The chicken I roasted yesterday afternoon turned out better than I could have ever imagined. I cooked up some medium grain white rice to go with it, and although the family ate it without sauce, I slathered my whole plate in delicious dark red molé colorado.
After eating, there was still time to fish– so I quickly headed out the door and drove to the river.
I decided to hoof it– fish without waders– for the first time in quite a while. I was going to fish a dam; the water is too deep to wade anyway.
But when I got out of my car and started toward the water, I saw 3 anglers in the immediate vicinity. I turned around, got back in the car, and got back on Thornapple River Drive.
Our Mini Cooper has a button that says “sport.” Pressing it activates “sport mode,” which basically turns the whole car into a little race car. The steering gets tighter, the accelerator more responsive, and the car handles even more like a go-cart.
Driving down Thornapple River Drive, with all its curves and hills and twists and turns, country music blasting; good times. I don’t love country music but sometimes it seems appropriate.
I parked on the side of the road, headed to the water, and immediately saw a bunch of anglers. Looking around I counted around 10 people fishing.

The most people I’ve ever seen fishing in Michigan, with the exception of the Rockford Dam during the steelhead run.
I don’t have anything against people, but I generally avoid other anglers like the plague when I’m fishing.
There was only an hour of sunlight left, so I sucked it up and fished anyway.
Almost immediately I started catching fish in the rocks near the shore.
Rock bass: the un-sung always-eager thicker big-brother of the bluegill.
In my experience they hang out in the rocks (go figure) in slower water, and that’s just where they were.
I worked my way along the rocks, watching little rock bass chase my white twister tail through the rocks. I missed at least as many as I caught. I couldn’t believe how deep in the rocks they were– if I could maneuver my jig into the tiny crevices between rocks, a fish would take my lure.
I tried some other lures, but none were as effective as the jig’n’twister. A tube jig caught one rock bass, but I enjoyed watching the white twister tail disappear into hungry fish mouths.
Later, casting into some slack water under a tree, something ferocious grabbed my jig and started swimming away. I felt it realize it was hooked, and it took three strong runs to get away. My drag whined.
Flathead? Little carp? Giant smallie?
Soon I saw the unmistakable shape of a thick pike in the water. I giggled and shouted; I started at its spots through the water, I hopped the rocks to get closer. I didn’t have my fish gripper. I wondered how I’d grab the fish…
And then with a head shake my line snapped and it slowly swam away. If I had been faster I might have been able to grab it out of the water.
It was a nice fish. At least two feet long, a sausage-like body.
Obviously I tried all my lures and every technique imaginable to catch another one, but that was my only chance.
When I caught a green sunfish a while later, I was again elated– nice to be reunited with an old friend.

When it got too dark to see, I headed back home where the smell of roast chicken still hung in the air.

One response

  1. if you were fishing where I think you were, you were in prime musky territory. They stack up under the dam in that section. I’ve heard of several being caught from there.

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