I spent last weekend on my favorite pond, Kentucky Lake. My children went to Washington, D.C. with my Mom and Dad and my wife went for a girl’s weekend with some of her photography friends. Shameless plug: www.melaniegphotography.com. Being left all alone, in utter despair and loneliness, what else is a man to do but go fishing. Originally, I hadn’t planned on fishing a tournament this weekend, but I knew that I could probably still get a spot in the BFL event out of Kentucky Dam Marina if I really wanted to. After my weekend at Percy Priest last week, I was happy to get back on Kentucky Lake. I did some work Thursday morning, then drove to Paris, TN. The wind was howling out of the North, making for big rollers. Three footers quickly build when the wind is out of the north, pushing against the northbound current out of the south. I decided to take shelter off of the main channel and flip some flooded cover.
The lake was above summer pool, so there were lots of bushes and trees to fish. My first stop was an area I’ve never fished before. It looked perfect and there were plenty of shad flicking around. I’d been pitching my little Hoppy’s jig for about 15 minutes when I see my line moving away from a bush. I set the hook and my flippin’ stick doubled up. The fish surged away from the bank and pulled hard. With 25 pound line and a big hook, she wasn’t going win the battle. I reached down a lipped a fat largemouth. As I pulled her in, I just laughed. Man, I love this lake! The big girl weighed 7-9 on my digital scale. As I eased her back in, I thought to myself, “This could be a 30 pound day!” Unfortunately, it wasn’t. I fished the rest of the afternoon trying to stay out of the wind, and caught several fish in the three pound class, but no more big ones. I guess the bad weather had everyone else at home. I only saw one other bass fisherman all day.
The next morning I met a friend of mine at Paris Landing. Brian and I had been good friends in college, but hadn’t seen each other in almost 15 years. Through the miracle of Facebook, we had gotten back in touch with each other and planned to spend the day chasing big bass. I knew the flipping pattern was working, but was afraid with the falling water, that it was on its way out. So, I spent the morning looking for something else. As we were fishing, Brian told me that he had never caught a smallmouth. I stopped on the first likely-looking smallmouth spot and handed him my Carolina rig rod. On about his third cast he bowed-up on a good one. The fish surfaced and it looked like about a four pound smallmouth. “Dang, I’m good!” Much to my dismay, it was actually a five pound largemouth. He was pumped to catch one like that. We took a couple photos and let her go. Very soon thereafter, I caught a three pounder on the same spot.
We tried several other patterns, but couldn’t get anything else going. About 1:00 PM, I decided to go back to flippin'. Within an hour, I boated a 5.5 and 4 pounder. That did it. I was going to fish the tournament and I was going to spend the day with the big stick in my hand.
Saturday morning was cold and windy, with rain and thunderstorms in the forecast. What a great day for a boat ride! We took off from Kentucky Dam at 6:30 and I headed south. I decided to stop on my “smallmouth” spot from yesterday. I pulled up made about five casts and set the hook. The fish pulled and felt like a good one. It wasn’t a giant, but a 3.5 pounder and a good way to get started. By the time I had that one in the livewell, my co-angler was screaming for the net. He had a big one. She surged under the boat and brought him to his knees. I was ready with the net, and when she came out, I dipped her. It was a fat fish pushing six pounds. Naturally, I would’ve loved to have had that one, but I hoped there more like her there. Just like yesterday, it was two fish and we were done. Somehow both days, my non-boater caught the big one.
I headed to my flippin’ area and within a few minutes had another 3.5 flopping in the bottom of the Triton. Everything was going right on schedule. I didn’t get another keeper bite for the next two hours. Meanwhile, my co-angler has caught two 4 pounders and another keeper, just randomly casting a rattletrap out in the middle. This is the stuff that really gets in your head: here I sit, it’s 11:00. I have two bass for 6.5-7 pounds. My co-angler has 4 bass for 16 pounds. For a moment I thought of abandoning my plan, but a couple of quick keepers, put me back on my game. By 12:00 I had a limit. My confidence was restored. I started fishing better, moving slower and hitting targets much more accurately. I just knew I could get two big bites and have a shot and winning this tournament.
For the rest of the afternoon, I fished hard. I caught several more keepers and culled several times. I picked up a couple pounds, but never got that really big bite I needed. Just as it was time to head back north, the wind started howling, waves started crashing and the rain and thunderstorms hit. What a fun way to end a day of fishing. In the wind and rain, it took me about 45 minutes to get back to the marina. We arrived safely; wet, but safe. We were in the first flight, so my 14-13 limit took second place at the time. I knew I’d fall several spots. My co-angler’s four fish weighed 15-15 and he took the lead. He was thrilled and said he hoped he’d stay in the top five. He really wanted to get a FLW trophy. I told him he was going to win.
I wish I could tell you that I was such a vacuum cleaner on the water that back-seaters never win. Truth is, this is the 4th BFL that has been won out of the back of my boat. I’ve also had a weekend series won off my back deck. Actually, I was really happy for him. He was so pumped and was calling everybody he knew to tell them the story. I headed back to Mt. Juliet with a $700 check, I got to spend three days on my favorite pond, and yet another tremendous guide trip for a young man from Illinois. Who knows, maybe a captain’s license is in my future. After all, everybody knows, fishing guides make the big bucks!
Until next time, keep chunkin’ and windin’.
Boat US ProStaff
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