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There are certain events in life that you have to attend, even if you don’t want to. A wedding shower involving close friends is one of those events.

I found myself in this exact predicament this past weekend. Should I go to the shower like I know I should? Or should I play the “I’m your last single friend card and this is what we do” and head to the river instead?

Surely they would understand if I couldn’t attend. April is the height of spring river fishing. Some of the best river fishing action all year occurs during this time. How could I miss out on that?!?!? Plus, singles don’t have time for showers because they are busy doing adventurous things. Someone has to have the fun! Right?

OK, before anyone starts mentally beating my head with a paddle, I did attend. It would take a lot of will to pull me from the river, but I couldn’t miss the shower.

I didn’t want to be put on the bad list. People on the bad list aren’t invited to dinner and I couldn’t risk losing any future dinner invitations from my shower friends. As a single eating cardboard box dinners from the frozen food isle, my future health depends on staying off the bad list. I can’t live off frozen food alone and I have to eat. As PawPaw says, “if you don’t eat, you’ll die!”

I thought about this predicament for a few days until it started to become clear to me. I could fish and shower in the same day! This wedding shower wasn’t going to put a damper in my river fishing plans! I was determined to fish and shower!

The shower was only a few hours away in Manchester, Georgia, but that wasn’t the biggest plus. Manchester is smack dab in the middle of shoal bass country. There’s shoal bass to the left, there’s shoal bass to the right, there’s shoal bass in grandma’s kitchen! Only pictures of course!

Plus, the shower started at 4 p.m. That would give me plenty of time to do some morning river fishing and still make the shower.

Shoal bass fishing it was. I went through locations and other logistics before I finally settled on a game plan. My plan involved heading straight to the shower from the river. I figured the more shoalie I smelled like the better!

When I arrived at the river I was met overcast conditions and light misting. I knew exactly what to do next. I reached into my tackle box and pulled out a Zara Super Spook. There was going to be an early morning topwater bite, I just knew it.

I was right. I walked the dog through the shallow rocky shoals, picking up a shoalie after shoalie. Most weren’t big, but they were my first topwater shoalies of the year, a fun combination.

The shoalies were in shallow water, but holding in the deeper pockets. The pockets weren’t large and sometimes were only 3 feet by 3 feet. It was automatic once the Spook was right above those pockets. Each time I threw into a likely fish holding area I was met with the same response. BOOOM! BAM! POW!

By the end of the morning I probably landed anywhere between 12-15, lost half as many, and shook off plenty. While the morning bite was fierce, the bite slowed as the sun rose higher in the sky and started to burn the cloud cover off.

I’m kind of glad the bite did slow up because I’m not sure what I would have done. Would I have told myself that I had caught enough and had a good morning and then leave for the wedding shower? Or would I have said hot darn the bite is so good that I can’t leave the river? I’m glad I don’t know the answer to that, because I’m afraid of what I would have done.

I did stay a little longer than I had planned, but I built some cushion just in case the bite was good. You know, just in case. Once I got off the river I threw on some shower appropriate attire faster than Clark Kent changes into Superman and headed on. As I was driving I couldn’t help but wonder if I was leaving a monster shoalie behind.

At least I had some shoalies to reminisce about. I didn’t catch any monsters, but I did manage 3 shoalies that were 4 pounds and over. All three were challenging fighters and one particular shoalie caused me to go for a short swim through some swift current.

As I was battling the shoalie I saw that it was barely hooked so I eased off and tried to finesse it. Right then it quickly turned and made a run into some swift water. I disengaged the reel to let some line out so the shoalie wouldn’t pull lose. I was determined not to lose it at that point. I had already seen her come up and saw that she was a nice shoalie. I quickly sized up the water and determined it was safe before I jumped right in. I rode the water for a little ways until I finally came to rest against a rock and hoisted the shoalie towards the sky in victory.

My last fish of the day involved a case of devilish trickery. Well, I should say another case. A few weeks ago I landed a striper that fooled me into thinking I had hooked the world record shoalie. While it wasn’t a world record shoalie, that striper put up an awesome fight in the heart of some swift shoals and will be a battle I won’t forget for a long time.

I stopped on a rock at the last major pool before my take out. I got out my Coosa and stood on a rock, casting here and there. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. I then made one long homerun cast and started walking the dog back and forth with my Zara Spook when the water exploded. POW! I set the hook and felt dead weight. It’s something big. I started reeling, but I wasn’t in good position to land it. It used my bad positioning to its advantage and shot down a short chute before my line got hung on a rock. I kept applying pressure as I slowly waded over to free my line. Once my line was free the fish wasn’t too far behind. That’s when I noticed it was yet again another striper. Fool’s gold!

I amazingly arrived at the shower on time, shoalie smell and all. I was actually a hit as I told my river fishing stories and showed off my Coosa. Everyone was wondering who was driving the truck with the kayak hanging out the back. That’s me I replied before I engaged in a twenty minute conversation about river fishing. Good times.

It turned out to be a pretty good day. I’m glad I had time for shoalies and a shower. I’m also glad that I’m not on the bad list.

My first nice shoalie – right at 4-0 lbs

















My second nice shoalie – 4-2 lbs


My third nice shoalie – 4-3 lbs


Another decent shoalie


Fool’s gold!


Proof that I attended the shower! My buddy, the groom and myself.


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