Karl Hudson typically doesn’t fish with other people. It’s not that the bass angler, who lives in Corinth, is unsociable, it’s just that he so infrequently has other anglers around the places he prefers to fish. For 40 years Hudson has been a die hard basser, and the last 15 years he’s preferred to be seated in a kayak while he’s doing it.
“As I grew up, my dad bought a Grumman canoe in 1957,” Hudson said. “I still have that canoe. I tell people that’s my big boat. About 15 years ago, I bought a 10 foot sit-inside kayak and fished in it a lot, finally wore a hole in the bottom. Two years ago I won a Jackson Coosa in a tournament, and now I’m fishing in a Cuda 14. But I’ve always had a love for fishing out of paddle boats.”
Though he frequently fishes small bodies of water that no one other than kayak anglers can access, even when fishing his “home lake” at Pickwick, he’s covering water no one else can reach.
“I have an advantage from a kayak,” he said. “The bigger boats tend to fish out on the main river. They tend to fish places with deep water. Everybody knows where those places are. I like to fish in places where I can get in close around boat docks, marinas, grass beds, back in behind places that people usually don’t fish - the overlooked spots. I’ve always enjoyed fishing places that people overlook.”
Taking Pickwick’s better-than-average numbers of bass in stride, Hudson considers himself a trophy bass hunter. Operating his one man plastic boat in out of the way locations, Hudson uses stealth and perseverance to pull big fish from areas other bass anglers miss.
“To find big bass, I’m looking for solitary fish,” said Hudson. “I feel like a big bass is a solitary fish. He’s not a school fish. He’s going to set up a place where he’s got plenty of bait. He’s got shade, he’s got everything he needs. So, the way I fish, especially around boat docks, humps, back ends of covers, so on and so forth, are places where the bigger fish are going to be. I may only catch one or two but they’re going to be better than average fish.”
Hudson believes in big baits for big fish and probes the depths of cover provided by boat docks and marinas to bring them to hand.
“I’m not going to fish the way a boating angler would because I make much shorter casts,” he said. “I prefer to fish with the heaviest line I possibly can. I like extremely big lures.”
Hudson claims the fall pattern at Pickwick has started early, partially due to the high inflows of summer rains which has kept current in the lake and temperatures moderate.
“All the conditions are right now,” he said. “Pickwick has a huge shad population. If you’re fishing around bait, you should be around fish.”