If you want a good dose of life reflecting moments, consider cleaning out your tackle box.
While recently sorting my own collection of painted metal and wooden plugs, it seemed every lure had a memory attached to it. It is amazing what can happen when you inspect each hook and eye for rust and tooth damage.
One ‘spidery’ lure, in particular, caught my attention buried in the ‘nether’ regions of my box.It was yellow, with black and red dots scattered over it. It had 4 treble hooks coated in rust and dried lake ‘goo’.
I am not sure why we headed to that spot first. It was one part rookie canoe skills and one part fate. We had been paddling for 20 minutes and too anxious continue in the ways of ‘old-school’ propulsion. Our brief paddle ended in a place we called “the corner” on Lake Vernon – where two shorelines met in almost a perfect corner.
It was laced with weeds and water-lilies. It just ‘felt’ right. I managed to quietly drop a small anchor over a wobbling gunwale to hold us in place. After assembling our rods, it inedibly became time to pick our lure of choice.
That simple decision can be so intense sometimes. Almost super-natural and ritualistically agonizing! For some reason, the first lure that caught my eye was the yellow lure I described earlier. My ‘fish-sense’ started tingling but I remember saying to myself (silently), “I think that’s for Lake Trout.”
Yet despite my own objections, I tied it on anyway. I spied ahead of us a large stump head that angled almost 90 degrees below the surface. It was then I reflected on something my father once said.
“Fish like structure. Something different in their environment.”
In agreement with my thoughts, I launched that lake-trout lure towards the stump.
Suddenly, everything went into slow motion.
The hiss of my line leaving the spool.
The slight splash the lure made on the surface.
The click of my bail.
One crank. Two cranks.
WHAM! A large smallie (smallmouth bass) inhaled the lure and the fight began. The acrobatics were incredible! The sound of drag whining brought warmth to the soul. Fortunately, we were able to net that bass. The excitement in my eyes and the gleam in my cousin’s eye was priceless! It was all I could do carefully take the hooks out of the bass so that I could get back at it. My cousin quickly put on one of his yellow flatfish lures. <em>BAM!</em> He reeled in a beauty. We were only there for 1 hour and we had hauled (and released) the most bass we had ever caught in one place before.
We visited the stump several times that summer and always brought one in with the flatfish.
One morning a change in water-height silently stole our stump away. It has not been the same since. Except the time I used a green flatfish and hauled in a MONSTER pike…but that is a different story.
The lesson here: Be prepared to try the unconventional in your favorite fishing hole.