As I drove across the small bridge that overlooks the lake, I recalled fishing in this lake as a teenager. I could see the same small white fishing office where you are required to check-in or visit if you want to rent a boat.
Near the water’s edge, a host of old aluminum Jon Boats are strewn in an almost orderly fashion, dull and gray. I bet the boat I rented as a teen is still here. I remember how large, heavy and difficult to paddle these boats were and how hot aluminum gets in the southern, summer sun.
This is Marrowbone Lake. I am not sure why it’s named Marrowbone, but this absolutely beautiful 60 acre lake is nestled between vivid green hills near Nashville. It was built in the 1930s and has remained a hidden paradise that only few have discovered. This lake is operated by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.
I walked into the small fishing office to pay as the coldest air hit my face. Inside, a large counter with snacks and fishing items for sale hung around. A nice lady from the counter said, “$5 to fish all day, just sign your name there on the clipboard.” I thought, “What a deal.” I told her that I would like a Dr Pepper, too. She said “Okay, there in the refrigerator.” I thought, “…nice and homey, an actual kitchen refrigerator, much better than the overly commercial C-stores”, as I opened the door to get my ice cold Dr Pepper.
As we unloaded our kayaks, the water was as smooth as glass. Getting in to my kayak, I could tell this was going to be an enjoyable trip. This lake has little flow and paddling is made very easy. Using my ultra-light rod I began to plug the bank with a small grub. Right off the bat, I caught a nice bream, dark blue with a touch of orange. A perfect catch, hooked right at the lip, easy to release.
While casting, I found that the water was so calm that the kayak moved along the bank, stealthy without much paddling, an easy way to catch a few more bream. I heard the honk of a Canadian goose near, while fishing around a downed tree. The goose swam by and posed for a photo. Every few minutes he would honk. I wondered who or what he was looking for, likely his or her mate.
It’s been a while since I drank that Dr Pee-pper, so I had to go. The shore slopes down to the water, oak, hickory and a few pines grow with poison ivy, poison oak, an assortment of vines and wild flowers make up the under growth. It became apparent to me that a bathroom trip is going to be an adventure, so I titled this part of the story: An adventure to knock the dew off my lily. To keep it short I will sum this up in a Dr. Seuss nursery rhyme:
I did not trip! I did not fall, and the dew was knocked from my lily after all. Life is goooood, again!
Now back to fishing, the water in this lake fills the coves between the hills and is fairly deep next to shore. Casting into this water, I caught a small Blue Cat on the same grub. Yes, you can catch catfish on artificial bait.
I decided to paddle to the end of the cove and explore. At this end of the lake the water becomes very shallow and you can easily see the muddy bottom. I was sitting in my kayak. All of a sudden, swoosh, swamp, Swoosh!! I felt the hair stand up on my neck. I saw a large wave headed near my kayak. I could see something large, slightly red through muddy water, and a dorsal fin that resembled one of those foldaway hand fans in the full open position in the middle of the wave. Wow, it was a Marrowbone Monster and I must have disturbed him in the shallows! This was one of the largest Carp I have ever seen, scales as large as hub caps, well maybe not that big, but big. I was lucky that I just knocked the dew off the lily or I might have had dew in my pants.
I decided that the drama was over and got back to fishing. I caught a few bream and saw a big Largemouth Bass swim near me. I quickly cast a few times over near the big fish. Bang, I set the hook, but I was hung on a log. Needless to say, I was unsuccessful and decided to begin the trip back to the dock. While paddling, I could see a Great Blue Heron flying about 5 feet above the water coming toward me. I thought this would be a great photo. I reached for my camera photo. I unbuttoned my pocket, unzipped the zipper, took the plastic zip lock bag out, that contains my camera phone, unzipped the zip lock bag and grabbed the phone, turned the camera on and the Great Blue Heron was already in Nashville. Dang, I realized that I need to improve my photo process just a bit. That’s it; next trip I will bring my Nikon in an easy accessible, water tight bag.
As I paddle back to the dock, I think this lake would have been a great setting for one of those idyllic outdoor paintings by Terry Relin with the golden sunset and geese flying over. You may agree that this is a beautiful lake; however there is one thing that just ruins this wonderful setting. Just look at these signs and study them for a minute. Why so ugly? Why so many? Why so confusing? I think it's time for a sign make over?