The day after homecoming Lindsey was sporting very pretty nails. But that didn’t stop her
from spending a cold day on the water with her dad, hoping to win a nice paycheck.
The Reel Deal: Pretty Nails and Flipping Bails
by Lindsey Lucas
“Dress warm, it’s only going to be 32-degrees,” my dad said as I was trying to wake up following a late night out at homecoming. I made sure to grab my Carhartt jacket and sweatshirt from my closet after packing the fishing supplies and rods into the boat.
We were headed down to Lake of the Ozarks to fish the Surdyke Yamaha Fall Crappie Tournament. Anticipating the major crappie tournament, the two-hour drive felt extra-long but we finally made it. I slowly backed the trailer into the water and my dad fired up the boat. I parked the truck, making sure to grab my Carhartt and my hat before climbing into the boat.
With the cold weather and fog rising off the clear, still water, we made a beeline to our special spot that normally holds nice crappie. True to form, the first cast and we had one on!
The lake size limit is 9-inches but we decided to not keep anything less than 10-inches. Fishing our sweet spot along with some areas around docks where we knew there were brush piles, the bite was steady. One cast after another it was fish after fish. But most were small or average size until we finally boated a 12-incher with only an hour left of the tournament.
The ride to the weigh-in point wasn’t an easy one, or a dry one.
We have a big deck boat. Crossing wide open water with hefty waves was not a very good idea. By the end of the 30-minute ride we were absolutely soaked from head to toe.
We pulled the boat up in a slot and luckily the day had grown warm enough to take off my wet Carhartt that had kept my hoodie fairly dry.
After tying the boat off, we got our fish and headed up to the scale to weigh our ten biggest crappie. I was excited that we came in at sixth place out of 100 boats – pretty good for my very first crappie tournament of that caliber.
Unfortunately, there were only prizes for the top five teams.
My dad and I went to grab a bite to eat before heading back to the boat. Dad realized that we had to run much farther than we expected to the weigh-in and he was worried about having enough gas to get back to the truck – and the marina gas pumps appeared to be closed.
But he asked the lady who worked at the marina if they could possibly start the pumps for gas and thankfully, she did.
All gassed up and riding back across the lake, the sunset lit up the sky with brilliant hues of orange and pink colors. By the time we were loading the boat, the cold was creeping back in. The truck heater felt really good as we started the long drive home.
It was a long day and we didn’t place in the money. But from start to finish it was a day full of good memories and to me, that is all that truly matters.
(Lindsey Lucas, 15, is obsessed with all things outdoors with dreams of becoming an accomplished outdoor media provider and influencer. She hopes the tips and experiences she shares will prove inspirational for other young men and women in her Gen Z age group.)