Saturday, August 18, 2007

8.17.07 Fishing Lake Thom-a-Lex

The plan was to be on the lake before sunrise. I was to stop by and pick up Joel then drive over to Mark's place where the Skimmer would be hooked up and ready to go. A quick stop at McDonalds to pick up our breakfast put me a little behind but there's ample forgiveness if you show up with biscuits for everyone. Mark is always ready ahead of schedule so when we pulled onto his street it was no surprise to see the Surburban's running, parking lamps, radio and AC on. Gear stowed away, we pulled out of the neighborhood, the green digits on Mark's radio read 6:13, we'd be there with time to spare.
Driving over the bridge toward the marina we were expecting to see several boats at the ramp but all was clear. There was a truck trailering a boat across the street in the parking lot which was odd. As we neared the lot the mystery was solved. Aircraft cable spanned the driveway to the ramps, keeping wouldbe anglers from unloading their crafts. A sign in the lot stated the lake did not open until 7am. Odd, I'd never heard of that before.
So we stood around the boats, cutting up, mapping out our fishing stategy and listening the lake come alive (funny how many waterfowl you see when you're not waterfowl hunting). A few minutes before 7am the Cedar Lodge store, adjacent to the ramps, opened so I walked in to get a bottle of water and to ascertain some advice about the lake. The proprietor was very helpful, giving ample tips regarding location and tackle to use. Now, when the ramp opened we would have a great plan of attack.
With the rising of the sun, the already warm temperatures became more intense. The humidity was high and the lack of breeze made it sticky and uncomfortable. Mark fired up the 90hp Suzuki and pushed us out of the launch area. The slight breeze our forward momentum created was refreshing. Mark picked a likely cove and we began casting along the shoreline. Joel was throwing a weightless worm, Mark a buzz bait and I was heaving a large topwater lure. We had a great morning, talking, laughing and even doing a little fishing. We caught a nice,"slab" crappie, a little catfish and small bass. The surprise of the day happened as we were about to leave. I'd stowed my gear and was watching Joel fish, hoping to record him hooking a bass. But a beautiful grass-line point prompted me to break out my casting rod outfitted with a top water plug. As Mark was piloting the skiff, Joel was casting off the bow so I cast off to the side, trying to place my balsa offering close to the grass. Nothing hit the bait but it sure looked good zigging and zagging through such "fishy" looking territory. As we rounded the point I made one more cast to the stern of the boat, the lure splashed a couple feet past a stick protruding from the grass. A couple of twitches illicited an explosive response and "uh oh" was all I could say. As I fought to bring this lunker to the boat, Mark and Joel began an Abbott and Costelloisque routine of looking under, around, in the midst of all the gear, trying to find a net, and bringing back memories of our Ocean Isle expedition (mental note - buy Mark a landing net). Before they could come up with anything I had the trophy lipped and in the boat. Wow! What a fish! After snapping a couple photos we released him, exchanging high fives and having a hard time believing what had just happened. What a blessing to spend time on the water with friends and to top it off with a great fish. We left the lake, grateful and looking forward to our next trip to Thom-a-lex.

No comments: