Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Lately I've been asked a lot about how I consistently catch good fish.  Usually i'm pretty shy talking about that stuff because I dont feel like I am a great fisherman by any means.  But I'll try to explain a little bit about what I think sets me apart from other fisherman.

As a kid growing up I read and watched first hand how anglers biggest mistakes can be their unwillingness to change.  Often times I've gotten accustomed to using just one technique or one lure and stuck to it.  Even when I knew other methods would work better.  Thinking about it now it seems dumb.  But when you're on the water and the pressure is on your tendency is to want to stick to something you're comfortable with or what you have faith in.  The problem with that is just because what you have faith in was working yesterday doesnt mean it's going to work for you today. 

Every good fisherman knows a lot of times you aren't fishing the lake.  You're fishing the conditions.  No lake you go to will ever be the same day after day.  The water temperature changes, the bass stages change, the grass beds come and go, and it's either pre frontal, frontal, or post frontal.  What makes fishing challenging is figuring out that puzzle.  What are they going to bite during the conditions you're fishing?  If you do it right, you might just collect a check at the end of the day or a picture of a trophy bass. 

Recently I had a conversation with a tournament director and we were talking about what we thought makes a good fisherman.  He told me he thought the person who caught the biggest fish is the best fisherman.  I agreed but only to a certain extent.  I told him I thought the measure of a good fisherman is the person who can consistently catch bass under any circumstances and any conditions.  If a fisherman catches 5 bass for a total weight of 3lbs and 30 other people couldn't catch a thing then guess what?  That fisherman deserves the credit for outfishing the other competitors.  Thats just as much an accomplishment as catching a 30lb limit to win a tournament. The bottom line is that fisherman outfished the other competitors and found a pattern that worked when noone else could.  In other words, he figured out the puzzle. 

Something I constantly ask myself when I read an article or see a show about different fishing techniques is.  "How can I apply this to what I do and what conditions will it work best?"  The next step is trying it and getting it to work with your style of fishing.  Recently someone asked this question and it led to him making millions of dollars.  Maybe you've heard of the Alabama rig?  So next time you're out on the lake and what you're using doesn't seem to be producing fish the way you want, try changing it up.  The more versatile you are the more fish you'll catch, and dont be afraid to try new stuff.  Who knows, maybe you'll invent the next big thing! 

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011, A Year In Review.

Well, it seems the year is wrapping up and I have to say I think it was pretty good!  Granted, every year has it's ups and downs but I think I have been pretty lucky this year.  I was fortunate enough to be able to be supported and brought on board the Tallapoosa Paddling Company Pro Staff and through that I had the pleasure of working with a bunch of new businesses.  I also have been traveling ALOT this year due to this.  It's been great.  All the hard work is worth it and I'm definately one step closer to achieving my dream. 
I've been to Lake Gunetersville twice, Lake Chatuge, Lake Lanier, Lake Acworth, Lake Allatoona and tons of other locations like The Florida Keys and of course the Tallapoosa river.  It's truely been a blessing and through these travels I took pictures (most of the time) so I thought I'd share them.  They're nothing special but hopefully you guys can appreciate them.  A little behind the scenes of some of the tournaments and travels. 
This was taken on my way back from Lake Lanier.  For some reason this bridge stood out to me. 

With the Tallapoosa Paddling Company going down the river for the first time. 

A RARE picture of my teammate and fellow Pro-staffer Stewart.  The pics rare because he's not in his coosa! 

A beautiful view from the Tallapoosa River.  This place really grew on me and I love it.  It's by far one of my favorite places to fish. 

The Tallapoosa Paddling Company on a road trip to Scottsboro Alabama for a tournament at Lake Guntersville! 

This is a view of all the cars parked before the Chatuge tournament.  This tournament was an absolute blast.  Everyone was extremely friendly!   

A view of Lake Chatuge.  Like I said, it was beautiful!! 

A photo of Jr. Tallapoosa fisherman Dyalan Abernathy fishing at the tourament I put together on Lake Acworth. 

Another pic of Lake Acworth during the tournament

My final trip of the season.  The Keys.  What an awesome way to finish my year of traveling. 

Owner of Tallapoosa Paddling Company Eric Hughs standing at the Famous Sloppy Joes in Key west.  Notice the JACKSON shirt!! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Practice, Practice, Practice!!!

First off, let me just say I know I haven't really put this blog out there yet but if for some reason people are waiting for me to post updates I'm sorry.  I've had a lot going on lately and I'm finally getting everything back in order! 

The other day I finally had time to make it to the lake.  It had been over two weeks since I'd been on the water but I was still confident I could get on fish.  Well, I was right.  I did in fact, get on some fish.  But much to my chagrin after almost EVERY bite I would lose the fish.  They just wouldn't stay buttoned.  I tried everything I could think of to land them but I just coulnd't get them to the bank!  When the day was over I had lost 8.   Yes 8 fish!  And I didnt land one! 
Talk about frusterated!! 
So after I left the lake I did my usual routine.  I went over what happened in my mind.  Actually, thats a lie.  I went over it again and again and again!  Did I mention I was frusterated?  Well that night after thinking long and hard I decided I wouldn't be beat by this.  I researched different methods of hooksets for all the methods I was fishing.  I re-tied all my hooks using different knots and in subtle different ways and I re-adjusted the drag on my reels to match the action of the rods they were on.  Allowing me to set the hook harder on my light line without having to worry too bad about the line breaking. 
Finally after a long day of work the next day I made it back out onto the lake.  And just like the first day I was on the fish.  Only this time was a little different.   The first fish hit and I set the hook as hard as I could and landed it!   It finally felt like I was on the right path!  After the day was over I had landed 4 fish and only missed 2.  Not a bad day and about back up to my average.  But I wasn't done yet.  I wanted to get back out asap and keep working on this! 
By the third day I was ready and optimistic that I could improve on my hook to land ratio.  I arrived at the lake and this day was a little different.  I wasn't quite on the fish!  I couldn't believe it.  They had to have moved but they didnt.  What had happened is a cold front was coming in and the fish weren't as active.  I had to slow down and change tactics but I still managed to start getting bites after many lure changes!  After figuring out what the fish were doing I had a great day.  I had 6 bites and landed all 6!  And every one of them was hooked perfectly!  It was great! 
No matter how good you are you have to keep practicing.  And even when you think you have it figured out there's always room for improvement!  I realized early on that not fishing for two weeks does in fact effect my fishing and rather than try to get back to where I was I worked on getting even better.  This is something that not only pertains to fishing.  It also pertains to life.  When faced with a challenge you can either try to get past your obstical or you can make yourself stronger and better because of it. 
Happy fishing out there everyone! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday 10/16/11

Sunday I finally got out on the lake for a couple hours and it was great.  I got to try out my new Shimano Crucial rod (review coming soon) and I was able to get on some fish.  You'll have to excuse my lack of pictures.  My first fish came about ten minutes after I got on the water and it was a solid 1+ lber.  Probably only about 14 inches.  I thought after that the bite might just be on.  But it wasn't.  Dont you hate when you go out and catch a fish immediately, then dont catch another one for an hour or two?
Finally after about an hour and a half I made a cast into a tree on 6lb test line and got a thump, set the hook, and got a worm flying right back at my face!  Missed the fish!  I was kind of bummed because you know when that happens that fish is probably gone.  But reguardless I always make sure to cast back to the same spot.  I believe in fishing a spot meticulously.  I will spend an hour in one spot if I know theres a fish on it.  Anyway..  So I cast back to the same place and felt the familiar THUMP!  This time I waited a minute before I slammed the rod back.  As soon as I set the hook I knew it was a decent fish but before I had a chance to react she had wrapped me up in a tree!  BAD!  I kept pressure on the line and paddled over to the hangup and was able to unwrap my line only to discover I was wrapped up on ANOTHER limb as well.  So I paddled over to the second hangup and after a long time wondering if the fish was still on I was able to free the line.  Then the fight was on!  It's scary when you are fishing light line and get hungup in a tree with a good fish and then have to fight it when it comes free.  You're only thinking about two things.  The size of the fish, and the line you KNOW is almost to it's breaking point.  Luckily I was able to land her.  A solid 4lber!

After that I was able to land 2 more fish before I had to leave but they were small.  Never the less it was a pretty good day! 
One thing I am very grateful for is the quality of fish I am able to land.  I know a 4lber isnt huge or ground breaking but I remember when I was a kid.  Just seeing a 4lber caught by someone else was mesmerizing.  That was what all the neighborhood kids would talk about all summer long!  So I'm always grateful to be able to catch a decent sized fish and thats the kind of stuff the keeps me going back to the lakes time and time again. 
Untill next time, take care and happy fishing!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What a week!

This week was very hectic but fun!  I've been working on alot of stuff lately but due to timing I couldn't really announce any of it offically.  Finally the other pro-staffers and I were able to announce that we were sponsored and what was going on. 
A couple months ago I contacted Tallapoosa Paddling Company because of a pro-staff opportunity.  After an hour long conversation on the phone with Eric, the owner.  He told me I was what he was looking for.  I am truely honored to be able to help him out and he's given me alot of opportunities I would normally never have.  I will now be fishing alot more tournaments all over the southeast next year.  As well as several other tournaments in the next couple months.  On top of that, me and the other pro-staffers were able to custom order new matching Jackson Coosa kayaks.  These kayaks are AWESOME and the colors we picked out are drawing alot of looks!  Everyones talking about them! 
After I got with Tallapoosa Paddling Company me and the other pro-staffers went and met with Legend Outfitters owner Matt.  Luckily we came to an agreement pretty fast and are now sponsored by them as well.  I think this partnership will work out great.  This isn't just a random place thats sponsoring us.  It's a place all of the pro-staffers and other kayak fishermen love to go to and they're always willing to give advice or helpout whenever they can.  I was just in there friday and Matt talked with me for an hour about a new tecnique I have yet to try.  He suggested several different lures and even brought out his own personal tackle box to show me some of the lures he chooses to use!  You just can't get that kind of service at any other place and thats the reason we want to support him. 
Also, Tallapoosa Paddling Company is working with several other companies and people to create another tournament series that will hopefully be more competative than other series have been in the past.  It will be a dedicated BASS fishing tournament.  No catfish, no live bait, none of that stuff.  It will be a simple showup, go fishing for bass and the biggest 3 fish wins.  On top of that the prizes will be alot bigger.  I think it's a great idea because believe it or not, in Georgia there isnt really a format like it.  Usually there's a catch.  But not these tournament series!
Ok on to the day we finally got the kayaks!  What a day!  I wokeup at around 5am and drove to Stewarts place to pick him up, then we drove to Cartersville and met up with Eric.  From there we headed up to the Jackson factory in Sparta, Tenn.  We were lucky enough to be able to go on a tour of the factory and see how these kayaks are made.  All I can say is, WOW!  The Jackson staff goes through alot of inspections and time to make sure every kayak is built to their specifications.  Just looking at a kayak you kind of just think.  It's a plastic boat how hard can it be to make one?  The answer?  It's ALOT of work.  Even the molds for the kayaks look like something from an alien spaceship! 

Tallapoosa Pro-Staff sponsored by Legend Outfitters
After the tour Eric, Stewart and myself drove back to Kennesaw and showed Matt at Legend Outfitters our new boats and took a little photos.  Then it was on to the lake where more photos were taken and of course a little fishing was done!  : ) All of us caught fish within ten minutes.  Hopefully it's a sign of things to come in the future! 
After all of this I was exhausted.  I got home around 9pm and headed straight to sleep! 
On a side note me and Stewart met up on saturday and went fishing.  It was the first real time I had been fishing in my new kayak.  The wind was horrible and the fishing was tuff.  I tried out the technique I had been meaning to try and started catching fish off the lures Matt suggested to me!  By the end of the day I think me and Stewart had both caught around 7 or 8.  Including a nice 3 1/2 lber!  Thanks Matt! 
Also, if you have free time go check out a few of the sites that have helped me out!  (theres even some blurbs about the pro-staff here)
and here's the tournament series for anyone interested!  Go enter and have some fun fishing!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tallapoosa Float!

I had a great day saturday!  A couple weeks ago Stewart planned a trip to go float down the Tallapoosa river with his girlfriend and her sister.  A few days later we found out that their trip just happened to be on Doug's birthday.  So it turned into a group trip with the guys fishing and the girls just going for a float. 

Packed up and headed out to the river!
 When I arrived Stewart and the girls were running a little late so me and Doug helped out around the shop a little bit.  I also got a chance to talk to Eric about the Jackson kayaks and he helped me out with some questions that weren't answered on the internet.  That guy really knows his stuff when it comes to kayaks, and rightfully so.  Its his job! 
A little while later on Stewart showed up and we got loaded up and headed down to the river.  When we arrived the water was crystal clear and looked great!  It didnt take the girls long at all to takeoff and leave us which seemed fine because we were already trying to catch fish!  We got a couple little bites but didnt land anything untill the first good pool of water. 
Once we got to the first pool we started reeling them in pretty fast.  Everything from Brim and Crappy to Redeye and Spotted bass.  After Doug and Stewart started catching fish I finally had a fish hit my line like a freight train!  I had honestly forgotten how much river fish fight!  As soon as it hit, it jumped straight out of the water and I realized I had a good size bass on.  But this fish wasn't phazed at all by what was going on, it headed straight up the river jumping two more times as it swam right by my kayak and under a tree breaking my line.  Usually when I lose a big fish I am pretty stunned and it takes me a little while to get back into the swing of things.  But I genuinely had so much fun just fighting it that I was pumped and looking forward to catching another one! 
Shortly after we started back down the river and I caught a nice spot.  From that point on the day just got better and better!  We caught alot of fish and Doug and Stewart were great company.  I couldnt ask for a better day of fishing!  Well, I wouldn't mind if I had caught that big fish in the very beginning but thats what happens when you take light line out on a river!  Also, we went so slow that apparently we missed most of the 2nd half of the river trying to hurry to meet up with Eric on time.  So another trip is already in the works!  I also feel like I should appologize to my friends who didnt go.  I've been talking about this trip for the last three days and i'm sure they're getting sick of hearing about it! 
Maybe after a couple more trips to the river I can calm down a little!  I just can't get over how much fun it was catching those river bass!  

Stewart with a nice spot

Another nice spot from the river

Headed down the river

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Last week I had the pleasure of going out for the first time with my new pro-staff team to pre-fish a tournament at Lake Lanier.  Not only were they great company but we worked great together to come up with a game plan and figure out what was going on with the lake. 
When you fish a lake a lot you kind of get in tune to whats going on with it.  You know with alot of confidence where the fish are and what they are doing.  You can figure out where they're going fast and it's just one of those instances where everything just clicks.  It's a great feeling. 
Last saturday I had that feeling after fishing a lake one time.  Thanks to all the help and input from the other pro-staffers I was able to figure out what I thought was a winning pattern.  I had a great week leading up to the tournament and was really looking forward to hopefully being competative at the tournament. 
After a week of anticipation the time had finally arrived.  Tournament day!  I wokeup at 4am and headed straight for the lake.  I was so excited I got to the ramp at 5:15.  Over an hour before I could start fishing!  Not to waste time I loaded up the kayak and headed out in the dark to one of the spots I wanted to fish.  When the time finally came I was able to stay calm and not go into overdrive mode like I did at my one and only previous tournament.  I slowed my fishing way down and after about 30 minutes I was able to land a pretty small fish.  (7 1/2 inches)  I was happy I had one of my three fish needed but kind of bummed to start off with such a dink fish.  I wanted to get at least 50 inches out of my three biggest fish to be confident in my day.  Never the less, I was happy I had caught a fish and was hoping it was a sign of things to come!  After about 20 more minutes I landed another fish.  Another dink, but this one was 9 1/2 inches.  Not huge but a step in the right direction!  Unfortunately, after I landed it the fish flopped out of my hands and went back into the water before I could take a picture for the tournament!  After I landed (and lost) this fish I fished for a little bit longer in my spot and decided two things. 
1) there were fish in this spot but they were small
2) I needed to get to another spot and see if I could find bigger fish. 
The whole time I spent worrying about how much the lost fish could cost me if I couldnt land some bigger ones.  I needed three fish total and I was only at 1!  I kept trying to ignore the tiny voice in the back of my head yelling "I CAN'T BELIVE YOU LOST THAT FISH!  THAT COULD COST YOU!"  So I pressed on to another spot I thought could be productive.  When I arrived I was able to make my first cast right where I wanted it and sure enough, I had a fish on!  When I landed it, it measured 10 1/2 inches.  GREAT!  Now all I needed was one more fish and I could start culling (in tournaments you only count your three biggest fish.  When you get rid of a smaller fish for a bigger one to count it's called a cull)  After fishing this spot for another 20 minutes I decided to move across to another bank.  I felt like the fish had moved slightly and gone to another bank since the last time I had fished in this spot.  Everything was starting to click for me.  Sure enough, after a few minutes of fishing the other bank my line starts swimming.  ANOTHER BITE!  I was almost positive it was a dink but happy I had a fish on.  So I set my hook and to my disbelif a HUGE fish came up from the water.  As soon as I saw it I started praying I could land it.  I KNEW this fish could possibly win me the tournament.  I took alot of time to land it and once I did it took everything I could not to jump out of my kayak and start screaming!  I was SO PUMPED!  I put it on the measuring board and took some pictures, it was 18 inches!!  I was so ecstatic I even took some pics of myself holding it and I weighed it as well.  It was 3 1/2 lbs.  Not a huge fish on an average day.  But for a tournament at this particular lake, it was a game changer! 
I was now up to 36 inches total and culling and it was only around 9am.  I had only been fishing for 2 1/2 hours and I had 3 more hours to fish!  Let the culling begin!   My very next cast after the big fish I caught another fish.  This one was 13 1/2 inches!  That put me up to 42 inches with plenty of time left!  I continued fishing for a couple more hours and caught a few more fish but nothing bigger than my three biggest.  A few minutes before I had to go back for the ""weigh in" I decided to hit one last spot.  Low and behold I was able to catch a 14 1/2 incher!  This put me at 46 inches total.  Close to my goal. 

Last fish of the day and she culled!
 I was happy but filled with anticipation.  I kept telling myself.  I did a great job and I did the best I could do.  Now all I could do was give it to God and hope for the best.  But reguardless, I was happy with my performance! 
When I arrived at the meeting place I was immediately greeted by several people asking me how I did.  When I told them I had a limit they seemed surprised.  I guess others were having a hard time catching limits.  when I turned in my pictures I was informed I was currently 1st.  All I could do now was wait untill all the other anglers got there before the time limit was up. 
To make a long story somewhat short.  I won it.  Everything was clicking, and after I had a decent limit I was having alot of fun!  I wanted redemption for a bad showing at the Acworth tournament and I got it!! 
Hopefully this is a sign of great things to come and I hope me and my other pro-staffers can keep this going.  (Another pro-staff team member won the previous tournament at lake acworth)  This makes 2 in a row for us! 
Right now I am still super pumped (guess you couldn't tell by the use of all the caps) and I can't WAIT to see what the future holds for me and my other teammates. 
For now, I'll keep fishing and practicing and take care of some other obligations that I have. 
Take care everyone! 

18inches!  I love this fish!