This month's tournament was a week early due to the Holiday weekend.
Swamphouse Landing on the bountiful Escambia River served as our gathering
We had already had a good taste of Ole Man Winter for several days prior to the tournament, in fact more cold weather than we'd had the entire year.
This had dropped the water temp and with the lack of rain, helped to really clear the creeks. The main river color was slightly stained and really looked good. Water temp was near 50 and the air temp was about the same.
The only negative (outside of Escambia River itself) was the wind and the high blue skies that prevailed for most of the day.
My partner for this month was none other than Astronaut Jim Bailey Sr.
Jim recently got himself a "New" rocket to fly up the river with.
I was lucky enough to convince him to wait until the sun came up and the early
temps moderated before checking out the warp speed factors and fish in some
spots down low in the grass. Jim and I scrubbed the banks raw for about
2-3 hours before we gave it up and headed North. We neither had put a fish
in the boat and only had a few "maybe" hits.
We started our trip up stream and I was pleased to see how nice the
new rocket-boat ran. It was really stable and took the sharp turns nicely.
Also Astronaut Jim was kind enough not to make my face distort in the wind.
Anyway we fished in Becks Lake without so much as a hit and then on to a
spot of mine on the main river. Eventually I caught a short fish and Jim
wanted to leave but I convinced him that there was at least one more fish
in the hole. He found it a few minutes later.... It came to the surface with a big smile on its face....he'd hooked up with about a 6-7 lb grinnel. From there it was warp 3 back to the grass. Once we hit the last long straight above the bridge I was able to glance over and noted that the speedometer was locked on 76 MPH. The rocket-boat was still very comfortable and felt stable but the wind distortions on my face would have been really great for a sci-fi movie.
We returned to a spot where we had a few hits earlier that morning, and Jim snagged a nice bass on the first cast. We finished the day on that bank and that was the extent of our catching. Fishing was tough to say the least for us but I couldn't have asked for a better partner, and I really enjoyed his new boat.
Come to think of it, I haven't fished my boat in a tournament in 5 months.....
oh well that's the luck of the draw system.
While we didn't find the fish, some of the Hawg Hunters did. It seems that a lot of guys found fish in numbers, but short fish. At the scales Don Jahnke showed up with two fine twins to capture 1st place. He had a couple of beautiful fish, both over 3 lbs. Says he caught one on a jig and the other on a spinner bait.
Mad Dog (Fred Raby), came in with 3 keepers totaling 3.28 lbs for 2nd place, and Mitch Gardner showed up with two fish to take 3rd place with 2.88 lbs.
All totaled there were 22 fish weighed in totaling 29.89 lbs.
A pretty thin showing, but it was December on the bountiful Escambia River. Most fish were caught on soft plastics.
Our next outing will be January 20, 2001, out of Mizell's on the Tensaw River. With Ole Man Winter roaring louder this year than in a while, it will be interesting to see how it effects the fishing. Take extra precaution in the cold weather and be properly prepared before going out on the water.
I want to take this little bit of time to thank Jim Bailey for allowing me to rattle and ramble about our fishing trips on this page, and to you the readers for taking the time to give it a glance and for the email comments. I hope the New Year will bring you much success both on and off the water.
Til next time.... Remember...
Keep your hooks sharp....