackle box now prove. To make this story short, it was great to see Rodman again but, my heart was in the gulf.
Friday I knew exactly where I was going – west. I put all the freshwater gear back in the closet in the garage, where it will stay until I get that stupid idea again. I headed out to Shired Island hoping to get some trout in the flats if the inshore water was still too dark and too fresh. The high tide was good at 4:30pm. My plan was to fish the last couple of hours of the incoming tide then hit the flats till dark. That was a great plan except for the forecast once again making life difficult. It was supposed to be still with calm seas. The closer I got, the more the wind seemed to be whipping pretty good. When I got the boat in the water the wind was blowing real good and the water was white-capping. My Triton is a good boat but it has a pretty flat bottom and those conditions will cause you to lose a few fillings on the way out. I decided to stay in shore and really hit the oyster beds and creeks hard until the wind laid down a little. Well, I am starting to sound like a broken record but that water was DARK. I knew it would be, but gave it a shot anyway. I realized just how dark when I noticed that I could see my leader knot coming out of the water but still could not see the gold blade of my redfish magic spinner bait. I worked pretty hard with all the various tools (zara-spook, redfish magic, jerk baits, jigs, gold spoons etc.) and various holes and oyster bars, absolutely nothing. There was quite a bit of baitfish in the creeks but that was all I saw.
Finally about 6:30 the wind died down enough to hit the flats till dark. I knew my daughter had a stash of Gulp- new penny shrimp in my tackle bag so at this point I was ready to steal one or two to try and get some fish to hit. Well- in the bag was one Gulp shrimp-one! That was the only thing I could get fish to hit and I used it until it looked like one of those people in the old Driver’s Ed. movies we used to see in high school.
I managed to catch four trout, two of which were 15 and 16 inches. I also caught one sand trout which I had always heard of but never had seen. All of the fish seemed to be in 6 to 8 feet of water. I am not sure how the bottom looked since the water was really dark out there as well. I did fish till dark and barely managed to get back in as the tide was really ripping out of the creeks. As usual the best stories happen at the boat ramp many times. I was the last boat on the water and had the ramp to myself.
As I approached I noticed some lights coming down the road. Well, behind those lights was the Dixie County airboat armada. Five freaking airboats filled with what seemed to be “closely” related folks all launched one after the other while I got to sit and watch and enjoy. I don’t mean to piss anybody off but I have no use for the things. I mean come on; can’t you just drive your muscle cars around and stay off the water? If I had to spend my time on the water in one of those noisy freaking things, I would rather stay home and sell all my stuff, or give it away. I don’t mean to generalize either, but most of the guys who operate them are all like my Uncle Bob. They just want to demonstrate the horsepower to all those who oppose. Like we really give a shit! Wait………did I just say all of that out loud? Oh well, I don’t give a rats ass.
Lastly, to come to a close my friends, I decided that I was too lazy to clean those two trout so I did the nice thing and offer them to a few people who were fishing on the shore. They were nice folks and appreciative. Even the guy who was carrying around a black drum and was explaining how he caught the “tarpon”. You can’t make this stuff up.