I’m less than seven weeks away from my second trip to Alaska, only 24 years after the first one, and I’m as excited as I’ve been about anything in a long time. I’m going to some world-famous fisheries and I’ll be there with people who know the waters better than anyone else.
When my friends Kristine Stuart and Aaron Rygas first joined us at El Salto, I could tell that Kristine was a lukewarm attendee. It’s not that she resisted, but she’s not a huge fan of mornings and didn’t quite know what to expect. Now, three trips into the experience, it’s pretty obvious that the soon-to-be Mrs. Rygas can’t wait to get back.
The last gas station that you pass on the way to Leesylvania State Park, the Potomac River boat ramp that I use most often, is called Wawa. I stop there probably 90% of the times that I fish the river, either to get gas (lowest price in the area), ice, one of their excellent sandwiches, or sometimes all three.
One of the well-known Potomac River fishing guides made a horrifying remark on social media a few days ago. To call it “insensitive” would be a gross understatement – it was unremorsefully bigoted, employing a derogatory term for a particular ethnic group that wouldn’t have been even close to appropriate in 1959 or 1989, and in 2019 it’s inexcusable.
ICAST is still nearly two months away, but if industry buzz is accurate this is going to be the year of the trolling motor. With the introduction of the Ultrex a few years back, Minn Kota took a substantial lead in what was up until then a two-horse race at the top end. Now it appears that Garmin, Lowrance and possibly one other company (Power Pole?) are going to join the party.
When the Bassmaster Tour visited the Potomac River 30 years ago, everyone knew that Jay Yelas was likely going to spend some time on an abandoned wharf called Fox’s Ferry. Why wouldn’t he? It contributed to a win in 1993 along with several other top five and top ten finishes. I’m sure that other anglers fished it during practice and competition, but on some level everyone knew it as “Jay’s spot.”
The Elite takes a pause after the completion of the Guntersville tournament on June 24 until St. Lawrence practice starts on August 12, a hiatus of seven weeks. Some of the older and injured pros among them will use the off time to heel their bodies. Some of the ones close to the bottom of the AOY race will have to lick a different kind of wound.
As the Elites prepare to compete on Lake Fork this week, I can’t help but think of my first trip to the famed Texas bass factory. It was April of 2008, and I was there not to fish but rather to cover the event for the Professional Anglers Organization which was still in its heyday. I remember it as one of the most uniformly jubilant fishing events that I’ve ever attended – even those who didn’t catch ‘em seemed happy. The anglers were divided into four-man teams who worked together, we were fed copious amounts of Texas food and drink (you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten peach cobbler out of a six-foot diameter skillet and washed it down wish a Shiner Bock), and Trace Adkins performed.