Welcome to Panfish!

Part Eighty-two

The Bass That Wasn't

By Certified Trout Bum

This isn't really an article about new ideas or even how to improve your skills, it's just a fishing story I think everyone might enjoy. It took place a couple years ago in Oklahoma near a major resort area. I had skipped fishing the main lake because it wasn't feasible in a float tube, and decided on a small pond near our cabin. It's not a big pond by any means and is overshadowed by the fact that just 100 yards away is one of the largest impoundments in the state. Yet I have great affinity for this little pond and this story tells why.

As I zipped up the rain jacket and finished stringing the rod, I felt a little apprehension about what might be coming. The weather had turned quite nasty in the past half hour, but it had been hot all day and I knew that dusk would be the best fishing.

I slid into the warm water thinking of the three beaver dens in the south west corner of the pond and decided to fish those first. I also planned to fish with the wind to improve my casting distance. I tied on a black 'sneaky pete' and began to cast to the edges of the first den, rhythmically stripping back to within 15 feet of my tube.

The turbulent water and slight drizzle made me a little uncomfortable and doubting my chances, I still stuck to my task. As I neared the second den I missed a strike. I figured it was tiny bluegills too small to get the hook, but soon enough found myself tangling with one nice bass after another as the 'bite was on.'

I was almost in heaven! Nearly every cast drew a strike and when I was patient enough I actually hooked the fish. Most were scrappy bluegills, but several were 13 or 14 inch bass. Nothing major, just good fun. I started to get a little more serious where I cast as the light dwindled. First I wanted the trophy bass, but mainly because there are a lot of snags and this was my only black slider. I started to search out rise rings and loud splashes that seemed were everywhere.

I was caught off guard by a huge splash near the first beaver den, near the spot where I had started fishing almost an hour before. Slowly (in a tube it never seems fast enough especially if nature calls,) I paddled my way toward the den. Casting along the edge of the den, I made my way to the area of the splash without so much as a missed strike.

I figured things were slowing down as the storm descended upon the pond. Casting with the help of a strong wind landed the bug in the approximate area. Just as my slider landed, I heard another loud splash behind me. I turned to look, thinking maybe I had mistakenly cast to the wrong spot.

My fly was slammed hard and instinctively I set the hook. The fish took off and I let the line slide through my fingers, this was definitely one for the reel. I applied some rod pressure as the slack played out and realized this may be the fish I had dreamt about.

I tried to turn him but it didn't work - the fish dove deeper still. After about ten minutes of tugging against the rod and my tube, which was pulled into the wind for a brief period, the fish crashed through the surface, but too far away for me to make out what it was.

As it finally surrendered to my rods constant pull, I reeled him closer, as excited as I can remember about any fish. Getting it within landing range, I got a surprise I hadn't planned on. This wasn't the wall trophy bass I dreamed of! Quite the contrary, it was a two foot plus Blue Catfish.

I was just a little disappointed at my catch, but soon realized I had just hooked and landed a very nice catfish on a fly rod, using a surface popper no less. I decided not only was this a good thing, but one deserving of being the closer of my day. I clipped off my fly, reeled in and headed for the shore.

This would definitely be one to mull over with the guys over a cold beer. ~ Certified Trout Bum

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