One of those rare afternoons when you get to a spot just on time. I really didn't know heavy rain loomed imminent, the barometer surely falling fast. Some light showers had been around, but nothing to indicate to any certainty heavier, although some of the clouds made me think it could happen.
During the retrieve on my second cast, I just let the Senko fall, saw the line twitch. let it tighten, set the hook and instantly knew I was into a really big bass. It fought like all, and I knew I had--at last--hooked a bass five pounds or better. I even thought, for one moment, it could be a really big smallmouth. I felt happy, appreciating this on six-pound test. And then I quickly measured 20 inches. Thanks to whomever photographed me with the fish before swiftly released.
I took no more than half-a-dozen casts. Rain began to fall pretty heavily. I marched out. Once I got to the car--a deluge.
Now I want to part with the five-pound mark for a heavier bass here. I wonder how long this will take, if I ever beat this fish for size. It will be enough, if I don't. The 17 1/2-incher on my previous outing to the reservoir wasn't bad.
There are secrets. I can tell you the bass hit about 10 feet deep, and that the approaching storm may well have had to do with it. They haven't spawned yet either, although the water is fairly warm, probably low to mid 60's, but not quite spawning temperature. The reservoir warms slower than just about any other New Jersey water body. Perhaps none other warms as slowly. Merrill Creek Reservoir is deeper, but the water filled with many more fertile particles that help warm it.
I had no thermometer. I could be wrong. Maybe this bass has spawned and is fat because of feeding, but I don't think so. Bass now frequent relative shallows and later in the summer move deeper. Casual persistence on any particular body of water clues you into possibilities. Nevertheless, I know the typical dry, sun-drenched day doesn't make hooking a really big one very likely. I've heard of a nine-pound largemouth sighted that wouldn't hit anything, not even live bait presented with four pound test. The largest I've heard of caught in all these years of the reservoir's existence didn't break the eight-pound mark. Of course, the state record smallmouth at seven pounds, two ounces is another story.
They're in the reservoir and today this bass seemed easy to catch. But over the course of time, big bass don't seem to be easy to catch for anyone fishing here.