April 13, 2006

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Does anyone out there know anyone that owns a shark suit? I donít need the full-body steel mesh protection, but Iíd love to have a left-hand glove made out of the stuff. You see, thatís the hand Iíve been using to grab all these fish Iíve been catching this past week, and man is my thumb sure sore.

This glove would definitely protect my skin from being torn to shreds by the teeth of those big lunker bass that Iím lipping in order to remove my lure from their mouth. I think my skin is thick enough to withstand those sharp teeth once or twice, but when youíre catching dozens upon dozens of fish, I just donít think there is any hope for my thumb except some heavy metal protection.

Okay, so maybe the glove would also protect my hand from my own hooks, which I could have used on more than one occasion, but hey, that happens with the types of lures Iím using.

Yes, Iím going to tell you what I was catching them all on. Not sure how long it will last, but for three straight trips to the ponds last week, I never once changed my bait. I was using a shiny silver jerk bait. Now thatís not to be confused with a jerkís bait, which is how my wife lovingly refers to any bait Iím using to catch fish while she isnít. What I call a jerk bait, is a long, slender crankbait, typically with three treble hooks and a shallow lip. I fish these baits, with a jerking action, meaning I twitch the bait, reel it a little, twitch it, reel it and so on. The varied retrieve makes the lure resemble an injured baitfish, and the color creates a lot of flash if there is any sun to reflect.

My jerk bait got wet for the first time on Wednesday evening. Such a beautiful day made it easy for me to schedule some work time on the water for research for this article.

I hadnít hardly had the boat in the water for a few minutes before they started attacking that lure. A fairly stiff breeze sent me packing across the pond at a good clip on my way to the north shoreline. Fortunately for me, as my battery died five minutes after I got there, the dam side of the pond was where I wanted to be (no pun intended). The bass were simply stacked up off the shoreline, aggressively feeding on anything the wind blew their way, including my bait.

Finally I had to quit, as I began to worry my injured hand would not be strong enough to grip the paddle to work my way back to the boat trailer, but I made it.

I found myself in much bleaker surroundings Friday evening. We had traveled to the farm to set up a blind for Abigayle for the youth turkey season, but Mother Nature prevented that. The wind was blowing way too hard, thanks to a front that had dropped the temperature about 20 degrees.

But the kids still wanted to stop and pet the puppies, and of course I happened to have a fishing pole in the back of my truck (and just fortunately enough a stocking cap, gloves, two jackets and a thermos of hot chocolate.)

I tried a different pond, mostly because it was close to the house, but Iíll pretend it was to take advantage of the wind, which was now blowing out of the north, not the south. I had recently watched the Perfect Storm movie so I was in no hurry to put the boat out on the white caps. So I fought the wind in my face and stood on the bank hoping my lure wouldnít blow back and smack me in the head.

While I was terribly miserable above water, those fish must have been pretty comfortable down below because they never missed a beat. I didnít catch as many, partly because my thumb hurt so bad already, and partly because I was getting frostbite, but I did catch several nice fish and I even managed to land a crappie that had to go 16 or 17 inches.

Then there was Saturday. Iím afraid I havenít saved enough space to do this outing justice. While prior commitments limited me to just a couple of hours on the water with my brother-in-law, suffice it to say it was amazing.

Iíve never heard two grown men giggle as much as Brent and I did. Itís amazing how giddy one can get while catching dozens upon dozens of bass, with more than a couple that went five pounds or larger. I think each of us uttered the old saying ďIt doesnít get any better than this,Ē at least once or twice, only to then catch an even bigger fish.

Of course, it may not get any better than that for my fishing as the year progresses, but Iíd still like to have one of those gloves, just in case. So any of you out there with shark feeders in the family, please let me know.

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