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…and I’m not talking about basketball. I’m talking about BIG BASS! Every once in a while a plan comes together like you envisioned it, and this was one of those times!


A few weeks back we had a string of warm days that got me to thinking about early spawning largemouths. The only problem was that all of the major flows were running high and cool due to heavy rains and chilly nights. BUT, I had an idea! Not far from where I live there is a small flow that has a very small drainage basin. The head of this river is a long, narrow, spring fed natural lake.  This flow is so short and close to the ocean that the tides actually reverse the flow on the incoming. A check of the tidal charts told me that the incoming tides should have held up the outflow from the lake during the warmest parts of the last few days. I thought to myself that maybe this had allowed the waters in there to warm up the few extra degrees that the bass needed to get turned on. After a few close calls getting unloaded on the shoulder of a major highway I was ready to launch.


My destination is only about a two mile paddle up, but like I said before this is a small flow and it can be quite challenging.


You have to drag over a lot of these…


duck under a bunch of this…


weave through a lot of that…


but this is the reward!


When I finally reached the lake, I immediately started fishing the north bank knowing that was where the sun would have warmed the water the most. On the first pass I concentrated on blow downs that extended into deeper water, working them with a crank bait and texas rigged speed worm. Nothing! On my second pass I picked up a green pumpkin trick worm rigged weightless and started working the banks. In ten casts I missed ten bites before finally landing a small male. I thought to myself, self you may have stumbled onto something here, but it was another 50 casts and lord knows how many misses before I landed the second fish.

OK. Time to drop back and punt. I suspected that I was onto some bedding fish and that they were just picking up my worm and moving it off the bed. Not trying to eat it. Time to slow down and switch to a white trick worm that I would be able to see. After making the switch I paddled back to the top of the north bank and dropped anchor where I had gotten the first bite. For the next 10 minutes I made repeated casts to the same exact spot with the same exact results. The fish would pick up my worm, move it 5 feet and then drop it. Never once did the entire worm disappear, and after several missed hook sets I decided that I wouldn’t try again until it did. Finally on what seemed like the 1000th cast the worm did disappear and I pulled out another small buck. On the very next toss I got what I came for. A small, but egg laden female.


Now that I knew what I had to do, I made my way down the bank dropping anchor at every likely bedding spot and beat them to pieces. The same scenario played out over and over. All I had to do was aggravate the male until he finally got mad enough to eat and then pick up the female on the next cast or two. Once the bucks were out of the way the ladies were easy pickins’!


Just when I was beginning to think that the really big girls had not moved up yet, I had a giant foot tub sized swirl on the worm and my line came tight. I knew she was a good one when I set the hook and she actually pulled back. After a few tense moments, working her out of the cypress knees, I was able to bring her to hand. This pic does not do this beauty justice, but I wanted to hurry up and get her back in the water so that she could get back to making babies.  8lbs 9 oz

8 lbs 9 oz

15 minutes later I had another giant swirl on my bait, but this one ran right straight to the boat. I took up the slack as quickly as possible, but only managed a weak hookset. Right away I knew I had another good fish on, but I was not prepared for what I saw when she showed herself for the first time! She was a behemoth! Unfortunately I also saw that the hook was barely in her and that the little bit of flesh that I had snagged was beginning to tear. I knew that I had an 11-12 lb fish on and my knees were knocking so bad that I had to sit down. I loosened the drag and played the fish as delicately as possible. After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably less than 5 minutes, she seemed to have given up and I brought her along side. When she saw my hand in front of her face as I slowly reached over to lip her, she made that one final head shake and was gone!

Devastated, I tried to continue fishing for another 10 casts but my spirit was broken and I paddled back to the put-in heart broken.

Looking back now I can appreciate just how wonderful that day was, though it didn’t feel that way at the time.