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-FROM THE EDITOR- 20 April, 2005-

Rivers Rule...


...But Farm Ponds Ain't Bad Either!!

    A buddy called me up last Thursday and asked for a little help catching some bream for a fish fry we were going to have on Saturday. Since my wife was also invited to the fish fry, I was able to use the "I've GOT to go fishing, our neighbors are all counting on me" line. With the kitchen pass safely secured, I headed over to Athen's best (and only) bait store, Marion and Buck's, and grabbed a hundred crickets with the intention of spending my Friday evening sitting on a dock, watching a cork, and guzzling beer.

    It's not as if the bream weren't biting. Our group had caught around seven beautiful bluegills in the first half hour of fishing, most a pound or better. Still, we figured that we would need around fifty for the fish fry, and that wasn't going to happen at this rate. My buddy Chris and I decided to take a spin around the pond and fish for bass, since we could probably get by with about half as many fish if we simply caught keeper-sized bass. About halfway around the pond, we had only three keeper bass as we emerged onto the side of the pond that was catching the direct rays of the evening sun. That's when things started getting ridiculous.

    In the last hour of daylight, Chris and I probably got forty strikes. We were fishing with plastic worms and both of us missed and lost a good many fish. Most of them were around two pounds, but we also managed a three and four pounder. We ended up with around eighteen on the stringer, which probably weighed forty pounds. Our cohorts on the dock had caught another eight or so bream, so we were pretty much set for Saturday's fish fry.

    Mission accomplished, I tied on a buzzbait just to see if I could entice a fish to hit on the surface, a tactic that had proven unsuccessful earlier in the day. On my third cast into about two feet of water, my buzzbait was gently sipped under the water's surface. After setting the hook, I heard a sound that I hadn't heard all day: my reel's drag being pulled out at a steady clip. "Chris, I believe this one's gonna be a little bigger than the others", I said. For the most part, the fish fought deep, but at one point she rolled on the water's surface and I estimated the fish's weight to be at least six pounds. I got her up to the boat and was ready to lip her when she took off again. She made it almost all the way back to where the battle began, but about two minutes later I was able to heft her into the boat. Ten pounds, six ounces. My biggest bass ever by almost a pound!

    I kept the fish in the water as Chris moved us to the dock, where we snapped a couple of pictures and released her, still unharmed, about twenty yards from where she'll lay her eggs in a week or two. Folks asked why I didn't keep her to get mounted, as that is probably the largest bass I'll ever catch. The main reason: This pond is amazing, and I figured that my chances of being invited back again would only be enhanced if the owner knows me as the guy who returned a fish like that for him to catch someday. Of course, if I run across this fish in a couple more years, all bets are off!




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