Monday, September 28, 2009

I fished against a professional bass fisherman

I was watching fishing on T.V. this weekend as there was 3 hours of B.A.S.S. coverage for the angler of the year 2 postseason tournaments. I have been following B.A.S.S. all year and it was a big thing for me as I am now a B.A.S.S. member and might be fishing their Federation Series next year as a co-angler.

While I was watching the show I was looking at B.A.S.S. online. I was reading a blog written by Charlie Hartley, a pro bass fisherman from Columbus. He was talking about his addictive behavior and how his Mother got him addicted to fishing before he got addicted to something bad. He mentioned that he still does the evening tournaments around Columbus. I remembered that I had seen a Venom Lures wrapped boat at one of our Thursday night tournaments. I looked up our tournament results and sure enough he had fished in a couple of the same tournaments we had fished. I had fished with a Bassmaster Elite Professional fisherman and did not even realize it.

He did better in the 2 tournaments that we fished at the same time but only had a little over a pound more than us in both. He also was skunked in 3 of the 6 tournaments he fished and only caught 1 or 2 fish in the other 3 tournaments. That is about how we did in our 8 tournaments. I feel better about my fishing now. It is tough around Columbus to catch bass. I feel even better now that I went down to Kentucky lake and caught tons of bass and some big bass there. I knew that he was a big time fisherman since his boat was wrapped, but I didn't know he was one of the best. That makes 3 professional fisherman I have ran into and didn't get to meet this year.

The first was when I bought my new boat and took it into the Marine to have the water pump replaced. There was a wrapped boat hooked up to a matching truck at the marine being looked at. I later saw a picture of the same guy in bassmaster magazine fishing a Northern Open tournament trying to make his way into the Elites.

Next, I passed and almost got ran into by a Chevy Pro that was there to practice for the Lake Champlain FLW Tour event that was going on the weekend that we were in Maine. I had passed him and thought what a nice boat he had. Then I got lost and turned around to go back where we had came from. We were sitting at a stop light and he turned a tight corner towards us and barely had enough room to make the corner. I thought he might hit us. I saw his boat wrap with all of the stickers including the FLW sticker that made me realize he was a pro. I had a pretty good look through the windshield and think it was Anthony Gigliardi that finished 2nd in that event. I had wanted to pass by Lake Champlain to see it since it was one of the stops on both the Bassmaster Elites and the FLW Tour. I didn't realize they were having a big time tournament that week or we might have stuck around.

Now I realized that I had fished at least 1 tournament with Charlie Hartley. I think I was on vacation in Kansas the other tournament he was in with us. He owns a sign business in Grove City near where my oldest son's babysitter is.

I wonder how many other people I pass or run into throughout the year that I don't realize are famous. I wouldn't have recognized any of these 3 without their boats and I have even been following fishing all year.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Barkley lake vacation

Finally, I am getting on here to tell about my Kentucky Barkley lakes vacation. I haven't been doing much this week other than relaxing at home so there is no reason this should not have been posted yet. I guess I was just procrastinating because there was so much I could write about.

We actually had a cabin on Barkley lake so that is where I did most of my fishing. We arrived at Barkley lake at the cabin area a little before 7 P.M. on Saturday. I checked in for our campsite we had for the first night. We set up camp and headed into town to grab some supper. There was a Chinese Buffett in Eddyville. I ate my fill of frog legs and crab rangoons along with some of the rest of the buffett. For being late the food was still fairly fresh. We got back to camp and settled in for the night.

The next morning we got up and had breakfast at Eddyville Creek Marina. It was a great breakfast, they even made the pancakes for the kids like a Mickey Mouse face. After that we checked in for the cabin and I got my fishing liscence from Holiday Hills Resort. They were able to get us in the cabin right away so we packed up the tent and moved everything into the cabin.

The lake was down quite a bit so we were not able to use the ramp at the Resort. My wife has not pulled the trailer or driven the boat before but we had to go back to Eddysville Marina to drop of the boat so she pulled the trailer back to the Resort. I brought the boat back and tied it up to the complimentary boat dock that accompanied the cabin. The dock even had electric outlets so I could charge the batteries. Then I put the trailer up and spent some time with the kids and wife at the cabin.

I made it down to the water a couple times to cast around the bank. On one cast I hooked into a decent sized drum with my ultralight with 6 lb. test. After running up and down the bank chasing him I finally pulled him to shore. I also caught numerous 6-12 inch bass and a few sunfish.

The next day I took the boat out and fished a few areas around the cove. I was still a little intimidated by the size of the lake. I was fishing around a cove within the cove when I saw a tree sticking up out of the water in about 10 foot of water. I didn't cast to it until I had the boat ligned up so I could run the spinnerbait along the length of the tree. My first cast to it my line went tight and I set the hook. I brought a big bass to the surface near the boat and my heart almost stopped. It has been a long time since I have seen a 4 lb bass at the end of my line. I reached down and scooped it into the boat and sat there looking at it. My trip had been made with landing that one fish.

I put it in the livewell and fished a little longer before heading back to camp. I had my wife bring down the camera and we took pictures of the fish then my oldest son kissed it and we let it loose. There were quite a few people in the cabins in front of the docks and they had been out on the decks watching as this all went on. After we turned it loose they came down to go out fishing, one of the guys looked at me and told me I needed to go out with them. He said since his wife seen my fish she wanted to go back out and I needed to bait her hook.

Over the rest of the week I caught a couple 2.5 lber's but most of the other fish were between 14-16 inches. I was out to have fun and I kept going back to a school of smaller fish. I would sit on a point and catch them almost every 3rd cast. They were thick.

We made a trip to Nashville during one of the rainy days. We found the grand ole' oprey and checked out that area along with Bass Pro. The night before I had a dream that I bought some giant purple worms and that was what the bass were wanting. I think it stemmed from the FLW Kentucky lake show where the big bass was caught on a 10" purple worm. I bought some 10"Berkley Powerbait curltail worms along with some 3/4 oz weights.

The next day I had one tied on and withing the first hour the first worm was shreaded from all the fish I caught on it. I kept having to tear the first few rings off so the hook would stay in the worm until I was fishing with about a 4 inch worm.

Besides the point with smaller bass I found a ledge that held a little larger bass. I was casting the purple worm on the ledge and dragging it into the deep water on the last day when a fish lifted the worm and started to swim with it. I gave it few seconds then gave a huge yank on the pole. The drag started singing. The fish stripped about 20 feet of line out before I could get him turned. I started bringing her towards the boat when it started another run at the end of which my line went loose. I had to bring in a hook with the worm wadded up around it. The fish at the end of my line felt like it would have been a fish worth bragging about. I am a little dissapointed for not catching that one.

I still caught a 4 lber when the other bass guys at the cabin were bringing in 2 lbers. I guess I can still anticipate my next 7 lber.

One thing I noticed while I was there is that a lot of people were keeping bass to eat. It was a little surprising to me and got me to thinking how many people do that here in Ohio. There were so many bass there that a few here and there wouldn't make a difference. But here in Ohio they could kill tournament fishing in a lake pretty quickly if each lake had several people that were keeping all the legal sized bass.

I kept about 20 shellcrackers that were a little bigger than my hand to clean and eat. They were a lot of fun to catch on the ultralight.

My oldest son caught 5 bass ranging from 6-14 inches. Not bad for a 3 year old. He was casting really good and getting his jig in the strike zone.

The staff at the Holiday Hills Resort gave some of the best customer service I had ever seen. Our stay there was great. I can't wait to go back.