As of this writing, I’m out fishing Smith Lake for a few days trying to get my mojo back. I had a good finish last season so I took some time off. I played a lot of golf and went on a super vacation. It was relaxing, and I needed that. But I can’t stay away from the water for long. It just doesn’t feel right. I keep thinking that there are things I should learn and that I can’t learn in front of the TV.
My friend, Gil Summerlin, is with me. We met back when I first started fishing. He was part of the Guntersville Crew. That’s a group that fishes tons of bass tournaments on the lake. We hit it off right away and have been friends ever sense.
It’s good to fish with him. Most of my friends around here have jobs that prevent them from taking off in the middle of the week to go fishing. I’ll fish by myself if necessary, but I’d rather have someone to share the experience with me. You never know. Something crazy might happen where you’ll need a witness to back you up when you tell the other guys about it.
This time is fun for me, but it’s also important. I have a new boat and motor that I need to break in. I don’t like to do that in a hurry. They are expensive pieces of equipment. They should be treated with respect, and I don’t want trouble with them later in the year.
Another thing is that I have lots and lots of new rods and lures. I need to know how they perform. If I’m fishing a 1/2-ounce jig on heavy fluorocarbon line, I like to try them out with several different rods. That’ll tell me what to expect when I’m in a tournament.
And then I need to see how that rod performs with different weight jigs and with different test weight lines as well as with different types of line. A lot of the time that makes a big difference.
It’s exactly the same with my topwater rods and baits as well as all my crankbait stuff. I need to know what each of them will do under different circumstances.
This might sound like overkill to some of you, but when you bass fish for a living like I do you have to have the details nailed down. There’s no time in practice to fool around learning about your equipment and there certainly isn’t any during a tournament. When you pick up a rod and reel you have to know instinctively what it will do under the circumstances.
I picked Smith Lake for all of this because it’s kind of like Lake Martin. Some of what’s happening here will help me when the 2018 season gets officially underway. It’s not perfect, but it’s about as close as you can get with the No Information and Offlimits rules in effect.
We’ve caught a few fish here, but it’s been slower than we expected. It’s the Blue Moon Curse, I think. (That’s a second full moon in one calendar month.) I firmly believe — know — that the fish stop eating when that happens. Anyway, that’s a better explanation than that we can’t figure out how to catch them.
Next time we’ll do some technique stuff.