Fish Tales (Story #1)

I have decided to start a “series” of sorts on this page. In this series, I will talk about some of biggest and most memorable fish to date. While most of the time these stories will be bass stories, I used the word ‘fish’ so I can leave the door open for a few more stories down the road. This one, however, will be a bass story.

I want to start this story with a visual image; it was a brisk, spring day. The water was cool, the geese were mean, and the females were big. My friend Austin Jones, who is now a U.S. Marine, and I decided to go to an undisclosed pond for a couple of hours. We decided to go to this pond, not because of the size of fish necessarily, but because it was pretty much the only spot available to us because neither of us had a boat. After what seemed like a mile-long hike through the woods, we had arrived.

When we got there, I already had a green-pumpkin purple flake Omega jig tied on and decided to just go ahead and fish with it for a bit before I switched to something else, but Austin had decided to make a switch and then he would be ready to fish. Before he even had the chance to re-tie, I had already caught two fish over three pounds! So, as all fisherman do, I was talking trash to him and trying to get him all riled up. After I caught a couple more, he finally switched over to a jig and joined in on the fun.

About an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes went by of just slaying solid bass and then the bite went cold for a while. We hadn’t caught one for thirty or forty minutes when Jones said, “Hey man, I have to leave for work in like fifteen minutes.” So, I told him that was fine, and that we would just say the next person to catch a fish wins because the day had been pretty close up to that point. Side note; I had on rubber boots over my sweatpants while Jones just had tennis shoes on. This will be important to the story later on.

So, as I was walking in the water about four to five inches deep, Jones was up the hill about seven or eight feet because the hill dropped so drastically and there were so many trees. So, as we were walking to a place where we could both fish, I fell into a sudden deep spot on the bank and my left boot went all the way under the water. Keep in mind, this was March so the water was somewhere in the ballpark of fifty degrees. After that, I was pretty much done for the day, but our competition was still going. Finally, I said, “I just really need an eight-pounder to tear my jig a new one. That would make me feel better,” (yes, that is an exact quote).

I can’t make this stuff up; the very next cast, I flipped my jig near the end of dead tree in the water. I had just moved it a few feet when I felt the undeniable thump of a bass choking the jig. I set the hook with my 7’3″ MH power rod and 50 lb. braided line and whacked this fish, but the fish whacked back. It shook its head and to this day, though I’ve caught some bigger fish, this fish is probably the second-hardest fighting fish I’ve ever caught. She thrashed for a few seconds before she got a better idea, and then she headed straight towards a big limb that was in the water right near my feet. She was running and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.

I felt her run into the limb and everything stopped. But before I could process what had happened, I saw a flash of white near the end of the limb about seven or eight feet into the water. I could feel the line moving and tugging again at this point, so I asked Jones for help. The thing I had forgotten during this fight was that he had tennis shoes on, had to leave in like two minutes at this point, and, probably most importantly, this was a competition. Once I realized there was virtually nothing he could do to help me, I made a decision. I chose to hold the rod in my right hand (which is opposite for me), and reach down to try and drag the limb towards me. Keep in mind, this was a long limb. It was just out of Jones’s reach up on the hill, and it was about eight feet out into the water. So I picked up the limb with my left hand and began moving it back towards the hill behind me, so I could hopefully get a shot at reaching the fish on the end.

After what seemed like hours pulling on this limb and watching my fish, I decided it was time and quickly dropped my rod and jumped knee-deep into the water to try and grab the fish. It worked. I got my right hand in the bass’s giant mouth and popped the hook out with my left hand. In theory, probably not my best move to unhook the fish while it was still in the water, but things worked out all right. Once I had the fish, I couldn’t stop smiling and squealing like a group of twelve year-old girls. Jones had run over to grab my digital scale from my backpack and returned about fifteen seconds later. The fish weighed 7.8 pounds (very close to the eight-pounder I predicted just minutes earlier). I ended up dropping the scale in the water after weighing the fish, but it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time (I would later regret that mistake big-time, but that’s a story for another time).

Finally, after all that struggle, I had Jones take a picture of my personal best bass (at the time) and me smiling from ear to ear. Fun fact about that picture: I use it for almost every profile picture I have because it is such a high-quality picture. The fish looks absolutely beautiful in the picture, and you can see that I was in the water for it. It is my profile picture on this website, on my Facebook, and just about everything you can think of (blue sweatshirt, black sweatpants).

Though you may think that some of this story was made up for entertainment purposes, I promise you that 100% of this story is true and I will get Jones to testify to that fact because it was a crazy day. Even though I already loved fishing, that day is what really, really got me hooked for life (no pun intended).

I hope you enjoyed one of my favorite fish stories that I have to tell! I look forward to hearing about your stories and experiences in the comments or in e-mails to midwestfishing@outlook.com! Also, to my friend Jones and all other members of the military, THANK YOU! Have a great day!

 

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