The Big Red

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Brandon Card

Brandon Card

Tennessee’s Brandon Card, who competed for the University of Kentucky, is the first Bassmaster College Series angler to qualify for the Elite Series.

 It seems like I’ve got some kind of crazy story for every place that B.A.S.S. goes to, so here is one for the Red River. I was pre-practicing for the Cabela’s Federation Nation Championship two years ago, and one of the practice days was an epic fail.

Prior to the tournament, I did research about past tournament wins and read about Chad Brauer’s spot where he won the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open. He found a backwater pond that was north of the city that was really hard to get into, and he went on to pretty much dominate the tournament. Of course after reading about this, I had to go check it out.

The second day of the trip, my friend Chris and I decided to try to find Chad’s “promised land.” We launched in downtown Shreveport and started heading north in search of this pond. I knew generally where the pond was through the articles and Google Earth. We drove for miles; and as the river narrowed, we approached Chad’s spot. Looking at my GPS, I knew that I was only a mile away; and as I came around a bend cruising about 45 mph, we hit a sand bar that stopped us dead in our tracks.

We hit so hard that I thought I ripped the lower unit off, but, fortunately, as I trimmed the motor up, everything was still intact. Unfortunately, however, the boat was sitting in less than 8 inches of water.

We both got out and started to push, and it would not move an inch. With no other boats in sight, we tried everything. We tied a rope to the front and pulled, tied it to the back and pulled, one pushing and one pulling, and nothing worked.

After two hours of standing in the middle of the river wearing ourselves out, Chris had an idea. He thought of taking all four batteries out of the back and moving them to the very front of the boat to distribute the weight better. We did it, and to my surprise, the boat started to float to where we could push it off the sand bar. I have never been so happy in my life!

After all that, Chris thought we would give up on trying to find Chad’s spot and head back down the river. I wasn’t going to give up and I was determined to find it now! We fixed the batteries, and I got on my trolling motor to see if there was a channel that cut through the sand bar. The funny thing was that the sand bar went all the way from one side of the river to the other. There was no way to get any farther north unless I had a jet boat or something.

Knowing that I could borrow a jet boat from some friends back home, I figured that if I could find the pond and see if there was water in the entrance, there was still hope of getting to the “promised land.” I did the only other thing I could think of and decided to go on foot.

While Chris took a nap, I ran for several miles through corn fields and in the back yards of countless houses until I finally found the pond. It looked incredible! I knew that this was a special place as soon as I saw it. Trees and bushes lined the shoreline and it looked like a flipper’s dream. I followed the shoreline around and as it got closer to the main river channel, I got a look at the creek that connected the pond to the river. Sadly the creek was dry.

Disappointed and tired, the hike back seemed like it took forever. I didn’t get back to the truck until dark. Knowing that I had completely wasted a practice day, I still had some sense of accomplishment knowing that I had found the “promise land”. As the old saying goes ... so close yet so far away. 

Remember to chase your dreams!

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