I had a video camera in my face for two days at I-Cast. The amount of outdoor writers in attendance was staggering. The days of a time delay for information dissemination is over. I could do a video about a new product and see it online in a matter of minutes.
Most of my time was spent in the Lew’s booth answering questions about the 100 new products from Lew’s. The biggest attention getter in the booth was the reintroduction of the legendary Lew’s BB1 casting reel. This reel was the prized possession of thousands of bass anglers in the 70’s. It had advancements in technology that are still influencing the design of today’s reels. The new version is built with current technology. Lighter materials, faster gears, and stronger frames. This new bass machine will make it a true classic. The true test came on a 65 yard cast that was only a flick of the wrist!
I flew to I-Cast from Birmingham, AL. My Skeeter Boat was in tow. It was left at a good friend’s house while I was at the show. Two hours after my return flight, I found myself tied into the meanest bass that swims. I was floating on Lake Neely Henry. A 3-pound Coosa River Spotted Bass was trying to get away with my cricket. These are the most aggressive Black Bass in the country. I was scouting around for the upcoming PAA Event. It’s always a thrill when one of these bass attacks your bait.
Finally, I make it home to the family. My children have missed me most of the summer. It is a part of my job that I really don’t like. We spent a day having fun. The kids and I went to the Wickliffe Indian Burial Mounds State Park. We learned about Indian culture and how they lived. Max and Caroline were shocked to see ancient fish hooks. Caroline said, “Daddy there is no way the Indians had fish hooks! They look like some of yours.” I replied, “The Indians did make their own hooks. They were made out of bone.” The other feats of engineering were amazing too. Pottery, arrowheads, and drills took us back to those days. Max topped it all off with a perfect statement from a six year old, “Daddy, can we go back to the air condition now?” So we packed up and headed to Ya Ya’s Island. It is an indoor playhouse with club houses, blow-up slides, and tons of fun things for the kids to do.
Max has been laboring in the garage with me as well. We have washed both our boats. He organized our tackle. We also made it to the water. Max and I loaded our aluminum boat and headed for the Ohio River here in Paducah, KY. Three rivers are very close together here. The Cumberland River flows into the Ohio 12 miles upstream of Paducah. The Tennessee River joins the Ohio at Paducah. All three rivers are very different in nature and all have strong bass populations. We rode in the aluminum and visited each river. Max found the Spotted Bass biting a Strike King Series 3 crankbait on the Ohio River. We even had a double of 15 inchers! We finished the day up the Cumberland. The largemouth bass were on fire as we cast plastics to shallow wood!
Max held my hand to start the next morning. This is a normal thing for us to do. The exception was we were at my doctor’s office. I had to have some blood drawn for a routine checkup. I am extremely fearful of needles. Max was very brave. He said, “I am right here Daddy. I’ll hold your hand. I bet the nurse will give us a sucker when she is done.”
We finished and made a dash back to the river to finish up a video project. We headed back up the Cumberland. We managed some great footage landing several 3 to 4-pound bass on a Strike King 7” plum colored Thumper Worm. We caught 6 bass out of one piece of wood. River bass in the current tend to group together so make sure you always make a second cast anytime you catch a bass. You may be rewarded big time!
The heat was tough on us while on the river. Max drove my bass boat back down the river for over twenty miles. Daddy was still in charge since Max could not reach the Hotfoot (Gas Petal).
Next week I will be competing at the Neely Henry PAA Event. This is the second event of the series. I have my eye on qualifying for the Toyota Texas Bass Classic on Lake Conroe this fall. I am looking to catch lots of those Coosa River Spots this event in Alabama to make the TTBC. A complete report will follow!
Mark Menendez is a Bassmaster Elite Series professional. You may follow him at Facebook, Twitter, and markmenendez.com.