by Ron Presley
My first impression of Elmore County, AL was its beauty. During a pre-fishing meeting with a group of anglers and writers I had a high-level view from the Penthouse level of the Wind Creek Casino where I was staying. Rolling hills, the Coosa River, and a beautify sunset were the perfect backdrop to my introduction to the area.
I had an early morning appointment with Joey Pounders, a well-known catfish angler, to check out the Alabama River for Joey’s favorite species, the wily flathead catfish. Joey had only one previous encounter with the river and he was chomping at the bit to get back on it.
A drive to the river revealed more of the area’s charm and hospitality. The people were friendly and accommodating everywhere we stopped. Once on the river Pounders began to explain his strategy.
“I want to find some fallen trees that extend out from the bank,” instructed Pounders. “Either that or some submerged timber. Then we will pull the boat straight into the bank and fish out the back with live shad and live bluegill. Flatheads like the wood, and there is plenty of wood in the Alabama River.”
In a methodical routine Pounders used his Humminbird sonar and found his wood. He set six B’n’M Silver Cat Magnum rods in predetermined river locations, baited with live bait. He used side scanning sonar to pinpoint the target of his cast and measure the distance to it.
“See that structure,” Pounders said as he pointed to the sonar. “That is exactly 54 feet from the boat. The idea is to cast beyond it and then pull the bait back gently to the target.”
Pounders made the cast with the precision of a skilled technician and then proceeded to cast the remaining rods to his chosen spots. Amazingly, it did not take long to produce the first fish.
“I have been anxious to get back here,” said Pounders. “The little fishing that I did last year made me think that this river is overlooked by catfishermen. Now, I am convinced. We have been here ten minutes and have this beautiful flathead.”
The successful morning continued and the Alabama River produce six nice flatheads in only a couple hours of fishing.
“This is somewhere I want to bring my family,” concluded Pounders. “I love my flatheads, and you don’t find this kind of bite in other places that I fish. I will be back when I can spend more time and really figure this river out.”
The Wind Creek Casino turned out to be the perfect place to stay in Elmore County. My room was spacious, clean, comfortable, and good value. It also had a view of the Coosa River which made sipping my morning coffee a little more enjoyable.
Wind Creek was also a good location with different kinds of fishing close at hand. I ventured out to fish the Alabama River for catfish while some of my collogues went crappie fishing on Lake Jordon, with great success I might add. And, Jordon is also known for its bass fishing.
Gaming is available for those that choose it and Southern hospitality abounds. The food is great too. We had a couple of catered meals for the writers and anglers while we were there. The food was nothing short of outstanding. All types of food, from their gourmet steakhouse to grab-and-go deli, will delight your taste buds.
I agree with Pounders on his conclusion. I am ready to go back to Elmore County when I can spend more time fishing and more time exploring the many attractions of the area.