First see Strolling around Nickajack, Part 1.
So anyway, while I’m hooking and long-line releasing really nice bass, Grant Goldbeck and Morizo Shimizu were cheering me on. It was actually kind of funny. Every time I hooked one Grant would yell and Morizo would stand up in his boat, pumping his fist into the air. I’m sure the Marshals thought we were crazy. (Come to think of it, maybe we are…)
I finally hooked one that didn’t get off. She was about 4 1/2 pounds. She tried to jump but couldn’t get out of the water for some reason. I thought she probably had a wad of weeds or a stick under her, until I got her close to the boat and saw a 3 1/2-pounder hooked to the second set of treble hooks.
That sort of thing doesn’t happen to me very often. I was a little excited. All I could think about was Tim Horton’s advice to me years ago. He always said that when you hook doubles you grab for the biggest one when they get close to the boat.
I did. It worked. In fact, it worked so well that I ended up with a triple, two largemouth bass and a Hartley thumb.
Fortunately, the hook in the Hartley thumb went all the way through. The barb was visible and in a position that it could be cut off with a pair of side cutters. That turned out to be not so easy. Big, strong crankbaits have big, strong hooks. My lady Marshal wasn’t strong enough to cut through the metal. And I couldn’t cut it off. The hook was in my right. I had to use my left hand to try to cut it. No go.
Thanks, Grant. (He’s pretty good at cutting hooks. I recommend him if you find yourself in need of a professional level hook-cutter.)
As the afternoon wore along, I caught more good fish with my newly learned technique. I couldn’t replace my smallest fish from the morning, however. It had swallowed my plastic stickbait. It died in the livewell.
I hated that. Not only do I not ever want to kill a bass but it held my weight down on a really good day. I knew she was in trouble when I first caught her. I suppose I could have turned her loose then, but who knows what the day will turn into? As it turned out, I didn’t need her. But I could have. How bad would it be to turn the fish loose that would have sent you back to Chickamauga?
I learned something else that day, too. Pay close attention to where you are and where the weigh-in will be held. I thought I knew where I was. I figured an hour would give me plenty of time to get back. I ran full throttle everywhere it was legal to do so. I had 3 minutes to spare when I checked in. That’s too close for comfort.
Next time I’ll tell you about the man who showed me how to stroll and I’ll share what he told me about this technique.