The first time I saw the Flint River I had a 60 year old real estate agent and an overanxious, but young and pretty, sales lady hovering over my every step. I’d like to say that sealed the deal on the house – the Flint, not the attractive sales lady – as I immediately envisioned fishing in my own river, but the yammering about the neighborhood, interest rates, and why NOW was such a GOOD TIME TO BUY affected my imagination and fantasy neurons.
Besides, I had to pee.
Now, four years later and on the verge of moving yet again, I look back and realize how blessed I was…
In May of 2005, I was toiling away for Citrix in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., when I got a call from an old friend. He offered me a position working for NASA (through a contract) on Redstone Arsenal, so long as I was willing to ‘get up here’ within 2 weeks. I pondered the situation. On one hand, this was sunny South Florida, and that was, uh, Huntsville, Alabama. On the other, I and my family had a much greater chance of making it in to and out of any given store in Huntsville without getting stabbed than in Ft Lauderdale. Decision made, we made the call, pulled the trigger, and settled in New Market, with the slow but steady Flint gurgling a few hundred yards away from our front door.
At the time things were very surreal. So much so that – believe it or not – it took me a couple months to actually make it to the Flint for a fishing trip. Initially I wasn’t even sure it even held fish. The river was so slow and low – little more than a creek – I wasn’t sure anything worth catching would be in there. Then, one day, my neighbor across the street was sticking a rod into the back of his truck. I yelled over to find out where he was headed and, 10 minutes later, two relationships were born: my eternal lust for catching fish out of the Flint and a sincere friendship. Zack has been a great friend, neighbor, and fishing buddy for 4 years now, and continues to be – in my opinion – the most entertaining fishermen to go out with ever. *
That first fishing trip was nearly disaster. I had old line on a spinning reel that kept twisting itself into bird nests, and was totally unprepared for wading a river – something I’d never tried before in my hometown of Theodore, Al. My only saving grace was Zack was just as unprepared (and unskilled) as me, and carried along with him two very cold adult beverages.
I told you he was a good man.
We wound up catching, that day, everything but a smallmouth. Two largemouth, a few bream, some crappie and a freshwater drum Zack went ballistic over. I think, to this day, his “What the ___ is THAT??!?” continues to echo somewhere on the river. I still had no idea smallmouth were even in the river, but was pleased to know there were some fish worth going after.
Not long afterward I purchased a couple of tandem kayaks, and the wife and I decided to take their maiden voyage down the Flint together. The idea was to scout everything out, making sure it was ok for the kids. On that trip I, of course, took along one lone ultralight spinning outfit, ‘just to try’ while we were paddling. Among the many fish I caught that day was my first smallmouth. Ever. He would’ve gone 3 lbs on anyone’s scale, although to my adrenalin filled arms and endorphin soaked brain he felt and looked like a State record.
Pardoning a pun, I was hooked.
I’ve spent the better part of the past 4 years trying to pull smallmouth out of the river. Sure I’ve done battle with the other species, but I just can’t match the addictive rush I get from smallmouth blasting a topwater. Cocaine? Heroin? Supermodels? Forget it – THIS is the drug for me…
OK, I’d take a super model too, but you get the picture. Continue reading Memories