As a pitching coach I spend a lot of time and develop great relationships with my catchers as well. I recently had the opportunity to take one of my former catchers fishing before he moved in for his freshman year at Western Carolina University. This is a major transition point in his life and it was fun to share a day with him and catch up on life – from a kayak.
This was Colby’s first kayak fishing trip, and his first time fishing for smallmouth bass. I had looked forward to fishing with Colby and while he didn’t come out and say it I could tell he was excited too. I hoped the river would cooperate so that Colby would gain an understanding as to why river smallmouth fishing can be so addicting. The river did not disappoint.
It did not take long for Colby to hook up with his first river smallmouth. After paddling the Jackson Kayak Kilroy into position he made a long cast. The first fish of the day came in an ultra shallow run on a black River2Sea Whopper Plopper 90. This was a great sign of things to come. Colby continued casting the plopper like an experienced river rat. He put on a clinic landing the lure in tight quarters – between rocks and laydowns, under overhangs, and just like every other fisherman, in the trees every now and then. His casts were rewarded more times than not.
While Colby was putting on a show with the plopper, I took a different approach. After Colby caught few fish out of a productive area, I would come in and “clean up” with a Gambler Lures TZ on a 1/16 oz mushroom jig head. Typically 2 or 3 fish could be caught on top out of productive runs and 3 or 4 more could be caught on the small paddle tail swim bait.
Runs and pools will typically have “sweet spots” and today was no different. Once Colby and I found the sweet spot in the shoals we could almost call our shot. It was a very gratifying feeling to help guide Colby to such a large number of fish – but it was more gratifying to see him make the perfect cast to a piece of structure that I had instructed – then watch him hook up.
At one point I joked with Colby that we were literally calling our shots – then the river seemingly turned off. I guess we got a little cocky and it was time for Colby to learn that river smallies aren’t always so cooperative. We kept trying for a couple more hours with limited success, but nothing like we had experienced earlier in the day. We did not encounter any trophy smallies as we had hoped but the day was great – just as they all are!
Best of luck, Colby…