Could be. I hope not though as I have fished for the spinney-rays
for years and felt good about myself when I happened to outsmart
one. If you were able to search the back records of the Traverse
City, Michigan 'Record-Eagle' newspaper you may find a picture
of a kid standing in front of the brick exterior of the papers
main office, holding up two bass still hooked to the top water
plug they both had hit at the same time. Not a big deal I suppose,
just a couple of two pounders but it impressed a nine year old
kid, my mom and the photographer who took my picture. I spend
many pleasant evenings with a Johnson Silver minnow probing the
under pilings of the docks lining the small northern lake we
Those were mostly my 'bait-casting' years. Some fly, but
not often. I did troll a floating deer hair mouse with
some success from a old wooden boat I would row just
outside of the weed beds and old broken skeletons of
docks and busted down boathouses. It was cast one, bail
the boat two, cast another one, bail two more. The boat
never did swell up enough to quit leaking. I remember
the day we built a fire on the beach and burned that up
all to you know what.
It was only by chance my sport fishing turned toward the
soft-ray fishes and bass fell to a back-burner situation.
Nothing against bass, just not a fish that swam into my
cross-hairs. So it was rather a unique situation this last
Friday which prompts this column.
By now you must know I live very near one of our sponsors,
namely, Sage. In fact, I have lived here before they did,
at least before they were called that. I remember when
they made the move about half a mile and built the big
modern plant on Day road, with a pond behind the plant.
Now, I have to tell you, I am partial to companies that
do that, build plants on ponds. Scientific Anglers came
close enough to impress me with the big moat thing that
is right in front of theirs. You cross it to get into
Meanwhile back to Sage. It was Thursday afternoon, the
22nd of September, 2005. I was on a mission, get the
casting analyzer from them for the Fish-In and try to
understand how to run the thing. Now, I am a bit computer
literate, but I am algo seventy, and learning new stuff
can take a long slow curve, almost a flat line.
I will say this, Ned Hobson at Sage is a real sweetheart.
He could not have been more gentle and patient as I
struggled to comprehend all of the sophisticated nuances
of the palm-pilot and the software of the analyzers program.
But, I am getting ahead of myself, forgive me.
Two thirty, bright sun, seventy-four degrees, great fall
day. Ned and I went down the dozen or so steps to the short
dock which extends a short distance into the kidney-bean
shaped pond. A real pond, edges, brush, trees, weeds in
it, some anchored, floating hula-hoops, and fish.
Yes, fish, bass. Some big ones too. So far, in all my trips
to 'the dock at Sage' I had not seen one. As we neared the
main part of the dock, in other words, 'the dock at Sage,'
Ned pointed out a bass.
Now, as bass go, Black Bass, by the way, it was not a big
one. Not more than a foot I suppose. But there he was, all
of him sticking out from under a weed, only his tail hidden.
Maybe he figured we couldn't see him, who knows. Anyway, Ned
had the rod with the gyro on it and the reel, line, leader
and a little tuft of red yarn tied on the end of the leader.
As the rig is left assembled all the time for testing and
instruction at the plant, the little tuft of red yarn was
right at the tip of the rod. The leader then about rod
length almost reached the reel. For absolutely no valid
reason, as he mentions the bass to me, he somewhat points
to it with the rod tip. In fact he pokes the tip into the
water. Now Mr. Bass, with this red tuft being thrust almost
into his skull goes on the attack.
Whether by reflex, instinct, pure orneryness, or just old
fashioned Black Bass behavior, he nailed that hunk of rag
with a vengeance. I don't mean he took it, he didn't bite
it, he didn't rise to hit, he smashed the crap out of it.
Big time. And he would not let go. So much for presentation.
Ned had him at least two feet in the air before Mr. Bass
decided that water was a better medium for him and beat
a hasty retreat. You might say, "he was out of his element."
Well, then again, you probably wouldn't, neither would I.
But, he was out of it on a tuft of red rag that he hit not
for food, not for fun, not out of meanness but in self defense.
Now, I ask you, just how bright can a bass be? ~ JC