I decided to have a trip up to a Lake. It was the end of February, so I had an express purpose of catching a bass. I stayed there the first day and had camped with other fishers. Some of them, I made a very good-natured friend, Fred. We decided to leave for fishing again, the next morning.
Throughout the second day, from daylight-to-dark, we didn’t even eat. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to throw slower moving baits in colder water temps and faster, more aggressive lures in warmer water. Fred and I reached a spot over 80 feet of water. There were other fishermen too at a distance of 30 or 40 yards. Those guys seemed more into drinking and following women than to catch some real fishes, but anyhow we were generally for what we came here for.
Just then I saw something going under water, and then I saw lots of them. They were four separate large red blotches streaking around the dial on my flasher toward the small yellow blip that represented the tube I was jigging about 30 feet below. Fred noticed the sudden and drastic change in my body language. He got an understanding of what exactly was going on, but he avoids tipping off.
Suddenly, they were all here and then the other moment is gone! My shoulders that were starting to come with the idea that I could get skunked, I saw Fred perk up. Those fish had moved away from my hole and towards his. Now I’m the one trying to act natural.
This was much easier said than done because my heart was beating up in my throat despite my best efforts to swallow it back down, my palms becoming drenched with sweat, and my legs wanting to shake free from my body as if they’ve developed a mind of their own. It wasn’t easy back then.
But for about a good 10 minutes, these fish played games with us. They bounce back and forth, always coming near but peeling off at the last minute. Then just when we were convinced they were gone, they’d show up on the screen of the other’s flasher and do the same thing all over again. We were still there acting nonchalant because we knew that letting the locals know we’ve got fish showing up would have them drilling holes next to us.
So then, I was about to lose my repeated close calls with the fish and have tried almost everything in my previous shots at these fish and quite honestly feeling a more than a little defeated, this time I chose to hold my rod tip completely still. Same as the streaking mark merges into the one, representing my tube on the flasher display; my rod tip dips ever so slightly. Having known about the difficulty of hooking into a bass, having worried during weeks of planning about how the lack of a barb on my hooks would assuredly cause me to lose fish, and having spent just about every waking moment over the last couple days doing everything I could to catch one of these fish, I set the hook. It was done.
There were a swing and a miss. Nothing came, except water. That tube moved at least 6 feet through the water column with that mighty jerk, probably further. The fish just absolutely blasted it, and I didn’t even get the opportunity to set the hook.
After 4 long runs in every direction possible, I saw water rumbling up through the hole in the ice, and I brought her nose topside. Unsure of what to do with myself after finally getting to this point, I distinctly remember jumping up and down and squealing – quite literally squealing – “Catch it! Catch it!” Fred quickly grabbed it, and finally, we caught one.
We took some quick photos and then she went back down to the hole again. The length was 31-inch, and 16-inch girth put her about 12 pounds. This isn’t a truly large hass by most accounts, but for a boy like me, who grew up far away and has been fishing on another planet, it was probably the most memorable catch of my life.
After all the ups and downs of all that time spent chasing these fish, I couldn’t do anything but sit down and reflect. It was a good 30 minutes before I was up and fishing again. The timing was amazing!
Let’s face it, and bass fishing can be tough. It is an aggressive fish, so you will need to keep tapping at it to upset it into biting your hook.