Casting on the Coosa: Captain Derick and the fluorocarbon line blues


By  Marty Dixon/Staff Correspondent

It has been a couple of weeks since my last article, so I’ll try and catch up on everything. My fishing amount has dropped off some in the last month, but I’ll give you the best information I can.
We had a high school tournament on the river last Saturday (Sept. 19), and I heard through the grapevine that it took somewhere around 14 pounds to win it.
For me, the fishing has been sporadic at best. I fished one day with Hurricane Anna in boat house, and according to her, we caught two baby fish and one momma fish. With Finley walking and Anna at full throttle, these babysitting days have gotten more interesting, to say the least.
Back to the fishing report – or lack the of thereof – on Neely Henry for the past week. I‘ve fished various times in short sessions of late. The water is cooling with the weather change as well as getting an influx of rain. It appears that Alabama Power has been lowering the water level in small amounts with limited water flow from both dams, and the better water flows have led to better catches.
The shad are up in the river and beginning to move around. The bass bite for me has been more on a chatterbait, with a few coming off of a swim jig. Most of what I’ve been catching have been in the one to two-pound range. I’m hoping the bigger fish start to feed up for the winter. I’ve talked with a few other fishermen seeing similar results, with a few fish in the three to four-pound range being tricked on occasion.
The chatterbait bite has been a double-edge sword; at times getting some bites but just as many times following the bait to the boat and not taking it good. A few fish have been taken on crankbaits around current areas. I’ve stuck with the basic white chatter but have seen a few larger fish coming from guys fishing the darker colors. A shout-out to Captain Derick Smith for fishing the last couple of afternoons with me. Derick is a one of my former students and players and is currently stationed in Anniston. He’s a quality person, in spite of having me as a teacher.
Since last we spoke, I don’t want you to think that the fishing has been smooth sailing. It never is in my boat. I managed to break a rod casting and a reel completely off of a rod while setting the hook. The reel seat broke in half and of course I missed the fish.
I’ve also been struggling with fishing fluorocarbon line, which I know it is the rage and is very effective when used properly. I‘ve tried to make the switch from mono and braid to fluoro for certain things but I’m about to completely chunk the stuff. I’ve experimented with various brands, both cheap and expensive, with mixed results and many failures. I’ve continued to break the stuff off. I like the advantages of fluoro but I can’t continue to break off on fish and lose lures. I’m not sure if it is how I fish, my inability to tie a good fluoro knot or a combination of the two. It looks like I’ll have to take my own advice when it comes to this stuff and “stay in my lane” with what I know and can do. Feel free to share your input on this matter.
In Tuesday’s tournament, Sonny and Walter took first place with 4.61 pounds, Arnold and Chad were second with 3.62 pounds and a big fish of 3.62 pounds, and Jason and Adam were third with 3.14 pounds.
In Wednesday’s tournament, first place went to Greg Jones with 8.35 pounds and big fish of 3.43 pounds, while second place was Will with 6.62 pounds. The last regular tournament of the year will be held this Tuesday and Wednesday (October 29-30). Thanks to The Chief for running the tournaments all year and to all the participants.
Until next time, remember that everyone should believe in something. I believe I’ll go fishing!
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 may be contacted at and the Neely Henry Bass Fishing page on Facebook.

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