A Day on the Lake with Rick Morris

Every angler is always looking for the perfect fishing guide; one who can show him a good time while catching fish, and teach him what he needs to know to duplicate the effort on his own. I have been lucky enough to go out with many guides, evaluating each of them for my readers.

When I learned that Rick Morris had taken a deferment from the B.A.S.S. Elites due to back problems and was guiding on Lake Gaston and Kerr Reservoir, I called him and asked to go out with him. Making the transition from angler to guide is a tricky one and not everyone can accomplish it. It takes totally different qualities to teach in addition to finding and catching fish.

Upon meeting, we discussed the weather and water conditions. The lake level was down four feet and the weatherman was calling for 3 days of soaking rain. Given the conditions, he suggested that we pick a downlake creek
that had some stain to the water. This prompted us to launch at Grassy Creek launch ramp and fish that creek all day.

After launching the boat, Rick started discussing baits and patterns for these conditions. He thought that we should be using reaction baits and fishing rocky bluffs and points close to deep water. His lure of choice was a large square bill crankbait. This lure has a wide wobble, creating maximum vibration and drawing fish from a distance. It is also very easy to cast. He handed me one of his RPM Custom Rods, with a medium parabolic action and 20# Gamma copolymer line.

He put the boat on plane and started the search for the ideal bass habitat, using his state of the art Lowrance Electronics. He was very patient in explaining to me just what we were seeing. As we pulled into each cove, he showed me what to look for on the screen and how this would tell us where the fish would be found. Putting the
trolling motor on medium high, we would start covering water, casting to the rock formations that continued into the water. In most cases, our casts resulted in fish right where he had called for them to be located. His thought in this weather was that we should cover water quickly, picking off fish in each cove and moving on to identical structure in other coves. After a while, even I could pick out where the fish should be.

I was impressed with all the tips he gave me. I normally use light line and am not always religious about retying baits. Rick retied my bait perhaps 10 or more times during the day, especially after catching striper and pickerel, but also after hitting a few rocky points. At the end of the day, I commented that I could not understand why my shoulders didn’t ache casting that lure all day long. He replied that matching the rod, reel and lure to the conditions goes a long way toward relieving any bodily stress.

Fishing with Rick is like fishing with a good friend who is interested in seeing you catch fish. At no time do you feel
uncomfortable with him. His teaching of fishing techniques is subtle, but effective. He does not hold a class, but asks you to slow down your retrieve just a bit. This keeps the lure from hanging up in the rocks. He had me bringing that lure right through the middle of crappie brushpiles without hanging up.

Over the course of the day, we caught six species of fish, including 22 bass, with a couple over the four pound mark. Considering the conditions, it was an excellent day. On a scale of one to ten, Rick rates a “10”. If you wish to learn to fish Lake Gaston or Kerr Reservoir, you need to call and book a trip with Rick Morris. You may contact him through his website: www.rpmfishing.com , via e-mail at: rick@rpmfishing.com or by phone at: 804-868-0014.