First Bass of the Year is a Doozie

Posted by MNAngler On June - 5 - 2011

My brother-in-law, George, was in town for a wedding and he invited me out fishing with one of his friends. It happened to be a day where my son had his Cub Scout model rocket launch, so I told him I couldn’t make it at his scheduled time of 8am. However, if he made it earlier, perhaps I could make it. After a flurry of text messages, we settled on a 6am start and my father-in-law, Ken, was joining us as well.

Whenever I get up that early to go fishing, I tend to question my sanity when I get out of bed. But all becomes right in the world by the time I get on the water.

I suggested a lake close by my house so that we could have as much time on the water while still allowing me time to get to the rocket launch. It was one I had never been on that I wanted to try out last summer.

We were on the lake a little after our agreed time and our target was part of a chain of lakes you could motor between by going under bridges. On the way to our destination, George’s friend, Greg, said he’s caught a lot of bass on an adjoining lake. I said, “well, let’s go!” So that’s where we headed first.

We spent about an hour in a field of lily pads on the opposite side of the lake from the bridge we had to go under. Greg suggested topwaters so I threw scum frog while he threw a flat buzz lure. George and Ken opted for my magic lure, George in white pearl, Ken in bubble gum. The entire hour, none of us even got a tick, but there were lots of fish jumping around near us. We even saw a small school of carp mouthing the surface. We didn’t know if they were eating, or breathing.

On one cast, I threw so hard, my rod came apart. Since it was a two-piece, I wasn’t that concerned, but after reeling in the tip, I realized it had snapped above the joint. Between that and my whip action last weekend, I may need to re-evaluate my technique. Or equipment.

I did also try a Zoom horny toad, chartreuse spinnerbait and Northstar Baits bluegill swim jig. But under the lily pads, the weeds were so thick, anything that went more than a few inches subsurface just collected too much junk. I only threw the latter two once or twice.

With no action in that hour, we moved down the shore a bit where the weeds were a little more (but not by much) sparse. I was able to throw a weighted texas-riggged power worm in that spot. We only gave that spot about 10-15 minutes before moving to the lily pads by the bridge. I switched back to the scum frog and we again moved on after 10 or so minutes of no action.

We crossed back into our original destination lake and I checked the Navionics app on my phone to find that the shore to our left coming out of the bridge looked like a good spot to start.

The area was much more devoid of weeds than the other lake, so I switched back to the weighted texas-rigged power worm. About 10 minutes in, my lure felt heavier than usual, so instinctively set the hook. It felt like weeds. Until I reeled in a little. Then it started twitching. I still wasn’t positive I had a fish on until I reeled in a little more. I said, “I’ve got one!” About halfway in, it jumped and the fish separated from the power worm. It took me a second to be sure the hook stayed with the fish.

It wasn’t until I got the fish in the boat that I realized that it was big. Apparently, I didn’t feel the bite fast enough because the hook was in its gullet. I barely made an attempt to pull it out when I realized it was too deep. Ultimately, I decided to cut the line or fish would have died for sure.

After snipping the line, I pulled out a measuring tape and measured it at 18″. I didn’t think that was right, but I got some pictures taken before I asked Ken to remeasure it. He confirmed it at 18″ inches! I was very excited. I let it go and I saw some blood as it slowly swam away. I hoped it would make it.

Species: Largemouth Bass
Size: 18″
Lure used: Berkeley Power worm

We spent about 45 minutes more on that shore. I switched between the power worm, jigs and trailers, Slurpie worm, and white pearl super fluke. I only pulled out the fluke when we saw a big splash by a floating dock. All of us tried to get the attention of the cause of the splash, but no one could. So I tried as well. Without success.

With only twenty minutes before having to get off the lake, we decided to try one last spot. We consulted the Navionics map again and found a spot across the lake. On the first cast, George landed a small largemouth with the Northstar Baits bluegill swim jig. Several minutes later, Ken got a follow by a good sized northern on a bubble gum fluke, but it never bit.

We saw some activity further near shore like something was chasing bait fish. It went on for about 5 seconds, then stopped. A few seconds later, it started up again. We told Greg to move in within casting distance. The funny thing is, once we got in, I was at a bad angle, so I didn’t cast into the area. But neither did anyone else. I then reeled in and threw into where the activity was booming, but didn’t get anything. Whatever was there was gone. Or not interested.

Later, Ken hooked into a nice bass via the bubble gum fluke. It did an acrobatic splash to separate itself from the lure like mine did. And like mine, the fish stayed with the hook. But a few seconds later, his line went slack. He lost it. That was the last action of the day.

As we got off the lake, Greg and I exchanged phone number so we could go fishing again together. The lake we put into was a small lake of less than 15 acres. It looked like a prime tubing lake, so I may be back myself in the near future.

As I drove home, I realized that my fish qualified for the Bass Pundit 2011 Minnesocold Bass Bloggers Derby. That got me really excited because I didn’t land any qualifying fish last year. I don’t know if I’ll be able to fill my bag, but at least I’m on the board! Since the derby wasn’t on my mind, I didn’t weigh my bass and didn’t get an official mouth closed-tail fins pinched measurement, but hopefully BassPastor will give me the benefit of the doubt this time. According to BassPastor’s conversion tables, the baby weighed 3.6 lbs. Awesome.

3 Responses to “First Bass of the Year is a Doozie”

  1. Bass Pundit says:

    Congratulations for getting on the board. I’ll have a post up in a few minutes on the Derby Blog.

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