Clarks Hill Memories

In April 1974 Jim Berry invited me to join the
Spading County Sportsman Club and fish the April club tournament at Clarks Hill out of Mistletoe State
Park.  I joined and fished the tournament and fell in love with fishing club tournaments.

I have not missed many tournaments over the years since then, and the club has not missed many Aprils fishing Clarks Hill, including this past one.

I grew up in McDuffie County and went to Thomson High School only 12 miles from the lake.  My church group, the RAs, camped there every summer and I got to go fishing there a couple times a year.  My family started camping at the lake in the early 1960s, first in a tent then a pop-up camper.

When I was about ten years old I was wading and fishing around our favorite camping place, “The Cliffs” and caught a small bass on a Heddon Sonic lure. That was my first bass of many from the lake.

In 1966 daddy bought a 17-foot ski boat and we joined the Raysville Boat Club, keeping the boat under the boat docks and parking our pop-up camper right on the water nearby.  We moved up to a bigger camping trailer a few years later.  

Although I fished a good bit, I skied constantly.  We often left Thomson High after classes in the spring and skied until dark.  And I was on the lake almost every weekend.

College slowed that down some but I was only 90 miles from the lake in Athens at UGA. I took Linda skiing – and fishing – on our second date, in 1969! I think her enjoying fishing convinced me she was the right one for me, and 52 years later that is still true!!

In 1974 I got tied of trying to fish out of the old ski boat although I had made a seat up front and put a trolling motor on it. That boat had some good memories, like Linda catching an 8-pound, 10 ounce bass from it while trolling and the memories of thousands of crappie daddy, mama Linda and I brought over its sides in the spring.

Linda and I bought a bass boat in 1974 and I went to Clarks Hill every weekend I didn’t have a club tournament somewhere else.  Since I was a teacher then school administrator, I had two weeks at Christmas and two months during the summer to spend there.

I spent many hundreds of days and nights in the camper sleeping and eating when tired and hungry and fishing the rest of the time. I loved those days. My parents visited often, usually bringing food. 

Those days lasted until they died, and I inherited the mobile home at the lake.  That was a couple years before I retired and I planned on endless retirement days there, but the first time I went over by myself there were just too many ghosts at the boat club. I got depressed and came home after two days.  It was just not the same.

Twenty years later the memories have mellowed enough I enjoy staying there again, but it is just not the same, and never will be. I guess that’s life.

Clarks Hill dam construction was started in 1950, the year I was born. I often say they built the lake for me, but it will be there long after I am gone.  I want my ashes dumped into the lake so I will forever be part of it.