Some days don't start off right, and although I arrived after noon at Mt. Hope with little more than a half hour to fish, all morning I had been off kilter, and remained so. As briars seemed to grip at my dress shirt much more than usual, I swore under breath, and getting in among the tangles along the bank, I muddied my dress pants. But I wore hiking boots, no doubt about this.
I saw an 18 inch largemouth cruise in heavy sunlight and blazing heat on the water. Indifferent as a zombie, it mingled with small sunfish that took no alarm at all, sure evidence that this bass gave off no aggressive vibes. Surely I'd get skunked today.
During the dreggs of summer dog days--unless you thrive in intense heat--under brilliant sunlight largemouth will cruise a pond's shallows in full view. All I know, and I don't know all the variables, far from it, is that unless damselflies and dragonflies are present, hunting smaller insects related to aquatic vegetation that meets water surface, I haven't been able to coax such cruisers to hit. I thought this would be today's situation. Mt. Hope's shoreline drops sharply to 15 feet and more of water, no shallow flats for bass to cruise and attack those damsel and dragonflies--at least smaller bass do this where they're available.
But within ten minutes I had my first bass. I casted my Chompers perfectly next to overhanging brush, some of that brush in water, except that my line get caught by a thin branch. No more than a couple seconds elapsed, and the line suddenly took up the slack swiftly. I felt my mood shift. Despite the branch, when I set the hook, it gave. I found on inspection afterwards that it didn't even nick the line. This bass weighed at least a pound and a half.
I fished at much faster pace, getting all the way up the shoreline in almost half the time as usual. Most of the water drenched in sunlight, I had less of it to fish, focusing on shaded areas. I tried a tactic that makes sense, and seemed to make the difference, casting the worm just outside shade, in sunlit water, so that a bass present in shade sees the sunlit worm very clearly, and dashes from the shade to grab it, the way that striped bass stay just outside illumination from docks during bay summers, and crash the baitfish drawn into light. Near the very end of my jaunt, I picked up one more just over a pound.