A few months ago my friend Mike, aka Catawba, sent me a message about helping to organize a RiverBassin Rodeo. What is a RiverBassin Rodeo you might ask. Well, a RiverBassin Rodeo is a tradition of the site and is basically a big meet 'n greet that occurs in each state. However, anglers come from all over the place to enjoy the commraderie and fish new waters. Last year, North Carolina didn't have a rodeo, so we were set on making it happen this year. After a bit of discussion we roped a friend of ours, Mookie, into the planning and decided to have the event on the Dan River in north-central NC.
We set the date for August 27th and patiently waited all summer as the event started to draw more and more interested. As noted in the previous blog, I had been in Wyoming and was just getting back in to town two days before the event. Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one headed toward NC. Hurricane Irene was blowing up the east coast and wreaking havoc along the way. However, nothing would stop this rodeo from happening and we didn't cancel the event. Thankfully, the weather was forecasted to stay close to the coast and it did just that.
Ready to hit the water!
A few folks had been out there for a multiple days, but I was only able to make a day trip on Saturday. I awoke and hit the road, nervous, as I headed northwest from Hillsborough. But thankfully, the weather that made me nervous never came. There was some wind and afternoon rain, but nothing hurricanesque.
The float was gorgeous and filled with fish. The Dan is a small river, but it packed a punch. My first fish of the day was a chunky little largemouth, which I quickly followed with 3 smallies. I had them patterned and would pound the fish the rest of the day - catching 25+ smallies and a couple of bream. Most of my fish were over 12" with a few over 15".
My first nice smallie of the day
For me, the secret was setting up on current seams or deep pockets with current and drifting weightless plastics. A few times I caught 4+ fish from the same spot and the bigger fish were committing to this pattern more than search baits.
My last nice smallie of the day
The day went fast and was a bunch of fun. I got to meet some great people, listen to some good music, and eat some tasty food. A huge thanks to all the guys from RiverBassin who came out and made it all possible.
Some of the RB gang
As I headed home Saturday I realized that my Sunday was actually fairly free, so I started strategizing on where to chase big largemouth. Further north, Mary May was bracing for the wrath of Irene and wishing she was fishing. Thankfully, post Irene conditions were good for me....but not as good for western Massachusetts.