Setting out up the trail in 96-degree heat, I recalled my venture about a year ago at 97 degrees. I love the thrill of surprise, but today it felt very comfortable marching straight up that trail to where I had already found bass. The article about that first happening on this stretch of river last year I named "Demise..." and the second trip to the spot yielded little better. I always try to redeem loss in my life, and today caught six smallmouths in less than an hour, yet still have a three-pound-plus bass in mind.
Tonight I have the image of one of the smallmouths in mind, nearly 12 inches, not the largest, but the most visible. It had fought like no more than a ten-incher, and when it came into view, I felt surprised. The bass undulated on the hook in the light from between tree canopies in a very deeply suggestive way. I thought no further of this than of its being beautiful and for a moment felt transported into the scene myself.
Smallmouth bass love the killies and the killies stay on the hook better than shiners, as well as survive much, much better. I brought barely more than half a dozen in a tiny bucket and marched back out with three leftover! Even though I knew exactly where to cast and how long to stay in a spot, I had enough time leftover to walk further upstream than I have before and catch the sixth bass.