The Gross National Debt

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Travel Log III

We get to the lake, to the marina. We being CM and I. He's driving and GPS did the navigating. Much like people who get in planes, I'm just a passenger. Exactly like most of those people, I'm hoping CM (who is a real captain) doesn't overbook the trip and decide I'm the passenger who needs to be forcibly evicted harder than a semi-conscious crack head.

This is Columbus. I can find the Hooch, just head west until I run into the river. But finding a specific location, such as a marina. Well, yes. I can find that too. I just need a few week's head start.

Further, CM and I are the two fishing in the same boat with a guide. I can still be kicked out of the boat.

We get to the marina without the need to become the next Youtube viral video and that day's "discussion du jour" on the Internet. Our guide, a just-graduated college student and member of the college's bass fishing team

Hang on.

College. Bass. Fishing. Team?


BASS FISHING TEAM? When did this happen? Why didn't it happen in the mid-80s so I could be on a college bass fishing team? Who is responsible for this and can I go back to college right now?

This needs much more research

who is an expert on the lake. Which lake? The one we fished. Do not bother me with frivolous questions. I made it to Columbus, GA, and found the hotel. We fished one of the lakes here.

Our guide was ready. He even had a can of red wigglers in case the bass decided to not bite.

Talk about awesome. And yes, I do have his name. It's in the notepad I can't find.

Look. I MADE IT TO COLUMBUS. OK? You still don't know what an achievement this is.

Anyway, the water was the color of watered-down chocolate milk or coffee with a LOT of creamer. Lots of debris in the water too. The storms dumped plenty of water into the system. CM and our guide feared the fishing would be bad. Being a 28-year veteran of GOWA meetings, I was not at all concerned. I knew the fishing was gonna be bad. Any time outdoor writers show up, fish quit biting, animals go into hiberation and package stores raise their prices 25 percent.

We motor out a short distance. The water clears. Whoa.

Our guide motors us over to a section of the lake that looks exactly like the rest of the lake. It looks exactly same because we are looking at the surface. If we could see under water, we'd see a huge stump field in a few feet of water. We'd also see jillions of spotted bass cruising the stump field like a pack of hyenas trailing a herd of limping wildebeest.

I verify the presence of the stumps, carefully marking each one by getting my lure hung. This allows CM and the guide to spend far more time fishing than I. As a result, they catch more fish. I receive no thanks for this selfless act of mapping the lake bottom far more accurately than any sonar, radar, aerial surveillance or topographic map.

Our guide and CM throw topwater lures. These lures make lots of noise on the surface and are specifcally designed to draw fish to the surface and, more importantly, not get hung on subsurface stumps. I throw a much-bass-chewed black firetail worm. I start drawing actual strikes from actual fish, landing one small spot, while CM and our guide whip the surface into a heavy froth.

They switch lures. Our guide said he read that heavily pressured fish, which these are, can be caught with a jig head with the skirt removed and a soft bait on the hook. He equips us with Chatterbaits and a swimming shad in a silver-shad pattern. Our discussion moves to fish and their ability to see colors. If you think bass cannot see colors, then you are not a bass angler.

As the spots move off that color pattern, the guide switched bodies to one with a more green color. The bite resumes. After CM pried me off the guide's leg, I apologized to him, saying it had been a while since breakfast. He told me there were sandwiches in the cooler. Truth told, I was not hungry. I was irked he was catching more fish than me.

I put the even more abused black-fire tail on. More fish. Black firetail worms with a curled tail is my go-to color. It produces fish for me.

While out, we also saw carp. A LOT of carp, including one that was 30+ pounds and tailing in the shallows. He or she was making a huge racket. I guess the fish was the Donald Trump of that body of water. We saw other carp swim up to the edge of the reeds and bull their way INTO the reeds. Carp expert HS later told me this is peak carp spawning season and the fish were in the reeds to spawn.

Fish sex in public in the weeds. Just making it clear for you.

The morning came to an end and CM and I had to be at the municipal shooting range at 1. As our guide's boat was not equipped for land travel, unless it was towed on a trailer or something really bad happened, we had to part company. We were due at the range to shoot guns belonging to someone else and use their ammunition, my preferred way to spend time on a shooting range. Heckler & Koch was the sponsor. We shot 9mm semi autos, which I found to be superior in construction, handling and accuracy than the Glock. But that's a story for Travel Log IV.

Our guide was Michael Chambliss. We fished on Lake Oliver. You can see a picture of one of the two fish I landed at on Facebook at the Georgia Outdoor Writer's Association page CM posted the smaller of the two.

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