COMMENTS BY KIM: Bad coffee, sleepless and fishless
Old-fashioned bass kickin’
A week ago I wrote that I would share with you one of my latest adventures as a bass fisherman. Make that a wannabe bass fisherman. Well, here it goes.
None of this will make sense to the non-angler or casual fisherman. Cripes! It doesn’t really make any sense to me and I did it and will keep doing it until some type of intervention occurs.
On the evening of Friday, May 21, I filled my tow vehicle with gasoline, which continues to go up in price and therefore increases the cost of fishing. I loaded my rods and reels into my boat, along with tackle bags and assorted other essentials that I’ve never used, and hitched it up. This was all done in preparation of participating in a bass tourmanent on Spiritwood Lake the following day.
Because I always endeavor to be truthful in all of my written words consumed by my vaunted readers, let me offer here at the outset that bravado is big part of fishing. You have to act the part, look the part, know how to pretend, and always be willing to offer useless gibberish about previously unknown methods and tactics. It is all part of a well orchestated effort to pull off the illusion of being a wealth of wisdom about all things fishing. Now, what follows here is reality, though I wish it was an illusion.
My alarm went off at 1:04 a.m. after about two and a half hours of attempted sleep. I simply had too much fishing gear to think about and tactics to review to sleep soundly. At 1:41 a.m. I was on my way, reaching the edge of the city with no breakfast and a mug of coffee, which I cherished as an absolute necessity at such an early hour.
I drank down the last of my coffee long before pulling into a C-store in Carrington for the purpose of topping off my gasoline tank and, quite necessarily, refill my coffee mug. The coffee helped keep me awake, not because of the caffeine but because it was really, really bad coffee. Just awful!
When I reached the south side of Carrington a few minutes later the rain that had been falling somewhat intermittently turned into a torrential downpour. At 4:16 a.m. the rain was falling so hard that I had to pull off the highway due to zero visibility. Even having the windshield wipers on high was useless.
Six minutes later the rain let up just a bit, but enough to allow me to get back on the highway. I checked the time and the distance to the lake and calculated I still had plenty of time to spare before launch time. Then the rain got worse again. Just as I was searching for a place to pull off the pavement and wait it out, the rain let up.
Now, just 7 miles from Spiritwood Lake, it quit raining completely. I pulled into the boat ramp parking area at 4:57 a.m. The rules meeting was scheduled for 6 a.m. with the launch at 6:30. I had time for a few minutes of sleep but decided to check on my boat before nodding off. Water was pouring out the drain hole at the back, and kept doing so for 15-20 minutes.
Even though the plug had been removed during transport, my boat was full of water from the hard rain, so much so that I even ran my bilge pump for several minutes. While this was going on, in the dark, three other boats arrived at the ramp area. Then came several more. A power nap was out of the question.
At 6:08 a.m. tournament officials began a boat check, making sure that all live wells were empty and no live bait was on board. At 6:15 came the rules meeting with all competitors gathered in the parking lot to listen to what they could and could not do. At the drawing for starting positions I drew chip 17, dead last. How appropriate.
Ah, not to be dismayed, I took a moment to review my plan of attack for the day. In my boat I had four fishing rods rigged and ready. I reasoned that my cleverly thought out choices would be the envy of all others in the seasoned field. One was tipped with a Ned rig and green pumpkin big TRD. Another an orange X-rap. Still another a dark green football jig with a crawfish trailer. And, finally, one with a red crawfish squarebill.
Absolutely none of those selections worked. My only consolation was that I did have a zander take a run at the squarebill. It was the first time I’d ever seen one of the experimental European walleyes that were stocked into Spiritwood many years ago.
I fished rocky shorelines, weedy shorelines, weed lines, shallow, deep, and various speeds. All to no avail. It was chilly, a bit windy, and I couldn’t buy a fish. Not in the early morning, mid-morning, noon, or early afternoon. Fishless and sleepless, and wondering how I was going to stay awake for the drive home, I made the decision to get off the water a half-hour early.
But, hey, all of that is a distant memory! What matters is the next cast, the next event. And better coffee.