It was a perfect cast. The little top water plug plopped down six inches from the dead snag. I waited until the ripples were about gone and just wiggled the plug. The water boiled, the plug disappeared, and I snatched - out of reflex. The plug …
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It was a perfect cast. The little top water plug plopped down six inches from the dead snag. I waited until the ripples were about gone and just wiggled the plug. The water boiled, the plug disappeared, and I snatched - out of reflex. The plug popped out and landed back on the water's surface a few feet away. Before I could move it, I saw a wake coming. The big fish was making a run just under the surface. He wanted that bait!
It was just after daylight and the air was cool, with a wisp of fog rising from the glassy, smooth water's surface. I was sitting on the middle seat, and my son Clayton was on the back seat. I had my grandson Chase on the front seat of the boat, facing back toward me.
I have a trolling motor on my boat, but I was using a wooden paddle in my left hand, making little figure-eight patterns in the water that pulled us along slowly. After a cast, I would lay the paddle down carefully across the boat to make my retrieve, then pick up the paddle and go again. We spoke quietly to each other and avoided banging around in the aluminum boat. I guess you could say we were trying to be stealthy. We didn't want to scare the fish.
The water was very clear and dark. Looking across the surface, it seemed black. Tannic acid from the trees' leaves and aquatic vegetation stain the water and give it this dark appearance.
The big fish that had struck at my lure stopped and turned away. I was sure he could see us. I picked up the paddle, and we moved on.
I rigged a bream buster for Chase with a cricket, and he was doing pretty good with it. Out in the open lake, his cork disappeared, and it was "fish on." Clayton and I both shouted encouragement: "hold him, hold him, pull him, pull him, you got him."
It was a good-sized perch, and Chase was beaming with smiles as he brought the silvery, flashy fish into the boat. We put that one in the cooler so Chase could show his mom and sisters when we got back home.
Clayton was fishing with an ultra-light rig but wasn't having much luck. Somehow we were able to operate without getting tangled all up. I was now actually doing more paddling and watching than actual fishing. The morning was beautiful, and the boys were having fun. What more could a man want?
Occasionally I would pick up my rod and reel and make a couple of casts toward a stick up or grass bed. There was a patch of button brush out in the water, just off from the shore. Clayton had rigged his rod for bream and tossed a cricket over by the brush. His cork disappeared, and when he set the hook, the fish headed out for deeper water.
He could tell right away it wasn't a panfish. It was a bass, and it was a good one, too! I set my rod down and tried to keep the boat turned toward the fish. The drag was screaming on his little rig, but somehow he kept the fish on and got him back to the boat. It was a good three-pounder, caught on an ultra-light rig, with a cricket!
I wasn't having much luck with the artificial baits, so I rigged up the other bream buster and hooked on an earthworm. By now we had a little light breeze that put a small ripple on the water's surface. I paddled out toward the open water and just let the breeze push the boat slowly down the length of the lake. I caught a couple of big bluegills.
Chase got some nibbles but didn't catch any more fish. The sun was getting up, and it was starting to warm up. I turned the boat back toward the landing. By now, we were all getting a little tired, thirsty and hungry. We had cold drinks and snacks back at the truck.
The local lakes are a great place to fish. Bass, bream, catfish and more are plentiful, and even a youngster can have some luck.
We fished our way back toward the landing, but by now Chase had lost interest, and I was getting hung up in bushes and weeds. So much for that perfect cast!
Clayton never gives up. He could fish all day, but it had been a good morning, and it was time to go. We'll try the fish again, maybe on the next full moon.
Reach Dan Geddings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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