June 3, 2021
Confessions of a Fishing Ninja
I’m coming up on about 18 months into my “taking up fishing again” life-altering experience. I can report that it has been a rip-roaring success on “every level”. Many of said levels were unexpected.
You may recall that 5-6 years ago I began lamenting that I had given up fishing when I went off to college over a half century ago. It wasn’t a conscious decision tied to post-adolescent evolution. I just stopped … and 50+ years later realized I had … ???
Looking back now at the places I’ve been and things I’ve done in those 50+ years – “fishing” would have been an easy life-long recreational pursuit complementing my decades of frustration trying to fit round peg “me” into square hole corporate America. I could have still met Blondie and our resultant family blessings. I could still have evolved into “an Internet Legend” etc etc etc. Oh well …
Rather than lament those “lost years”, I choose to rejoice that I have rediscovered the recreational pursuit when I am still physically able to pursue it. I have thusly avoided a death bed proclamation “I wish I had fished more …”.
I’m not gonna recommend YOU oughta take up fishing. But maybe there are other discretionary pursuits you have let slide or never tried that you could “take up”.
Did You Know … there are in excess of a Bazillion YouTubes out there about fishing? Maybe there are a Bazillion YouTubes about “scrapbooking” and “growing roses” and “stamp collecting” and … probably. I “subscribe” to just 75 of the bazillion fishing videos. No charge … just hit SUBSCRIBE.
Guys in their basement wearing ballcaps look into their computers and talk about “fishing stuff”. Some of those guys are professional fishermen, but most are “just guys”. Some have accumulated 100,000s of subscribers and actually make $$$ from advertisers that YouTube insert into their shows. I always hit the Skip Ads button and assume most of the 100,000s do too.
Some of the YouTube guys put on GoPro camera harnesses and film their fishing experiences. There is one guy named “Debo” who says he lives in Iowa. A bit of an “odd duck” … Debo could be your normal everyday serial killer but he is very likable and knows a lot more about fishing than I do. I enjoy his shows. I enjoy the professional bass fishermen’s shows too.
Kevin VanDam (“KVD”) is the “Tom Brady” of Pro Bass Fishermen. He had dominated the sport for the past 15-20 years accumulating “millions” in winning and MUCH more than that in sponsorships.
My favorite “Pros” are Ott Defoe and Shelby’s Brian Thrift. Brian knows more about fishing Lake Norman than the rest of humanity combined.
Pro Fishermen are a lot like NASCAR drivers. They come from middle-class America … and come across as really nice guys you’d enjoy sitting next to on a long bus ride.
Maybe I’ll do a column on Professional Bass Fishing one of these days. There is absolutely No Political Rhetoric involved whatsoever although I’m pretty sure we share many socio-cultural values and moral perspectives. “Wokeness” and Cancel Culture is non-existant. … Enough about that … lets get back to Me & Fishing.
I am strictly a “bank fisherman”. I have no “watercraft” nor any inclination to purchase one. Being a “bank fisherman” is akin to playing golf with just a driver, five iron and a putter. Sure MAYBE if the stars aligned just right one could break 70 with just three clubs … but not likely.
Early on in my Fishing Renaissance I accepted the limitations of how I was going about it. In well over 100+ “going fishings” I measured “success” by: Did I hurt myself? … Did I have equipment frustrations? … How many lures did I lose to snags? … Did the convenience store on the way to Falls Lake have those chicken salad sandwiches?
I set reasonable goals for myself… and met them consistently. All the while gradually mastering the intricacies of my equipment. 200 consecutive casts with my “Abu Garcia bait-casting reel” without a backlash was a momentous day.
I should insert here that I chose to be an artificial lure guy rather than a live bait guy. Live bait guys will catch more fish but – IMO – it lacks the thrill of a lunker bass hitting your lure… or the anticipation that one “might”.
All the stuff I read said the only way to consistently catch fish as a bank fisherman was to gain access to a private well-stocked pond.
I have fished in over 20 Triangle-area “fisheries” from “The Big Three” – Falls Lake … Lake Jordan … Shearon Harris. (Insert trite comment about “Do fish from Shearon Harris glow in the dark?” Since I’ve yet to catch one, I don’t know.). and several dozen smaller lakes and ponds. On more than one occasion I have “snuck onto” No Trespassing lakes employing the time-honored tactic of ALYB – Act Like You Belong.
Going back to that golf analogy … I was content with my inability to “break 90” with my self-imposed limits being confined to “the bank”. Raleigh’s Lake Wheeler has yielded the occasional 2-3 lb catfish but thats about it … I was content … But I could dream couldn’t I … WELL ….
My Dream Has Come True … using Google Earth I scoured a 20-mile radius for what I categorized as “neighborhood ponds”. 6:00 AM visits had limited success … again using the above definitions of “success”.
The Answer was literally “in my backyard” … well Six Blocks away … a 7-acre private stocked pond.
I equate it to Lewis & Clark finally arriving on the shores of The Pacific. … Ponce de Leon finding his Fountain of Youth … etc. “One small step for Man … ” I COULD NOT have scripted a better situation.
I joined for $50/year and it has totally changed my Fishing Life. “Hoping” I might catch something has become I “Expect” to catch a 2-4 lb bass with every cast. On my last five trips I HAVE caught enough 2-4 pounders that I have lost count.
I still send pictures to Blondie and to ReRe and YaYa in Richmond before I release my catch … but it is becoming commonplace. There are verified reports of much larger “lunkers” in the lake.
“Paying my dues” with those months of very low expectations was simply the price you pay for “success”.
My short-term bucket list topper is now to catch a 5 lb bass on a “top water frog”. I expect to do so any day now.
Oh, I went out again with local Super Guide Joel Munday last week and caught four bass “over 3 lbs” on Lake Jordan.
Maybe I should start my own YouTube ? Look out “Debo” …
My revised strategy is to (1) enjoy bank fishing on “my nearby private pond” any time I want to … and (2) to schedule quarterly guide charters on the “famous bass fisheries” within 300 miles – Lake Norman … Lake Fontana … Lake Lure … Kerr Lake … Smith Mountain Lake … Santee-Cooper … Lake Murray … maybe even legendary Lake Guntersville in Alabama! I assume all of which have nearby c-stores with chicken salad sandwiches.
Owning a $50,000 Bass Boat with state-of-the-art electronics is – IMO – NOT as valuable as the local knowledge of an experienced guide. My Fishing Future is Very Bright! It’s a Good Thing!
FYI: I’m still very much involved in Saving America From Its Enemies Both Foreign (and Especially) Domestic. Blondie is on “The Tip of the Spear” in that 24/7 War. Just this week Blondie received an hour-long call out-of-the-blue from -REDACTED- which led to strategizing with – REDACTED – about -REDACTED-. Never a dull day at our “humble cottage on a quiet cul-de-sac in North Raleigh” …
You may have heard … Clay Travis & Buck Shelton will be “replacing Rush” on the Premiere Syndication Network. Dan Bongino, Dana Loesch and others have their own shows on other networks. We are no longer involved in any of that. We are big fans of Clay Travis from his OutKick website. Clay & Buck will not “be Rush” but should be just fine.
Several of you have asked about my Book Recommends. I promise to get back to those very soon.
More Sooner than Later …