Best Bucketmouth Day Ever

Posted by MNAngler On July - 23 - 2012

Last Thursday night, I ran into my neighbor Mark while he was walking his dog. I asked him, jokingly, when we were going to go fishing next. He said he was going the next morning at 5am and that I was welcome to come along. Since there wasn’t much going on at work that day, I decided to go.

We didn’t leave our houses until 5:30 or so because Mark’s wife didn’t want him to wake up the dog too early who would in turn rouse up the rest of the house. By 6am, we were fishing.

We targeted walleye with live bait and lindy rigs as Mark likes to do. The walleye bite is usually early and we had time to target bucketmouths later in the day. On our first drop, Mark got a hit within seconds. As he was fighting it, I started to reel up to ready a net when I felt a weight at the end of my line. I set the hook and now I was in a battle as well. Mark pulled in a largemouth bass at about 14″. Mine was running, so Mark had time to grab a net. He netted this beauty for me:

Species: Largemouth Bass
Size: 19.75″
Lure used: live bait 1 on lindy rig

It was a personal best! A new addition to my Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, Mark made me swear not to reveal our bait.

Mark’s next fish was a nice 16-17″ walleye. He then caught a nice largemouth bass at 17-18″. Then another, then another. He was catching them left and right and were they were all in the 16-19″ range. We didn’t measure any of them because he was used to catching this size fish. I would have measured every one and gotten pics as well.

Then he hooked into a nice northern that measured in at 25″. We saved that one for the holiday batch of pickled northern. It took me almost an entire week to score a species trifecta and Mark did it in an hour!

During that time, I had a couple of bites, but I kept missing the hook set. One time, I set the hook without letting line out. The bail was open and when I tried to close the bail with the handle, it got stuck and the fish disappeared by the time I got it closed. Other times, I wasn’t being patient enough. If you’ve ever lindy rigged before, you know how hard the wait can be.

But my diligence was finally rewarded with another lunker that would have broken my previous personal best:

Species: Largemouth Bass
Size: 18.5″
Lure used: live bait 1 on lindy rig

Mark landed a couple of more lunkers before we ran out of bait and had to switch to a second course to show the diners below.

Mark had caught yet another fish and as he was bringing it in, I got a nice bite on my line. I let line out while Mark pulled in another nice bucketmouth. He was about to start the motor to go back upwind to drift when I told him to hold on a second. Usually Mark is in tune with every move I make, so it was unusual for him not to notice I was waiting on a bite.

I set the hook and bang! Another fish on! I fought her for a good few seconds and when it came to the surface, Mark let out a “whoa!” He said it was the biggest one yet. It made another run and just as I got it to the surface again, my prize did a shimmy-shake and he was gone.

Just a few minutes earlier, I had snagged on the bottom and had to retie a hook. Apparently, my knot didn’t hold. Mark also told me I was too anxious and should have let the girl run a few more times before pulling her up. Lesson learned. He said it was easily 20″ and could have been 21″. I felt as dejected as my son last summer.

My next fish was much smaller:

Species: Largemouth Bass
Size: 13″
Lure used: live bait 2 on lindy rig

Mark then laid into another lunker. But this one was different. We knew it was big. It made one run, then a second, then a third. By the time he finally landed it, it was the biggest largemouth bass I had ever seen. It measured in at 21.75″!

I landed another 12-incher before we ran out of bait #2. I then decided to go back to a dead bait #1 that we had saved. Mark assured me that it would work, I just had to jig it a little more. He was right. I got a bite not long after and it was so strong, I automatically set the hook without letting line out, just like I had done earlier in the morning. This time, I closed the bail manually and kept the fish on. But just seconds later, it stopped moving. It was just a dead weight.

Earlier in the morning, a boat had come by warning us of a submerged water ski course with ropes and buoys. They didn’t discourage us from fishing, but asked us just to release our hooks and drop them back in the water. That explained all the snags we were getting. Both of us lost fish to what we must have been that submerged equipment. Frustrating.

Now out of live bait, we had to switch to artificial lures. I had some stick baits that I got from my Outdoor Blogger Network grab bag last fall. I used one color while Mark tried drop-shotting a different color.

We weren’t sure if the artificals would work, but they did. My first score again matched my personal best before this outing:

Species: Largemouth Bass
Size: 18″
Lure used: stick bait, lindy rigged

Ever wonder why anglers call these fish bucketmouths? This is why:


Minutes later, I hooked into another fish. Once I got it on board, Mark switched to the color I was using. On the first drop, he got a bite. I was measuring my fish when I heard Mark ask why my line was still in the water. I was sure it wasn’t. Well, I was half right. My hook was in the boat, but not my rod tip with the lindy weight. Sure enough, Mark got tangled up in the line. I tried to get it untangled, but the line broke in the process. Mark was not happy.

In the chaos, I let my fish go without realizing I hadn’t snapped a picture. It measured in at 15.5″

Things were slowing down in our honey hole, so we decided to move closer to shore. I switched to casting a KVD coffee worm that I had success with over July 4th. I was able to land an 11″ and 12″ to add to my day’s tally, but missed another half dozen or so hits. The fish were biting light and not taking the whole worm. I could feel the nips, but no weight. And as my regular readers know, I wait for the weight to guarantee a hook set. With these bites I was forced to try to set early and each time, the worm came back twisted, but no fish. Mark didn’t get anything else either.

We did, however, see a gorgeous bald eagle watching us. Unfortunately, my camera didn’t get a very good photo:

To call this a good day of fishing would be an understatement. It was one of the best outings of my life. It beat my previous best bass day and was better than my best walleye fishing day. Not only did I catch 8 bucketmouths, I also landed 6-7 sunnies at 4-6″ each. Mark’s sunny count was comparable.

Landing 3 fish 18″ and over was amazing. I also saw more big fish than I had ever seen at one time, thanx to Mark. The only thing that would have made the day better is if I landed that really big one. Not only would it have been my personal best, but I would have filled out my bag for the Bass Pundit Minnesocold Bass Bloggers Derby. At least I added 3 to my bag.

There is no doubt we’ll be back. My only question is whether I could get to the spot with my float tube if Mark is unavailable. It’s a bit far from shore, but it won’t stop me from trying.

2 Responses to “Best Bucketmouth Day Ever”

  1. MSPbass says:

    Wow. Fantastic day for sure. I even had fun reading about it!

  2. Tom says:

    Great post. Glad to see you laying into some bigguns!

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