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I like to time my arrival for right after park opening. Not today, I queued up behind a regular patron waiting at the closed gate and shut off my truck. The park attendant was ten minutes late. Since the regular patron was first, he picked the choice ramp and I opted for the kayak ramp. I could tell by the nav light that the regular patron was already half way across when I pushed away from the ramp. Since the wind was from the NE, I needed to get the aft troller down quickly. As the troller pivoted down, the tiller hit the loosely clamped stern 360° nav light and dumped it over the side, doh! I hadn’t switched the light on yet so it disappeared from sight in a couple of seconds. I raised the troller and beached on the ramp. I hustled up to the parking for the spare stern 360° light from the truck box.

I launched and put on all my clothes, constantly pushing the thought of the lost light to the back of my mind. I told myself I would get it when I was done fishing. I made the long transit all the way up the eastern arm, quartering stiff rollers the whole way. The wind was chilly; I was a layer shy of full warmth. I put on my PFD and snow ski gloves and sipped hot coffee. I got on station and a couple casts later boated a fun fish on a senko. Dawn broke and a bass boat posted up on the east side of the point. I got a strike on the DT and started showing out for the bass boat. I felt like I was off to a good start, but it quickly turned into a grind. I followed the bass boat into the northeastern cove, fishing their dirty water. A hundred yards in, they turned back to the point. As they passed they told me they had yet to catch a fish. Ten minutes later I caught a drop-shot fish.

I moved across and anchored on a community hole. A bass boat was way up in the backwater and another down near the drop-shot hole. I couldn’t get bit from anchor, so I drifted over the shallow grass flat. I was slow-rolling the chatterbait and it got smoked by a beat-up looking two pound fish. I released the fish, cast the chatterbait back into the grass and caught another two pounder. That’s back-to-back weeks that I’ve caught back-to-back chatterbait fish. Just like last week, I never got another bite on chatterbait.

I anchored up on the outside edge and caught one on TR Ol’ Monster. I had already tried several other soft plastics on the Texas rig, but couldn’t get bit on them. After the report wiscobass posted, I set up a jerkbait rod. I made long pauses over the grass. I was at the end of an eight count pause when the jerkbait was struck. I started carrying-on for the other boat in the vicinity, and the good’un made several spectacular leaps. The jerkbait was t-boned across the maw with the front and middle trebles impaled in the jaw hinges.

I wound up with ten fish total. My battery was exhausted but I had the peace of mind of having a following wind blowing me to the ramp. I loaded out from the choice ramp while an angler lashed two yaks to the ladder rack of his truck at the kayak ramp. I moved my truck to the kayak ramp barricades and made a salvage plan. At first I tried a 1/2oz Texas rigged rat-l-trap, but I really didn’t think it would work. I needed an alligator treble, but I think #3 was the biggest I had on me. I told a boater at the courtesy dock what had happened. He said, “You’re fixin’ to get your swim on!” At this point that was my only option.

In my truck box was an old Harbor Freight telescoping cargo bar. I stripped down to my boot cut wranglers and waded in. The ramp was slippery and I used the cargo bar to stay upright. Once I was belly button deep, I used the cargo bar to rake the deeper part of the ramp. A nearby yakker recognized me from Lady Bird and offered assistance. I was raking and pulling the square cleat of the bar to my bare feet. After a dozen or so rakes, I felt the round tube of the stern light mast under my toe. Salvage success. I drove home wearing my bib.
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