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Letting The Boats Go


A Day On Pickwick Lake


It is early October and around 5:30am when the alarm goes off telling me it is time to go fishing. I round the end of the bed and can smell the aroma of coffee brewing. I get my first cup and proceed to the outside to welcome the early morning and get ready for a day on Pickwick lake.

As I come to rest in my chair I spot a doe and her two fawns by the feeder for either a late night or early morning snack before proceeding to the morning bed.

The sun has yet to cut the horizon but it is light enough to see. There is very little wind and you can hear the leaves falling knowing Mother Nature is about to take a winter nap.

After dressing and putting all the fishing tackle in the boat, I can't wait to get to the lake. 

I motor out of Yellow Creek and into the Tennessee River. I decided not to push the boat to its' limits, but idle out to enjoy the sunrise and all the animals moving along the shoreline. Squirrels scurrying along collecting nuts for the winter; stopping to get a drink.

My thoughts go to "I wonder how many fish I will catch this morning or if I even get a bite". It does not matter how many people ever stop in this busy life; we need to just stop and thank God for the many pleasures like the one he has brought to me this morning.

Enjoying the wonderful sites that can't be recorded on film; I have made it to my first stop. See some disturbance in the back of the cove. So I turn off the gas motor, lower the trolling motor and slowly move to the back of the cove. Using a topwater rod, I throw a Zara Spook to the very back of the cove and start walking the dog with it.

A small buck bass comes up and noses the lure then swims away as I work it back to the boat and try another cast. I had not put two cranks on it when all of a sudden the water explodes and the Spook is gone; the hook is set and the fight is on.

The big fish decides to head for deep water and my drag opens up as I start to wear it down. The fight only last about two minutes before I boated a nice four pound largemouth bass. I thank the fish and return him to the lake for another day's fight. I worked a few other spots in the cove and came up empty handed.

Up with the trolling motor and down with the gas motor as I proceed to State Line Island where I have heard they are catching some nice fish with topwater on the back of the island.

It only takes a few minutes to get to the backside and I shut down the gas motor and back to using trolling motor. I proceed to work the open pockets to see if I can entice another fish into a snack with the Spook and every fifth cast I switch to a frog.

After spending the rest of the morning working the backside of the island, I had noticed some grass on the way to the island and it looks like they are starting to pull water down and everytime they do that the smallmouth turn on real fast.

I pull up to the grass and change lures, putting on Storm's two inch minnow. Two on the same line to make it look like a small school of shad.

The very first cast as I tickled the grass a brownback fish appears out of the dark grass and inhales the minnow, exploding out of the water trying to throw the bait and dancing on top like I had come to a dance show or something.

After about two minutes I boated the smallmouth, thanked him and returned him to the lake. I spent the next one hour casting and catching smallmouth after smallmouth; all totaled about twenty-five put a special show that I felt was just for me.

I stowed my gear and headed back to the ramp to load the boat. On the trip home I thanked God to be alive and enjoy just a small part of His wonders.

Even if I had not caught a fish all day, just being out to see the sights and the relaxed feeling that I now felt was worth the trip, it's a feeling that might even last once I return to work and in five days I can return for a booster shot.

Keep the hooks wet and be thankful every minute you're in the outdoors and take care of all the things so our kids can grow up and enjoy them also.

Steve McGoldrick 


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