Thursday, July 26, 2012

week of july 23, 2012

It had been way too long since I had been able to set a hook, over 2 months. This week I was able to schedule three nights of night fishing with Rhandy Simmons.  The weather forecast was for it to be a little bit cooler, no 100's, and a bit of wind and that proved to be just perfect.  There was enough wind we never had to put on our bug spray.  Just perfect night fishing weather!

The first night the fish were tough.  I only tried to set the hook once in 5 hours of fishing.  It seemed like the only bites I was getting were tap taps of bream on the tail of my big worm.  I never could get a fish to hold onto it.  The one swing I took there was no one home.  Rhandy hooked two fish, one wrapped him up and broke off, the other spit a crank bait out on the way to the boat.  That's right, we were skunked on night one after fishing some mighty fine holes and trying a variety of different techniques.

The second night was the same, only different.  It will forever be known as THE ONE BITE NIGHT.  We fished two hours without a single bite.  Zip, zero, nada, nothing.  We switched from flukes to spoons in deep water, pitched some crank baits, and again chased around trying deep and shallow holes that we KNOW are good.  Around dark, we switched to big black and blue Yum worms and started working around a shallow mid-lake hump.  After no joy up shallow we pulled off a bit and tied up.  Exactly at 9 pm, I pitched out behind the boat and felt a very tiny tap.  I lifted the rod tip, felt a fish, and swung for the rafters.  The fish made two strong runs, stripping off drag.  I caught up quickly both times only to have the fish hang up on something.  I held still and Rhandy moved to drop the rope so we could go try to get the fish.  Just as he reached for it, the fish swam off whatever it was hung on and came up and wallowed at the end of my line.  In the dusky light I couldn't see it real well, but I shouted to Rhandy, "It's off, it's off, GET THE NET!"   There was timber all around us so I started reeling and pulling like crazy trying to keep the fish from running for another hang-up.  As it came to the boat it left a wake that looked like an incoming torpedo.  It came straight into Rhandy's waiting net without even a splash.

When Rhandy picked up the net he yelled "That fish is HUGE!  That's a bonus fish!"  Referring to the fact I pay my guides a bonus for any fish over 8 pounds.  I reached in the net and grabbed the fish and popped the hook out easily.  Rhandy grabbed his scale and as we waited for it to zero out, I guessed 10.5 lbs, Rhandy said "12 lbs, easy."  The scales evened out at 11 pounds 5 ounces, right about in the middle of our guesses.  A new personal best for me and my second double digit bass of 2012.  After a few quick photos we sent her on her way to someday give someone else a thrill.

After the excitement died down, I laughed and said "What if we don't get another bite all night long?  At least we got the right bite!"  Sure enough.  We fished til 11:30 pm and did not have another single bite.  So goes the legend of The One Bite Night!

Wednesday night we headed out about 7 pm again.  We noticed we were the only trailer at the Minnow Bucket lot, only one trailer over at Oak Ridge, and none on the public ramp at 154.  I guess the word is out about the slow nights.  In fact Rhandy had talked to another guide who said he had cancelled some night trips due to the slow nights.  We were undeterred!  We poked around some more deep water holes before heading back to our "one bite spot' from the night before.  I caught a couple of small fish, one on a fluke, one on a worm.  I hooked another big fish, which I never saw but which was also stripping drag.  However that one was successful at getting wrapped up and sawing me off.  Drat.  We had a few more bites that evening but never boated another fish.

So, the moral of the story is, on Lake Fork you can fish for 3 nights, only boat 3 fish, and still come home with a new personal best and a great story.  I can't wait to go back!