Sunday, July 19, 2015

iBass360 Spruce Run Reservoir Tournament and Barbeque: Largemouth, Smallmouth, Hybrids

Tried to sleep at 10:00 last night to get up at 4:45, but while I got up on time, I didn't sleep until about 1:00. I hate insomnia, less because I lose sleep, than because the conflicts I fight seem unnecessary, compared to the time wasted and the pain suffered. I take melatonin, helps, but I quit the Ambien generic because of poor effects in the morning.

I caught an 11-inch largemouth shortly after we began. The cove really seemed to offer only two spots among many acres. Where bushes and branches overhang the water--with five-foot depths in front--my weightless Chompers did the trick and impressed Eric, since I had written my first article for iBass360 on the method.

Eric's the brand manager and editor. He loves to write and edit, and puts his enthusiasm into the articles that come his way. Normally, I'm very opposed to an editor's changing my words, besides any obvious errors or by solicitations for improvement I agree on, since what I write--is what I write. If the writer's personality doesn't emerge, the work is not by his hand. What I do for iBass360 is collaborative, and so I looked forward very much to this morning in the boat with Eric. The only stickler I had with my recent piece involves Eric's use of the words about bass believing by instinct--because I'm literal minded and feel it important that I be so. No evidence suggests bass believe anything. And I don't believe animals have instinct; I believe that's a notion we use simply because we don't understand how their brains work as functional wholes, without any instinct in the creatures sort of telling them what to do.

Anyhow, Eric and I had a relaxed, casual time, and as these first meetings go, they never get into the substance of such matters, if only because we want to relax.

I did wonder--in that first cove--what fish kicked up mud. The water only two or three feet deep, I saw those clouds clearly, but these flats were so barren of cover, and wide open without deeper water adjacent, I refused to believe bass responsible. Well, later on, when we all came in for the barbeque, Steve Vullo impressed me. He had nailed a three-pound largemouth on a buzzbait--on just such a flat, apparently. I told Eric later that I think I felt too impatient with the shallows.

I also caught a channel catfish nearly three pounds on the Chompers, about two feet deep where the shoreline dropped off to six or seven feet where Eric positioned the boat. What a fight! I thought for a moment I had hooked a pike, the way it peeled line in a straight line, drag screaming.

Later, I saw hybrids busting herring at the surface. Eric moved us towards the commotion with the electric. I cast a Torpedo. I haven't been hit like that since I fished bluefish with topwaters. I hollered out loud.

Eric hooked one with a lipless crankbait. I switched to a Rat-L-Trap. Soon, as I let the plug descend--fish marked all over about 13 feet down--I felt the grab, set the hook, and fought a real nice one. Judging by other hybrids I've caught, about five pounds. A good, long, hard fight--so, when the hooks pulled as the fish neared the side of Eric's boat, I didn't feel loss.

That's not the story behind my Mann's Little George, my silver-painted teardrop shaped, one ounce lead-bodied lure, which Pat at the Basking Ridge Post Office picked up for me at Cabelas along with five others years ago, my favorite of the batch. I let it descend, felt a tiny tap and refused to set, knowing there was no way to hookset. The lure fell another two feet or so, I felt a whomp, set hard, felt powerful resistance--and the line broke. The same knot which held the previous fish had gone bad.

Eric caught a couple of crappies on the crankbait, and lost two other good-sized hybrids, besides catching his first, a 3 1/2-pounder, about that weight.

This was an iBass360 event, the biggest largemouth caught 4 1/2 pounds, and a 4.3-pound smallmouth even a better fish. We're a group of bass anglers who believe in fishing and health, the redemptive quality of angling and the enjoyment that lasts a lifetime. By all means, join us if you're interested.

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