I sorted through the mound of tackle, picked out my techniques for the next day, re-tied my leaders and pre-rigged four rods this time, unconsciously knowing that I would never make it past rod #2 or 3. I rigged up a casting rod with a frog, a spinning rod with a shakey head, a casting rod with spinner bait, and a spinning rod with a drop shot. I carried a variety of PowerTeam Lures soft plastics with me, a few lip less and shallow crank baits, a few frogs and some terminal gear and made my way to the water.
After a nice peaceful drive, I arrived at the lake to an empty parking lot. I unloaded fairly quickly, because I knew the weather would take a turn for the worse within six hours and I wanted to get on some fish and quickly. After a few minutes on the water, the winds kicked up in earnest dislodging my anchor several times and made positioning a little sketchy at times. I spent some time moving about and getting wind blasted and splashed from the wave chop. On this lake, the weather can turn nasty on you real quickly, so you have to keep a weather eye on the horizon and the tree line often. A seemingly calm lake can turn into a white-capped washer machine in minutes if you aren't careful.
I started off working some structure drop offs in the the 8-10' range looking for some staging fish, but quickly switched over to the frog when I saw several boils and aggressive surface strikes. No takers on the frog, but maybe next time I'll make a mental note to bring a slash or walk-the-dog style surface bait. So, I switched over to the spinner bait and made a few half-hearted casts, but decided to switch over to the shakey head and work some cover. I worked over every structure change and cover I could find for the better part of six hours before mother nature decided I had outlasted my welcome.
I was beginning to question my decision to fish on a day like this where the conditions were not so favorable, but I kept the faith and kept working my presentations. After what seemed like an eternity, I felt a hit but no take. I casted again to the same area in hopes of enticing a strike but again nothing. A third cast was made only this time something felt different. The lure felt weightless for a second, so I knew there might be fish on the end of the line. I reeled in some of the slack and just felt the line get real heavy, so I tightened the line and gave a subtle side hook set and the fight was on. My line surged from the reel in large quantities as the bass had realized it was hooked.
Her first run was parallel to me, and I caught a quick glimpse of her as she stared with her cold black eyes into mine as if to say....."You're in for a heck of a fight mister, hang on!" The line surged again as she dove straight down searching for any cover that she could find and potentially sever the tie that bound her to me. With no cover in sight, she surged again only this time under the Pro Angler in the hopes of catching me off guard and snapping the line using her leverage. But it was not to be on this day. The rod I was using had a 7'2" length and was a medium/extra fast series spinning rod. It had plenty of backbone but also enough give to allow for runs and surges like this with no fear of breakage.
I worked her for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was closer to 45 seconds at best. I gathered line in methodically in the hopes that she would tire soon. As I maneuvered her closer, she made one last surge to try and elude capture, but it was not to be on this day. As she came closer, visions of a citation danced in my head, but I calmed myself and focused on the task at hand of landing her first. I turned her as she came near and lipped her on the first try. Immediately, the weight registered in my mind that this was clearly the heaviest bass I had caught to date. As I was lipping her, she flailed in one last ditch effort to try and escape, but she only managed to land inside the foot well of my Pro Angler unharmed and conceding defeat in this battle.
Although the weather temperature was mild in the low 60's on this cloudy and pre-frontal day, the water temps held constant in the 71-73 degree range. The spring time weather is turning for the better, albeit with more spring showers on the way. If you take the time and have the patience like I did today, you too can catch quality fish, even on a windy Friday.