Sunrise on the lake

Couldn’t decide where to go fishing saturday morning- didn’t feel like any of the normal places, even the sure-thing retention pond. I always didn’t feel like going too far. My lovely wife suggested a spot I’d been to but never pulled a fish out of, and it was decided. I would have my revenge!

Did my normal fishing-morning thing- woke up at 4am, coffee, clothes, packed gear, loaded gear into car, drove off into the darkness. Arrived at my [top secret] destination a short time later, put on my headlamp, and hiked into the darkness.
Got to the water, and I decided on 3 goals:
1) Don’t resort to a tube jig, at least not for quite a while
2) Catch SOMETHING, ANYTHING at this lake!
3) Catch something with either my new favorite inline spinner, or a topwater lure
I clipped a green and white jitterbug to the swivel on the end of one line, and my mepps black fury to the other. It was well before sunrise- the sun wasn’t supposed to rise until around 6:30am, and I was standing there fishing in the dark at 4:45am. Early bird gets the worm, right? I wondered if I should use my black jitterbug instead, since it was dark… But I figured there would be light soon enough, and anyway the green and white jitterbug wasn’t too light.
Even if I’m not catching fish, there’s some other appeal to getting up so early- otherwise I wouldn’t do it. There’s something magical about watching the world wake up; the sun slowly rise above the trees, it’s rays one by one illuminating the scene; it often seems like I’m the only one awake. Even the birds weren’t chirping yet- it was pretty much silent, except for the regular sound of my bail opening, line going out, a small splash in the water, a click of my bail closing, and the rhythmic sound of reeling in.
The jitterbug

I tried a few different spots- I’d studied the contour maps for this water, but access was difficult. I decided to work with what I got. After all, I was in sneakers, not exactly hiking-ready. As I walked through tall grass, the dew splashing my shirt, I could feel my feet getting wet. I need to get some serious footware. No more crocs or sneakers.

I alternated between the spinner and the jitterbug. A few times I thought I had a small hit, but it was probably just weeds. For a while I concentrated on the spinner, trying different retrieves. Wasn’t happening, so I picked up my rod with the jitterbug. I cast it out, parallel to the shore, and slowly reeled it in.

I was about to pull it up out of the water and cast again, when SPLASH! 4 feet from the shore, extremely close to where I was standing, an explosion of water blew up on my lure. I saw a flash of something engulf the lure. FISH ON!
There wasn’t much of a fight, as all I had to do was lift up my rod with the fish attached. I turned on my headlamp so I could see. It was a very nice-sized largemouth, with the jitterbug attached to its lip.
I got the fish over land, and got out my pliers to remove the lure. Treble hooks are kind of nasty- so difficult to get out. The good part is you don’t need a hookset; the fish usually does that for you. I had a hard time removing the hooks, but my bass friend ejected the lure with a well-timed flap of its tail.

A dinosaur of a bass

I admired the fish- not only was it a great looking fish, with a fat belly and menacing looking black eyes, but it was pretty long. I held it up to my rod and estimated around 16″. It was also the first fish I’d caught on a jitterbug, or a topwater lure of any kind for that matter! Also the first fish on this new-ish water. So there were fish here.

I snapped some pics, and continued admiring the fish. It looked like a dinosaur. It’s scales seemed more pronounced than other fish. Not exactly mountable, but monster-ish.
Put the fish back in the water, as gently as I could without filling up my sneakers with water, and excitedly cast the jitterbug back out there, hoping for more action. Turns out, that was it for that lake that morning.
Tried a few different spots, threw big white spinnerbait, green tube, crankbait, and nothing. After about an hour an a half after catching the bass, I was honestly a little bored. I was admiring the scenery though; lots of geese, saw some herons in the distance, there was beautiful fog covering most of the lake, the dew over all the foliage was so perfectly placed it seemed like somebody took a kid’s jewel-gluing kit to the tall grass. But there were no fish interested in my offerings, so I decided to head out.
second and last fish of the day

I hit up my faithful retention pond on the way home, and for the first time ever, the bite was OFF! It has always been a sure thing to hook into something there, usually within the first few casts. Today there was nothing. I didn’t even see all the little bluegill near the pipe. About 30 casts in, and not even a bump. The other day they demolished my mepps, today they must have been sleeping in.

Eventually, I saw schools of baitfish being terrorized by bass. At one point the bass was close enough to the surface I could see the whole fish, calmly swimming the pond, like a slow-flying guided missile. It was pretty awesome, I’d never seen any bass hunting in person.
I managed to land one fish, a relatively good-sized largemouth. I was hungry, and a little bored, so I once again decided to hit the road. As always, it was great getting out and seeing the sights, even without massive numbers of fish. As I drove back home, I started to plan my next fishi
ng adventure…. I had smallmouth bass in my sights.

Fog on the lake, pre-sunrise

0 responses

  1. Yet another great outing, Chris. Now that you have felt the adrenaline rush of top water, you will burn with anticipation for the top water seasons. Everything else get’s boring after a few bass explode on a frog through the thickest slop you’ve ever seen.

  2. Yet another great outing, Chris. Now that you have felt the adrenaline rush of top water, you will burn with anticipation for the top water seasons. Everything else get’s boring after a few bass explode on a frog through the thickest slop you’ve ever seen.

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