Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Big Bass

I apologize for not having pictures of this outing. One of the large five plus pound largemouth would have been nice, wouldn't it? Well, there's a reason.

I've learned that definitions of "landing a fish" vary. Some say netting them. Some say making physical contact. I've even heard some say having them on the line for a reasonable time and bringing them close should be considered, and while I think that counts for something, I would strongly disagree. I'm not sure yet what my personal definition is yet. I lean towards making physical contact, but this day had me wondering.

I was fishing my local river... one that is not super productive but there are fish of all types there. It's quite scenic and remains one of my favorite spots, even if my success there has been limited. Perhaps it's also the challenge that heightens its value.

After catching a couple of smallmouth I made my way downstream. I hit a hole that produced a large rainbow trout last spring, but the hole itself didn't seem to hold much in the way of hungry fish. I decided to work the banks, using a size 10 black nose dace, my recent go-to fly since it imitates an injured minnow quite nicely when stripped in right and I haven't seen much hatching lately.

During one such cast near the banks I saw a few large V's form on the surface a few feet behind my fly. Whoa. Big fish.

Another cast. Wham! He took it. My rod arched over and I let out the loose fly line, knowing that using the reel would be best to bring him in. I figured it was that one rainbow but now bigger. Much bigger.

I played him into the open water. Things were going great and I got him a little closer when his head emerged. A bass. Not a smallmouth, but a largemouth, with a leviathan head. No wonder he wasn't jumping. Too big a fish in too shallow of water. Easily five pounds, perhaps even more.

Now I began to fear my line snapping. I only had 5X tippet tied on so I quickly, but carefully, got him closer. I bent forward, ready to net him, when he made a run and shot between my legs! Crap! Then he swam off to the side and forward, wrapping the line around my left leg.

I did a very awkward dance for about half a minute, trying to free my leg and nearly dunking myself in the river a few times. It's a good thing nobody else was around.

I managed to touch the bass once or twice in the process. Landed? I think not. And then, the line snapped. He was gone.

I stood there in the river for a good three minutes, my jaw dropped and my head down. I left the river shortly thereafter, and I told the story to my wife that evening, probably three times. My last words before I fell asleep were apparently "He swam right between my legs".

All part of fishing. Despite that trauma, it was an epic fight and a lot of fun. Revenge will be had.

Area: small river.
Water: Low levels, relatively clear, warm temps (estimated around 70).
Weather: Upper 60s, overcast.
Time: 4-6pm
Flies: Black nosed dace (10), bird's nest muddler (10)
Fish: Two bass (or was it three if you include that one who could have easily eaten the two I caught?), one chub, one pickerel (a first this season).

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