At this month’s meeting of the Hot Springs Village Anglers’ Club, a motion was made to hereafter note the annual biggest bass caught award as the Dick Paulsen Memorial Big Bass Award.
Paulsen, who died April 19, served in many officer positions, was angler of the year in 2002 and 2003, and co-angler of the year in 2013.
Paulsen caught the largest bass ever caught in a local angler tournament, at 10-pounds, 1-ounce.
He was also club photographer and a mentor to many, including this writer, and also winner of the club’s highly regarded Pete Hinson Sportsman Award, an award Paulsen received with humble gratitude.
At the meeting, John Matherne and Bill Gurkin shared an experience that took place this past spring when Matherne fell out of Gurkin’s boat into 50-degree water.
Matherne lost his balance, fell in and began to sink.
Weighted down by all the warm clothing he was wearing, Matherne estimated he was 10 feet underwater, looked up and realized he was in deep trouble.
He managed to get back to the surface, only to discover Gurkin’s boat was now approximately 50 yards away.
Initially Gurkin had no idea Matherne had fallen out, but soon noticed a ripple in the water where Matherne had gone in. He turned the boat around and threw Matherne a lifejacket, which blew away in the day’s strong windy conditions.
Eventually Matherne got to the boat but was too spent at that point to be able to crawl up the boat’s ladder, so Gurkin towed him to shore.
Matherne said he shook for an hour due to the cold and wet clothing. He ended the presentation with a heartfelt comment to Gurkin: “You saved my life, buddy.”
The purpose of the talk was this: communicate well between angler and co-angler, be sure both know where the throwable life cushions are, where the first-aid kit is located, as well as the fire extinguisher. And have a plan to get someone back in a boat if they fall out.
Next came presentations by top anglers Kirk Bixler, Bob Brannan, Mike Crews and Matherne on techniques they use in tournament competition.
Bixler said his favorite technique is drop-shotting, but his favorite lure is a bass jig, the ones with a football-shaped head. “I’ll throw it anywhere and work it like a plastic worm,” he said.
Bixler likes the Strike King jigs in colors of black/blue or green pumpkin red flake.
On 12-pound test fluorocarbon line, he mostly throws a 3/8-ounce jig, but at times goes to a 1/2-ounce in the summer when the bass are deep.
Crews spoke about the Texas rig plastic worm, the technique he uses 80 percent of the time.
He likes the Zoom Trick worm or Swamp Crawler in green pumpkin or green pumpkin magic. With a 12-pound fluorocarbon line he casts with a medium heavy rod with a 2/0 or 3/0 wide gap hook and tungsten weight.
Brannan said his use of the drop shot technique, which he uses year-round. With a 7-foot medium action rod, braided line with a fluorocarbon leader and 3/8-ounce pineapple-shaped sinker, he throws at brush piles and elsewhere, Texas-rigging the worm so as not to get caught in the brush.
Brannan likes a 1/0 straight shank hook and carries extra leaders.
Matherne grew up fishing rivers and tidal waters, both dark in color. When coming to the Village’s crystal-clear water he realized changes were needed. “I had never caught a fish deeper than 6 feet before coming here. Now 20 feet is common,” said Matherne.
He likes a 7-foot medium heavy rod to throw a Texas-rigged worm, with a 3/0 Tru-Turn hook and 15- to 17-pound fluorocarbon line.
He uses a 1/8 or 3/8 sinker and colors in green pumpkin or watermelon red flake.
The next Anglers’ Club meeting is June 5 at 7 p.m. at Coronado Community Center.