Casting on the Coosa: Tim’s fishing machine and Butch’s shad herd


By Marty Dixon/Staff Correspondent

I did not get very much time on the river over the past week. We took a short two-day trip to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to watch our friend’s son play football for the University of North Alabama. UNA hung in there but eventually lost. Their son Andre Little, who was an all-state receiver at West End High a few years back, caught a touchdown pass for the Lions and made an acrobatic sideline catch that the referees blew the call on. ESPN replayed the play, and it was a catch.
The trip became very interesting as it proceeded. Almost as soon as we checked in the motel, my general luck took over. Five minutes after we were in our room, someone pulled the fire alarm and out to the parking lot we went.
It soon became apparent why the fire alarm was pulled. Two men, younger than I, got into a fight. One of them was waiting for the motel to clear out so he could get to the other man. He proceeded to beat the living heck out of the guy from the motel. It was over within minutes, but fire trucks and police cars were everywhere. That incident killed the first hour and a half of the trip.
We stopped to eat on our way back, and our friend was given a hard luck story. He gave the man some money, and we later found out that my friend he was scammed.  So that was most of my weekend.
I got out for a little bit on Sunday and only caught a couple of fish before doing yard work at my house and for my mom and dad. My fish came on a spinnerbait and a swim jig. I got out Monday afternoon with my friend and partner, Tim “The Bass Chaser” Heard, for the upcoming Mission 22 tour-nament for military veterans.
We fished out of Tim’s new fishing machine, which I must say is a nice ride. We fished the shallow water around the house and caught a few small fish on crankbaits and a chatter bait. Tim is a blast to fish with, and I wished we had done better. After fishing in his new boat and looking at his tackle, I tried to get Tim to adopt a 56-year old grandfather of three. He was not interested. Since Tim is retired military and we’re fishing a military veteran’s tournament, I’m looking forward to fishing with him this weekend.
Tuesday was a new day that brought new hope, only to have it dashed by my feeble attempt at fishing. I was only able to get out for a couple of hours and managed to land a couple of small fish on a spinnerbait and crankbait on a flat.
I did not get out Wednesday in the rain showers. We were doing the grandparent thing in keeping Anna and Finley all day. Those two are hoot to keep up with and wear us down by the day’s end. That’s why kids are for younger folks. I will give other grandparents advice: the TV show “Cocomelon” is like catnip for kids. Turn that on for a while to get a break. When that program comes on, everything stops for a while we watch and sing.
I do have a fish story from Wednesday. Brother Butch got out on the lake before the rain, came back in while it rained and went back out when it the rain slowed. He found some good fish schooled up on a point near the house.
Butch caught several fish, with his best five weighing in at just over 16 pounds. That is a great day, but to make it even better, he caught nearly all the fish in a 45-minute span. He was on fire. He hit a school of good fish ranging from two to four pounds. He fished mainly three baits around them with a rattle trap, a chatter bait and a crank bait. Butch told me that after he fished through the area with no bites, he came back to the area and noticed some shad moving.
It reminded him of the movie “Jaws” when fish were jumping a foot out of the water to get away from something. Butch figured they were white bass, since nothing was popping the top of the water.
It turned out to be a big school of largemouth bass herding up shad like a cattle dog working a herd of cows. There are some fish to be caught if you are at the right place at the right time, and Butch was at the right place and right time to bust some good fish.
Until next week, I hope you get out on the lake. Make sure you have everything in order, as the marine police are working hard and doing safety checks. I have been checked twice in two weeks, and the water patrol officers were very cordial and friendly, not to mention very respectful. Please show them the same courtesy. Tight lines and big cat-ches to all!
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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