Fished the Clear Lake Catfish Derby over the weekend. In the days leading up to the derby, my partner Chuck backed out on me which took the wind out of my sails, but I regrouped and prepared myself for a 3 day solo adventure.
Launched the boat on the South end of the lake Friday and the water temps were at 65 degrees. Landed 7 cats the first night with the biggest being 15+ pounds. It was breezy during the night and the temps got down into the 30's I think. I had challenges double anchoring by myself and had to reset the anchors 3 times during the middle of the night. Saturday morning I didn't feel like putting the boat on the trailer solo, to go weigh in my big fish, so I decided to motor the boat across the lake to get to the weigh in station. This took way longer than anticipated due to the rough water conditions, but it was a fun ride through the chop and my boat got soaked. Thank God I have a windshield and side curtains or I would have been drenched from head to toe. What I thought would be a 90 minute journey turned into a 3+ hour adventure.
Once I got back to my fishing grounds, I decided that I needed to find shelter from the wind and rain that was to come Saturday night. Saturday afternoon I nosed the boat into some tules on the back side of Indian Island. I secured the bow by throwing ropes around trees to the left and right of me that were growing in the tules. I then put up the backdrop on the boat in case it poured rain in the night. After about an hour of fishing I went to the front of the boat to get some water out of the icechest. To my surprise I found hundreds of ants in the bow of the boat. I think my first words were "hell no"! Upon further inspection, the trees I had slung ropes around to secure the bow supported some kind of massive ant colony. These stupid ants were everywhere in the trees and they were marching down the ropes and invading my boat. Thankfully I had some deet in the boat and I spent 10 minutes spraying their travel path (the ropes). Thankfully, this prevented an ant invasion for the rest of the trip.
It started raining at 10pm Saturday night and did so off and on throughout the night. Sunday morning between showers, I cleaned up the boat, made breakfast, and then waved goodbye to the ant colony I called home for the night. My weekend was over and just as I began for the launch ramp to put the boat back on the trailer, the winds came up and it began raining pretty hard. Getting the boat secured to the dock by myself was a chore to say the least. Got soaked in the process and bent my metal docking pole in half. Oh well, at least my tow rig wasn't broken into.
Totals for the trip were 15 fish in the boat and two fish lost to snags. I managed 156 pounds of fish for a 10.4 pound average. Big fish was a healthy looking 15+ pounder. As is my tradition for this derby, I missed out on placing in the money by a 1/2 pound. This is now 3 years in a row of being pushed off the leader board in the last hour of the derby. It's a little disappointing. But to look at the bright side, 3 of my friends did very well. Steve Johnson placed 15th, Donnie Hall placed 4th, and Robert Baer won the whole enchalada with a 23 pounder. Also, Dan Barrett placed as well. Good job guys.
No video this year. While I took some footage, it wasn't up to my standards. Trying to video tape yourself is not an easy task.
A few pics to close things out:
Paying up on a bet that I lost 6 months ago. Free beer and a new coozy. I'll get you next time sucka.
First fish of the trip
Big fish of the trip
The calm before the storm
From left to right, Grand prize winner, 4th place winner, and 15th place winner. Good job guys
Dan (Maddog) accepting his check for his 18th(?) place finish
Robbie with his big check