Friday, August 3, 2012

A Goal Finally Fulfilled......

It finally happened.........

I was successful at guiding my hero for the day onto some fish at a recent Central VA HOW event and he caught one.......

I really felt connected to this catch, because the fish was caught on a lure I picked out, rigged personally for him with my terminal tackle, and set the drag for on his reel before heading out.  We started the afternoon by working the shaded side of cover and experienced infrequent subtle hits but no solid takes.  I was using a stick bait rigged Texas style and my hero was using the small profile creature bait that I had rigged with a Confidence Baits 1/4 oz Draggin' Head.  I had the first fish on a short while later when I skipped my stick bait onto the bank and twitched into the water.  It was crushed immediately.  You can see how much shade we had to work with in the image below.
A close examination of the location found a steep drop off from the bank into about 2 feet of water directly in the shade - a prime location on a day where the air temps were reading 92 degrees plus and water temps on the surface in exposed water were only 10 degrees less.
When the activity of the fish waned, we paddled over to a cove that has produced some quality fish in the past for various folks.  I did a quick recon of the area ahead of my group to check water clarity and depth and found the depths to be only 3-4 feet deep for a considerable distance from the shore with murky water conditions.  I advised my hero to cast over towards the bank but to fish the area 15-20 feet away from the shore and work the lure back slowly along the bottom onto the deeper ledge drop off.  First cast using this pattern - BAM!  Fish on!

An overwhelming sense of satisfaction and enormous weight was lifted from my shoulders.  Now, I have helped some heroes get on some fish in the salt at last year's TKAA Charity Tournament, but locating fish in Rudee Inlet is far easier than at the other locations, because the fishy locations within Rudee are well known, hence the reason our heroes have such overwhelming success there.

However, the last two years has been a frustrating time for me in the freshwater locations when accompanied by a hero.  As a volunteer at these events, you are regarded by the heroes as an "expert" in how to catch fish at that given location on any given day.  For me, Sandy River and Bear Creek have always produced fish, but when I have located the fish in the past for our heroes, their hook up ratio is not as successful as I normally experience.

Sure, you could rationalize some of the factors beyond their control like: lack of experience with the given body of water; reading the water and knowing where the bite will come; the higher end equipment and line choices I use, etc., etc..  It still doesn't cure that ill feeling I get after an event where I was able to land fish and my hero was not.

It was a relief to finally be successful for a change and lead my hero down the path to success.  It was also very humbling to hear my hero emit the words to his grandson, "You see, I told you he was good.  He knew exactly where that fish was and what would work to catch him."

Now, we're taught by our elders at an early age to not be boastful or even envious of others and their successes.  But for this day, I was truly envious of my hero's success in a way, and I will be boastful for him for he has been long overdue for success on this lake.  Words aren't enough to try and convey the overwhelming sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that welled up inside of me.  Next to the unconditional love of a child or spouse, I would contend that a relative stranger prior to these outings placing complete trust in your ability to lead them to fish is a very fulfilling feeling.

My only hope is that I can lead him yet again at a future outing and help him have continued success and cement that belief in me both as a person and as an angler.........

Until next time, be safe, tight lines and thank a service member for everything they have freely given for your freedoms.

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