Category Archives: Fishing Ramblings – My Fishing Blog

Random thoughts and musings about fishing

Getting A Start Outdoor Writing and Club Tournament Fishing

Today is something of an anniversary for me. In the second week of March, 1987, 30 years ago, my first column ran in the Griffin Daily News. Its title was “Crappie Time In Georgia” and, as suggested, it was about spring crappie fishing near Griffin.

Jim Berry gave me a chance to start writing by sponsoring that column. He and the publisher of the paper at that time worked out a deal for Berry’s Sporting Goods to sponsor a column and Jim knew I wanted to be a writer, so he gave me a chance to do it. That was the start of my second career and I am grateful to Jim for giving me a start.

Many say a job where you go fishing and hunting and write about it is the best job in the world and I agree – most of the time. From my start here, I worked into writing for Georgia Sportsman Magazine, Georgia Outdoor News, Alabama Outdoor News, some other magazines and a web site. I started writing for GON in 1988 and since 1996 I have written the Map of the Month article every month, missing only one issue in 21 years. AON was started about nine years ago and my article has run in it in every issue published.

Sometimes it gets hectic due to deadlines. Last Wednesday morning I got up and left before daylight to make the five-hour drive to Wilson Lake in northern Alabama to meet Sloan Pennington to get information for the AON April issue. We fished the Wheeler tailrace for a couple of hours and I caught a three-pound smallmouth and Sloan got a smallmouth almost that big and a 16-inch largemouth that was the fattest bass I have ever seen.

After spending a few hours looking at places to put on the map that will be good in April, we went back to the tailrace and I caught the biggest hybrid I have even landed. We estimated it weighed about 12 pounds, half again as big as the eight pounder I caught a few years ago at Clarks Hill. It was much bigger than that one.

A few minutes later Sloan hooked another strong fish and when it came to the top out hearts stopped. I had told him if he could catch a five pound plus largemouth or smallmouth I could probably get a cover shot and this largemouth looked to weigh seven pounds plus. After a hard fight in the current he landed it and I took dozens of pictures.

I got in my car there about 6:00 PM “Georgia” time and headed four hours east, toward Carters Lake. I spent the night in a motel in Resaca and met Bill Payne Thursday morning at the ramp on Carters, a deep, clear mountain lake. It is very different than any of the lakes in middle Georgia that I usually fish.

Bill tried to show me how to catch the big spots Carters is known for. He landed one about five pounds and about a dozen total. His best five weighed about 20 pounds, a great limit of spotted bass. I left there at 3:30 PM, just in time to hit rush hour traffic in downtown Atlanta. What should have been a 2.5 hour drive ended up taking almost 3.5 hours. After almost 14 hours driving 700 miles I was glad to get home!

Now the actual work begins. Doing the research for articles is the part. Sitting at a keyboard for three hours for each article is the work part.

Another anniversary, a full circle type, is also happening. In 1974 Jim Berry invited me to fish an April Spalding County Sportsman Club tournament at Clarks Hill. Now, 43 years later I seldom miss a club tournament in that club or either of the other two Griffin clubs.

Kelley Chambers works at Berrys now and I met him there a while back when buying essentials for a fishing trip. We talked over the weeks about fishing. Kelley fishes out of a kayak a lot but he is fishing his first club tournament with me today at Oconee. I think he is about the age I was when Jim took me to my first tournament.

Cold Weather Fishing

Two trips last week indicated this winter is not going to be a warm one. I went to Jordan lake near Montgomery Alabama on Wednesday to get information for an Alabama Outdoor News article then went to Jackson on Friday for information for a Georgia Outdoor News article.

Wednesday was not terrible. I met Nate Johnson at 8:00 AM and, while waiting at the dock, debated if I needed my heaviest clothing. I was fairly comfortable standing on the dock in my jacket, but the wind was growing stronger so I decided to put my Cabellas Guidewear suit on. The weather guessers said the wind would be calm by 10:00 AM but I know better than trust their predictions.

The wind never calmed down, it just got stronger. And blowing across the 51-degree water made it feel even colder. And the fish did not bite. Nate has won several January tournaments there in the past with five bass weighing over 20 pounds total, but neither of us hooked a fish that day.

Our excuse was the water had come up over a foot and gone from very clear to stained almost overnight due to the heavy rains. And the water temperature dropped a couple of degrees due to the cold nights and wind. All those things can make fishing tough this time of year.

Friday I met Willie McMullen at Jackson at 7:30 and had no doubt I needed my Guidewear. Willie grew up on Jackson Lake and his father Wayne and uncle Ronnie McMullen were well known for their great catches on Jackson. Before he died a few years ago Wayne taught Willie everything he knew, starting him tournament fishing over 30 years ago when Willie was only nine years old.

Last weekend on New Years Eve Willie won a tournament at Jackson with five bass weighing almost 15 pounds. But once again the changing weather and lake level changed the fishing. He landed four bass in the seven hours we fished but I never had a bite. I was too busy taking notes and pictures to fish – that is my excuse and I am sticking with it.

To anyone other than a diehard bass fisherman, we were crazy to fish on a day when the high temperature was in the mid-30, it was cloudy and rainy and snow was in the forecast. But to me it was the perfect kind of day to fish this time of year. Low pressure and clouds often mean the bass bait good in the winter.

One Christmas this was proved to me at Clarks Hill. I got up that morning to find my boat parked at my mobile home at Raysville Boat Club covered with six inches of snow. I raked enough off the front deck to get to my trolling motor foot control and to stand without slipping down.

After putting the boat in I idled out to a point where I have caught fish in the past in January. The wind was howling as a cold front move in and the air temperature was in the low 30s. The water temperature was about 50 degrees.

For two hours, every time I dropped a spoon down it never got to the bottom. I landed hybrids, stripers, largemouth bass, white bass, white perch and crappie from that point. Since my live wells were frozen shut I just threw the fish in the snow in the bottom of the boat. When I went in I had to climb over the windshield to get to the drivers seat.

I quit fishing because as soon as the wind blew the cloud cover away and the pressure jumped up the fish stopped biting. I kept trying for about 30 minutes after the last bite but they were just gone.

Another Christmas the wind was blowing sleet sideways one morning. I tried to fish some points but it was just too cold and rough, so I idled behind an island where the bank dropped off fast into deep water and was covered with rocks. And best of all I was out of the wind.

Within a few minutes, I hooked and landed a bass weighing just over eight pounds on a Deep Wee R. After landing it I decided I had used up my luck and headed to the ramp and a warm mobile home.

Don’t let cold, windy, cloudy weather keep you home this winter.

Global Cooling Becomes Global Warming Becomes Global Climate Change

I guess if the unusually warm weather on Christmas Day proves global warming, the weather this past weekend proves global cooling. Weather and climate change. Always have, always will.

In 1975 I was working on my first Masters Degree at West Georgia College and took a course titled “Environmental Science.” I had to write a report on the coming ice age. All the scientific “evidence” proved that half of the US would be covered by glaciers within the next 25 years.

To prevent this catastrophe US taxpayers had to ante up billions of dollars for changes. And we had to change our lifestyles to keep polar bears out of downtown Chicago. Just like the Italian scientists of his time told Christopher Columbus, the science was settled and they would not fund his trip because he would fall off the side of the flat earth.

I fish year-round and some winters water temperatures stay in the 50s. Other years lakes around here drop into the low 40s and I have seen Jackson lake with solid ice sheets in some covers and a thin layer of ice on parts of the main lake. I have also seen years when there were few days when fishing with only a light jacket was not enough.

I enjoy warm winters, it is much more fun fishing when you can actually feel your fingers holding a rod and reel, and when you don’t have to dip your rod into the water every cast to melt ice out of the guides. That was the way it was during the winter three years ago. I hope it does not get that cold this winter.

Funny Fishing Terms

I have spent all my life training to be grumpy old man, and I think I have achieved my goal! More and more I get irritated at things I consider silly or stupid. One of my pet peeves are the crazy names some fishermen call big bass and other terms they use.

Recently I made another fisherman mad because of my response to him. He said they “slayed” them while bass fishing. I responded that most bass fisherman let bass go, especially the bigger ones. He got all upset saying they let everything they caught that day go. When I pointed out “slaying” means killing, he quit talking to me.

Other terms seem totally silly when taking about big bass. When someone says they caught a “donkey” I wonder if they were using carrots for bait. When they say they landed a “slob” or “slobber knocker” I think they are going to need a box of Kleenex. And I could only shake my head in amazement when a fisherman recently claimed he caught a “panda.”

Some terms have been around so long I guess I have gotten used to them. Calling a big bass a “gorilla,” usually pronounced “go-rilla,” has been common for years. And terms like “pig” or “hawg” make me think of bacon rather than bass, but I hear them all the time.

When I talk about big bass I usually use the term “the one that got away.” There have been several times when I fought a bass for long time and called it a catfish when I landed it. I have also called big bass “sticks,” “logs,” and “rocks” soon after setting the hook.

All sports have terms specific to them. But I’m not sure most have as many as fishing.

Christmas

Christmas is always a time of mixed emotions. There is great happiness in watching kids’ excitement about Santa, spending time with family and friends, eating great food and renewing your faith. But there is also great sadness in remembering those gone from your life, past joys that can never happen again and the ending of another year of your life.

Those of us that love the outdoors and spend time in nature seem more attuned to the cycle of life since we see it first-hand so vividly. In 1985 I built a simple deer stand between two sweetgum trees. Hunting that stand season after season, year after year, the changes in the woods really comes home.

One very noticeable fact is that tree trunks grow out, not up. The spikes driven so laboriously in to the tree as steps are still spaced the same distance apart but the spikes that once stuck out two inches further than your boots’ width are now barely wide enough to get a good foothold.

And although the steps are the same distance apart, thirty years later it is a struggle to raise your foot from one to the other where 30 years ago it was an effortless climb. And there is a soreness in your arms and legs after a hunt that was not there even a few years ago.

The woods themselves go through changes both natural and man-made. I picked the site for the stand because it was on an edge where big pines with a good bit of undergrowth changed to more open hardwoods. Over the first ten years the undergrowth thinned in the pines as they got bigger and provided more shade.

Then the pines were thinned for lumber, opening up the ground to more sunlight. Brush and vines grew and got so thick that it was hard to walk through it. But the deer loved it and I saw more deer for about five years after that than I had before the thinning.

Another man-made change was an accident. I hunted with a lever action Marlin 30-30 with a scope mounted on see through rings. Those rings allowed me to use the iron sights if needed, but raised the scope very high.

One morning a doe moved into the open about 50 yards down a shooting lane I had cut. I eased up my rifle, put the crosshairs on her chest and pulled the trigger. She jumped about ten feet to her left then stood there looking around, wondering what had happened.

Fortunately, I had immediately ejected the spent shell and loaded a live one while the gunshot still made it difficult to locate the source of that sound. While she looked around I aimed and pulled the trigger again, and this time she dropped. I could not figure out how I missed such an easy shot the first time.

The next trip I found out why. While standing in the same position and looking at the spot she was standing, I noticed a three-inch-thick limb on the adjacent water oak was splintered. It was about four feet from where the end of my gun barrel had been when I shot.

You learn as you age, too. Looking at that limb I realized my scope was so high I could not see the limb in it even though the crosshairs were on the deer. My bullet leaving the barrel hit the limb as it rose to intersect with the point of aim of the crosshairs zeroed in at 100 yards.

I watched that limb die and fall over the next two seasons. I didn’t know you could kill a limb with a 30-30 but I did. When it fell I got it and it is still in my garage, bullet hole and all!

For a couple of years a ground squirrel had a hole at the base of a nearby tree. I enjoyed watching it scurry around finding food and watching out for danger. But it drove me crazy when hawk flew over and it would sit in the mouth of its home whistling a warning. Cute for a few minutes, the sound got very irritating after several minutes of it.

That cute little animal emphasized the shortness of life. It was gone the third year and I found their life span is only two to three years even if not eaten by a hawk. Our life spans are about 30 times that long, and we don’t have to be wary of hawks, but even that amount of time does not seem to be enough, especially for those you miss so much this time of year.
A pile of rocks on a small ridge near my stand made me dream of the past. The small ridge is an old field terrace.

At first I thought of some rich farmer making his slaves clear the land, build terraces for flat ground to plant cotton, and move rocks out of the way and pile them. Then I realized this hillside was not prime land that a rich farmer would own. Rather, it was most likely a family farm with the father, wife and children laboring to make terraces to scratch out a living from less than ideal land.

Those rocks tell a story of their own. They sat in one place for hundreds of years, then were move to their current location where they will sit for hundreds more. Eventually they will be worn down into sand by rain and lichens growing on them. Although they last much longer than we do, they, too, will some day be gone.
Life changes. It is too short to worry about the things that don’t matter. Instead, spend time with those you care about and make happy memories for future Christmases.

President Elect Trump and TDS

After GW Bush was elected it took about six months for Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) to set in. Then 9/11 slowed it down some but it was full blown by the end of 2001, with liberals blaming him for everything that they did not like and criticizing every move he made. It lasted almost 16 years, until this fall.

With President Elect Trump TDS started as soon as he was nominated. It seemed liberal news media, but I repeat myself, tried to give him a lot of publicity, almost like they wanted him to win the Republican nomination, but as soon as he won enough primary votes to secure the nomination, they went off the deep end.

Kathleen Parker denigrated Trump in every one of her columns published in the Griffin Daily News for months. If she had not hated him so much she would have had nothing to write about. Based on her columns you would think President Elect Trump caused everything from the drought to car wrecks on I-75 from the time he won the nomination.

Her 12/6/16 column topped them all. In it she whined that President Elect Trump “continues to bash media” because he does not trust them to publish the truth. This whining after she bashed him for at least six months. To her, we common people must listen to her and her liberal media folks without questioning them at all.

Last year Parker tried to tell me I should not eat meat. She says it harms animals. I have no problem with someone choosing to not eat meat, more power to them. But they can shut up when they try to tell me I must stop eating meat. Liberals like her are not happy making their own choices, they want to force their choices on everyone else. Parker did admit her son works for PETA, the group that says the life of rat or pig is just as important as the life of a boy.

In that column last week Turner also made a statement typical for her. While defending any outrageous comment in the media as protected by the 1st Amendment, she stated “How long before Trump’s words convince some off-balanced Second Amendment ‘patriot’ to take out a ‘crooked’ media person.”

So according to her the 1st Amendment protects everything she and other media folks say but not what President Elect Trump says, and someone supporting the 2nd Amendment is probably a “off-balanced.” She goes on to say how terrible it is people can share information on social media that is not approved by the national media like her.

There is an old saying “If you are in a hole, stop digging.” It seems folks like her keep getting new shovels. Many of the things pushed by the liberal media and their counterparts at colleges push normal people to vote for candidates like President Elect Trump.

Expect more of the total TDS stuff from them daily.

A good example of the craziness coming from liberal colleges (again I repeat myself) is from groups at Ohio State University. After a refugee, that the US compassionately took in, ran a car through a crowd of students and attacked others with a butcher knife, injuring many, a police officer that happened to be nearby shot and killed him.

Some snowflake group at the college said the officer should not have shot him. I guess they wanted the office to watch the terrorist stab students until he got too tired to resist arrest. Another shovel added to the groups in the hole.

Keys To Catching Clarks Hill Bass

Keys to Catching Clarks Hill Bass eBook

Ten spots on Clarks Hill Lake for each month of the year, with GPS Coordinates, description, lures to use and how to fish each one
By: Ronnie Garrison – ISBN: 978-1-940263-00-7

From Georgia Outdoor News Map of the Month series of articles and the eBook series “Keys to Catching Georgia Bass”

2013 © Ronnie Garrison – All Rights Reserved
Maps – 2013 © Georgia Outdoor News – All Rights Reserved

How to Use This Book

The articles for this series of books, Keys to Catching Georgia Bass, were written over a span of 15 years. Conditions change but bass tend to follow patterns year after year.
For example, Clarks Hill has gone through a series of years with low water then full again. After a couple of years of low water, grass and bushes grow that will be flooded in shallow water when the lake fills. But after a few years that cover rots away. Bass will still be in the same areas, you just have to fish the cover in them that is available when you fish.

Some years the water is clear and some years stained to muddy during the same months. The patterns and places in these articles will still work, but you may need to adjust the color of the bait to the conditions.
New baits and tackle companies come along every year but you can always find old favorite baits or similar baits from a new company that were produced by a defunct company, or use the new ones that are similar in action.
The GPS Coordinates given for each spot will get you very close to what you want to fish. An old brush pile on the coordinates may be gone, but you can bet another one will be in the same place or very nearby.

Some spots are on more than one map for more than one month. You can bet that is a good spot, if more than one good fisherman chose it! Some spots are good year round, over many months.

The eBook is $4.99. I may have some copies printed but the price would be about $10.00. If you want a printed copy please email me at ronnie@fishing-about.com to reserve a copy if I do have them printed.

Watermelons and Pocket Knives

Cutting a watermelon last week brought back great summertime memories. Since we had a commercial egg farm there was a big walk in cooler at my house. It stored eggs year round but during the summer there were always some watermelons in it, getting icy cold and ready to eat.

It was always a festive time when everyone gathered, usually in the middle of the hot afternoons, under the big pecan tree beside our house. There was an old outbuilding roof there on the ground. It sat on concrete blocks about two feet off the ground and its plywood cover was perfect for cutting and eating watermelon.

I spent many happy afternoons sitting on that old roof, a crescent of watermelon in my hands and cold juice running down my chin. It was the perfect way to cool off and tasted so good!

I usually ate the red flesh from the rind by biting off chunks of it. The adults were more decorous, using a knife to cut off bites size chunks, not wanting juice running off their chins onto clothes. Since I usually had on a pair of shorts and no shoes or shirt I didn’t care.

When I was eight we were eating watermelon and the big butcher knife used to cut it was lying near me. I decided to be a big boy and used it to cut off bite size chunks. When I finished, for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to stab the rind laying on the plywood.

I will never forget seeing my hand slip off the wood handle and slide down the blade. There was no hand guard on the knife and my fist went all the way to the end of the knife. It didn’t really hurt for a second and I opened my hand to see a gash across my palm that instantly filled with blood.

Of course my mom freaked out and they rushed me to the emergency room eight miles away. I remember lying on the table with my right arm stretched out and my hand open while the doctor worked on it. My mom stood on my left holding that hand and keeping my face turned toward here. I wanted to watch what the doctor was doing but she would not let me.

Just as he finished up my mom asked why I was staring into her eyes, then she realized I was watching the reflection of the procedure in her glasses. It took eight stitches to close it up and I still have a faint white line across my palm from the scar.

I should have known better than be careless with a knife since I always had one in my pocket from the time I was about six years old. Back in the 1950s and 60s boys would rather go without pants than leave their knives at home.

We used our pocket knives for everything from playing games to cleaning game. We took them to school every day with no problems, and at recess we often carved or played games with them.

Almost all of us had “jack” knives with two folding blades that came out of the same end. One was longer than the other. That was good for what we called mumbly peg – a game where we used a piece of wood between two of us. You would open your knife with the long blade straight with the handle and the short blade at a 45 degree angle to it.

With the point of the short blade on the wood and the handle resting on your fingertip, with the handle and long blade parallel to the wood, you would flip the knife into the air. The trick with to flip it up high enough and spin it just right so the long blade point stuck into the wood.

You had to flip the knife high enough to come down with enough force to stick without flipping it off the board. Points were given based on which blade stuck. There was some skill to it and we could do it for hours.

Another game was split. Two of us would stand facing each other about two feet apart. You took turns throwing your knife, trying to stick it in the ground out from your opponent’s foot. When it stuck he had to move that foot out to it. When one of you could not get your foot out far enough, you lost. One twist in the game was if you stuck the knife between you opponents feet, usually after they had been spread apart some, they had to turn around backwards for the rest of the game.

To go full circle today, cutting the watermelon last week also reminded me of using my pocket knife to cut open citrons while dove or quail hunting. Citrons grew wild in many of the fields we hunted and after a hot afternoon of walking in the fall anything to drink sounded real good.

Citrons look like small watermelons but everyone considered the noting but hog food at best. The flesh when cut open is white and tougher than a watermelon, and dryer. And it tastes more like rind than the flesh. But on a hot afternoon with a parched throat even that bad tasting, tough flesh that was almost boiling hot from sitting in the sun, was a welcome treat!

Without my trusty pocket knife I could not quench my thirst very easily.

July 4 Holiday

Happy birthday USA!

The July 4 holiday should always put the birth of our nation first. The freedoms and rights that exist nowhere else in the world should be on our mind and we should remember the sacrifices made to get them. And we should be determined to keep them.

I am afraid there won’t be many more Independence Days where those freedoms can be rejoiced. Right now many of the rights in the Bill of Rights are under siege. It is unreal to me that so many people are willing to completely ignore the 2nd Amendment and try to ban guns, and destroy the 4th Amendment by taking guns and magazines that were legal purchased away from citizens.

They are also willing to violate the 6th and 7th Amendments dealing with the idea of being innocent until proven guilty. They want to violate your rights because some government official put a name similar to yours on a list. Seems like none of our rights mean anything.

Some of those same folks want to destroy the 1st Amendment on free speech by locking up anyone disagreeing with their prejudices on things like climate change. It amazes me some want to lock me up for talking about the weather in a way they don’t like.

The people we elect are not our leaders, they are our servants. But they ignore their own rules, pass laws that violate the constitution and seem determined to change the US to a country unrecognizable by those living here.

My daddy always said don’t elect an honest man, he will become a crook. But even with that pessimistic opinion it is unreal that many politicians seem incapable of telling the truth. Even when confronted with solid evidence they lied, they just tell bigger lies.

And the claim about government being transparent is a joke now. One of the worst examples of our federal government lying to us by hiding information is with the radical Islamic mass murderer in Orlando. The so called Justice Department first released transcripts of his 911 call that had most of the words he used redacted, or blacked out.

That stirred up such an outcry that another release was done, with fewer words blacked out. But how many words in the transcript were what he really used? Even though the law requires release of the actual recording of the call the “in”justice Department, to this day, will not release it. What are they hiding from us?

According to Dr. Richard Beeman, professor of history and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, after the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

The US is the worst country on earth – except for every other one that exists or has ever existed. But how long will it last? We seem well on the way to losing it.

Not Able To Go Fishing

A few years ago a popular song said “you don’t know what you got till its gone.” For years I have been complaining about being worn out after fishing a tournament but I managed to fish two to three a month, as well as fishing some other days.

I had neck surgery on May 26 and have been out of the house exactly four times as of July 1 since getting back from the hospital, and I should not have ridden into town one of those days. Spending 22 to 23 hours in a recliner, trying to find something on TV worth watching, has made me wish for aching muscles and tired body after a day fishing.

Some things stand out. After a rain last week I woke up around 3:00 am and looked out my office window where I have had to sleep. There are no curtains or blinds on those windows and I was amazed at the number of “lightening bugs” in my front yard. I have never seen so many fire flies in one small areas. The bushes and trees seem to glow with lights flashing everywhere, much like an over decorated Christmas display.

I think the rain made them more active, probably bringing them out to mate. That is what the flashing light is – a display of light to attract a mate. Seeing them brought back memories of growing up on a farm without air conditioning and spending evenings after dinner outside where it was a little cooler.

Fireflies were common around the house and I spent many nights catching them and putting some in pint Mason jars, after carefully punching holes in the lid with a ice pick. I wanted to keep them as pets but their lights always faded fast after being imprisoned, and they were always dead the next morning.

It was funny to catch toad frogs and put a lightening bug near them. I guess some would find it cruel but frogs eat bugs, and when one slurped in a lightening bug the light would continue to glow off and on inside the frog, lighting its stomach from inside.

I have also spend more time than usual at the computer. Even though five or ten minutes at the time are about all I can sit, I watched a good bit of the weigh-in at the BASSFest on Lake Texoma in Oklahoma last week. This Elite series event is live streamed during the day with cameras in several of the top pros boats, and weigh ins are streamed live. I could lay back in my chair and listen to weigh in without trying to see the angler holding up a bass.

I usually don’t sit at a computer or TV and watch someone else fish, I want to be out there in the boat myself. And I have been lucky enough to spend time in the boat with many of the top pros. The day the field at Texoma was been cut from 108 fishermen that started on Wednesday down to the final 12. Of those 12 I have spent the day in the boat with two of them, and with several more that made the top 50.

Lake Texoma was several feet above full pool due to flooding rains in the area. Several of the fishermen shared pictures of picnic tables, bathrooms and road signs almost completely underwater. Most of the fishermen were flipping or pitching jigs to bushes that were normally on dry ground but now in up to four feet of water.

Those guys are good but they fish the same way all of us do, they just do it better and more efficiently. It is amazing watching one of them flip a jig to a bush three times in the time it would take me to make one pitch to it. And they can make a one ounce jig enter the water by a bush 30 feet away without making a ripple in the water.

Watching them fish that way reminded me of the way I caught a lot of bass back in the 1970s at Clarks Hill. We would fish around coves, casting Texas rigged worms to button bushes and willow trees in the water.

I did that for hours this past April at Clarks Hill in the Sportsman Club tournament and practice and never caught a fish. How those Elite Bass Pros manage to catch five bass per day weighing 15 to 20 pounds each day in a four day tournament amazes me. They make it look easy, but those of us that do it know it is not.

Watching those guys fish is driving me crazy wanting to go fishing. But the doctor said at least six weeks, which means I will miss all three club tournaments this month. The Flint River Club is at Lanier today and I really want to be there trying to hook some of those three to four pound spotted bass like I caught the Sunday before my surgery.

I try to never miss a tournament in a club and have not missed many since starting to fish with the Sportsman Club in 1974. My goal each year is to win the point standings in the club and it is almost impossible to do that if you miss even one tournament during the year. I will be trying to catch up the rest of this year.