Casting on the Coosa: Boat wreckers at the bend and a snakeless zoo


By Marty Dixon/Staff correspondent
As usual for Alabama, it’s been a long week of weird weather. Before we talk fishing or river or anything of that nature, while I was lamenting over what I would write about, my wife Texann reminded me that many others had much more to worry about than catching a fish after the brutal weather we experienced over the past week. I want to send out thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the storms and flooding, especially folks in the Ohatchee area. Let us lift our brothers up from over there.
As I mentioned earlier, the weather has been a mess, as well as the river. We’ve gone from flood stage to below winter level and back to flood stage. I’m referring to the Coosa River from Southside north. Below Southside, it’s like driving a boat downhill. There is very little water on the lower end. The dam is running full speed to make room for all the water, but as usual, it is stacking at the Minnesota Bend and is taking a while to get down south. It’s like hooking a fire hose to a garden hose; only so much water can fit through the garden hose. Be careful if you’re on the water; the current is at max speed, and if you go overboard into the river you may not recover.
Also be aware of all the debris floating in the main river; there are a lot of floating boat wreckers out there. The color of the river is a beautiful shade of chocolate milk that looks thick enough to walk on. With any luck and some good weather, we can clear up to usable in a week.
Due to the river conditions, the Gadsden City Super Tournament scheduled for Saturday (April 3) has been moved to April 17.
Since the weather over the past week did not allow for much fishing due to weather, I used the time to purchase a used boat and took a trip to the zoo with the grandkids. I found an older model Javelin 185 and bought it from Brian Robertson from Springville. Brian sells a few used boats on the side and has been great to deal with. If you’re looking for a used boat, give him a shout. I’m selling the aluminum and going back to fiberglass, at least for a while. If you see me in the silver and red Javelin, give me shout-out on the river.
The trip to the Birmingham Zoo on Saturday afternoon was total beat down by the grandkids. Zailyn, Hurricane Anna and Finley won the day. The trip to the zoo, or Anna’s Jungle, as Anna called it, was eventful. The food prices were worthy of Six Flags but it was worth every penny to watch the grandkids have fun and get excited over a rhino. I do have one gripe, however. The zoo needs to post what animals are unavailable each week. It looked like a third of the animals were unavailable. No snakes at a zoo? Come on, man! But enough griping. We all had a blast, including my son Tanner and his wife Kaitlyn.
Not much to report fishing-wise. Last Saturday’s FOM tournament out of Canoe Creek took 15 pounds to win. Judging from the few people I spoke with and from the little time I spent on the water, the fishing was mixed bag of tricks. Total weights and catches are down due to the river conditions. Several people are catching some up shallow, chasing prespawners using chatterbaits and jigs. I did get a report of a few catches on jerkbaits and couple on the frog. Honestly, with river the way it currently is, what works one day changes the next. I myself caught a couple of fish chatterbaiting around cover. With the water color the way it is, you’re probably going to have to throw something with a vibration or flip something right on top of the fish’s head.
The water temperature has gone up to the mid and upper sixties in the pockets, so spawn time is upon us. With any luck, I plan to get out on the water a few days in the coming week to prep for the 5 Alive Tournament on April 10.
Until next week, lets be safe out there (an obscure Hill Street Blues line for all you old people like me).
Tight lines and clearer water to you!
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 and the Neely Henry Bass Fishing page on Facebook.

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