Monday I woke up at 4 am to drive to Fork and pick up Tboxfish for a day of fishing. Todd accepted my invitation to do some scouting for the upcoming sand bass tournament and hopefully a little crappie fishing too. This would be my First
time meeting and fishing with Todd and I was looking forward to it. It would also be my First
time drooling over all of Belinda's handcrafted lures so that I could pick my favorite patterns and attempt to copy them when I got back home.
I arrived at their residence 15 minutes early and waited on him to come out and jump in the truck. Fast forward 15 minutes and I am hitting the horn and beating on his door with no response. Fast forward another 15 minutes and I am walking around knocking on random walls where I think he might be sleeping on the other side.
By doing this I managed to wake up Belinda who came to the door and then woke Todd up. Belinda came and sat outside to talk with me while we continued to wait on Todd. She introduced herself and then began telling me why I needed to be fishing with a G-rod.
I tried to buy a couple 7' rods, but they were currently sold out of that size so I decided to wait until they got some in.
Todd eventually walked out and started saying that this was the First
time he had ever done that.
He grabbed a couple G-rods, a gallon large ziplock full of plastics, and a utility box full of jig heads that I'm convinced lowered my boat's top end by at least 2 mph. He tossed them in the boat and off we went. He decided that we could not go to the spot that he had originally planned on going because my boat has a large T-top that would not allow it to fit under the bridge.
We launched at the 154 east public ramp and went to look for some sandies. First
spot didn't show any fish. Second spot showed a large group holding on the edge of the roadbed.
Todd said that he was looking forward to seeing my Xi5 trolling motor in action so now was going to be his first opportunity. I deployed it and it just started beeping over and over. I saw that it did not have any satellite signal for some reason.
I assured him that this was the First
time it had ever happened. I was just going to have to manually operate the motor since it could not spot lock w/o any satellite signal. I was trying to decide what lure to drop First
and I see Todd come up on his toes and setting the hook like he is trying to kill something. He says he had a pitbull with fins(Sand bass). He promptly gets the fish to the surface and it turned out to be his customary ditch pickle on his First
drop of the day.
Todd managed to catch one sand bass in that spot while I zeroed. We decided to run and gun to cover more areas since it was a scouting trip so off we went in search of more fish. We were on our way south and scanning the points and road beds on the east side of the lake for more fish when I saw a submerged tree that I had previously marked months ago. The tree resulted in a nice shell cracker and several crappie. One of which was our First
keeper. I bet you can guess who caught that one.
Once I showed him my First
and only spot that I had marked in that area of the lake he began showing me pile after pile along the east bank. He brought me to a giant pile that he guaranteed we would get bit at and he wasn't kidding. He caught several keepers as quick as he could get his jig in the water while I attempted to keep us on the pile. I have apparently forgotten how to operate a trolling motor after using spot lock for the last year. I think he was feeling sorry for me because he dropped the jig down and then handed me the G-rod so that I could feel how sensitive it was. I lifted the rod tip and promptly got hung up in the brush pile and lost his jig.
It was at this exact moment that the trolling motor stopped responding to my remote control completely.
I managed to reset the trolling motor and reprogrammed the remote and it started working. We even had satellite signal for the First
time all day!! I pulled back to the brush pile and hit anchor and waited with a smug smile on my face for Todd to see how well it held us on the brush pile in the wind. Things were starting to look up.
I was finally able to fish like I am used to fishing and it was time to redeem myself for the poor showing I had earlier in the day. Then Todd told me to turn off the trolling motor because his line was caught in it's prop.
We could not get it untangled so I started removing the prop so I could get the line out of the motor. I was begging the small MG prop pin to please behave itself as I unscrewed the prop. It did not behave and fell right into the lake.
We had finally got the trolling motor working correctly and now we did not have a way to keep the prop on. Then I remembered that I had some "extra parts" from when I had added the TH Marine prop nut. Thankfully I had one extra pin so we were back in business.
The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. We managed to scout a large majority of the east bank from Hwy 515 bridge all the way to the dam. I had a blast fishing with Todd and learned several techniques that I had not seen before for fishing a jig. The fish wanted a small natural bait at 14-16' and they were trying to knock the rod out of our hands. Todd's best bait was Thermocline's 2" tadpole in Ice Shad and my most productive was a 2.25" jointed minnow in my best attempt at Black Emerald Shiner. Both of us were using 1/16 oz jig heads and using the rod tip to control the fall.
We were off the water by lunch time and Todd and Belinda were nice enough to show me Thermocline's headquarters. They have a great operation and I can honestly say that I have never seen a bait making station that clean. Belinda must be a cleaning machine! If anyone is in the area, they should definitely stop by and pick up some baits. They have tons of baits in stock and ready to fish. Even after Todd sleeping in and all of the issues that we had during the trip I absolutely enjoyed it. Todd is a phenom with a jig rod. If anyone was looking to finally kick the minnow bucket habit they need to book a jig fishing trip with Todd. It was a day of Firsts
, but I am hoping that it won't be that last time we get to fish together. If we do, I'm gonna tell him I'll be there 30 minutes earlier than I actually will.