A Boy and The Bass
Oh no! The family, my uncle Frank and his
crew from Illinois arrived! Actually, they are from a small suburb south
of Chicago called Harvey,. The first thing my uncle asked my Dad when he
arrived was, "when can we go fishing?" I am fifty now, I was nine
then. My Dad wasn't an avid fisherman, but I was, even at that age. With two car
loads of family, off we went to a lake my family camped at often. Sugar Loaf Lake in
southern Michigan is a shallow weedy spring fed lake, about a quarter mile wide. It
was early summer with little or no wind, the sun felt good with high 70's temp. The lake
was active with people but we found a lily pad area offshore and started fishing.
I had Crickets and Grasshoppers in a jar that were gathered early that morning.
Picking out the big boy of the crickets, I slipped it on the hook with a split shot about
10 inches away. No one else was using crickets, I thought, as my Zebbco closed face
spin caster combo rod and reel sent a beautiful long cast plunk. That cast took all
of the line off my reel. I slowly retrieved the cricket, stopping from time-to-time.
The lake was a smooth sheet of reflection with a faint wind. Suddenly, my hook snagged..
"Oh, no no no! This was the first cast! Then suddenly the snag ran, peeling off line,
and destroying my reel. I realized two things, this was no snag and my reel had
original two year old abused line on it, and precious little of it at that. A crowd
gathered around me in seconds, cheering and yelling. "Gees!" I thought the rod
would break. The snag shot to the right, my line slicing through the water skirting up a
roostertail as it went. This drawing "ooohhhhhhhhhs!" from the
crowd. The snag jumped, leaving the water twisting, and throwing his head from
side-to-side. It was huge, mad, and fighting for his life. I froze in fear, and
heard a long piercing shriek in my ears
. the shriek was coming from me.
"Let me help you," my uncle said as he reached for my rod. Not only did I need
all my concentration and strength to land this fish but I had to push my uncle off as
well. Finally, I get a break as the big, Smallmouth Bass turns toward shore and shallow
water. I quickly took up the slack and backed away from the lake, holding the line in one
hand and the rod in the other I dragged the 6 pound lunker up on the beach.
Forty years ago, there was no mainstream catch & release ideology. So my family and I
had a great fish fry that evening, from our fishing trip that day.
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