Back in 1994, TLC told us to not go chasing waterfalls and to “stick to the rivers and the lakes” that we’re used to. And this past weekend, my husband and I tried to do like they said and just stick to a lake that we are “used to” and have fished numerous times, but we accidentally ran right into a bunch of waterfalls anyway.
It all started when this past Saturday, my husband and I took our boat out for the first time since April to try and do some bass fishing. Since the last time we had been out, he had worked on our old boat making several improvements including putting on a new propeller, rewiring the entire boat, and putting in a new seat pedestal in the back. The last time we’d been out, it had literally broken underneath me, dumping me out on the floor. So we were excited to give our newly improved boat a go. We’ve wanted to take it out sooner but as happens, we’ve been busy with many other things or the weather hasn’t cooperated on weekends. So finally, the day came.
We went to Normandy Lake in Normandy, Tennessee as we have many times before. Together, we have fished at Normandy over the last seven years and before that, my husband had been going to Normandy to fish with his dad since he was a child. So we thought we knew the area pretty well, but it turns out the lake still has some surprises for us. My husband had printed off a map and was determined to explore some different areas and offshoot creeks. We’ve done this before and had many enjoyable days fishing up little creeks that run off the main lake. But on this day, my husband decided to explore further than either of us has ever been. We ran all the way down the main channel for what felt to me like a very long time and I began to get nervous as we got further away from the dam where we had put in the boat. I had some good reasons to feel nervous.
We’ve had several what we call “adventures” on our fishing trips in the past. The very first time we took our boat out as a married couple after my husband had been fixing up the second hand boat, we broke down quite a long way away from the boat ramp. The motor wouldn’t crank due to a dead battery. Per state law, we had the required paddle so we could paddle towards the dock, but as we were miles away, it was going to take a while. I vividly remember being in the store on the day we were buying our equipment for the boat such as our life jackets and paddle, and suggesting that it might be useful to have two paddles in the event that we ever needed to use them so we could both paddle. Since the boat has limited storage space, he nixed the idea of having any kind of extra equipment. So when we broke down, he was left to paddle all alone and I couldn’t help but remind him that I had suggested a second paddle could come in handy. It worked out when another fishing boat came by and took pity on us and towed us back to the boat ramp.
Another inadvertent “adventure” involved our truck breaking down on the way to the lake with the boat in tow and we spent the day trying to get the truck towed, then waiting for someone else to come and hitch to the boat to take it back home.
Ever since we broke down so far from the dock, I have a tendency to get nervous the further we explore on the lakes we’ve visited. I also get restless as my husband likes to drive around, checking the depth of various areas and gathering information about each section of the lake while I’m just ready to start fishing. So as the sun kept rising higher in the sky and we had yet to settle into an area to fish and drove further and further from the dock with the cold wind whipping at my face, I was getting cranky.
Adding to my nervousness of being so far out in a new area with new boat equipment was the fact that in the early morning light, visibility was not great due to large patches of misty fog hanging over the lake. But the mist was making some interesting patterns over the water and since we were apparently no closer to fishing, I pulled out my camera to play around with video and try to capture the effect of the mist that looked like it was coming up out of the water in spikes. It was because of this that I managed to capture our discovery of what we very originally dubbed “Waterfall Cove”.
As we came through the mist, we were blinded by the sun just starting to top the trees in front of us. My husband finally shut off the main motor of the boat and in the quiet that followed, we heard it. A waterfall. But between the mist and the blinding sun, we couldn’t see it. My husband got on the trolling motor and we slowly made our way through the mist and saw a beautiful waterfall in front of us pouring into the lake. As we drew closer to the waterfall, we heard the sound of more waterfalls so we explored further. There was a small cove just around the bend past the fog and as we made our way towards it, the roar of waterfalls grew louder. We both gasped as we made our way into the little cove and there on each side of the cove were two big, beautiful waterfalls. They were glorious. As many times as we have been to that lake over the years, we had absolutely no idea they were right there just waiting for us to find them. If we had known there was a small cove, hidden away from the rest of the lake, full of the sounds of rushing water and beautiful sights of the falls and went looking for them, they would still be beautiful, but there was something so special about just stumbling upon that place like we did that made it even more so. The video below shows the moment we ventured into the cove and the various falls we found on Saturday.
As we explored the area, we found several more little falls flowing from the rocks into the lake below, and we finally settled into casting and trying to catch some bass with the calming sounds of flowing water all around us.
As far as fishing went that day, my husband had decided before we went that we should try and fish exclusively for bass instead of our usual crappie. For the last seven years, whenever we’ve gone out, our gear and process has always been geared towards crappie, but having inadvertently caught many small and large mouth bass along the way, I didn’t think it would be too different to go for bass. I was wrong. We struggled trying to learn new casting techniques with reels that neither one of us were used to and we spent a lot of time trying to untangle fishing line. There are probably not too many things more frustrating in life then trying to untangle fishing line. And we didn’t catch a single bass.
As we headed back to the boat ramp, we were discussing my early crankiness at exploring deep into the channel in the cold and the fact that we hadn’t had a very successful day of fishing, but that we both still felt we’d had a really special trip together because of our discovery of “Waterfall Cove”. It was the kind of thing you just can’t plan.
Before we had set out from home that morning, I found myself sitting alone in the truck at 5:30AM as my husband unplugged the battery from charging and made final preparations. There in the dark, I guess watching the act of him unplugging the battery brought back memories of dead boat batteries and I prayed that we would be safe on our little adventure, not have any “adventures”, and would have a good day together. I couldn’t have dreamed then just how that little prayer would be answered. We might not have caught any bass, but we had a shared special experience of discovering a little misty cove full of waterfalls. And we didn’t even have to chase them.