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MONDAY, JULY 23, 2007
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Float-fishing makes for entertaining day

On a recent fishing excursion, I couldn’t help but notice a curious onlooker as I put some gas in the boat. He was trying to get as close to our boat as possible without creating any kind of indication that he wanted to look inside at the fishing tackle.

After making conversation, he made it to the boat, looked inside and immediately seemed a little puzzled. The rods didn’t have any lures on them. Finally, he just couldn’t stand it any longer.

“What’ya going after?” he said.

I told him we were just going out hoping to catch anything that will bite.

He looked at me as if I wasn’t quite telling the truth, but I was. It was just going to be a fun, float- fishing trip down Wheeler Lake.

Looking as if his head was about to explode if I didn’t give him more details, I broke down and told him we were going to be bumping bait.

Apparently, he was a little familiar with the North Alabama fishing scene because he knew that “bumping bait” usually meant bumping shad off the bottom in the currents below Wheeler Dam on Wilson Lake.

“Ah, heading below the dam I see,” he said with a big smile.

He seemed absolutely relieved that he had figured out the big mystery.

All I could do was smile as our business was done, and we got in the truck to leave.

“Hope you have a great trip below the dam,” he yelled as we pulled out.

“Oh, we’re not going below the dam,” I couldn’t resist saying. “Have a good day.”

He just stood there between the gas pumps looking like he had just lost his best friend.

Sometimes, I have a little bit of a mean streak in me, but I could tell he knew who I was and I saw the boat he was pulling behind a truck on the other side of the store. It was obvious he didn’t know I saw his boat. And I guess he also didn’t know that I got a quick glance at the plastic worm bullet weights that were in his front pocket.

If he had wanted some information, he should have just asked. Instead, he decided to play a game. He just didn’t realize that I’ve played that game long enough to be champion of the world.

A few good catches

As putting some gas in the boat, our next stop was the bait and tackle shop. I purchased several dozen large shiner minnows and off we went.

Starting about 200 yards east of Finley Island, we used a technique in which we drifted and let the shiner minnows bump off the bottom along the north ledge of the main river channel. It turned out to be a great trip.

In about an hour, we caught and released eight fish. The neat thing about all of this was that the first eight fish were all of a different species.

The species of fish included largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, white crappie, sauger, channel catfish and hybrid stripe.

Another hour of float-fishing produced a couple of more fish and we decided to head in.

Float-fishing can be a great way to spend a few hours on the lake, and the best part of it all is that you don’t have to use a lot of gas. All you have to do is let the current carry you along and fight a fish or two.

How can it get much better than that?

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Paul Stackhouse
Outdoors
Paul Stackhouse

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