June 19, 2003

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

It's not very often that you can go fishing, break your favorite fishing pole and still go home with a smile. (Of course I could have made that sentence shorter by just saying it's not very often that you get to go fishing.) Friday night I managed to get to the pond with enough time to do a little angling. Actually I made an appointment on my calendar so I could go. Never thought it would get to the point that I had to schedule my fishing outing but it seems like if a person doesn't make the time to go, it never happens.

But then again, what do I care how I got there as long as I did? Of course when I pulled up to my favorite fishing hole I wasn't immediately pleased with the outlook. Apparently the grass carp are on vacation because the old moss was built up a good 15 feet from the bank out into the water. This was that thick carpet moss that would require a hacksaw or welder to break through. If that wasn't bad enough there was a second layer of the stuff floating just out beyond the main ring. So right off the bat I was really limited in my fishing options. I didn't need that suitcase of lures I normally carry around, as really my only option to try to tempt the fish was a weed-less plastic worm. Fortunately for me I had just such a rig.

At first I thought I could cast out beyond the second row of moss. That was until I realized I had forgotten to re-line my reel and that I had just a limited amount of line left on my fishing rig. So my options turned into one chance. All I could do was toss the worm out between the two floating carpets and hope for the best.

About two seconds after the worm plopped down in the water between the moss layers I witnessed my line take off toward the center of the pond. I set the hook and a nice three-pound bass immediately came to the surface and jumped. I had a fun fight for about 30 seconds then I got the bass turned to come to the shore. Well by the time I finally got him close enough to grab he had turned into a 50-pound ball of moss and vegetation. It was all I could do to drag that mess in without snapping my line. I needed a grappling hook and a mountain climbing rope so I could have dredged out a channel through the moss in order to land the fish.

I soon forgot all the work when my very next cast connected with fish number two. He was a little easier to secure since I had broken up the moss barrier a bit with the first bass. Well that routine went on for about two hours. Of course in that 120 minutes I would estimate that I spent probably 20 minutes catching the fish and the other 100 trying to muscle them to the shore to be released.

I did have one easy release as the bass made my job easier when he jumped up right at the edge of the moss and landed on top of the vegetation. I'd say the fish weighed two to three pounds yet he simply bounced off the moss as if it was a trampoline. The fish just skidded across the green carpet as I quickly reeled him in and released the lucky guy.

While I had cussed that nasty moss when I first pulled up, the vegetation and cover proved to be the key to my fishing. Those big old bass were lurking in the water between the two rows of structure and obviously were actively feeding. The key to the presentation was casting that plastic worm out on top of the second row of moss. Then as I retrieved it I used some heavy action to move and shake the moss to let the fish know there was something on top of the moss. As soon as I dropped the bait off the carpet into the water there were fish waiting to pounce on the food. A couple times the fish didn't even wait and they would swim up under the moss and slam into the cover trying to knock the moving object off into the water.

I had caught a dozen to 15 really nice bass anywhere from two to five pounds before my fun was prematurely ended. Apparently the stressful work of landing those bass with the added weight of the moss was more than my pole could take. As I got that final fish close to the bank I gave one last tug. It got the fish close enough for me to grab but it also snapped my pole in half.

I'm not sure if I was more disappointed about my pole breaking or my fishing ending prematurely. Looking back it will be much easier to replace my fishing pole than it will to supplant the time and effort it took to make the time to go. One thing's for sure I'll have a new fishing pole and I'll also have more of these little outings scheduled on my calendar throughout the summer.

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