2018 started out on a great note. Spring fishing began early in February with some fabulous Trout fishing in rural middle Tennessee.
I was hopeful the great start of the year would signal a stellar season on the water. The spring quickly transitioned to summer and then suddenly, I found myself recouping from a leg laceration that I suffered in a freak accident. My shin had been split to the bone (I could literally see the white)! I was told I would be off the water for a minimum of six weeks! Six weeks!
My wound was closed with something called Dermabond. I’m sure Dermabond is less painful than stitches, but I was left with a longer healing time and some complications. I received a Tetanus shot as my laceration came from rusty metal (I mean, go big or go home, right) and I also had to take antibiotics for seven days not once, but twice! I would show you all my leg injury, but let’s just say some things are better left to the imagination! So instead of the blood and gore, here’s a pic of something equally gross. Liquid Bactrim!
My leg injury didn’t come at a very opportune time. It was summer and fishing season was in full-swing. Not to be totally outdone, I finally convinced my husband to take me out on our skiff. He agreed as long as I kept waterproof bandages on my leg and wore a neoprene boot. Talk about being hot! Nothing like wearing a neoprene boot in 98 degree weather. The positive in it all, was I had some success on the skiff. I landed a variety of smallies using mostly the Trout Slayer or the Trout Magnet on my Ultralight rod. It was enough to hold me over until my leg healed.
In September, I finally made my way back into my kayak that I had seldom had the chance to use since I had purchased it. And what a shame it was to have it setting on its perch in my garage. Prior to my accident, I had purchased a custom color Jackson Kayak Coosa HD.
I had my eye on a Coosa HD for several months when by chance, I got a message from a local dealer who had gotten this particular kayak on a recent trip to the Jackson factory. I was over the moon when I saw the “Pink Acid” layup. I knew I had to have it!
My husband, who has always supported my love of the outdoors, purchased a new set of Bending Branches Angler Pro paddles for me in Radiant to match my kayak. I was so excited!
The Coosa HD has by far been one of the most stable kayaks I have personally ever owned (and that’s been quite a few, maybe a few too many if you ask my husband). I love the ability to trim the seat to match my paddling needs on the Coosa HD. Push the seat back and get ready to handle some rapids. Move the seat forward and paddle at your own pace on the flats. The Coosa HD is so incredibly well rounded, in that it handles any situation famously! The Coosa HD also allows me to carry my photography gear and my fishing necessities and never be left wishing I had more space. I use a Jackson JKrate Low and it fits perfectly in the rear tankwell. The Coosa HD also has a nice center hatch that is perfect to mount a depth finder or just to carry some gear.
In late October I was able to land one of my largest fish to date while using my Coosa HD. I hooked a 22″ Largemouth Bass. It was an awesome way to close out a fairly rocky fishing season.
But, my biggest accomplishment came on December 21, 2018 when I opened my email and saw a message from Bending Branches. It was an invitation to serve as a Regional Ambassador for Bending Branches for the 2019 season. I was so ecstatic I started jumping up and down in the middle of my kitchen when I read the email!
When I first started kayak fishing five years ago, the first set of paddles I purchased was a set of $50 Bending Branches Whisper paddles. I cut my teeth on those paddles and learned how to control a kayak and how to handle mild rapids. I eventually worked my way up to the Angler Pro in chartreuse which I used for three seasons. I put many miles on that first set of Angler Pro paddles and they never once cracked or left me stranded. I still have them and still use them when I am teaching someone to fish from a kayak.
Having a lightweight paddle is so important in that it helps you better control all of the things a kayak angler has to manage when landing a fish. Unlike in a boat, a kayak angler must juggle the paddle, rod, and usually a net all in a matter of seconds.
Despite a slow start to my season, I have really been blessed over the course of this past year. I am so thankful and humbled to be able to participate in this sport. I have met some amazing people along the way.
I hope everyone has a blessed 2019. See you on the river!