Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Bite

You know where the bass are there because you've fished your spot countless times over the years.  The water is crystal clear, leaving you with the first impression that the bass might be spooky.  It doesn't matter what time of year it is at this spot, because the bass always seem to hang out in this area all year long.  It's the perfect spot for bass to ambush unsuspecting prey with plenty of cover, a drop off to deeper water, and during this time of year, vegetation.  On this day, you're facing typical cold front conditions with Northwest winds at ten to fifteen miles per hour and bluebird skies, not exactly ideal bassin' weather.  You normally work these areas with crankbaits, spinnerbaits or buzzbaits, looking for that big fish reaction bite.  But today, you're finesse fishing, because you know that under tough conditions, this is your go to technique.  You aren't worried, because you know that you'll get "the bite".  Maybe a big fish, or maybe a lot of bites, or maybe both.
One of my favorite things in fishing, catching bass on a plastic worm, and getting "the bite".
Most people don't like fishing these conditions; bluebird skies, annoying relentless winds creating a bow in your line, and crystal clear water.  Yet, you know that with these conditions, the wind piles up warmer water along the woody shoreline, also breaking up the surface and decreasing the ability of prey to see predators that lurk in the heavy, until it's too late.  Today, the bass should relate tightly to the wood or hide under the mats of weeds.  Reaction baits may work, but your past experience has shown the fish to be picky under these conditions at your honey hole.

You pitch your plastic worm right into a hole through  a tangle of branches in a huge blowdown.  Your offering falls slowly as you watch your line intensely for the slightest movement that should indicate a strike.  You're using a superline, where the lack of stretch gives you confidence that when a bass bites, you can easily drive that hook home on your hook set.  You position your rod to minimize the bow in the line as much as possible for two reasons, to allow your lure to fall naturally through the cover, and to feel the bite as easily as possible.

And then, you feel it.  "The bite".  It's not a bone jarring strike, nor does it rip the rod from your hands.  Rather, it's a suble tap, as if someone gently flicked their fingernail against the blank of your rod.  Immediately, you sense the weight of the fish beginning to move away with what it assumes is an easy meal.  You drop your rod tip and crank up a little slack line, and with a quick short snap of your wrist, drive the hook home.
Long time fishing bud Howard Boltz knows "the bite" as well, recognizing it early enough to set the hook into this fine largemouth bass.
Then the bass goes ballistic, diving deep into the cover against the force of your rod.  You put pressure on the fish to oppose it's will to escape, and turn the fish successfully.  The fish tries to dive once again, but your drag is tight, and there's nowhere for it to go.  Your superline is much stronger than the rated pound test, and soon you move the fish out of it's woody lair.  You reach down and grab the bass by the lower jaw and hoist your trophy out of the water.
My friend Steve felt "the bite", nailing this hawg on a plastic worm.
In my opinion, I live for that bite.  That's when I know when I'm doing everything right, the way that I need to perform.  I know that I'm on the verge of bassin' success for that day.  I know that when I can get that first bite, I can get more.  And after catching that first bass, I'm greedy...I want more bites.  And when you're in a zone, worm fishing can do that for you.

There are other exciting bites in fishing.  Many are very exciting, like a bass slamming a buzzbait at boat side, or a musky attacking a blade bait at boatside after a figure eight finishing retrieve, or a massive striper crushing a crankbait at the end of your cast.  Some bites are so explosive at the boat side that you may feel the need to change your drawers!  Even in bassing, the spinnerbait or crankbite bite is a very addictive, adrenaline generating event.
Crash Mullin's demonstrates "the bite" in this awesome and humerous video.  It can't get much more exciting when a musky follows your cast and you draw a strike after going into a figure eight.  He has a great fishing show, by the way.  "The Bite" gets your adrenaline going for sure!!!!

It's not the braggin' style photos posing for fish that I live for, nor is it the numbers, and it's certainly not just the activity outdoors that many say, "a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work".  On the contrary, I live for "the bite".  And I live for lots of them!!!!!!

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