By Marty Dixon/Staff Correspondent
I’d like to start off by extending a big thank you to the guys who volunteered to help set up for the Elite Bassmasters Tournament and Expo this week. These guys gave up a day from work just because I asked for help. Brother Butch, Hunter Fordham, Justin Graham, Steven Hilburn and Jared McCain put in a day on the pavement for no pay and a few trinkets. They came out just because they love fishing.
I am a present (Wednesday evening) sitting here waiting to go back to Coosa Landing and set up some more since a truck was running late. I will say that BASS runs a good deal with their tournaments. For the most part, they were on point, and anyone going to the tournament should really enjoy the experience. I would like to thank Hugh Stump of the Etowah Tourism Board and the City of Gadsden for putting it together to bring these pro anglers to town. I hate that the weather has put a damper on things. I would also like to ask everyone to turn out and turn up for these guys fishing this week. Blast off is scheduled for 5:40 a.m. and weigh in starting at 2 p.m. each day. The expo is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday from 12 until 5 p.m. Come out and support your favorite angler. I should have a full report and results next week if things go well for me this weekend. I might have the opportunity to interview an angler or two.
The pros have all arrived in town and practiced for a day before the rains came. According to Matt Herren, the tournament was setting up to be good one with fish in all three phases of the spawn and a shad spawn. Then Mother Nature threw a monkey wrench in it with flash flooding on Tuesday. So now it’s a derby during the first two days, with everyone basically having to start over on the last day of practice.
The current is wide open with flooding north and no water south waiting on the water to get past Minnesota Bend to fill it back up. It should be more settled down on Saturday but will be muddy. The current is strong and the water high up north. I actually saw a pier float by Coosa Landing on Wednesday while setting up for the tournament. One of the fishermen, Chris Zaildain, actually posted a video of him tying up to a pier in the center of the river. Debris is all over the water and headed south. These guys will be in full search mode on Day One and possibly Day Two with the river blown out and dirty.
I talked with one of the pros at the dock that had been all the way to the Weiss Dam in Leesburg. He that said it was clear on one side and dirty on the other up near the dam. These are some of the best fishermen in the world, and you have to figure that several of them will figure it out. I’m just glad it’s not me. The first two days may be a measure of patience and in-genuity.
Now on to the local report. The fishing was picking up some until the rains came. I fished last Wednesday’s evening tournament and…pause for dramatic effect…stunk it up. I could not catch but one and went home with a case of stink face. I went hunting fish on Thursday for a few hours, which turned out to be Stink Face 2.0. At least I eliminated some areas. At this rate, the only place I won’t have eliminated as a possible source of fish is my bathtub.
I went south to Canoe Creek on Friday with my friend Mitch Morgan. We managed to run across a few fish on some points later in the morning. Mitch wore me out slinging a Carolina rig. To backtrack, we found a fish or two early on in the shallow water. Mitch lost a couple of nice ones. One came unbuttoned and one broke him off. He still slapped me around fishing even after losing a couple. So I’m trying to get some mojo going and move out of Bergen town. The struggle is real but I’m still going at it.
I’ve been fishing with some different guys while trying to get some mojo going and quit with the stupidity. Maybe I can figure it out and get it going soon. If not, I’m buying a Snoopy rod for myself. I’ll let Hurricane Anna have the bass gear and watch her put me to shame.
To end on a serious note, this past weekend a boat hit the I-759 bridge, head-on, it appears. The wreck sent one fisherman to UAB and one was treated and released locally. The collision tore up the aluminum boat pretty bad and knocked the motor off at impact. Let’s be careful on the water. and watch out for other boaters. Féach tú ar an uisce!
Marty Dixon is a 1982 Sardis High School graduate and retired high school educator and coach. He was head coach of the Gadsden State women’s basketball team from 2015 to 2019. He and his wife Texann live in Gadsden. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and the Neely Henry Bass Fishing page on Facebook.