During this time of year I can depend on two things, a few pollen sneezes and my youngest son, Trace, asking a thousand times, when are we going fishing?!”. Trust me, the later isn’t an aggravation, rather it elicits a smile only a father can fully understand. Despite being only ten, Traces’ skills as a fisherman have surpassed his age. His attention to detail and hawk like observations, backed by his innate competitive nature, have all led to his near self-sustainability while on the water.
This particular Saturday happened to coincide with a Carolina Kayak Anglers Tournament, being held on Randleman Lake. The tournament is sponsored by Get:Outdoors and benefits Heroes on the Water Central Carolinas Chapter. I had no intention of entering him in the tournament but thought it would be a good challenge to launch after the competitors, telling him that we would pick over what they missed or left behind, hence the title, “Second Pickings”.
Arriving around 8:45 am we surprised how many vehicles were lining the roadway. The parking lot was full and a jon-boater was leaving, apparently not wanting to hassle with the limited parking? We Ruckart’s may not necessarily the smartest and where we’re lacking we make up in determination. Not long after launching we run into a NC regular tournament fisherman, Scott Inge, who at that point hadn’t landed his first fish. My initial thought was ugh-oh, this could be a long day. We picked around some cover a while more before moving toward the main lake body. Trace, the observant kid that he is spotted a guy Crappie fishing with a few rods off the gunnels. He slid over to see if he could spy what the guy was using and came back with the report, “he’s using a white jig”. Naturally, he wanted to tie on something similar. A white in-line spinner is all we had but he eagerly tied it on and went straight for a point with exposed stumps… perfect spawning Crappie habitat. With in five minutes I look over and he’s fighting a fish, a nice 12.5″ Crappie.
Feeling somewhat rejuvenated as well as excited for Trace’s catch, I slid over to a reasonable area that I thought I might find a spawner Bass. The wind had picked up by now. Not having an anchor I let the kayak slowly drift up to the bank so that I could drop a salamander right in a wooded hole. Immediately after dropping the bait the line went taught and slowly moved away. It took a little patience to wiggle the fish out of the hole but use finally came up and into my hands. She went 18.25″. After that the wind really picked up. Not having anchors, we fished one more protected spot but it only yielded a small 12-13″ Bass. On that note, we called it a day, adding a few more memories to the bank of many.
One day you just might see this kid fishing a tournament near you?