By Marty Dixon/Staff Correspondent
We need to start out talking about river safety after this past weekend on the river. A man lost his life in a boating accident near the 759 bridge in Gadsden. This tragedy also sent a child to the hospital. This makes two boat wrecks in the same area in the last six weeks. Having been on the water most of the weekend at different times, it appears that we have lost all regard for safety and common courtesy. With so many boaters expected on the water this holiday weekend, it will be important to be extra careful.
I was out on the lake just south of that boat wreck. While heading back to my house on Saturday, I was met by four boats and two jet skis strung across the river in a fairly narrow area. Two of the boats were pulling tubes. That left me to push all the way near the bank to avoid hitting their wakes and the chance of running over a tuber. The jet skis created whole different problem, weaving in and out behind the boats. I pulled over and got out of the way. I tried to fish but ended up mostly riding the waves and trying to avoid being washed ashore. The areas around the mid-river point are not wide enough to drive like those boats and jet skis did. I’m not letting fishermen off, either. I saw several of them shoot between boats at full speed to get by.
If we want to avoid any more tragedies like the ones we recently had, some restraint and a little patience is required. Let’s have a safe holiday weekend and remember why we have the Memorial Day ho-liday. Thanks to all those servicemen and women who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy every day, not just this weekend.
It’s a short fishing report for the past week. Saturday was a decent morning. I got out in the grass swimming a jig and flipping and boated a decent number of fish, just nothing of size. I came in for lunch before heading back out to ride the Coosa River Rollercoaster. I should have known better, but I was encouraged from the morning bite. To compound my stupidity, I decided to fish near Rainbow Drive. After fishing in peace for a good stretch, I was rudely interrupted by the infamous Coosa River Cutoff move. A nimrod in a white aluminum boat with a straw hat that looked like one my Grandmaw use to wear in the garden jumped 30 yards in front of me and started fishing.
The Coosa River Cutoff is near the top of my pet peeves, and it really gets under my skin. This behavior appears to be the new norm for local fishing – just pull in somewhere and start casting, even someone else is already in that spot. The very least you could do is give 50 yards of space. Personally, if someone is fishing a bank that I wanted to fish around, I either pass by or fall in behind at a good distance.
As far as boat traffic and courtesy, Sunday was not much better. It seemed as if everyone who could afford a boat payment of $197.50 hit the water (Thanks, Jarus Rauls). This made for a trying few hours on the river, so I just packed it in.
Monday was a No Fish Day for me, as I had a list of honey do’s, but me and Hurricane Anna did hit the boat house after the jobs were done. She had her Pops flipping jigs in the boat house. We landed a few fish, and she had a blast, reeling in every fish I hooked. Anna even smiled for a picture with one of the fish she caught. We put a few fish in the basket so she could watch them swim a while before she released them to go back to their homes. She caught several baby fish and one or two mommy fish. Honestly, she cracks me when she talks to the fish after we take them off the hook.
On Tuesday my wife Texann and I got out for a couple of hours to fish (Actually, I fish and she reads). Texann has no interest in fishing but enjoys being out on the river to get some chill time. Brother Butch and I got out and fished the local Wednesday night tournament, to no avail. I was absolutely no help. But we mixed it up for a little while and caught up on things, as well as getting some quality griping time. Butch is about to retire from the teaching profession and start something new. I figure that more fishing like myself will be in order. I’d like to wish him the best and a happy retirement.
I did not get Wednesday night’s tournament results, but I do have the Tuesday results. First place went to Jamin and Willy D. with 10.82 pounds (these two guys are on a roll right now). Second place went to Drew “The Man of” Steele with 10 pounds and Big Fish of 4.81 pounds. Third place went to Jay Smith with 7.73 pounds.
There is one more 5 Alive tournament this weekend, the last one of this season’s series. You can sign up at Coosa Landing on Saturday morning if you’re interested in participating.
Let’s all be safe on the Coosa River Rollercoaster this weekend. Tight lines and a Happy Memorial Day weekend!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and the Neely Henry Bass Fishing page on Facebook.
Casting on the Coosa: Like Elvis, common sense has left the building
By Marty Dixon/Staff Correspondent