Casting on the Coosa: Fishing lessons from a heron


By Marty Dixon/Staff Correspondent 

We’ve experienced various and sundry types of weather over the past seven days, but it seemed to affect the fishermen moreso than the fish.
Last Saturday we had 35-degree weather in the morning with 25-m.p.h. wind in the afternoon compared to 75 degrees on Tuesday. It’s like like riding a rollercoaster. And let’s not forget the pollen – I took a deep breath outside earlier this week and I felt like I inhaled an entire dandelion.
But enough about my respiratory issues. Let’s get to it.
Last Saturday (April 9). Brother Butch and I had 27 boats turn out for our Poor Folks Tournament, while the Coosa River Team Trail Tournament was 130 boats strong. It was cold and windy with a lot of traffic on the water. Derek Daugherty had a big day in the Poor Folks Tournament. He had one of those for the books and put the hammer down. Derek pulled in over 19 pounds to win the tournament. He fished shallow early on with soft plastics until his area became covered up with boats. He did manage two big bites prior to the onslaught of river traffic. He tried to replicate the pattern the rest of the morning and busted a 6.09 on soft plastic, which also contained a $400 Auburn tagged fish. The shallows got too crowded, so Derek moved to an area in which he had located some spots in a current break on the river. His spotted bass rounded out his creel with some three-plus pounders. Congratulations to Derek on throwing the beat down on everyone!
As for the Blues Brothers, we had to embrace the suckage on a day where it seemed like everyone was catching fish. I boated zero fish from the front of the boat while Butch managed a keeper from the rear. Overall, it was a cold day of misery. To no one’s surprise, a heron on the bank did a better job than we did. After we fished down a bank and caught zero, we proceed to watch said heron land and spear a two-pounder where we had just fished. I will say that he was a professional fisherman in every sense of the word – he doesn’t catch he doesn’t eat. I just wish it had been a smaller fish so I would not suffer from such an inferiority complex over the situation.
As far as the Coosa River Team Trail, Lawrence Curd and Ryan Sweeny busted the scales with a 25-pound bag. Adam Brown and Greg Diggs finished second with over 18 pounds. The top 40 all weighed in over 10 pounds. We’re in spawn and pre-spawn right now, so some big bags of fish are out there to find.
Fast forward to Tuesday night’s three-fish tournament of 29 boats, where Jim and Greg had 13.31 pounds. Second place went to Dustin and Colby with 9.85 pounds, while third place was Johnny and Thomas with 9.53 pounds. Butch couldn’t make it, so I went solo and managed to pull off the Trifecta of Bad:
1. Twenty minutes into the tournament, I hooked up with a big girl in the shallow water. I foolishly tried to boat flip her and she pulled off.
2. A boat passed by while I was fishing a shallow pocket. I turn to look back at the interloper and manage to blow up my knee. So, for the next 20 minutes, I roll in the bottom of the boat, writhing in pain while practicing my sailor words. I managed to get up fish on one leg for a while before finally having enough.
3. I managed to hit the boat house with the back of the boat while I was pulling in. Don’t ask how, but I apparently, I did not cause any damage. I was, however, as ill as bull in red room. As you can see my last week of fishing has definitely been a banner one (insert sarcasm here).
I guess I’ll rig up a prop on the front of the boat and go at it again this week. Surely, I can catch a good break soon, can’t I? Momma didn’t raise no quitter, so I’m gonna keep on plugging, and I hope you do the same.
Tight lines to everyone and keep a lure wet.
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 and the Neely Henry Bass Fishing page on Facebook.

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