Our trip started in Harrisburg, PA on Wednesday morning. I picked up my son at the airport around 9 a.m. He had just flown in from California to start our 800 mile drive to northern Alabama. His total travel for the trip was 3,882 miles. Now that’s dedication to kayak fishing!
We drove the 800 miles into the deep south with only a few stops for food and gas arriving at the campground in Heflin, AL at about 2:30 a.m. on Thursday morning. We caught some shut eye in the jeep then at first light we set up our camp. We didn’t want to waste any time getting our kayaks on one of the local flows.
I’m not apposed to hard core ultralight camping on the river but since we where using a “base camp” for our fishing excursion, I opted for my big comfortable tent. My son on the other hand is an avid backpacker. He just completed a 5 day backpacking trip in Yosemite. Juan Jr. is most at home in his Hammock when camping so he flew across country with only his backpack as a carry on. Oh… to be young and care free again! This young man is living the dream.
Before we get into fishing, I have to relay an incredible story. On the way to the river a red tailed hawk flew in front of Tim’s SUV. To make a long story short, the hawk some how got under the Commander 120 that was secured upside down on top of his vehicle. We parked the car at a local Walmart while we went inside to purchase our out of state fishing licenses. We thought maybe the hawk would decide to fly out on his own. Well, that didn’t happen so here’s a video of use setting the hawk free. LOL!
Release the Hawks! Fun on the river today!
Posted by Juan Veruete on Thursday, June 18, 2015
Local Coosa Spotted Bass expert and fellow Wilderness Systems Fishing Team member Tim Perkins would be our guide for the five solid days of fishing. This is Tim trying out my new A.T.A.K fishing kayak by Wilderness Systems. I think Tim approves of the stability! I was getting concerned that he might not give the kayak back!
We would only have a few hours to be on the water this first day so we wanted to make the most of it. Tim was an excellent guide and got us on good fish almost immediately. At the end of our first day we were met stream side to be interviewed by a local outdoor writer for The Anniston Star. You can check out the article here.
My son hooks up with his first Coosa Spotted Bass as Tim looks on and films the battle. He hooked up on one of Tim’s top secret spinnerbaits specifically designed for “Spots”. I can tell you that they work… and they work on big fish!
This is a grip and grin of my son’s first ever Alabama Coosa Spot. It’s not a huge specimen but it’s a great warm up for the trophy’s that I”m sure we will catch in subsequent days. He landed several more Spots today including a nice one of about 17″. Stay tuned though. We will be fishing several more days and Tim tells us that this is just the warm up.
The cloud cover and rain moved in on use at about the mid point of our first days excursion. Cloud cover means top water baits in my world so I tied on a Hubs Chub. The Spots hit this bait with reckless abandonment! Pictured is the biggest of the handful of nice spots I caught on the Hubs Chub Prop Bait. This Spotted Bass measured in at 18″ sporting a belly fat with crawfish.
Tim also managed to wrestle with a few nice ones as we slowly worked our way upstream through blow downs and faster chutes of water. This one was caught on a crawfish imitation which was used as a follow up to a spinnerbait. Tim definitely showed us the power of having a follow up bait handy!
The Alabama Spot is a beautiful fish. The photo doesn’t do this fish justice. All the fish we caught today had bright coloration and fought as if they were “super charged”. The fish in these flows are extremely healthy and abundant. After a few hours of fishing our “warm up” trip came to an end. Tim did an excellent job acclimating us to the water and the strategies needed to successfully target Alabama’s trophy Spots. Tomorrow we are planning to drive two ours to Georgia and fish the Flint River for Shoal Bass. I’ve wanted to fish the Flint for years and neither I nor my son has ever caught a Shoal bass. It’s time to check another waterway and another fish off our bucket list. … but don’t worry. We will be back for more Spotted Bass in two days!