Every now and then a fisherman is rewarded for their efforts with a significant catch. This reward that we are constantly in search of, when found, makes up for the countless hours and sometimes awful conditions we endure seeking it. My reward came tonight via a 22″ Largemouth Bass, a bass greater in size than any I have ever encountered.
While I don’t target bass a lot, this evening I tied on a spinner specifically going for them. I had caught several and actually had considered the fishing a success. Often, in my mind I will say “last cast” when I am done, tonight was wild in that I actually uttered the words “last cast” out loud. Maybe because I had actually said it, it caused me to pay attention to the cast, more so than any of the night. It was a long cast, that I attempted to retrieve running parallel to the shoreline, about 5 feet out. I recalled that the water temperatures were cooling, and slowed my retrieve. When the spinner was about 12 feet from me, the fish hit with a dull heavy thud. Other than a huge wave forming, nothing broke the surface, and I had no idea it was a bass. For a few moments, I thought there was a good chance I inadvertently snagged into a Grass Carp. It just felt too heavy to be a bass and wasn’t fighting like one. It didn’t rise at all and wanted to stay down. As I continued to fight the fish to shore, it eventually made a small jump and I got a clear side view of the fish. My brain then registered the fact that I was fighting the biggest Largemouth Bass of my life! I tried my best to remain calm and stay focused, as I got the fish to the water’s edge. Normally, I would be somewhat cautious lipping a fish knowing there was a spinner with a treble hook present – but for this fish, I didn’t care. I was prepared to take all three points into my fingers if necessary. As good fortune would have it, and the unusually huge mouth of the fish, there was plenty of room for the lure and my fingers.
The lure was sitting in the bottom lip of the fish, and was removed quickly. I did a quick photo on the tape measure, then snatched it up for a quick photo op with me. As much as I wanted to admire the fish, I knew the right thing was getting it returned to the water. Apparently, I did a good job being quick about everything as the fish barely was back in the water as it bolted out of my hands and swam away strong. It was a fantastic fish and seeing it swim away was the perfect ending. Maybe, we cross paths again!