Last week I got a call from a Russ P. asking if I wanted to go to bass fishing in Mississippi and take pictures for an article coming out in Bass Times/Bassmaster Magazine. Well, being Bill Dance in my own mind, I jumped at the opportunity to make the trip. Joined with us were Chris F., Nathan B., and Kent, all fairly new to the world of kayaking, but well versed in the world of largemouth bass.
I left my house around 2 a.m. and met up with Russ at 2:30 and were on our way. Now remember, our last excursion together, the everglades fiasco, ended in getting lost... and believe it or not, this one started out that way. After 3 dead end roads, and I think 5 U-turns, we finally made it to the rendezvous point, where we could follow Chris to the launch site.
As we unloaded the yaks in darkness, you could hear fish slapping the water in the distance. I felt like a kid in Candy Land, and all I wanted to do was get in my Outback and start pedaling. As the sun began to rise, the lake we were fishing began to take shape, at least the part I could see. We were surrounded by 128 acres of pure awesomeness. I listened to stories about not one, but two 14 lbs bass that had been taken from this lake. Being I have only caught one bass that crept into the double digit range, you can't even imagine the things that were running through my mind while listening to these stories.
Then it happend, I heard Kent yelling, I got one, and then Russ, I got one, and then Chris, I just missed one, and finally Nathan, I got one too. But, what I didn't hear was my own voice, I hadn't caught squat. I know we were only on the water for 10 minutes so far, but geez, have I lost my touch? I looked at Russ and grumbled that they must know something that I don't know, Russ only chuckled and agreed. As if Russ isn't already a 7 foot man of giant proportions, now he is chuckling like the dang Jolly Green Giant, and NO, that didn't help my confidence at all.
Well as the next thirty minutes rolled around, the quad moved toward an island off of a point, while I tucked back into a small flat with some bream beds on it. I sat there for about 5 minutes looking at all of my rods, while watching bass fly out from a ledge destroying bait hovering over the flats and beds. I didn't have one lure tied on that I felt confident in. With that in mind, I tied on my all time favorite, a Fluke. First cast, fish on, second cast, fish on and with the next 10-15 cast I put 5 bass in the kayak and then released them.
As I was bringing in the 5th one, I heard Chris yell that it was now time to move in to the larger part of the lake. I was like, really...now...I get on fish and now I have to go. But it was all good, they knew this lake better than me, and technically, I was only there to take pictures, yeah right.. that's why I had 5 rods in my blackpack and the camera strapped on the back of Russ' Pro Angler.
As the morning moved on, I went on my own way and the group was supposed to let me know when they got on to fish or landed a good one so I could come get some photos and action shots. But it seemed that the direction I went was the right one, kind of. I got on fish at almost every point and stump I came across, the only problem was that they were 8 inches to 2 lbs fish and not the 8-12 lbs I was looking for.
I was able to land a 4 lbs bass and at that point was the largest for the day, and Russ was nice enough to take a few pics for me. Then Russ landed one in the 4 lbs range, but because he's such a big guy, the minute he thumbed the fish in the water it magically turned from a great largemouth to a tiny bream. I think a 14 lbs bass in Russ' hands would likely look like a 4 lbs bass in my hands. The pictures don't lie, and neither does the scale, had I not witnessed the scale, I would have chuckled his chuckle at the said weight of the green pig.
We then moved to another section of the lake to take part in Nathan landing a long and lean 6 lbs largemouth, the fish jumped and splashed like it had a hook in its mouth. Guess that's cause it had a hook in its mouth. It was a beautiful fish to say the least, and was even more awesome to watch her swim away.
minutes, landed a 5 fish stringer that went over 20 lbs to win the event, but on this lake, the big girls weren't falling for it. The only conclusion I could figure out was that the water hadn't warmed up enough, the sun wasn't high enough, and the shad weren't as active as they would have been later in the evening. Unfortunately I had to be in the truck by noon, so today I wasn't going to find out if my theory was correct or not.
Before leaving I eased on over to another point covered in lilies and dropped a Texas rigged worm right in the mouth of another 4 lbs largemouth.
Although I didn't land the fish of a lifetime, I had a blast, and I was able to accomplish the goal of what we came for, getting pictures. I just wish I would have had the camera close as Russ was struggling to get what would have likely been an 8 lbs plus bass untangled from the matts of lilies that he was working his frog across. The look of disappointment and the sound of frustration was a devastating, I know Russ has landed some big fish in his day, but you could tell, he really wanted this one.
Overall, it was great day, the sun shined at times, but was overcast most of the time, the rain didn't hit until I was loaded and a mile down the road, the air temps stayed in the upper 80s to low 90s with the water temps staying around 86 degrees. I landed fish on crank baits and worms, but the real producers of the day were a Zoom Fluke in silver and grey and a 1/2 ounce Little George in white and gray. Special thanks to Russ for the phone call, and I huge thank you to Chris F for putting this all together and making it happen. I look forward to my phone ringing again in the near future (hint/hint), hopefully on a day that I don't have to rush home, and a day were the shad are schooled up in the deep.
Until next time,
Stay Safe & Catch1