Fishing for bass can be challenging, frustrating and at times downright miserable; especially if you fish tournaments. There are days where the weather is bad. Rain, sleet, snow and wind are the norm for winter fishing. Scorching heat and thunderstorms can make summer fishing just as uncomfortable. Add to that the occasional day where nothing goes right and the fish don’t bite, and sometimes you wonder about the old saying that there’s no such thing as a bad day on the water.
But then there are the days like yesterday. Here it is, the first day of March and the temps here in Mississippi are in the mid to high 70’s, the sun is shining and there is just a light breeze. I got home from work about 4 and really didn’t even plan on going fishing but after working on some spinnerbaits, I decided to spend the 30 minutes before dinner was ready testing them out.
I live on a 14 acre lake and keep an aluminum boat in the water and charged for these occasions, so 2 minutes after deciding to go, I was untying the boat and making my first cast. I’d changed out the blade and skirt on a couple of Mr. Hooty spinnerbaits to match one that I use this time of year for pre-spawn bass, so the real plan was just to make sure that it ran correctly and looked like I wanted it to in the water. Since I only had a few minutes, I started to not even put on a trailer hook, but I’d made that mistake before and took the time to add it. I’m glad I took the extra couple of minutes.
I’d only fished about 5 or 6 minutes and caught a couple of small bass, when I threw the spinnerbait past a brush pile one of my neighbors has put out. About halfway between the brush pile and the boat, I saw a huge bass come up and hit the bait. I only had maybe 12 feet of line out, so I didn’t really set the hook hard, just leaned into the fish and the fight was on.
I knew instantly that it was a good fish but I didn’t realize exactly how big until I tried to reach down and lip her. After a couple of misses, I managed to grab her and lift her into the boat. Now, I have to say, I’ve caught my share of good sized fish, including my personal best of 10 pounds 10 oz. and a 9-2 in January at the Harris Chain. But it was instantly obvious that this fish was bigger than anything I’d caught before or for that matter, even seen before. So I put her in the livewell and headed up the hill to get the scales and camera.
As you can see from the picture, the scales showed she weighed in at 13 pounds 14 ounces, so it wasn’t just a new personal best, but also replaced the previous lake record of 12 pounds even. After a few quick pictures, I let her go free. It really never even occurred to me to keep her and get her mounted. After all, she was full of eggs and that kind of genetics is what we want in the lake.
Like I said to start out, bass fishing can be miserable at times. But a catch like that will carry me through a lot of hard days. I’ll fish in whatever weather Mother Nature can throw at me just for the chance to catch one bigger. Those bad days fade quickly into distant memories and amusing stories, but a fish like that and the memories of that catch, live on forever.
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Scoutlookweather.com, Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, Costa del Mar Sunglasses, Bass Angler Magazine and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.