This week I’m traveling to Chickamauga Lake to check things out before it goes off limits. I don’t do early visits to most of the lakes we fish because I’ve been to them so many times that I pretty much know what’s there. But this one is different.

The water’s down about 6 feet, and I’ve never seen the lake like that before so I thought a couple of days on it would do me good. It’s possible the water will still be down when the 2020 Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake gets under way. If it is, I want to be ready.

At the same time I’m combining my work trip with a little family time. My father, Harold, and my son, Christian, are with me. That’s a real treat. My dad and I haven’t been able to fish together for years. He’s had some health problems and other things that have kept us from doing that.

Christian has been wanting to see what I do when I get ready for a tournament, and this is the first chance we’ve had to do it. He’s the athlete in the family so he’s always practicing or in a game somewhere. Scheduling days is tough.

They’ve had a school schedule change down here that’s helped with this trip, too. It’s pretty much a year-long school year with several long breaks. The Christmas break goes until the 13th, so we’re good to go this weekend.

We’re not doing much fishing, though. Most of our time has been riding around the lake looking things over. You know, seeing what there is to see. But it’s really great. We get to talk about things and just spend time together. Our family is close. Time together is important to us.

As far as this lake is concerned about all I can say is “Wow!” One of the first things I’ve noticed is how different it all looks. You wouldn’t think that 6 feet down would be all that much, but it is. And it makes a huge difference. Things I thought I knew about aren’t there, or they’re not what I thought they were now that I can see them out of the water. It’s a real learning experience.

It’s almost like it’s a brand new lake. You can see things up on the shore that were underwater last time. Sometimes I don’t even recognize them. Now, I’m no rookie. This is not my first rodeo. I know lakes can change at winter pool, but this one seems to be different. There’s more change here than I remember seeing anywhere else.

Another thing I learned yesterday and today is that I have been running at full speed over stuff I shouldn’t have been. I should have been at idle or went around it. Some of what I’ve seen is rock that was just a little ways under the water the last time we were here. Truthfully, I was lucky.

With all that in mind, I can definitely recommend a family fishing trip that isn’t all about fishing. It’s a great experience. I promise you that you won’t regret it.

Next time we’ll catch some late winter bass. If you have any questions you’d like me to address, post them up under the comments section. I’ll do my best to answer them.

Don’t blend.