5.17.2015

When the lights go out

Well, Sunday night was certainly not as good as Saturday night...but I still caught 14 bass, including 2 keepers, low/mid 30's and a ~29", as well as 3 fish between 26 and 28".



I went to the same location, an hour later than Saturday night (showing up around 9:15).  My very first cast with my new favorite little plug, yellow/white crazy bugger, had me tight to a small schoolie.  I lost him, but next cast I landed a plump little 20" fish.

It was very dark, and extremely calm.  I worked the little metal lip for a while longer, but not a hit for about 10 casts so I switched to a black bomber 16a.  I lost a fish right up close, and then everything else was quiet all along the shore.  I worked my way long until I reached my favorite area.  As I got closer, suddenly the fog rolled in.  It's like the lights went out.  In seconds, I couldn't see a single light on the whole shoreline.  And in minutes, I couldn't see more then 100 feet.

I smiled.

Game on.

I tossed a bomber long shot for a while, without a touch.  But it was too quiet, too calm.  I switched to a needle fish.  Bang.  Fish on, first cast.  I dropped the fish, but it was cool I figured that out.

Everything was quiet after that for a long time.  I started to get frustrated.  But I stayed focus, I knew it could turn on any minute, after what happened the night before.

The wind started to build, and it was chilly.  I was having trouble keeping warm, but wanted to stay in the water when the slack water came.

On the tide change, I landed 6 fish, all small, on a 9" sluggo.  I was getting a lot of hits and not hooking up, and most of the fish landed were right around 20-21".  I was not out for dinks, so I switched to a custom, home made sluggo-like bait made by A. E. custom rods of about ~13" and dark green.  This was a much bigger, heavier plastic and I gave it a good heave.

The custom "sluggo"
It was only in the current for ~10 seconds, when WHAM.  I'm hooked up to my first keeper of the night.  Not huge by any means, but 29" is better than 20" that's for sure!

After that, I landed 3 more fish on the big custom "sluggo", all exact clones that were right at the 27-28" mark.  The second two looked so similar, I swear they could have been the same fish.

It slowed down after this fast action (which lasted about an hour).  I got a wind knot, and had to re-tie, and decided to do some jumping jacks to warm up.  Then, I decided I better strip off the wetsuit and pee.  All of this burned at least 15 minutes, and when I went back to the water, the waves were really rolling in from the on-shore breeze.

I switched to a northbar bottle darter and worked a little rip, and ended up hooking up and landing a ~25-26" fish.  Next cast, I hung up and broke off the darter.  Damn.

I went a long time fishless after that.  At some point I caught a few more smaller fish on a sluggo, but got another wind knot!  I had to re-tie AGAIN.  I don't know what's up.

After that, I was more than an hour fishless.  I was getting tired and cold, as it was not about 3 am.  I had to work that day, so I gave myself a 10 cast limit.  I clipped on the trusty SS darter, and took a cast into the same spot I had been working for the last 5 minutes with the sluggo.

A sharp tap, and I set the hook.  The thing stops dead.  I work the fish out of the current and it slips my drag.  Sweet, definitely a keeper.  I do a little back and forth, and get the fish to the edge of the rocks at my feet.  It's definitely a solid teen (pounds) bass, maybe mid 30"s.  I grab the leader. and as I'm debating what to do to quickly get it away from the rock so it doesn't get beat up, it thrashes and I let go.  One of the trebles pops, and I grab the leader again.  I don't just want to drag it up the rock, I want the fish to be in top shape when it swims free.  I'm fatigued and having trouble making a decision that is safe for me and the fish.  As I'm debating, it thrashes again, and my barbless hooks break free, and I watch the fish swim away.  Oh well.  No picture, but I'd rather she swim away unharmed....

Nothing after that, and I left feeling a little disappointed, after my 50+ fish night last night.  But, I have to keep things in perspective, and a 2 keeper, 14 fish night isn't terrible!

Hoping to get out one more time this week, but after 3 nights of <4 hours of sleep, I'm pretty beat.

-J