Thursday, July 16, 2009
Luck was TRULY on our side today (and a bit of skill)...
Hedrik and I arrived at the launch where we met up with Matt Clay. The day looked promising with a slight easterly breeze, barometer dropping, and partly cloudy conditions. As we drove to our first spot I realized, after 15 minutes of driving, that I forgot to grab the net from the truck bed! DOH! Fortunately, Leather Hands (Hedrik) was in the boat and has hand-landed many fish in the past. He assured us doing so would not be a problem.
Soon the wind died down to flat calm conditions, and our clouds disappeared. Nevertheless, we perservered and continued fishing the spot. Matt was throwing a Jackpot and had a fish blow-up on it, hit steel (get hooked) for a second, then shake the hooks. A little dejected, we pressed on. Hedrik switched to ripping a Believer over the weeds and soon was hooked up to a smallish (~34") fish, which soon threw the hooks. At this point now we are all feeling grim as our bad luck streak that began 7/14 continued.
We found good weeds well away from the main part of the structure and flogged them mercilessly. At one point I looked up to see pointy, red fins break the surface. I yelled, "FISH", and pointed in its direction. I made a few casts with my tube to no avail. I looked up at Matt's Jackpot after bringing my bait in. There appeared to be a wall of water moving behind his bait, which I took to be the large wake from one of the pleasure boats that passed us. When I realized the wake was too "acute" and focused on the lure I screamed "FISH FISH FISH!" Just as I said that, however, Matt reached down to swat a deer fly off his leg, thereby pausing the bait briefly. This must have worked to his benefit as the next twitch caused the fish to EXPLODE forward and engulf the bait, mouth wide open and head shaking. Matt's rod doubled and shook violently with each powerful head shake.
There was no scramble for the net since we had none, so Hedrik and I took our time to make sure things were put away as we prepared to hand land the fish. Hedrik got hold of the fish and subdued it... only to be thanked with a full-body shake and a hook in the arm! Fortunately the hook did not go past the barb into his flesh.
Matt's fish taped out at 48" on the nose. The fish appeared to be a male, too!