Friday, August 16, 2013

Catch of the trip - fishing in LaGrange, GA

Guide extraordinaire Keith Poche. Photo © by Debi Lander.
Bass fishing in LaGrange? Definitely, the Good Girls decided, especially when we saw photos of our guide, top bass fishing tournament pro Keith Poche (Poe-shay).

When we launched Good Girls in the Badlands for our trek through South and North Dakota last year, we laughingly referred ourselves as Thelma and Louise without a death wish searching for adventure and Brad Pitt.

We found adventure but no Brad Pitt candidates.

Should have invaded Georgia sooner. Keith was not only Brad Pitt cute, he was gracious, good-natured, gentlemanly, extremely patient and one heckuvva fisherman. Born in Louisiana, living in Alabama but adopted by LaGrange, GA, he's an Elite Class pro with 5 top 10 finishes in B.A.S.S. tournaments. To say he was stepping down in class spending the morning with us novices is not only a vast understatement but a testament to his good nature and patience.

We drove from Callaway Gardens to LaGrange and met our local fairy godmother, LaGrange Troup County Tourism Director Laura Jennings, who led the way to West Point Lake where Keith and his cool and colorful competition bass boat were waiting.

Other fishermen watched to see where we went. Photo © by Debi Lander.
Once aboard he asked should he take it slow or did we like speed. Duh. That boat started on plane and was soon skimming across the giant (25,900-acre) lake at 60 mph. When other fisher folk saw who was driving, every eye followed us noting where we went.

The day was overcast, good for comfort but not so good for finding bass. According to Keith, bass congregate together tucked under their shoreline hidey holes when it's sunny and hot which means a lure dropped in the area will attract a lot of attention. On cooler, cloudy days, the fish swim out into the lake.

Not that it bothered Keith; everywhere we stopped our plastic worms were nibbled and bitten. Novices that we were, hooking and landing were another matter.

"Reel it up! Reel it up," urged Keith as I jerked at a good bite.

Aha. The light went on. You need to start reeling in the fish to hook it after that first bite. Then Keith pulled out the magic potion from one of the under deck storage spaces. He dunked the tail of my worm into a tiny jar of liquid and pulled it out, showing me the bright chartreuse green tip. "That ought to do it," he said.

Got one! Photo © by Debi Lander.
Boy, did it. With the first cast, bright green-tailed worm saw action. I jerked, reeled in and finally hooked one, a 12-14-inch striped bass.

Keith shows off my striped bass. Photo © by Debi Lander.
"It's a keeper," Keith proclaimed.

Well, not really. I wanted it thrown back for someone else to have the fun of catching.

Debi lands one Keith hooked. Photo © by Judy Wells.
We moved to perhaps a half-dozen spots around the lake. The closer to the dam we got, the rockier the bottom became. Let's just say the Good Girls caught a lot of rocks. Watching Keith get us unhooked and maneuver the boat using one foot on the bow motor was almost worth it. The man is a master multi-tasker.

Finally, it was time to stow our gear and head back to the boat launch. With a guide like Keith, the combination of speed and bass fishing could be addictive.


  1. So glad ya'll had a great time in the Presidential Pathways! Would love to give you some more great ideas!

    Lynn Hadden
    Georgia Visitor Information Center at Columbus, GA