For nine hours we fished while I asked him questions and took notes. He always answered my questions with thoughtful replies even though some probably seemed silly to him. And he even listened to some of my old fishing stories!
One fact I discovered was that he set the mark for the highest one year winnings of any Bassmasters pro, winning $860,000 in 2007. He also runs a very successful business leasing tanker trucks from five terminals. He flies his own airplane to check on his terminals and also uses it to go to do seminars at Bass Pro Shops all over the US.
I was surprised when he told me he flew to all his tournaments, too. I asked him how he pulls his boat with an airplane an he said of the guys that works for him is his driver and takes his boat and truck to far-away sites. Boyd flies in and fishes, relaxed and fresh since he did not have to make the long drive.
I am always interested in what separates club fishermen like me from the pros like him. One thing is his concentration and attention to detail. He fished hard for nine hours trying to figure out what the bass were doing that day even though it really did not matter. He picked apart every piece of cover we fished carefully and thoroughly.
Confidence is another factor that good fishermen have that many of us lack. Boyd knew he would figure out what the bass were doing and how to catch them and I could feel his confidence. He said it was a critical factor at the professional level. I may give up after a few hours and just go through the motions of fishing but pros know they will catch fish and work at it every cast.
Boyd didn’t use a lot of lures but he made each one that he used perform in a variety of ways. It took several hours and about a half dozen spots but he finally figured out what the bass wanted and landed about 15 before dark drove us in. I managed to catch two - but I was busy taking notes and pictures. At least that is my excuse!
I wish I could say there is some trick or key to fishing that the pros use so I could learn it. But they just concentrate and work hard at catching fish. Anybody can do that, but I also think they have some kind of sixth sense or talent for catching bass that most of us don’t have and can’t develop. It is like any other sport. Anyone can learn to play golf and work at it but very few will ever make the PGA. Anyone can learn to play baseball but few will ever be in the majors. And it even applies to other things, too. Anyone can learn to play the piano but no matter how much you practice, unless you have that special talent you will never be a great concert pianists.
No matter, we can all enjoy what we do at a level that is comfortable for us. I don’t think I could stand the pressure of fishing the big tournaments. That might take the fun out of it for me.
Demopolis is an interesting lake. It is really a river with a dam on it. The overflow dam is just downstream of where the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers join. It is a very flat area and many sloughs and cuts go off the river. All of them are full of cypress trees, grass beds and brush. Fishing in them is much like fishing in a swamp.
Since the dam is an overflow type dam there is no water control so the levels change with any rain upstream. I was surprised when Boyd told me the best fishing is when the water is dropping but soon found out why. If it is rising or high the bass can get so far back in the woods and brush you can’t get to them.
The lake is far enough south and so shallow that the water stays warmer and warms faster than lakes around here. Bass move into spawning areas in February and can be caught shallow year-round. It is an interesting place to fish and well worth the trip.