Sunday, June 3, 2012

An early outing with Dave

Fishing with my friends often involves working with their schedules to find a time we can go out and wet a line.  Most Sunday mornings I can be found around a pond somewhere with Dave.  This Sunday morning was no exception except he had developed a get-out-early motivation so at 6:00 this Sunday I was helping load Dave's equipment into my car to drive to today's body of water.  

We were fishing for Largemouth Bass as we generally do.  They're a lot of fun to catch in a variety of ways.  Figuring out what they want-to/will eat is part of the challenge of fishing.  Today was another one of those days.

We started fishing the pond around 6:30.  It was early and we were both working on a Five Hour Energy buzz combined with the excitement of fishing this particular pond.  I knew there to be good sized bass in this pond but I had only caught one here.  Dave was going on faith that this place would live up to my hype.  

We threw a few different baits trying to figure out what the bass wanted to eat today.  I had a black and yellow spinner bait tied on my casting rod and Dave was throwing a chartreuse spinner.  Both spinners yielded no fish at that hour.  To add insult to injury Dave's spinner ended up in the middle of the pond forcing him to rethink his lure choice.

I started channeling Marty aka Wacky Bass' advice about fishing a Rat-l-Trap in front of pond weed growth.  I also remembered how my attempts at fishing that same lure turned out.  What could I do differently.  The strike zone was generally in the top 1-3 feet of the water column and weeds were 2-4  feet from the bank in places.  Time to break this down.  A Rat-l-Trap is a rattling crank bait and I had to get the lure between 1-3 feet in depth in front of the weeds.  What do I have in my tackle bag that is a rattling crank bait that operates in 1-3 feet of depth....I know!  My trusty Bass Pro Eggs!  I tied on my large Chrome-Black XPS Lazer Eye Egg and let it fly. 

Several casts in the same directions I had already been working yielded no bites so I rotated clockwise around the shore line past Dave's position and started casting the crank in this direction.  Rod tip up yielded a surface-hugging, wide wake.  I had just started thinking that I loved the action of this bait when Dave sarcastically said, "I wonder if there are any fish in here."

I don't know what force of nature caused the next chain of events to happen but no sooner were those words out of Dave's mouth then my egg gets clobbered!

She weighed in at about 3 pounds on my Boga-Grip and a great way to start off the day's catching.

We rotated around the pond in a clockwise motion; one angler passing the other.  The other passing the one.  This goes on until someone finds fish.  I got the next.

3.5 lbs on the Boga, not bad.  They're getting bigger.  Dave's turn for a NICE chunk of 4.25-4.5 lb fun on what you can see in his other hand (the one without the lovely bass in it) is the half-dollar sized Z-Man Chatterbait he caught that beauty on.  

We walked the rest of the perimeter and I got a bigger fish.  A 4lb largemouth.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand the grand first FIVE POUND LARGEMOUTH BASS!!!

When it hit the Egg I knew this fish was different.  My spinning reel felt like it was loose in the reel-seat; it wasn't.  I checked after I released the big girl.  Each wind of my reel felt like I was trying to pull in a cast iron skillet.  She was big, and beautiful, and released healthy and only slightly annoyed that she ate my crank bait.

I had a great morning fishing.  Dave picked up another good sized bass but it was deep hooked and bleeding. Dave is the kind of guy that thinks about the fish's health first and once we got the trebles out of the gullet of the bass Dave carefully released it back to the pond to fight another day.  I highly recommend practicing catch and release in small ponds.  Ponds can't recover as fast as fish could be taken from them in this suburban area.

If you want to have fish you can catch and eat please visit DuPage County Forest Preserve Lakes, other county/state run lakes, or a variety of pay-to-fish/catch lakes available in the surrounding areas.  They all have posted creel limits as to what sizes of what species can be taken.  If we all take care of our waters we can insure there are plenty of fish to catch and release and catch and eat.

I know I want to catch another like this one again, and I want you to be able to too!!!