A Fish Tale

Sorry for the lack of posts. I had planned a working vacation last week, and I just didn’t have as much access to the Internet as I had anticipated. I don’t have time to do anything new today, because I’m taking my four-year-old daughter to the Braves game this afternoon. I will leave you with a story from my vacation.

My father-in-law and I took the four-year-old on her first pre-sunrise fishing trip. It was nothing extravagant, dock-fishing for bream with bobbers, crickets, and ultra-light rods. About 6am, my bobber went under. The pond holds fairly large bluegill and shellcrakcer, so I wasn’t surprised by the drag going out. When the fish broke the water, I thought the sparse daylight was playing tricks on me. But, on the second jump, it was clear that I was fighting an exceptionally big largemouth bass. I’m used to managing fish on light tackle, so I was able to tire her out and get her to the dock. As I reached down to grab her lip, I noticed a tail hanging out of her mouth. Had the large shellcracker not been there, I could have put my fist in her mouth with room to spare.

I’ve hooked large bass like this before, but I’ve never managed to land one. The problem with two-stage fishing—fish eats bait, then becomes bait—is that once the bass realizes what is going on, she releases the hooked fish. This case was different because the shellcracker was so large that its fin barbs acted like hooks. I saw no way to remove the shellcracker from the bass’s mouth. Because I had no desire to eat a six–seven pound bass—I would have eaten the shellcracker—I cut the line and put her back in the water in hopes that she would swallow her prey. I saw her jump half-a-dozen times trying to throw the fish. I assume she finally swallowed it. But anyway, it was a good fishing story to tell during the fish fry that night. It’s too bad I didn’t have a camera with me.

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