Ah that old excited fluttery feeling in my belly is back.
As I take in some March Madness on the old boob tube, all I can really think about is tournament number one on the Rock. If you like to catfish and you like the guys you fish with, then you would know what I am talking about.
I still remember the first tournament I fished, which just so happened to be at the very same roadside ramp we will be at today. Back then, I rolled up in my Chevy S-10 pickup truck not with a trailer and boat, but with my boat in the bed of the truck. Inside the boat were my 9.9 Johnson motor, gas tank and gear.
It seems like a lifetime ago now, but it was just part of the passion to live and learn the river rat life. I knew I didn’t stand much of a chance against some of the old-timers there, but just being in the event was all the satisfaction I needed.
Man, have things come a long, long way since then. Yes, the equipment being the most obvious thing, but the people and the process as well. No longer are the days of catching the most fish and keeping all the fish. Now all tournaments are catch-and-release.
Many of the river rats from those days of my childhood are gone, as well. The new generation is one I am proud to share the river with; lots of great young men and women who are extremely passionate about catfishing. They understand the need to respect the river and the fish in it.
Most importantly, they are very talented fishermen.
So with all that being said, it should be no wonder why old CatMatt is all jacked up some 36 hours before tourney time. Heck, I’m tying rigs and cleaning the boat and spooling a couple rods like I am getting ready for vacation or something.
When it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood, what can I say?
The Rock is going to be abuzz with anglers this year, as both the Cabela’s and Bass Pro Series make return visits. The increase in attention has also led to the opening of two new bait shops in the area, and a new boat maintenance and repair shop, which I will be getting some more information on soon.
I’m excited for what’s to come. Heck, if we could get the DNR to manage this river to its true trophy potential, the economic potential would be massive.
But that may just be a pipe dream.
Anyway all, the weigh-in is at 2 p.m. at the Route 2 roadside ramp Saturday, so come on out if you’re free. We would love to have a crowd.
Until next week, be safe, have fun and get outside. Go Catfish!