"I fish: therefore I am." Well, I am regardless but you know what I mean.
Once upon a time...
There was a boy. This boy loved the outdoors and he spent every moment possible outside. Then, he discovered fishing. Well, this took the outdoors to a whole other level! He would go fishing anywhere there was water, whether it held fish or not. Then, he would go into the woods across the streets and pretend there was water and fish, practicing for the day when he would really be on a lake somewhere.
In Junior High School, he had to do a paper on what he wanted to do when he grew up. He wanted to be a fishing guide! Try as he might, there was nothing to find in the library about becoming a guide, so he settled on doing a paper about being a commercial fisherman; but it just wasn't the same.
He went to Florida for big bass; Canada for "toothy critters" like Northern Pike, Musky and Walleye. He fished creeks, ponds, lakes, watery overflow areas, rivers, you name it. He wade fished, bow fished, snagged (Tip: NEVER snag a beaver at night by accident!) and even took friends and family with him on these trips. He fished new lakes and old lakes; he fished big rivers and tiny creeks that barely wet his knees. He fished at lunch from work, sometimes catching fifty or more in less than an hour. He caught big bass from small ponds and tiny perch from big ponds. He caught carp and catfish and bass and walleye and trout and... he caught everything. And he caught them everywhere.
Then one day, he grew tired of fishing. Seems strange that one can do that, but one can. The joy was gone, his children mostly uninterested or far away, and he sat on the couch, watching TV. Very sad.
One Day, Something Changed
The boy (now an old man) took a job near a lake. It was a particularly stressful job, filled with deceit, upset people and evil persons from days gone by. He did his best to eliminate the deceit, sooth the upset people and eliminate the evilness, but it took a toll on his mind, body and soul. His family did everything they could to ease his pain, and one day his lovely wife told him to buy a boat.
A boat? Whatever for?
To go fishing again, she told him.
So, he bought a boat. A pretty little yellow and white 16-foot Ebco old fashioned bass fishing boat. He took it out one day with his youngest, taught him to drive the boat, caught some fish, and discovered that it was fun. And so, he made plans to go fishing more in the Spring in order to relieve the stress associated with his job.
Then one day he saw a tournament that was being held on his lake. It was a tournament where one fish, one bass, could change someone's life. He watched the results daily of this three-day tournament and marveled as the fish being weighed in and winning money were no bigger than the fish he had caught all his life.
He made a plan that day: He was going to fish the next one of those tournaments! He also knew that no one fished from a boat like his anymore, especially in a tournament! He knew they would laugh at his boat. Why, it was old fashioned and slow and nobody used boats like that anymore! But he knew he was not a nobody; he was a Fisherman! He would teach them not to laugh at his quaint little boat!
All Winter he fussed over the boat, played with his tackle, bought new lures and made ready for Spring. He studied the lake, looking for special spots and something that would hold big bass, places no one else might know of or see. He watched videos and television shows detailing how to catch bass again. After all, time had passed, new lures and techniques developed, and he hadn't fished for them in years so he felt like he had to learn all over again.
He was going to give it his best shot!
The Big Bass Tournament
That year, the tournament was being held in the old man's townin April, prime time for lunker bass. Seven times each day, there would be a weigh in. At each weigh in, there are ten places paid. First place each hour gets $1,000, second $500, and on down to 10th place getting $100. That meant there were 210 chances at winning something, at least $100! All he would have to do was to catch a few nice sized bass! He could surely do that!
The overall winner, the person with the single biggest bass over three days of fishing, gets a bass boat worth almost $50,000!
Over the years, the old man had been a pretty good fisherman. He had caught the fish of 10,000 casts, a muskie. Actually, he had several muskies up to 20 pounds. He had an 8-pound bass, a couple of 6-pounders, and more that were not quite that big but big enough to make him happy. He had caught big bass where they weren't supposed to be, including a 5 1/2 pounder in Canada that the lodge owner tried to buy from him (It was the biggest Largemouth he had ever seen) to mount and put on the lodge wall. He had had his line broken by some huge bass, and even spoke with the Bassin' Professor Doug Hannon in person about a particularly large bass he had seen and how to catch it, so maybe this wasn't beyond his reach.
He couldn't wait for the day when he could go out and try to change his stars.
Now, I wait...
Yes, it's me; I am that old man. I wait; patiently for the month of April to roll around so I can give it a try. I will be out on the lake before then but April will be the magic time. I've put new line on my rods, bought a few special lures and old standbys, ones I have great confidence in. I even have a secret weapon no one else has.
A lure I designed years ago, back in the 80's. It is unlike anything else on the market. I tried to share it with Jimmy Houston back in the 90's but he messed up the design and what he put out wasn't worth a plugged nickel. Mine? Oh yeah, it works. It works. Just maybe it will work well enough to let me win a few bucks on this tournament and maybe even the grand prize. After all, I'm not exactly a stranger to winning on this lake. I've won a couple of tournaments here over the years, always by doing something other fisherman never think of, like fishing in a pond off the lake. Yeah, I did that. The water was up and very cold and this pond was connected to the lake. I was able to get my boat into it and found it had warmer water than the lake; 20 degrees warmer. The bass were absolutely stacked in it that day. I was the only person to weigh in a limit of bass for the tournament and won easily. Maybe it will be my time to shine again. Who knows? Maybe my lure will even become the Next Great Thing for bass fishing and I can retire with the money I'll make on selling it!
In the meantime I will continue to study the lake online. I found a great method of looking back in time on satellite images in order to watch the water levels rise and fall, allowing me to see deeper into the lake and judge where hidden cover is at that bass will hold close to. Sneaky, I know; but all's fair in love and war... and fishing!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Mr Archer
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 22, 2021:
A very well written article about the joy of fishing. I enjoyed reading your story. I have seen people doing it, but I have never tried it myself. Your article has inspired me.
Thank you for sharing.
Liz Westwood from UK on January 22, 2021:
This is a very well-written and interesting article charting your fishing career. In the UK, during lockdown, fishing has grown in popularity. Anglers are sometimes jostling for position on riverbanks for social distancing. I hope you do well in April.