The pre-ICAST story of note has clearly been about the new entrants into the trolling motor market. That’s an arena that in the tournament bass world has been a two horse race for a few decades, with the Minn Kota Ultrex taking a commanding lead over the past few years. Now, with other companies entering the fray, there’s real competition.
I am now four days deep into my snakeheading “guide” career, as friends from out of town have sought me out to help them fill their snakey jones on the Potomac. In fact, I have my first repeat visitor coming from Texas (via ICAST) on Friday night for a chance to repeat last year’s ultimately victorious struggle over the prehistoric invasives.
This is about the time of year when the north country wakes up, and tour level smallmouth fiends who’ve been eating grits and drinking sweet tea for the past six months expect to come into their own. If you’re from Michiana or Minnebraska and you’re just outside the Classic cut, heading up to bronze country is like a gift from the fish-bearing gods, an opportunity to cement a spot next March at Guntersville.
One of my fraternity brothers cheated his way through college. Truth be told, it was the least of his transgressions – had he not been perhaps the school’s greatest wrestler to date, his fighting, belligerence towards campus security and other drunken misdeeds might’ve gotten him kicked out long before graduation. In moments of clearheaded sobriety, though, he worked on various schemes to game the academic system.
I spent the next couple of decades looking back on that year with regret and anger. First I was ashamed that I hadn’t been fully engaged. Then I gradually realized that to the extent that I wasn’t an active participant, that reflected poorly on him as well. He didn’t teach to the entirety of the class, just to the select few who fit his preferred student profile. I concluded that he did many of us a disservice and despite being very smart he was actually a poor teacher.
I just finished up a short article for one of the few remaining major newsstand mags about shiner fishing in Florida. I’ve gotten paid to write about fishing for 15 years – and when you add up all of the articles and advertorial pieces I’m sure I’ve been published well over a thousand times, as far as I can recall this is the first piece I’ve written about using live bait for bass.
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.