Breathing deeply at Logan Martin

I just finished packing my trusty F-150 for tomorrow’s drive from my home in Appalachian southern Ohio to Sweet Home Alabama. Tomorrow is the Wednesday prior to the start of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open #3 at Logan Martin Lake.

When I put my rods in the back of the pickup, it was the first time I had touched them since the last Southern Open at Douglas Lake. That tournament was an Alabama Rig slugfest. This event looks to be wide open as far as fishing tactics go.

I interviewed Gerald “G-Man” Swindle Monday for a B.A.S.S. Times article I was working on. He was on Logan Martin practicing for the Open. I hate to bother anyone when they’re prefishing for a tournament, especially the pros. But I was up against a deadline.

Swindle graciously let me interrupt him, and he came through with an insightful and hilarious interview, as always. After the interview, I asked him if he could give me some insights about Logan Martin for the upcoming tournament. I wasn’t after specifics, just general lake conditions.

Swindle told me that the lake level had been falling dramatically for the past week and that it had pulled the bass off the bank. He believes they’re going to be stacked up rather than being scattered about in the shallows.

Had the water level been stable, we probably would have been treated to a traditional postspawn bite, which would have included a good bit of topwater action. I was looking forward to that. Maybe it will still happen if the lake stabilizes.

Then again, the falling water may have pulled the shallow bass off the banks and prematurely put them on course for their offshore summer haunts. As usual, I’ll bring rods and baits that will handle everything from topwater to dragging a football jig in the depths.

Whatever happens, I can’t tell you how eager I am to get on the road and into a bass boat. I’ve been extremely busy this year. My eyes have grown myopic from staring at a computer monitor.

Don’t tell anyone, but I did squeeze in six mornings of fabulous turkey hunting here in Ohio. I called gobblers into shotgun range on five of those outings.

I called in two longbeards twice and three longbeards on another occasion. I tagged my two-gobbler limit, but my daughter wasn’t able to turn three close encounters into dead toms. I would much rather see her get a gobbler than to kill one myself.

After the Logan Martin derby, I’ll have to seriously focus on getting my fishing act into gear. Gary Clouse, president of Phoenix Bass Boats, is generously letting me use one of his fine boats to fish the Bassmaster Northern Opens again this year.

The first event is at the James River in June. That tidal fishery has kicked my tail the previous two years. I may go there a week ahead of time to tune into the boat, my tackle and the James.

For now, I’ll be content to climb into the back of someone else’s bass boat. I’ll let them struggle with the burden of finding the bass. Slinging baits for all I’m worth and breathing Sweet Home’s fresh air will do me a world of good.