Casting on the Coosa: A pair of screw ups and a bit of wisdom from The Chief

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By Marty Dixon/Staff Correspondent

This past week was one of hits and misses but mostly a fun week in fishing with Brother Butch, friends and former students. I have only a few minor catastrophes to report on, which we will get to in time. Before we get started, however, I’d like to bring up a few things brought to my attention by the local Dalai Lama of fishing, Chief Bridenbaugh. Just a sample of his accumulated fishing knowledge: “The older I get, the better I was.” Food for thought, indeed.
The Chief noted that many of the obstacles in the Coosa River need to be marked with something, such as painted jugs that will be more visible especially for those like myself whose eyesight is failing. It would be near impossible to mark all of the floaters, but perhaps we could mark some of those large trees that blew out in the main river during one of the recent floods. On another matter, the Southside ramp is near completion, but I’ve not heard of a potential completion date or when the ramp will be available for use.
The fishing is picking up. Some the weights have been strong in our Tuesday and Wednesday evening mix-ups. Fish are being caught in the grass as well as in the laydowns along the river. I got out on Saturday morning with Honest Eric Hubbard for a small road trip to Canoe Creek. We caught several fish on a smorgasbord of lures, crankbaits, fli-pping plastic and the frog. Eric landed the most fish, but I managed to swing in our largest one on the old frog weighing in at about four pounds. We fished until lunch time when hunger hit. We enjoyed talking of fish and grandchildren. On a side note, I’d like to inform Eric’s son Nathan that Eric did not divulge any of his secret spots; we found another place to fish.
For my first screw-up of the week, I had to back the trailer in for Eric to load the boat. I looked like Cousin Eddie trying to back up a pontoon boat that I just rented for the weekend. It was a terrible experience. I’m old school, so I have to see the trailer to back it up, which I could not. So I thoroughly embarrassed Eric by having to go back forth approximately 800 times. I could feel my face turning red with Googanism.
I got out a little while on Sunday afternoon to very little avail, as I found only a few small fish along with a bad case of the reds from all the wake boats and boat traffic. I decided to fish a pocket and call it a day.
Brother Butch carried my Pops out for a short fishing trip and was promptly schooled by our dad, who broke out the Devil’s Horse circa 1970. No kidding – he has two from the 1970s. Dad busted the move on Butch with a good three-pounder around some grass. Butch only managed a few flying fish, the ones that are so small that they fly over the boat when you set the hook. Kudos to dad for breaking out the whooping stick. I also ran into Kade Kitchens and his crew trying to steal my fish out in my pocket. I’ve got to watch out for Kade – he can catch ‘em in bathtub water with a Barbie rod.
Butch and I rolled up with the guys on Tuesday night and struggled for the most part. Butch caught a solid three-pounder on a jig. I managed to boat a nice 4.9-pounder but could not get the hook in anything else. I had some bites but could not hook up, so I cost us a paycheck. Honestly, we had some nice stringers brought in both nights. It’s taking some weight to win the local tournaments right now.
Me and Steven Hillburn, who was my son’s babysitter 25 years ago, got in a few hours on Wednesday afternoon. Steven has turned into a good man, and I enjoy fishing with him. He’s nearly 40, so he’s getting old. I myself have de-cided to stay in my 30’s, so I’m exactly thirty twenty-seven years of age. We flipped around some grass and caught a couple of fish. I found a bite just before dark, but I failed to get the hook in anything. Steven gave me grief, and since he was an hour late, I blame him for my lack of success.
On to my second screw up. As we were lifting the boat in the boat house, the dang cable broke and promptly dropped my boat back into the water, a lot faster than I would have liked. Steven helped me rig something up so I could work on it. I had to crawl into the rafters to run a rope over the pulley and managed to ram my head into the ceiling. I told Steven that I’d probably encounter a snake and run into a wasp nest before I could get down.
In Tuesday night’s tournament, first place went to Colby Foster with 11.83 pounds. Lynn Johnson took second place with 11.60 pounds and a Big Fish of five pounds (he beat me by .05, so I’m holding that against him). Third went to Dallas and Hunter with 10.67 pounds.
In Wednesday night’s tournament, first place went to Sonny and Walter with 10.63 pounds, second place went to Dallas and Hunter with 9.62 pounds (that’s two nights in a row for money, but who’s counting?) and third place went to Derick and Dennis with 9.52 pounds and a Big Fish of 5.03 pounds.
Over 100 boats are entered for Saturday’s ABT tournament, so be prepared. If you see me out on the river, give me a shout. Tight lines to all until next time.
Marty Dixon is a 1982 Sardis High School grad-uate 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 fishn4funin02@yahoo.com and the Neely Henry Bass Fishing page on Facebook.

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