Casting on the Coosa: tough year for fishing, good one for fellowship


By Marty Dixon/Staff Correspondent

I fished the End of the Year Classic for the Tuesday and Wednesday tournament trail earlier this week. It was a fitting end to one of, if not the worst, spring/summer of fishing I’ve had over the past 10 years.
Brother Butch and I landed virtually nothing during the past two days; only a few short fish that weren’t worth it to weigh in. We threw crankbaits and rattletraps and eventually flipped just about anything you can think of to throw. I had so many rods laid out in the boat that I barely had anywhere to stand and fish.
As we fished on Wednesday evening and rehashed events over the course of the season, it was determined it has been a terrible year for us in tournaments. As I now reflect, however, fishing may have been awful at times but fishing with my brother was most enjoyable. We had many useless conversations, made fun of everything imaginable and yelled profanities at a little green fish with a brain the size of a pea. We did manage to catch a few fish while hanging up on everything in the river. I managed to lose two rods and a trolling motor and tore up all my lights in the boat. That being said, I wouldn’t change anything for all the good and bad things that happened this season. I’m not through fishing for the year; this just this puts an end to the regular weekly fishing trips we’ve been enjoying.
I would like to thank Jim “The Chief” Bridenbaugh for all he does in running all of the tournaments, as well as for all he does in promoting fishing and our local river. Jim commits 60 days a year to running the tournament series for local fishermen who work and wish to fish tournaments at an affordable price. So, thanks to all you do, Chief!
I did get out a few days other than Tuesday and Wednesday fishing. Saturday was a good day in that I got out later and only fished for a few hours. I came in to check on my ribs smoking and went back out. I stayed close by, but I ran into several nice fish schooling on the point by the house. I’ve landed nothing big but two-pounders lately, and they’ve been like gold. I proceeded to catch nine fish on nine casts. with three or four weighing in at two pounds.
Of course, things couldn’t go smoothly. I caught a stri-per, and when I boat-flipped him, he started flopping all over and buried the treble hook on the crankbait in two places in my calf. We had to come to an understanding really quick. With two hooks buried in my calf, I couldn’t take the flopping. We came eventually reached a compromise, and I released him with a 30-foot throw. I had the fun of digging two hooks out of my calf that went in one place and came out another. I was able to pop them out after 10 minutes of surgery using my needle nose pliers.
I can’t write an article without mentioning the grandkids, of course. We celebrated Anna and Finley’s birthday on Sunday with a small party at my son and daughter-in-law’s house, and a fun time was had by all. The kiddies received lots of toys and a sugar high from the cake and candy. I feel a boat ride may be in store in the near future for both of them.
I’m not sure how many more of these articles I’ll be doing with all of the sports going at full speed. Let us know if you would like them to continue by e-mailing the paper or hitting us up on Facebook with a comment or suggestion. I would like to do a couple more, for sure. I’m thinking on one about ways to help improve our fishery in this area, as well as importance of the Coosa River to the local community. It more than likely will be opinion-based on my take and input from local fisherman around town.
The Classic results for the Tuesday/Wednesday tournament series are for two days. The Classic had 33 boats and paid out 12 places for a total of $9,100. First place went to Hunter Hayes and Dallas McElroy with 13.35 pounds. Second place went to Joseph and James with 12.80 pounds and third place went to Colton and Dylan with 12.58 pounds. The Big Fish on Day One was Derick Roberts and Day 2 was Tracy and Brandon.
The Chief wanted to send out thanks to all the folks that helped him through the fishing season. Thanks to all the local fishermen that fished this season. It looks as if we will be having a two-day tournament on November 14 and 15. I do not have more info at this time, but I do know that the tournament will benefit Mission 22, a nonprofit organization that helps get military veterans into fishing.
I hope to see everyone that can get out and support our veterans with this tournament.
See you on the water!

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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