The honey-do list posted on the refrigerator is always a dead giveaway. The longer the list the better the fishing at the moment, and vice versa.
Every now and again it is a must to get off the water and get caught back up on things around my house that have been procrastinated to the point of being ridiculous. You know the fishing is good when you are cutting your grass with the aid of a Q-Beam mounted on your riding mower. Don't laugh! I know some of you will employ that strategy now that it's been made public. After all, anything to save a day on the water is always a plus.
As I sat down to make my plans for my day off, the cell phone rang like a reprieve from the governor. The friendly voice on the other end is none other than my buddy Capt. James Trimble and what he has to say is much more attractive than a day on a lawn mower. The opportunity to fish with really good fishermen who are also good friends doesn't come around often enough so I'm sure that yard work could wait one more day…couldn't it?
Capt. Trim and his tournament partner Paul Drymala were looking to pattern some redfish for an upcoming event and I couldn't pass up the chance to get in the boat with these guys. So what else is a guide to do on a day off but go fishing?
To say I was pleasantly surprised when I rolled up at the boat launch is a huge understatement. I parked my truck and walked up to what can best be described as an indigo blue fiberglass rocket ship; otherwise known as a Simmons Custom Boats StingRay. Now for a guy who spends the vast majority of his time in a small aluminum skiff; this was the equivalent of something from NASA - or perhaps even Area 51 in Roswell. The big 300 Mercury hanging off the transom grabbed my attention first and it just got worse from there. This thing looked like it was going 70mph sitting on the trailer! An absolutely incredible looking machine for sure.
Once in the water the big Mercury roared to life and I should have known I was in trouble right there. The slow idle out of the slip into the channel gave the same feeling as when you make your initial climb on a roller coaster, being helpless to stop the impending speed that is merely seconds away.
With Capt. Trim at the throttle and Paul riding shotgun; I was relegated to sitting on the back deck where I quickly found a place to hang on and pray. The holeshot of this rig was violent and the speed at which we approached mach whatever was mind blowing. I can remember years ago when we ran bass boats that we thought were fast, this was something else indeed.
A quick glance at the tachometer and then the speed displayed on the GPS boggled my mind, only 4000 RPM and we were running mid-60s and climbing. All this with three guys in the boat and a full load of gear. I think it was around 70mph when I told Trim in rather colorful words that if he didn't slow down - "I'm gonna punch you in the back of the head."
Trim and Paul got a huge kick out of that and obliged me by backing out of the throttle to a snail's pace of 50mph or so.
The SCB was easily the most impressive boat I personally have ever been in and I can certainly see why tournament anglers are drawn to this fantastic ride. The ability to reach incredible speeds is one thing but to also be able to run at modest RPMs and still cruise faster than most boats can only dream is another. Not only does the boat run well, it fishes just as good, and the stability is ridiculous. Those guys at SCB have it figured out for sure. Hats off to them for building an amazing fishing machine.
Now after we had our version of the Texas Cyclone and Space Mountain rolled into one on the water, we actually got down to the business of fishing. One thing I really enjoy about fishing with another guide or another really good angler is talking about how they would approach certain situations. How they read or interpret different factors or variables on the water is informative and I am always amazed at the things I learn or share with these guys. It's a real eye-opener at times and that makes the day that much more enjoyable.
The basic technique for the day didn't involve catching fish so much as it did locating fish. Provoking strikes to let us know fish were in the area and catching a few in order to see what size they were was the main objective. After all, you wouldn't want to go in there and jaw-jack every fish you may need for tournament day, would you?
Now in order to cover all our options we employed a couple of different methods to cover as much water as possible. If you don't know what pattern is working it's always best for everyone on the boat to try something different in order to find the pattern quicker - and that's exactly what we did. We threw topwater plugs, soft plastics, and plastics under a cork. The bite was consistent all day on topwater and plastics fished under the cork. We keyed on scattered grass and shrimp or other bait running along the shorelines. The water has been so high for weeks now that the grass along the lake has really become a great ambush point for all the predator species, especially the reds.
As is with most days during summer, the threat of thunderstorm was always present and that kept us moving most of the day which worked out great. Had we not been hastened by constantly outrunning the rain we likely would not have covered as much water, or found as many fish. In the end we established a solid pattern and hopefully by the time this article hits the newsstand Trim and Paul will be spending some of the prize money they won. Even if it doesn't work out for them in the tournament, the day we spent on the water was certainly a good one.
Spending time with other fishermen in a relaxed atmosphere is what draws us to the sport, keeps us coming back, and helps you better appreciate your opportunities. Now where is that Q-Beam?