Once again this past week and weekend was a busy one; Saturday was not only busy but pretty special as my volleyball team traveled to Jasper to play the host school in our second consecutive semi-state appearance. While the result was the same as last year….the team played with a true spirit and gave the Wildcats all they could ask for!
I was chomping at the bit to get into some water as I had purchased a brand new float tube….actually it is a float tube on steroids; 8 foot long and 4 foot wide and rated as a class II white water craft. The new tube is a product of the Creek Company; the same company that sells the smaller ODC 420 version of the float tube that you have probably seen me in before. The new boat will allow me to travel down many of the rivers that I fish while in Missouri, etc…(more on the 970 Voyager by the Creek Company at a later date).
I arrived at our little 7 acre lake a few minutes after 1pm and took my time completely inflating the boat and making sure that everything was in place. I slipped on my 3mm waders, threw my kick fins behind the seat, attached the oars to the Voyager and shoved off. I will admit that I didn’t know how the new and much larger boat would handle but within a minute or two I was very much at home with the new craft and very pleased its performance.
I had my 6 weight Cabela’s Traditional II rod and a Rio type II sink tip fly line with a white streamer attached. There was a chop on the water and I knew a white fly (with a red gill plate) would be highly visible and might just attract a bass looking for a shad imitation. Such was the case…my second casts was successful and I stripped and hauled in a 12 inch, healthy bass to hand. I love it when a plan comes together and in a few more minutes I had had several more strikes and landed another less than legal fish.
If you were out this past Sunday you know the wind was a howling and I did find that the larger surface area of the new boat meant that I was for sure being pushed along by the wind even quicker than normal. As usual I put the shore to my left and casted both into and parallel to the shore allowing the white streamer to sink…then giving short and quick strips of 8 to 12 inches with my left hand. What I found was that most of the strikes were coming as the fly was sinking; to get a good hook set I had to be ready and make an explosive jerk with my left…or line hand.
The wind pushed me the length of the lake and unlike my other float tubes…where I would have to spend time kicking backwards up the lake (this would have usually taken 10 minutes) I dropped the oars, put my kick fins up on top of the resting bar and in under 60 seconds I had rowed against the wind, back to the truck…where I quickly stowed away the oars, dropped my kickfins and once again fished the west edge of the lake.
I had picked up on a pattern that the bass were staging in 2 to 3 feet of water and waiting just inside any structure where they could be out of the wind, yet still able to predate on any unsuspecting bait fish that might amble by. I had caught about 10 small to decent bass and made a cast just inside a lily pad when I saw a wake and set the hook on what was the big fish of the day…a nice, chubby, 17 inch largemouth that put up a great fight and made a valiant effort to shake loose when he came up and out of the water. I lipped the fish, took a few photos (see above), measured him on my stripping guard and then watched as he quickly swam off to be caught again.
I made another trip on the eastern edge of the lake and caught a couple more bass before rowing back to the truck and packing it in for the day; it was one of those days that I love and frankly need from time to time…peace, quiet and a few bass…what more could a guy ask for? I love the cool breezes of fall where I can paddle a bit, cast a bit, relax and Enjoy the Great Outdoors.