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Right place, wrong time

6/14/2009
    I been in the right place

    But it must have been the wrong time

    I'd of said the right thing

    But I must have used the wrong line

    I been in the right trip

    But I must have used the wrong car

    My head was in a bad place

    And I'm wondering what it's good for

— Right Place Wrong Time by Dr. John

That song kept running through my head all throughout Day 2 of the Kentucky Lake event. If I could screw it up, it was screwed. If I could lose a fish a quality fish, I lost it. If I could be in the wrong place, I was there.

Man, what a jacked up day. It seemed that I was doing everything in my power — and some things that weren't — to knock myself out of the Top 12 in the AOY standings. What a contrast to Day One when I made all the right moves at all the right times.

During practice, I felt like I could catch 18-20 pounds and maybe a little more with a big bite. In all the years that I've fished on Kentucky Lake, it has never been good to me. The EverStart's that I fished back in "tha' day" were always a bomb for me.

Didn't matter if they were scheduled in May, when the fish were headed for the beds and "easy", or if the derby was in June, when they were out on the ledges and "easy," I generally was suckin' on Kentucky.

With the move this season down the lake from Kentucky Dam to Paris, Tenn., I looked at it as a whole new lake, and it was, as I had never come this far south. In my mind, we were visiting Paris Lake, not the dreaded Kentucky Lake.

During practice, I went south from Paris, as I didn't want to go anywhere near Kentucky. I usually catch them in Tennessee and figured my chances were better while looking at new water. What a plan. To think that it almost came together.

Day One started with a 20-minute boat ride down the lake to a 15-pound limit in less than 45 minutes. Not bad for my previous attempts on the pond. The last time we were here, in 2007, I think I caught 18 pounds over the course of two days.

From there I hopped around and hit every spot that I had caught quality fish off of in practice. Culled several times and narrowed my spots down to three that I considered "prime". Of those three, I saw only one other competitor even close to where I wanted to be fishing. Not bad for a lake that's known for being crowded. Little did I know.

Day Two was the total and complete opposite. Bright sunny skies and light, southerly winds were replaced by clouds, light rain, and a nor'easter. As an added bonus, I had Rick the Camera Stick with me to do some filming for the AOY race. Seems the powers that be wanted to know what it's like to be near the bottom of the 12 cut, as well as at the top. Cool. Hope something I said or did makes it to the airwaves.

As a bit of background, the last time I was on the water with Rick, we were filming one of the "Day On The Lake" episodes. The "Day On The Lake" show where the other Kevin (not KVD, the other, other Kevin. Boyd's buddy. Yeah, that Kevin) caught like 352 fish in 6 casts (OK, I'm exaggerating a little there) and I caught 2 (not exaggerating at all there). Rick was doing the camera thing in the afternoon while I drug water for 4 hours. Might be some karma thing going with Rick and me.

All that karma aside, Rick the Stick gets in the pink BassCat on Day Two. I talk to Mr. Microphone and give him my thoughts on making the year-end bash. Run the party line. All the usual suspects. That part of business finished, we head down south to put some bass in the boat. If only it was that easy.

I pulled up to the corner where I had gleaned a decent limit in short order on the previous a.m. and quickly catch a short fish. Then I put a small keeper in the boat. Then what little bit of a bite that I had dies. Dead. Very dead. With the stiff north east breeze, it's pretty hard for me to get lined up correctly on the spot exactly where I need to put my bait. That's one of the things that I learned during practice about KY Lake. I actually learned it at Guntersville last month and applied it here.

Here's the deal; bass in most of the Tennessee River impoundments get so "spot" specific that it is amazing. I'm talking about a spot on a ledge no bigger than the front deck of your boat. A spot that size is fairly easy to hit when the wind isn't blowing.

With 1-2 foot waves, it's not so easy. To make matters worse, the best line to bring the bait down was with the wind, which meant that I either had to fish backwards in the boat or try to keep the stern of the boat into the wind. After an hour of trying this, I gave up and headed back up the lake to Stop 2. Before we left, Rick jumped out of my boat and into the camera boat to get another angle and then to take him back to the ramp.

Bobby Lane was perched on Stop 2, so I went to my Stop 3. Fished through it without a bite. Not good. On to Stop 4. Small fish. I roll back down to Stop 2. Bobby's camped. Has a mailbox set up on the ledge. Not looking like I'm getting on Stop 2.

Could I have stopped and fished it? Probably. I fished it twice on Day One and never saw another angler near it either time. Was it "my" spot? In my mind, not as long as Bobby was on it. Back to Stop 1 where I jump off the first 3-pounder of the day. The downhill slide to hell has started.

Over the course of several hours, I would move numerous times between different humps, ledges, and corners all the while dumping numerous fish in the 3-5 pound range.

It was like one of those Mythbusters episodes where they're blowing stuff up and parts are flying all over the place. The wheels weren't just coming off, they were blowing off. Blowing off and no amount of duct tape or glue was going to keep them on either. It was like a train wreck in slow motion. The horror, the horror.

I caught small fish on almost every stop but no keepers. How can a guy not catch a limit in this pond when it's so full of fish? How could it be so easy one day yet so difficult the next? Was I making it this hard? I kept thinking I would work out of it.

I kept thinking I could make it all work out and catch enough to at least make a check. At 2 I still had one single keeper in the box. One keeper. But I didn't give up.

I made one last move back up the lake and would like to say that I raked in a 20-pound sack, but it didn't go down that way. I managed to squeak out three more keepers. Kentucky Lake still has my number.

What went wrong? Why didn't I catch them? I'm sure I had something in the pink tackleInteractive.com BassCat that the fish would have bitten. I'm sure that if I had changed some little something, I could have gotten one or two of the dumped fish to the boat.

I'm not sure what it was. It was like my brain went into some kind of lock down and ceased to function correctly in fishing mode. I was in "Safe Mode" and it wasn't a safe place to be. It was damn ugly.

Until Day Two, I had managed to make the right moves at the right time throughout the season to put myself in a good position. I had kept an open mind and let the fish tell me what to do and which direction to move. On Day Two at Kentucky Lake, I took the plane out of autopilot and flew it all the way to the scene of the crash.

For more info on Kevin Short or to contact Kevin, check out his website at www.kfshort.com.