April 10, 2003

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

The saying goes that a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work. So what's a guy to do after a good day of fishing? I took advantage of one of those brief glimpses of spring that we have been blessed with in between the dreary remnants of winter and headed out on my first fishing outing of 2003. I didn't feel to guilty about taking off from work a few hours early. After all, I was doing research for this column, the same as if I was going out to interview someone for a news story. So I really didn't take off from work early at all. As a matter of fact I probably should turn in for overtime as I was on the pond bank well into the evening.

My first cast was a clustered bundle of tangled fishing line that ended in a big splash at my feet. After I got that mess cleaned up my mindset got a quick overhaul. I forgot my impatience of trying to work out the knots and my anger from poking my own finger with the hook in the process. All was forgotten as on my second cast I hooked into the first fish of the year.

Often that first outing is hard on an angler as sometimes it can be difficult to remember what a bite feels like. Then again when you have a four-pound bass smash your spinnerbait on the second cast that can alleviate a lot of the uncertainty that goes along with the rustiness of the off season. This lunker left little doubt in the fact that he was a fish and not just a lump of left over moss or other debris. The strike wasn't a little bump or some other shy attempt at the meal. This old fish wheeled himself up to the all-you-can-eat buffet and grabbed hold with both hands with no intentions of letting go until he had got his money's worth.

With no doubt that I had my first fish of the season, the only thing left was to land the big guy and start looking for some more of his friends. Before the day was over it was rather obvious why this was my favorite pond. Believe it or not, but I caught 17 bass that afternoon. Of that mess, only two were what I would call smaller fish. The majority were all two, three or four pounds to make for quite a tiring workout. Of course that's nothing compared to little Abby Clatt's trip where she caught a couple big boys in the seven-pound range plus one even bigger.

The youngster not only had the big fish she has the pictures to prove it. Of course she's mum about where she caught them and what she was using. I was catching mine on a green and black double-bladed spinnerbait. I put it on before I left the house and never once gave any consideration of changing it. There really was no secret, I was just fishing along the structure where the fairly strong wind was blowing. No trick there, as the fish tend to set up in these areas and let the wind do their work, blowing the food and bait fish into them.

Back to my initial comments - if a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work a great day of fishing sure makes it hard to feel like going to work the next day. Fortunately the weather interrupted my fishing frenzy. Snow and freezing rain make it a little easier to head to the office instead of to the fishing hole. But when the weather finally does turn good again, look out because I definitely am feeling the need to do some more research.

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