Not too long ago I had the opportunity to go fishing with Bassmaster Pro Elite angler, Matt Herren. We thought it would be fun for a novice to go out on the Coosa River (or Neely Henry Lake) and try their hand at the sport which brings so many into the Greater Gadsden area. And by novice, I mean no experience at all. Zero, nada, zilch.
I went online the night before to obtain my first ever fishing license. My husband, who does fish occasionally, seemed mildly perturbed when I asked him if he thought I'd have to touch a worm. I don't like worms, but didn't want to seem girly, so I was trying to mentally prepare myself in the event I would be required to bait a hook. He rolled his eyes a little and informed me that we would be using lures. I expressed concern about finding Matt at the landing, since we'd never met. He told me to look for a really nice boat. I left it at that, deciding not to ask about the proper attire.
I arrive at the landing and see a man in a boat at the dock. Most of the other guys are checking out said boat, so I walk up and ask "Are you my ride?" That's how I meet Matt. I hop in and we chat while he's busy at work on the various rods and reels. He hands me one and I ask him what to do. I explain that I've never fished before. "Never?" He takes that rod back, sits down and begins work on another.
We get ready to do a couple of practice casts before we set off down the river. If you ever want to clear the pier behind you, have a rank beginner rear back on a first cast attempt, they'll leave skid marks!
After a couple of practice casts we head off down the Coosa and end up along a rocky bank. Hmm....this may be a little trickier. The first cast nearly goes across the road, next I catch a rock about halfway up the bank. This goes on for a while. Matt couldn't be more patient. We talk about the life of a professional angler, all the places he's traveled, and before you know it I'm not having to had my rod to him after every cast.
Did I mention he caught a fish almost immediately? We chat some more and then all of the sudden I feel something. I've caught one! So exciting. He has me pose for a picture, like a professional does, and we move on down the river.
We spent the next couple of hours talking and fishing. It was amazing to watch Matt cast his line. I actually compared it to golf at one point and he agreed that it was similar in touch and feel. While I was happy to hit the water, Matt could drop that line anywhere he pleased. He even did some crappie fishing, using the rod like a bow and shooting the line up under boathouses. Incredible!
On the way back to the landing we talked about fishing and the economic impact it has on the area. Fishing brings many anglers and their families to the Greater Gadsden area and Matt Herren is a great ambassador and advocate for both.
I had great time on the river and I learned a lot. In case you're wondering, we each caught three fish that day; I guess you could call it a tie if you were keeping score. I'll let you be the judge.
We'd love to hear from you! Share your comments and pics using #greatergadsden or follow us on Facebook or Instagram. And remember, wherever you live or wherever you are, be a tourist in your own town!