Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Another Big Bass Fishing Story

Last week, I posted a couple stories of a couple of my biggest bass caught in my local area.  I hope you all enjoyed them.  I have more stories to share, and will post more over the next few posts.  Later, I will mix in some other funny or adventurous stories that I have experienced over the years.  The way that I will try and tell these stories is as if we are sharing our experiences over a campfire.  I plan on posting more adventures and less tutorials in the future.  I won't stop posting tips and stuff, rather, I just plan on posting more fun experiences that I've had in the outdoors.  Please let me know in the comments if you like these types of posts.

Five Five Pounders and a Lunker
It's funny, but I keep mentioning stories shared with my fishing buddy, Howard.  The last two stories, he was there, and this next one, he's in it too.  Why?  I don't know, maybe he's good luck for me, but we've caught a ton of big bass together over the years.  This story happened between my boat owning years, where all we did is wade or bank fish.  We found some of these spots while fishing out of our boats, and then found ways to reach them from shore.  Some spots required tough hikes or wades to get to them effectively, but it was worth it.

We arrived at the parking lot of a public park, and hiked along a boardwalk style nature trail as far as we could go.  Then, we hopped off the boardwalk and into the water to wade the rest of the way.  We fished our way forward until we reached our destination, an old wharf along the tidal river.  We'd done well over the years at this spot while boat fishing, and figured it would be worth the wade.

It was about this time of year, a beautiful warm spring day.  Just about every tree was flowering and the woods was greening up fast.  It was time for big female bass to make their ways to the spawning areas.  The tide was falling, and that usually means that fish are active.

Both Howard and I were lobbing large, double willowleaf, tandem spinnerbaits.  Our color of choice in the spring was chartreuse with chartreuse blades.  This was a hot bait for us over the years at this location.  A local fishing guide once told me a saying, "If it ain't chartreuse, it ain't no use!"  That was a great lesson, and it applies to almost any water in my state.

About ten casts into the day, Howard hooked up and yelled, "Fish on!"  After a brief battle, he landed the fat largemouth bass that measured twenty inches.  The bass, at that time, hadn't spawned yet, so this female was fat with eggs.  I estimated her to be about five pounds or so.

On the very next cast, Howard again yells out, "Another one"!  I'm a bit perplexed, because he cast exactly to the spot where I placed my previous cast, where I ran my spinnerbait along and parallel to a log, and did not hook up.  Usually, that is a money cast.  He showed me how it was done, and landed the fat female bucketmouth.  He measured her at twenty one inches, another probably five pounder, and we weren't even anywhere near our hot spot!

We both waded and cast our way for the next quarter mile without a bite, and reached the point of our destination, and area with much flooded timber, and tougher wading, that stretched for about three hundred yards, culminating at a very old, abandoned, flooded wharf.  This particular spot also has four small points sandwiching three coves.  The depths varied with the tides, but low tide ranged from two to five feet deep, with flooded logs and debris just about everywhere, with pea gravel banks, perfect for bass searching for good spawning locations.

When we reached the first point, Howard hooked up again.  "Fish on!"  I still hadn't had a bite.  Again, he landed another very nice bass, and it measured nineteen inches.  Two casts later, Howard had another fat bass hammer his spinnerbait.  This one measured twenty inches.  Man, did he have the hot hand!  Meanwhile, I wondered if my wife had put a curse on my spinnerbait, or perhaps poison!

As we waded around that cove, I hear, "Holy hand grenades, I'm into another one!"  Howard landed that fish, and it measured, you guessed it, twenty inches!  This fish was the fattest one of the day and had to weigh a good six pounds.

I still hadn't had a bite, and I'm wondering what in the world I did to have the good Lord punish me this way.  Don't get me wrong, I was very happy for him.  Any time your fishing buddy is catching fish, big fish, one after another, you have to feel good for him.  Seeing that still gives you hope that the next bite will be on your lure.  Still, I felt it would be nice if I could just get that first bite.

We worked our way around all of the coves, and, although the total numbers weren't that high, Howard still landed a bag limit of five big bass that would have made the Bassmaster Classic guys envious.  Of course, all of these bass were released.  Meanwhile, I forgot what a bite felt like.  I was just going through casting practice.
Howard shown here with an eighteen inch fat tidal largemouth bass.  He caught five nineteen to twenty one inch bass on our trip that day!  Unfortunately, neither of us brought a camera.
At that point, the old reliable chartreuse spinnerbait wasn't working for me, so I switched to a tandem white spinnerbait with gold blades.  The larger blade was a huge size 7 willow leaf that really provided a ton of flash, but had much water resistance on the retrieve.  I added an all white ringworm as a trailer to give the bait a larger profile.  I figured that I had to try something different.  Howard's pattern worked for Howard, but not for me.

On our way back, I stopped at a point that was a huge gravel bar.  It was now almost low tide.  I heaved a cast as far as I could, not aiming for any cover or anything.  I'd made some great casts throughout the day along flooded timber without a so much as a sniff, so why not try something different?  The channel edge wasn't far away in the direction of that cast, and the bottom was littered with debris and sunken logs that you couldn't see.

I reeled immediately as the lure hit the water.  About four cranks of line back, my lure just stopped cold, and then yanked back.  I set the hook as if it was going to be the last fish of my life, and hooked it solidly.  I felt a few head shakes, and then she came to the surface.  She rolled on the water with a tail splash.  Howard turned around after the splash and watched me fight the fish.

This fish turned and bulldogged, not letting me gain any line for about fifteen seconds.  It was the biggest bass, if it was a bass, that I'd hooked so far all year.  I wondered if it was a big catfish that sometimes fool bass anglers like me into thinking that we've caught the mother of all bass.  Either way, this was a good fish.

The water had some color to it, a slight brownish stain, with about two feet of visibility.  Until she reached the shallows close to me, I still didn't know that type of fish that I was dealing with.  Then, her head popped up, and this huge bucket of a mouth shook at me, tossing water droplets on my face and sunglasses.  I waded out and grabbed her huge lower jaw, and hoisted her out of the water.

I pulled out my measuring tape and Howard measured her for me, and she was twenty four inches long.  This was the first big largemouth bass that I was able to measure.  In previous years, I didn't worry about carrying a measuring tape, but, for some reason, it was important to know these things, especially since I started keeping fishing logs.  We did not have a scale.  And, neither of us had a camera.  This was prior to the waterproof digital camera years, and my budget at the time did not include an expensive, waterproof camera.  I released the fish as both Howard and I admired her.
I've caught a bunch of fish like this in our tidal river, but the fish described in this story was another class of fish.  The fish pictured was twenty two inches, while the one caught years ago was a whopping twenty four inches long!  What a fish that was, but it was my only bite of the day!
We both worked the entire way back to our parking area without a single bite the rest of the day.  When it was over, Howard had the thrill of catching five big bass, all weighing at least five pounds.  That's a heck of a day for anyone.  At that point, my only bass caught might have been the biggest largemouth of my life at that point in time.  It was the only bite that I had that day, and what a bite it was!  It's funny how one bite, and one fish, can make your day, or perhaps wind up being your personal best!

No comments: