Bob- Our Hapless Fisherman, Always Hopeful!
On our recent camping trip to Doll Mountain Campground, Georgia, we brought the kayaks thinking we would spend time on Carters Lake, located at the campground. My plan was to find and catch some fish and I should point out that this is always my hopeful plan. Before I had a chance to take the kayak out, we went to visit the town of Blue Ridge and we came across a fly fishing store called Blue Ridge Fly Fishing. As I walked in the store, I met the store manager, Art Dawe, standing at the counter and I asked him about fishing Carters Lake. He responded that he had never been there as he is a fly fisherman and fishes in the local creeks and rivers. Our conversation continued and I asked if he was from Blue Ridge. His answer was that he had grown up in the Chicago area and of course I asked “Where?”. Turns out that we both graduated from the same high school, Homewood Flossmoor, three years apart. Small World!
The next day we decided to take the kayaks onto the lake, so I called a local bait shop to ask about fishing on Carters Lake, where I could buy a Georgia fishing license and what bait would he recommend. The short answers were that I could get my license online and that I should use big, juicy worms. And as I have heard before, at least twice, the main point of fishing is to have fun. It is interesting that the people who tell me to have fun are the people who catch lots of fish.!
For general information, at the Take Me Fishing website you can select a state and purchase an out of state license. Georgia’s out of state license is $45 and if you want to fish for trout you need a separate tag for $20. I was able to take care of this on my laptop and I took a photo of the license with my phone in case I was asked to show it while I was on the water.
Carters Lake is a very big lake so fishing in a kayak means staying close to the edge fishing the points and coves, at least that was what the guy at the bait shop told me. So at the first rocky point, I cast a purple, worm thingy (fishing jargon Bob style) someone gave me saying that it would really work well. I must say so far not so much. But on this morning a fish, not a rock, bit my bait. Wow, I had a fish on my hook for about 20 yards and then the fish spit the purple worm thingy out and the bait flew over my head. After untangling my line, I continued to cast the same bait in the same place, but I think fish were smarter than me. So for the next hour, at every point and every cove, I cast my bait to no avail.
About this time, the clouds were building and the sky was turning very black and threatening. Chris and I kept looking over our shoulders toward the west watching for thunderstorms. All of a sudden the west end of the lake turned black and lightening started. This is when a motor would be nice, but off we went with our paddles. We paddled as fast as we could heading for the boat ramp. I couldn’t help but notice that Chris kept pulling away from me in her kayak. I have said before that her boat always moves faster than mine, but she claims that maybe it’s her skill and not her boat. I must admit that maybe her Girl Scout experiences are a benefit to her. Once we were back at the boat ramp, we quickly pulled the boats out of the water and loaded them onto the back of the truck. When we arrived at the camp site, we were glad be inside our cozy camper as the rain fell and thunder roared. That night the sky really let lose. The wind blew hard and the trees threw branches at our trailer. I was really pleased with our trailer since it didn’t rock or bounce throughout the night.
The morning was grand as we woke up to sunshine and blue skies. So we headed outside to our sitting area overlooking the lake where Chris, Jasper and I enjoyed some coffee time together and the lovely sunrise. As we discussed the day ahead, we decided that since I wanted to try my hand at fishing again, I would go by myself. The solo trip seemed the best idea as Chris said she needed to do some work and I should go by myself. She also mentioned that sometimes watching me as I fish was a bit boring, almost as boring as watching golf when no one is taking the lead. But she did say this with a smile.
With the boat loaded in the back of the truck, I headed for the ramp. After unloading the boat, I stuck my two poles in the kayak pole holders that are located behind my seat. For this day’s fishing, I bought a container of plump wigglers so I added these to the kayak confident as usual that this new bait would work and I would catch some fish for dinner. On a side note, I have come to the conclusion that there is a rule written somewhere that worms must come in small blue tubs with dirt.
With a worm on my hook and continually casting the line with no bites, I kept moving along the lake shore. As I moved around the lake, the fish starting jumping out of the water behind me! Always behind me, never in front. Since I was moving the kayak around with my small handheld paddle, I fastened my kayak paddle to the side of the boat. I decided I needed to turn my kayak around and to move faster to catch up with the fish jumping just out of my reach, now in front of me. So I reached down to unhooked my kayak paddle and pulled it up to start moving faster. As I did this, I accidentally hooked the paddle under the fishing pole in back pole holder and out it fell into the lake. Helpless, I watched it hit the water and sink into the lake and then a fish, as big as my forearm, jumped out of the water right next to my boat. As the pole with a worm on it headed for the bottom of the lake so followed the fish who was determined to catch the bait still hooked to the pole. I watched all of this happen and all I could do was laugh. I laughed loudly and I don’t think any one heard me except the fish who was enjoying a juicy wiggler dinner.
Chris is now calling me her Hapless Fisherman. I looked up the definition to make sure it wasn’t something too bizarre and found that it means: ” without luck, unfortunate”. I guess this makes sense, so this Hapless Fisherman headed back to the dock with another great fish story and nothing for dinner. Luckily, Chris had supper waiting for me at the campsite.
Enjoy life, laugh a lot, go fish and have fun.