Tuesday, September 22, 2015

One hour, One fish

I hate not catching fish.  Well, worse.  I detest not catching fish.   At my best, I am a negotiator and at my worst, I am a compromiser.  On the water, that means after just a few lame casts with a big bait, I start downsizing from 6" senkos to 3" craws; from 4" broken body jerk baits to 2" pin minnows.   Not surprisingly, the result is that I catch a whole lot of 8"-12" largemouth and 6"-10" sunfish.   And a lot of mornings, I'm fine with that.

Until the minute where I see a five pound bass cruising among the floating woody debris, deftly throw a 1" Yo-Zuri four feet in front of it, and watch a 5" bass swim past the monster bass, swallowing the lure.  

At the fishing spot down the street from my office, the bass population is pretty standard for a beaver pond:  3 huge fish exist but are nearly impossible to catch.  Nearly endless supplies of 8-12" bass lay throughout the pond, awaiting a good excuse to swallow a lure.   Some biologists say this is representative of a healthy pond; others disagree.  But man, I'd like to catch one of those big fish.  Just once.

The changing weather has brought a rapid change in fish patterns.  Three days ago, my buddy Mike landed a 4.2lb bass in a pond fishing contest, earning him 2nd place honors.   He used a 6" senko and I thought, "damnit, I need to get after those big fish."  I got to the spot around 8am under cloudy skies.  I had one hour.  I started with a watermelon red flake senko which got some chases but no hits.  I downsized to an orange/purple claw which brought me some success.  After catching a 5", 8", 10", and 12" bass, I remembered why I had come there.  I tied on a new lure, a Berkley Havoc Flat Dawg (white) straight to my hook.  No jig, no weights, nothing.

I threw it as far as I could and watched it dance just below the surface of the muddy beaver pond water.  I cursed myself for forgetting my sunglasses as the sun tried to peak out from the clouds.  The lure disappeared.   The lure went deep.

I worked hard for the next three minutes, applying every hard-earned lesson from bass fishing I've learned.  Only let the drag peel where the water is open.  Kill the drag when he moves toward sunken wood.  Pick the fish up before his head comes out of the water.  I got my fish.  It set the tone for my week and I can't wait to fish the pond again, even if it isn't until next spring.

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