Even a bad day of fishing is a good day

A bad day fishing beats a good day at work. I must have heard those words a million times over my lifetime.

I would say those are the truest words ever spoken.

I realized how true after over a month closure to Lake and River access.

Over a month of no fishing about drove me crazy. It’s surprising how I took for granted the fact that for the past 40 years I could go fishing any day I chose.

We found out the day before our Oct. 3 scheduled ABA bass tournament that Lake access was open. The tournament was on.

Since my teammate was recovering from knee replacement surgery, we decided to take my boat. I figured I could do all the work while Ray sat on the back seat in catfish.

My good old 96 Ranger let us down. As we were launching, I turned the key and there was no response, dead battery. Back out of the water and over to Squirrel Valley to get Ray’s boat. We finally made our first cast around 8 o’clock.

We fished hard for about four hours. If it wasn’t for good Samaritan and fishing buddy Josh Glenn, we would have been skunked. Josh pointed to a spot in front of his boat.

Ray cast to the spot and caught our one and only keeper. We came in a couple of hours early due to Ray’s aching knee and my aching back.

Sitting around the weigh-in trailer, feeling a little dejected, I realized this day was definitely better than any day I have ever had at work.

The negative feeling soon went away as the guys started bringing in their bags of fish. The team of Mark Ablor and Ray Gauerbe brought in the best bag of the season as well as a personal best. Their winning weight was five fish at 33.79 pounds. I wanted to get back on the boat and go out fishing.

On Oct. 17, we finished our final tournament of the season. This time around was a lot more fun than the previous tourney. Ray and I were able to catch 10 fish. Our best five weighed a respectable 12 pounds.

The tournament was won by the team of Jon Van Renselaer and Brett Ege. The winning weight was five fish at 20.73 pounds. Jon and Brett also won the fisherman of the year award. They were the best team of the year, consistently catching good bags of fish every tournament.

Fishing against these guys is a lot of fun. Jon and Brett show a lot of class even when they are kicking your butt.

I took a trip upriver to do a little trout fishing. It has been months since I have fished the upper Kern; closures and crowds have kept me away.

I know some locals who are catching some nice fish. I could not find those nice fish. I am a little rusty, my stealth approach was not very good. The water is low and very clear. I could see my spinner across the river all the way from the other side. I can just imagine how easy it was for the fish to see me.

A fisherman needs to be a little sneaky this time of year. I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. Fall fishing is great in the Kern River Valley.

There is the fall crappie bite, catfishing is good. The fish are active chasing shad and getting ready for cold winter waters when their metabolisms slow down. Since I do not have to work anymore I may as well fish. See you on the water!

Adobe Stock
While fishing in an Oct. 3 tournament, Nobel Smith writes about how he has better appreciation for the phrase “a bad day of fishing beats a good day of work.”