|Fishin’ half nekked|
|Wednesday, April 4, 2012|
By JOHN L. SLOAN
There is some merit to Bill’s thinking. I’ve carried that philosophy with me for many years. It is still a month before the pool at the Floyd, my summer office, opens but it is just right for fishing half nekked
I fish a lot with my shirt off. For one thing, I like the feel of the sun on my back and shoulders. It helps some with the pain in my shoulders and I just flat like sunning. During the summer months, I am a regular at Suntan Village, tanning place. Seems that I am in a better mood in the spring and summer when I can let the sun hit my beautiful skin. The tanning bed is just a substitute. I do like to sit at the pool and read, though. See, the thing is, a man who reads in the sun is well red. Use to was, come one of those nice spring days up at Central Hill, me and Harold Dotson would fish plumb naked. I don’t do that anymore.
Usually, when the sun gets hot, as it was with Battle Scarred Bill, I too get half nekked. So I had the boat pulled up in the mouth of this cove on Center Hill and after a minute found the end of the rock wall that went from the bank into the water. The end of the wall was in 14-feet of water. You had to know what to look for. Most times, it held a good smallie or two.
I had my shirt off cause it was hot and I jokingly told the late Chuck Wilson you couldn’t catch smallmouth in this cove with your shirt on. He did not seem to believe me so I set the hook and let the drag scream. The two-pounder was almost as dark as I was. I pointed that out to Chuck.
Couple days later, we just happened to be in the same cove and I had my shirt off. All morning I had been talking about how much better the smallmouth fishing was when you were half nekked.
Well ole Chuck, he didn’t seem to believe me so I swung the boat around and approached the wall from the opposite side as the first trip. I cast the 1/8-ounce, yellow hair jig with a white U-2 lizzrad as far back up the side of the wall as I could. You know, looking back, maybe I should have told Chuck there was a rock wall I casting to not just open water. But I didn’t.
What I talked about was how many more fish you would catch with your shirt off. To emphasize that, I set the hook in a three-pounder. When I landed him, I showed him off to ole Chuck. “Aint no way in Billy hell I am taking my shirt off.” Said he. “I weigh 280 pounds and I aint letting nobody see me half nekked.”
Wasn’t more than 30-seconds, I set the hook in the twin to the first one while Chuck; he kept casting at the bank…about 30-feet away from where the fish were holding. Now that he is gone, I do kind of wish I told him about the rock wall. Course, truth told, I wish he had given me my trophy belt buckle back, too.
But anyway, another time there we were, about halfway between Betty’s Island and the mouth of the Caney Fork. We catch a lot of trout there. They had stopped generating and the flow was slow. I told Mickey the best way to catch fish, once it warmed up, was to fish half-nekked.
Mickey, he don’t believe in letting the sun touch his sad old wrinkled body. Course, he is also no longer with us so I will tell this.
We were sitting at the top of this ole shady, deep-looking hole when I opined that it looked like the place a man ought to could catch a sauger if he was to get about half nekked. I shucked my shirt and sent that 1/6-ounce, in-line spinner in a kinda rusty color out towards some jutting rocks.
I pulled it a ways and then let it settle a few feet before I started it with a jerk. (Lots of opportunity for a humor shot here but I’ll let it go.)
After about two turns of the reel handle, something hit. It was a just keeping size sauger. I showed it to Mickey. I believe that is about half of all the sauger I ever caught on the Caney.
I cannot say enough about fishing half-nekked. I have done it all my life and it has worked most of the time. I tried to get Brady to try it but she was no more encouraged than Mickey or Chuck. That was very disappointing because she caught fish anyway. I kinda think her brother John being along may have hindered her thinking some.
There is one drawback to fishing with your shirt off. If the water is crowded, the women just will not leave you alone. At least they won’t when you look the way I looked 30 years ago.
That is a joke, friends. But seriously, try it if you have some sunscreen. I believe you will like it. Sometime I’ll tell you about the warm Feburary day when Harold Dotson and I got plumb naked on Center Hill and I fell in. Dang! That was cold water.