kids attend a camp in southern Missouri. It has a pond, around 2 acres,
that is full of bass around two pounds. These fish are usually tempted
with live bait, but due to the other activities offered to the kids, it is
under fished and most lures are new and incredibly effective. We're
usually dropping the kids off and picking them up in July or August and I
always bring a pole to fish for an hour or longer if my wife tolerates waiting
year, they put in a new pond below the old one. It will have a mechanical
water ski device for the kids and offer a new activity during the summer.
While dropping the kids off this summer, the camp owner asked me to move
some of the bass into the new lake. Since I'm shore fishing, this was
problematic. I didn't really want to catch a fish, carry it to the other
pond, and then run back to do it again in 100* weather. I know what
you're thinking, and you're right. I'm a baby and I'd rather catch fish
than ferry them back in forth, especially if mortality would be high, due to
the heat, and being out of water. I wanted to help and decided it would
be better to use a boat and a basket or cage while I caught enough, then ferry
them in a big cooler or something.
passed. Around the beginning of October, I looked at the calendar and saw
an almost full moon on the 15th and asked permission to move the fish to new
pond. The camp owners said it would be great. One of my fishing
buddies, Keith, has kids that attend that camp and I asked him if he wanted to
go down with me. I introduced him to bass fishing and he's fished that
pond with me before. We knew we'd haul
in a boat load, but then I found out my kids had a swim meet that weekend.
We made tentative plans try again on the 22nd, but my wife reminded me we
were taking the kids on a hike that day, so we moved the date again to the
29th. I was thinking, "Oh man it's getting pretty late, the weather
could be miserable, the fishing could suck, I wonder if it will be worth
it." I talked with my Keith and he suggested driving down on Friday
night and fish all day Saturday. I wasn't big on that because it would
take more time from the family, and there was a swim-a-thon that Saturday, but
I hadn't done much fishing this year and the need was growing. You guys who
have a wife and kids who don't enjoy fishing, know the trickiness of this
indifference lead me to procrastinate contacting the camp, until Wednesday the
26th. Saturday would be clear, but it would be around freezing at 5 am,
only warming to 64* for the high. With that information, I'd normally try
to get on a lake about 10am, but we were going to be there early. I
thought about freezing in the boat during the early hours, and diminished my
enthusiasm. The camp owners were thrilled, and offered a room in one of
their cabins, heated, full bath, electricity, we weren't going to be roughing it.
plan was to leave before 4 pm on Friday.
I needed to leave my van, so Keith was going to tow my boat with his
car. I had to get the boat ready so we
could leave as soon as he arrived. I
have an old aluminum semi v. It sits on
the trailer uncovered and I pull off all the electronics and motors and put
them back on when I'm going to use it.
Since this is a small pond, all I needed to attach were the depth finder
and the trolling motor. As I began to
move the trailer by hand I realized there was something wrong. One of the tires had gone flat. I got it into the garage took off the tire
and took it to the local Goodyear store, wondering how much this was going to
cost. As I walked towards the front of
the store, one of the mechanics gestured me over, took the wheel banged it on
the ground and then pumped it up, no charge.
I was feeling pretty good, took it back home attached it hooked
everything up and then did my normal Thursday evening stuff.
came and I began packing my stuff, knowing it was going to be a little warmer,
37*, Saturday morning. Still a heavy
frost warning for where we were going.
Keith showed up around 4 and we learned his lights hook up didn't match
mine. Argh! Then we discovered his 2" ball was too
big, but not to worry, I had a spare 1 & 7/8ths. We began trying to get his ball off. This was way more difficult than it should
have been. He'd inherited this car from
a family member and we determined the hide- a- hitch had never been removed
since it had been put on and someone had probably spot welded it in place or
just used a massive amount of super glue.
Despite our best efforts, we couldn't get the hitch pulled out of the
car. Finally, I got a big pipe wrench,
Keith pulled and I kicked it and we were able to remove the ball and replace it
with the smaller one. We jumped in and
took off. It's a small boat, so the
car's lights would be visible, but we were breaking the law.
4 miles into our 4 hour drive, we heard a fast fwap fwap fwap sound and pulled
over. I knew the tire I'd fixed must
have gone flat. I was wrong. Ya know those bonehead moves you only realize
after you're looking at them? The wheel
I had fixed was completely inflated, but three of the four lug nuts were gone, with
the remaining one, almost completely unthreaded. I forgot to tighten them after I lowered the
trailer off the jack. This trip was
jinxed & I thought about just giving up.
We decided to split up. Keith
would stay with the boat and I'd take his car and try to find lug nuts. I have a special term for what I was about to
spend money on, "stupidity tax."
At Autozone, I talked with a nice gal who informed me I had special lug
nuts that were metric. I expressed my
disbelief, because my trailer is a P.O.S., handmade beauty, that I picked up
for nearly free, but she was adamant and suggested I try a hardware store
nearby. I called Keith to let him know
it was going to take a little longer, but since he left his phone in the car, I
was the only one who heard it ring. At
the hardware store, the owner was great, he found some bolts the right size
along with locking washers, nuts, and a big 'ol crescent wrench. All told the stupidity tax came in just under
$27. Not bad, considering how things
could have gone. As I unlocked the car,
I noticed some money lying on the ground.
There was nobody around, it was about 5:30 on a Friday night and I
decided, that was probably my money as well as anyone's. $40, I felt a little better, not quite as
worked out pretty well from that point.
We got the wheel back on, made it to Warsaw MO, had some fabulous
burgers at Deb's, and pulled into camp at 9:30.
At 10:30 Keith was turning out the lights and I was thinking,
"Eight and a half hours is a lot of sleep. Maybe we should play some cards or
something." You see, I'm one of
those people who really gets a kick from outsmarting an animal with a brain the
size of a pea. Sleeping before a big fishing
day is a lot like trying to fall asleep on Christmas Eve when I was a little
kid. To my surprise, I went out fast,
but at 4am, I was wide awake. Those next
three hours went by at a glacial pace. At 7, I got up and woke Keith ten minutes
later. I could see both ponds from the
window by my bed. This was going to be a
we'd cleared the frost from the boat seats and electronics, then launched the
boat. The water was low 57 and the air
was cold cold cold. On my first cast,
well maybe my second, I caught the first bass.
I was wearing every item of clothing I'd brought, with the exception of
my sneakers and a heavy leather glove with insulate on my right hand, because I
couldn't cast with it. I'd been worried
the cold would put the fish off, but that proved completely unfounded. They were biting readily. I was fishing a blue 7" jogger worm
Texas rigged with a 3/8 oz bullet, and Keith was using a green Kinami Texas
rigged also with a slightly larger bullet.
To explain how good this day was to turn out, know this. If I'd only brought one rod, on red eagle
claw red offset 3/0 hook, three 7" blue jogger worms, one 3/8 oz bullet
sinker, my file and needle nose pliers, I think we would have caught 80% of the
fish we did. Only one lure was lost,
which happened about 10 minutes before we quit.
A half dozen fish got off the hook, and we were lucky enough to watch a
bald eagle fly close by and circle the lake.
A little after 10 am we'd moved 16 bass from the old pond to the new one
and ate breakfast. By 2:30 we'd caught 41
bass and one green sunfish, moved 40 fish, and tried some different lures. I almost had a double on a Cordell Red Fin,
while Keith was pulling some in on a Rapala minnow bait painted in a clown
pattern. We both tried spinner baits, me
on a Chartreuse skirt and Keith with a black skirt to no avail. I switched rods and fished a 3/8 red Gopher
mushroom head jig with a green-pumpkin YUM Wooly Beavertail on a spinning rod
spooled with 10# power pro and a six foot leader of Cabelas 10# flouro.
any fisherman will tell you, things don't always happen the way you want. We'd made it down to the upper end of the pond
and the trolling motor died. Since it's
not a really big pond, I got out the paddle.
Immediately, the pond became a lake requiring a lot more work than it
took to turn the trolling motor this way and that. I'm not a big fan of undoing screws and
removing the housing anywhere except my garage, but I'm even less enthusiastic
about paddling a boat when the bass are hitting hard and frequently. Once we got to the shore and borrowed a screw
driver long enough to get up into the housing, I took it apart and fortunately
found the loose wire and was able to reconnect it and get back to catching.
primary pattern that seemed to be effective, involved casting as close to shore
as possible, quickly reeling the lure over the 6 feet of weeds and letting the
lure drop on the deep water side. This
came right off the Weighing In On Fall Bass Jigging article on the home page of
the NAFC site. After a second or two on
the fall, I'd shake the rod and then set the hook. This worked with the worms, the jig, and
2:30, Keith was expressing interest in something he was calling lunch, but I
persuaded him that we were at 40 fish moved and we only needed ten more to hit
my goal of 50 fish moved into the new pond.
Back in the boat, Keith was missing his hook sets. I boated the 10 to bring us up to 50 fish and
he hadn't boated a single one. I watched
him, thinking he wasn't setting the hook hard enough, but then decided
something else had to be amiss. I asked
him if he'd checked his hook to make sure it was sharp. He was thoroughly disgusted and swung the
lure up to me. I tried the test I'd read
about on the NAFC site. If you're
wondering if your hook is sharp, put it at a 45* angle to your thumbnail, if it
catches, it's sharp, if slides, sharpen it.
His hook looked sharp, but slid on my thumbnail. I got out my file and tried to sharpen
it. I spent easily 3 minutes and
couldn't get a point on that thing. I
cut it off, put on one of my hooks and a blue worm. In two casts he caught one of the larger fish
of the day. I can only imagine how many
fish we'd have boated if he'd had a sharp hook for the majority of the day.
about 4:45 we'd boated 57 fish and moved 54 bass to the new pond ranging in
size from 6 inches to about 4 pounds.
The remaining 3 fish were a large green sunfish, a big bluegill, and a
bass who began floating in the cooler, so I threw him back. Days like this make me feel like a skilled
fisherman, but the truth is, these fish are just dumb. They see a couple of presentations a year and
anything new is enough to make them bite.
Ya know, if you like fishing, you'll love catching. Find yourself an impoundment that sees little
pressure take your favorite techniques to it and add some new ones, you'll
build your confidence and have a great time.
Oh yeah, don't let little things like the wrong size ball on your hitch
or missing lug nuts stop you from fishing, overcoming a little adversity makes
the catch even better. Who knows maybe
you'll even find a couple of bucks lying on the ground.