Thursday, July 31, 2014

19 Inch Bass in Restricted Territory: Afternoon Action at July's End

With 75 degrees and a stiff breeze racing from the southwest, I wondered again how bass would respond. Not long thereafter, working my way towards the back of the pond, I hooked the 15-incher photographed below after twitching the worm once next to a stickup. I released the bass and put the next pitch right back in the same spot. I never fail to try twice. Again, line jerked and swiftly moved off as I tightened and set the hook.

This one was a good bass. If I had persisted with six pound test, I'd never have the photograph of it, since I was in a compromised position with a deadfall in front of me over water and had to lift the bass by grasping the line above the swivel connecting 15-pound Power Pro to 15-pound fluorocarbon. The bass didn't weigh six pounds; it didn't weigh 3 1/2, but measured 19 inches. Very skinny. Made me think the plump "18-incher" I didn't measure more than a couple of weeks ago was larger than guessed, but not by much.

Nearly half-a-dozen casts fell as intended before I moved on to the next opening between thickets, anticipating at least one more bass, maybe a couple more.

"No fishing on the rocks," a loud speaker. A voice with that hollow metal sound we associate with football games. Or police. Or science fiction dystopias.

So that was that. My fishing privilege was at stake. It's a municipally directed pond. I paid for the remainder of the year, and the price is hardly worth where I'm limited by any overseer.

I don't mean to resent authority, but every time the likes of this happens, it makes me feel ashamed of America, a feeling I don't like at all. Isn't there a way to stipulate that fishermen are responsible for any injuries they may incur and let them have their freedom? Any of us who seek pools and currents, rocky shoreline pockets and deadfalls, love to scramble among stone. It's built into our being by years of habit. And here at this secret pond is truly a beautiful stretch of shoreline. Restriction is counterproductive. Anyone has a sense for whether or not they are able to manage rocky terrain. Some of us can literally dance on it. 

I fished the less appealing areas with flat grassy shoreline. Nothing happened after more than half an hour, an hour's time fished total. I fished with just as much intention as the better cover demanded.

As I drove out, I put my hand out the window and pleasantly waved to the girl in the guard shack. Of course it was mildly embarrassing to have been called out for all to hear and swivel their heads at me, but I was driving out on the high road. I knew I had my money's worth and more. They had nothing on me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bass with Cool Temperatures, Breeze from North

Arrived to 71 degree-temperature and steady breeze from the north. Sky overhead partly sunny, not the mile high dread of a cold front, I yet had my reservations about any bass being on the prowl with this cool weather. I don't like a breeze from the north during summer. If I'm walleye and hybrid striper fishing during October, OK, but despite so much written about slow summer dog days, for bass I like a southern flow and warm temperatures at the least. You have to slow down for bass, but they'll take a plastic worm, at least they often will, even at noon.

I fished as I have been fishing, choosing the bright blue worm to match for the most part a bright sky. I cast, let sink, then usually reel the worm right back to offer an initial descent elsewhere. I do catch some on slow, twitching retrieves, especially if water is deep--not so deep I don't fish weightless--5-15 feet or so, but I fished mostly one to three feet of water more interested in targeting cover and sort of cropping out space where a bass in any direction by four or five feet would close in. There's only so much you can do in an hour when you want to fish most of a 15-acre pond's east side.

I caught the two bass of about two pounds each, the second fish a little under that weight, I think. Those were the only bass to hit. Two sunfish tapped the worm, besides. That got me thinking about how, where I used to often fish, sunfish would, on some days, assault the worm almost constantly. Those were days I never caught bass.

Yes, I switched to the other reel, loaded with Power Pro 15-pound test. No, I don't like using the heavy braid as much as six-pound mono, even though the stuff is at least as low diameter. I prefer mono when I can use it--most of the time--just because I prefer the feel, even though I readily admit you feel a lot more of what's going on, on bottom, taps, and so on, with performance braid. That big bass I lost last week when the line parted really blew a hole in me. And I fished the spot where I lost it coming and going today. I hope someday another bass takes the same way.