My day begins at 3 am each morning, several hours
before the fishing guests are ready to board the boat. I usually already have my
boat in the water but there are times that I bring it from home and launch it at
Once I arrive at my boat, I begin the process of
catching the bait which is usually shad. In
most cases the objective is to catch from 70 to 100 striper sized threadfin shad (4
6 inches). We want good healthy live bait for
the best fishing. This is more work, but it is very effective and is the best way to
get the bait.
Getting ready to catch the bait, I clear the front
deck of rod holders; bring the cast-net and 5 gal bucket up to the front deck, dip the
bucket full of lake water, start the water pump to fill the live well and turn on the
aerator, throw in a couple of handfuls of salt, which helps keep the shad alive and
neutralize the acids produced by the shads excretions
I then put on my headlamp, raingear and rubber
boots, turn on the rear deck light, start up the motor and head to the lighted docks and
back of the coves where I will be looking for the shad.
When I have found a good spot, I throw the net and
let it sink to the bottom and then drag it back into the boat and hopefully catch some of
the big baits I am looking for. It sometimes
takes as few as three casts of the net, and sometimes it takes three hours of casting the
net at several different locations. It is easier to catch the shad while it is still dark
because they head for deeper water in daylight, in most cases.
After catching enough bait, I then return to the
dock and put things back into place, scrub the boat to make it all pretty and clean again.
I re-rig the rods and ready the boat for the day of fishing.
Now I am ready for the fishing guests to
As the guests arrive, I show them where to park in
an appropriate area near the dock. Just before we leave the dock I go over safety
items and let them know what the basic fishing plan for the day is going to be.
Now we are ready to do some fishing....
When we arrive at the first destination, I will go
over all the steps of the fishing procedure, getting a bite and landing the fishing.
Depending on where I caught fish last, will
usually determine where we go first. Normally we will drift live bait with the wind. We will work the area for no more than an hour,
usually less, and if there is not enough success we will move on to another of my favorite
areas. We will continue this process in
different areas of the lake until we find the feeding fish we are looking for. Then
the fun really begins!
Usually the guests bring a sack lunch and their
drinks and eat while fishing.
Photos are taken while people are catching the
Once we are finished with the trip, we
return to the dock.....
Usually the guests want more photos of their
catch. They have had a fun day and want the photos to remember their day fishing on the
lake and to show their friends.
When record fish are caught, the fish are weighed,
photographed and recorded in the books.
After the photos, my work of filleting the catch
and bagging them for each of the guests begins. The end of the day is a special time
for everyone. We have had a lot of excitement and fun, made new friends, and now
they get to take their catch home with them.