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.