Gone Fishin' - Oct. 21, 1987

October 21, 1987                                                                  By Charlie Taylor

WAS IT A FISH OR A BABY?

Saturday was just like any other day on the water with a couple of clients trying to catch a few fish......or was it?.....

Jay Conley of Burke told me that he was bringing his wife along and I was pleased at the prospect. Women appreciate catching fish more than most men and get much more excited when it happens.

When I met Jay and his wife Tracy, I got a little more than I had bargained for, as I noticed that Tracy was definitely pregnant. This did not bother me, however, as I had guided pregnant women before with no ill effects. Tracy assured me that she was not due until Super Bowl Sunday and we should have no problems. This was a great relief, as I am not quite prepared at this stage of my life to be a midwife.

Thinking better of my previous plan to run the river a little to catch some of the better spots, I changed my mind and elected to put in at Belle Haven Marina and fish the cove behind the marina. This cove has plenty of deep water, plenty of hydrilla and plenty of fish. It also afforded an opportunity to fish all day without broaching any waves or wakes. (An ounce of prevention and all that stuff.)

We put the boat in the water and fired up the inboard engine. Motoring to the back end of the cove, I tried to fill them in a little on fishing tidal water and in particular, this cove. We arrived at the back end of the cove and proceeded to try to untangle all the lines on the various rods laying in the rod holder. This did not prove to be too huge a task for a change, and we were soon fishing.

We started with large, deep-diving crankbaits and buzzbaits, as it was still dark. We continued to cast the crankbaits until first light. As dawn broke, we switched to plastic worms and began to fish the dropoffs adjacent to the hydrilla. When I asked Jay if he had any experience fishing a plastic worm, he replied that he had not had much success, but that he loved to fish them. I accepted his words and proceeded to fish the edges of the hydrilla. I also managed to net three fish for him before I got the first strike. And then I missed the fish. A man who had not had much success at worm fishing had taken three fish while I was standing beside him fishing the same worm and getting nothing. Did not look too good for our team.

We continued to fish the same area, while other bass boats moved into the cove and began fishing. We were gradually crowded and Tracy mentioned that she needed to be let off on the bank for a minute. I elected instead to return her to the Marina to use the public restrooms. This would give us a break in the fishing and provide me with an opportunity to think a little more about the situation.

While I had not seen any of the other boats catch a fish in the cove, this did not mean that they were not catching fish or that we would catch any more on this day. A change in tactics seemed to be in order.

When Tracy and Jay returned to the boat, I started informing them of a method called Flipping. This method involved dropping a plastic worm noiselessly into the water at the edge of the hydrilla bed, working it slightly and picking it up to drop it again at another point. They both practiced the method as we started moving up the bank very slowly. Tracy loved it and figured that it was a whole lot easier than casting a crankbait all day.

As we moved up the bank, Jay flipped his worm into holes that could not possible hold fish. The water was very shallow, the hydrilla was too thick, the worm dropped like a bomb, scared minnows jumped clear of the water when the worm dropped and Jay caught fish. No matter how I positioned the boat, Jay found a way to drop that worm in a hole and pick out a fish.

At the same time however, Tracy was struggling to maintain her balance as she set the hook over and over again, only to come up with no fish. All was fairly quiet in the boat, with everyone giving full concentration to the feel of a plastic worm moving across the bottom. All of a sudden, Tracy got a pained expression on her face and said "I have been setting the hook when I felt a tap through the rod handle. I just figured out that the taps I have been feeling are the baby kicking. This baby wants to fish too."

Unfortunately, we could not figure out a way to allow the baby to fish or a way for Tracy to be able to feel the strike of a fish with the baby kicking. Tracy was not able to catch a fish on this day. Jay did catch a few more fish, however, before we had to make for shore.

As we took the boat out of the water, we talked to other fishermen who had been fishing all day and learned that none of the others had caught any fish at all. This made our catch very respectable as Jay took the net with 12 largemouth bass to the edge of the ramp and released them to fight again some other day.

Good fishin....