What's Been and What's to Come
If today were the last day of the year
instead of the first of March, it would have been a pretty good year for a few
GRF members. If you check out the Braggin' Board, you will see the biggest shoal
bass you've probably ever laid eyes on, and GRFer Fishing Addict had perhaps the
finest day of river bass fishing any of us have ever even heard about. In
addition to these fine catches, there have already been at least a dozen
largemouth, shoal, and spotted bass caught by GRFers that have weighed in at
over three pounds. Did I mention that it was only March 1st?
Being typically late to the party, I have yet
to catch a fish from a river this year, and seeing as how we are in the midst of
another wet and chilly spell, it may be a week or two before I officially ring
in my "New Year". I always enjoy the anticipation of the new fishing
"season" almost as much as I enjoy actually fishing. So how do I
envision the next few months? Well, my first goal is to catch some big bass. I
am fortunate enough to live an hour or less from some really good bass rivers,
and I'd like to get at least three bass over four pounds. A couple enterprising
GRFers have instigated a contest of sorts in which we keep up with that type of
thing. It involves digital scales, cameras, and catch and release and you can
keep up with the contest here
if you like.
It'd be great to finish in the top five if
possible, but I have no illusions about my fishing abilities or the amount of
time I'll be able to spend on the water the next six months or so. The fact of
the matter is that there are a bunch of GRFers who are better fishermen than I
am and who also get out a good bit more. I still relish the competition however.
As an Economics teacher, I realize that competition will always lead to an
improved product, and if taking part in this competition helps me become a
better fisherman, then it's all been worth it. My prediction is that the winner
will have a three bass total of around sixteen pounds. If I can get to thirteen
pounds, I will have had a darn good year.
But for me it's never been all about species
and size. What gets me fired up is seeing new water, and I hope to get on at
least five new stretches of water this year. A quick perusal of this website
will reveal that my river experiences don't get too far south of the fall line.
I'd like to make at least two trips to new stretches of water in southern
Georgia, and if these can coincide with a good bass bite, then so much the
better. Closer to home, I'd like to get into the crappie and white bass sometime
in the next couple months. When I first started seriously researching rivers for
GRF (about eight years ago), I pursued white bass all over the state and had
both some fantastic and miserable days.
I also want to get into some more smallmouth
bass. Now, to really experience some decent smallmouth fishing, I'm going to
head north past the Georgia line, but there's not much that can compare to a
river smallmouth. A striper is one fish that definitely can compare, and it's
been a couple years since I've tangled with one. I doubt I'll have many striper
trips this year, but the initial run of a big striper takes me about as close to
outright fear as I can get while holding a fishing pole.
As the father of three small children, I feel
it's important that my kids grow up with an appreciation for the outdoors in
general, and rivers in particular. My two oldest are four and two, which is
probably a tad young to seriously fish in a river. This means we'll take a few
kayak and canoe trips where I'll have to force myself to leave the fishing rods
at home. If I take fishing rods, I tend to ignore the kids and attend to the
fish. There's not much worse than than being stuck in a boat with a four year
old girl who is feeling bored and spurned. I figure I'll also need to forsake
the rivers on a couple nice sunny days and take a kid to the pond, where poles
and hooks and fishing are more easily managed.
What's ahead for GRF, you ask? Well, pretty
much more of the same. More and more GRFers are getting together for fishing
trips than ever, and the ranks have swelled to over 300 members at last count.
No matter where you live in Georgia, there is probably a knowledgeable GRFer
near you that is looking for a partner from time to time. Two years ago, I
couldn't honestly say that.