Two To Go, Two To Remember

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Life is about making memories, and I certainly made some at Kentucky Lake.

I have to say, the tournament days were two of the most fun fishing days in my memory. Fun, that is, until weigh-in. Then, the results of catching an average of 100 bass each day were somewhat embarrassing when compared to the rest of the field. Some days you just cannot make them be big.

I have to give a "thank you" to my Marshal, John Black, for something he did on the second day. We were right out in the middle of Kentucky Lake, fishing a school of bass on a hump. I was dragging my favorite three-quarter-ounce Fantasy Football jig around and catching a bass on almost every cast. I caught a keeper, and as I went to place it in the livewell, I tossed my jig back overboard to keep it from tangling in the stuff in the boat. As I went to the livewell, I heard a big splash and turned around to see John just coming up out of the water beside the boat.

He handed me my rod, and I realized it had a fish on the jig. It seems a bass had grabbed the jig hanging just a foot under the water. John jumped overboard to save my rod and reel from the deep six. I boated the fish, which did not measure. That is kind of good because I had to turn it back anyway. You see, the Marshals cannot help us in any way to catch fish. It would have made a better story if it had been a 4 pounder, but it was not to be.

I deployed the Rescue Ladder on my Triton and helped John back into the boat, and we had a big laugh. Like I said... making memories. Thanks again, John. It was one of my favorite Fenwick rods and Abu Garcia Revo reels, not to mention a jig that was working.

I wondered where his hat had gone and figured it was gone for good when he said he had been wearing it when he went in. After a few minutes, the hat re-emerged from the depths. I guess it had flotation built in, because it came out of the depths for us to retrieve. I would have been glad to buy him a new one.

We're heading out of here for the Mississippi River in Iowa. I have some memories from the "Mighty Miss," too. Not this particular section, but upstream a ways at Lacrosse, Wisc. It was an Invitational Tournament in the mid 1980's. This, too, involves another angler in my boat, this time, another competitor. That was when we drew boat to boat and had to flip or decide somehow whose boat to take. We took my boat because I had a huge school of bass located and we managed to catch a limit in just about 15 minutes.

I apologize to this guy because I certainly do not remember his name. I remember he had red, curly hair. How do I remember this, you ask? It happened I had a school of bass located on the end of a jetty where the current was sweeping around pretty swiftly. Anyway, it was a fish pretty much every cast when I could get the boat in the right position to make the right cast. I remember catching a bass that weighed 4-6 and ended up winning "big bass" of the entire tournament. As you might imagine, I was pretty jacked up and anxious to make another cast after boxing that one. I jumped back onto the front deck and really put some "oomph" into the next cast, trying to hit the sweet spot. The problem came when I did not realize my partner had stepped up behind me. Whack! I hit him in the back of the head with my Wiggle Wart, HARD.

That's how I know he had red, curly hair. He asked me how bad it was, and I told him it was pretty bad. He wanted me to remove anyway if I thought it was possible. I told him I could get it. What he didn't know was that it had two of the treble points buried in his scalp, but I sure did not want to have to go to the ER. Anyway, I took a pair of needle nose pliers and snatched it out in one jerk. I remember his hair still sticking on the hook when I made another cast. Unfortunately, I lost that bait on the very next cast. I lost most of the deep diving crankbaits I owned that week in those rocks but finished pretty high and won a boat for that big bass.

Once again, I am pretty pumped about going to the Iowa portion of the Mississippi. It's a new spot for me, and I really like that. Over the years, I have had a pretty good average when fishing new places. Besides, it will be a shallow, target-rich environment, and I believe that suits my style of fishing. We will see.

Between this one and Oneida there remain only two chances to finish on a high note. It really feels strange to be thinking about not fishing the Elite Series next year. Some days I am ready to move onto other things, others I worry about how I will feel next spring when the Tournament season starts. For this, too, we will see.

For more information about Ken Cook's career and and his Tarbone Ranch, go to >KenCookOutdoors.com