Mike got a shot I would have liked to have saved for magazine use, but this bass was a bleeder hooked in the gills, one of the few inevitable unfortunates an angler can only hope for upon release. I said to Mike after the bass bolted, "I could have kept it for my wife." "Yeah? She likes bass?" "Loves bass." "You?" "Not really." Habits are hard to break. You hope a bass like this survives when you let it go. Doesn't look like it at all.
Another hour-and-a-half outing before work, to Saffin's Pond with Mike Maxwell the Trout Assassin. I promised bass, waiting on a cloudy morning. This I was able to plan since Monday. We even got a little rain. I knew the two shorelines to fish. Promise fulfilled, but shucks, all mine. Devoted time to showing Mike the casts: pointing where, naming targets, even pitching for him from high atop the gravel trail down a 12-foot high embankment between branches narrowly spaced...I've hooked bass this way. And otherwise. To stomp down to water's edge and then cast is to miss about 25% of opportunity, bass scooting out of sight.
This is pond fishing. Twelve acres. Lakes larger than 50 acres typically don't have such overhangs, trunks and limbs in the water, bass inches from banks that drop pretty sharply. What's the wooden structure of Lake Hopatcong, for example? Mostly docks, by far. Landowners keep things pretty neat and trim.
So I caught four. That was our total. All on weightless. The favorite Chompers. Not the watermelon color now. I like some purple, blue and green fleck mixed with a green underside just more than half the length. Guess the bass do, too. It's not that I've never noticed differences in numbers of takes by color, but I usually ignore switching around. At least if bass take, as usually they do.
As we hiked out, I said, "They say it's just chucking a worm in, but worm (plastic) fishing really isn't easy. Takes some experience." And as I've said in earlier posts, I could do this for my rest of my life and never totally perfect the art. That's not to say that most every outing, I make casts I see in my mind before I begin my swing--actualized exactly as I pictured. Tight in to cover. Under a bush with inches between leaves and water. But when I'm off a foot, I've missed. I only reach perfection a few times on an outing, and the best part about it is that it's no big deal.