– Jay Johnson
Don’t get caught up in the doom and gloom of our current economy. Fishing can be enjoyed at many different levels. Don’t think for one moment you have to buy a $50,000 boat and a $40,000 truck to enjoy fishing. I have been fishing for years with only the bare necessities.
Low dough boats – My father gave me his 1977 procraft to me when I was 18. I was a poor college student that rarely had the money to put gas in the boat. I did get to take it out a few times a year. After college, I landed my first job and the boat was on the river every oppurtunity I had. During this time, the boat was getting beat up pretty bad. I kept the boat in the barn which worked out fine until Dad got into raising chickens and guineas. They decided to roost right above my boat. Also, the transom had some cracks and we were getting a little leary about using the boat. I finally retired the boat and went on the search for more accessible fishing.
Since the procraft, my only option is my Dad’s flatbottom and a very old minn kota trolling motor. I have spent many days trying to keep it from leaking. The other day I finally “herculined” the entire bottom. (I’ll let you know how that turns out later.) I still fish the big reservoirs with my flatbottom. I try to find a ramp that is close to piers or have grass nearby. The lake looked pretty vacant when gas hit $4 a gallon. I had been considering buying a new boat for years but now I couldn’t afford to put gas in one if I had one. However, I didn’ t miss any fishing.
Don’t have a flatbottom boat? Fish from the bank or grab the waders!
Fishing clear water – I jumped head first into fishing creeks, farm ponds and small, sometimes gin clear lakes. I had to change my tactics drastically. Some places are easily accessed from the bank and ideal for the flatbottom. It took a couple of years to learn new tactics but I finally came up with something that works. I caught my biggest largemouth ever while fishing Cheaha creek.
Since I am spending most of my time in crystal clear water, line size and lure size was my first adjustment. My baitcasters and super stiff rods had to go. I picked up a spinning combo for around $20. The new gear allowed me to cast the light line and lures. My other tactic was to take off the bullet weight of my texas-rig. This allows for a super slow fall and retrieve which has greatly increased the number of fish I was catching. My buzz baits and spinnerbaits were traded for baby and tiny torpedos and other finesse lures. I basically shifted from power fishing to finesse fishing.
Tragedy for a fisherman – While my wife, daughter and I were moving to our current residence, our storage building was burglarized. They took ALL my fishing gear. We had only been married a couple of years and our first child was still in diapers. My commute to my new job was an hour one way. Needless to say we didn’t have much money to spend on replacing gear and a new boat is out of the question. However, the fishing didn’t slow down one bit. I went to the “Big Giant retail store” and bought a cane pole and some panfish hooks and weights. I drove up to a lake that I always called “Anchor Metal” right above Hillabee Resorvoir, just outside of Oxford, AL. We bought 3 dozen minnows on the way. We filled a 48 quart cooler with slab crappie. While, loading up the flatbottom, a man asked if we did any good. I raised the lid on the cooler and I thought I was going to have to push his jaw closed. He was dumbfounded because he believed all his life that there weren’t any crappie in that lake. He asked for every little detail on how to catch them and I told him exactly how we caught them.
Recovery – I have been in a “recession” for years. I have a little boy now running around in diapers. My wife is back to work and things were starting to look good on getting that new bass boat. Now, with this recession going on I am not about to accumulate more debt. So be it, because the fishing will not suffer one bit.