It was a perfect cast. The little top water plug plopped down 6 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 surface. Before I could move it, I saw a wake coming. The big fish was coming just under the surface, and he wanted that bait.
We were fishing in a local farm pond. It was just after daylight, and the air was cool, with a wisp of fog rising from the glassy-smooth water surface. I was in the front of the boat, and my brother Matt was in the back. I had a wooden paddle in my left hand making a figure-eight pattern that pulled us along slowly. I would lay the paddle down carefully to make my casts and retrieves, 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 being stealthy. We didn't want to scare the fish. Matt had already caught a nice little bass and missed another. He was using a broke back rebel, and I was using a little plug that he called a firefly. We had not fished this pond before, so we were learning a little as we went along.
The water was very clear and about the color of tea. Looking across the surface it was black. Tannic acid from the trees and vegetation around the edges stains the water and gives it this look.
The big bass that had struck at my lure stopped and turned away. I'm sure he could see us. I picked up the paddle and moved on. We worked one side of the pond all the way to the dam. Matt caught two more bass that weighed about a pound-and-a-half each. One hit his lure right at the boat, just as he was reeling it in to make another cast.
There was a patch of button brush out in the water, just off from the dam. Matt rigged a 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. I set my pole down and tried to keep the boat turned toward the fish. The drag was screaming on his little ultra-lite rig. Somehow he kept the big fish on the line and got him back to the boat. After a few more short runs, the big fish gave up and Matt pulled him into the boat. At least a 4-pound bass, caught on a ultra-lite rig, with a cricket.
I wasn't having much luck with the artificials so I rigged up my bream buster and hooked on a cricket. By now we had a little light breeze that put a small ripple on the water surface. I paddled out toward the center of the pond and just let the breeze push the boat slowly down the length of the pond.
Occasionally, I would pick up my rod and reel and make a couple of casts toward a stick up or grass bed. After a few bumps on the surface, I would crank the plug under water back to the boat. I caught a nice little bass on one of those underwater retrieves. He weighed about 2 pounds. Then something hit my bream buster.
At first I thought it was a bass because it pulled so hard. But it was a bluegill and a very big one. That fish was as big as a dinner plate and probably weighed more than a pound. We caught a few more big bluegills out there in the middle of the pond. One might have went a pound-and-a-half. We didn't catch any little ones.
It was a cloudy day with a soft breeze, and even though it warmed up pretty good, the day was pleasant, and we stayed out on the water a long time. We caught a couple of small bass and threw them back. They were too little to eat. I don't do catch-and-release unless they are too small for the table.
By now we were getting tired, thirsty, and hungry and decided to head in. We fished our way back toward the boat landing and picked up a couple more fish on the way. It was nearly noon when we pulled the boat out and headed for home. It had been a good day fishing.