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Al Agnew

"Banner" Day?

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I had 8 hours to float, because Mary had to pick me up by 6:30 PM to get back to the house in time for her to do a conference call.  The float is about 9.5 miles.  The first half is decent-looking water, but the second half is usually better fishing.  So my plan was to move fairly quickly through the first half, so that I'd have time to slow down and fish the last half hard.  Well, you know what happens to best laid plans.

What messed me up was that, in the first good pool (after I'd caught three bass between the put-in and the first good pool) I was tossing my homemade crankbait.  The wind was blowing, leaves were on the water, and the line was running through a curled up leaf, with the lure coming toward the leaf, when this big bronze shadow materialized in a wicked attack.  Big fish.  I really wanted this one.  I played it carefully, and breathed a sigh of relief when I lipped it.  I'd been having a lot of bad luck losing big fish.  It was a long, lean smallmouth.  I laid it on my paddle blade, which I'd just measured again...it is 20 inches exactly from the tip of the blade to the point where the blade completely disappears into the shaft.  I measured this one carefully, closing its mouth, putting the tip of its lips right on the tip of the blade, and squeezing the tail lobes together...it came to slightly longer than 20 inches, call it 20.25.  Best smallmouth I've caught this year.  I took a quick picture and released it.IMG_1956.JPG

Of course, I took it with my phone, and had the phone flipped the wrong way, but you get the picture!

So, the bad thing is, when I catch a big one, I think the big ones might really be hitting, and I slow down and fish really hard for a while.  And that's why it took me over 5 hours to cover that first half of the float.  The fishing was good.  I caught nice fish, up to 16 inches, both smallmouth and spotted bass.  And I was in the zone, hooking every bigger one that hit, boating every one I hooked.  But no more big ones for quite a while.  And then I was throwing a topwater lure, a new one I really like, and hooked another big fish.  This one wasn't quite so big...18.5 inches.  

I really wanted to fish some of that good water in the second half, so I paddled for a while until I reached the good stuff.  I picked up the homemade crankbait again, and bingo.  Another really big fish.  I had this one.  I was sure of it.  I'd fought it for quite a while.  It had jumped three times, and each time I dragged it back down before it could shake its head.  It was reduced to just driving for the bottom, pulling the canoe around.  It was just a matter of time...and then it came straight up from the bottom in four feet of water to lance out of the water like a missile from a submarine, three feet in the air, shaking its head the whole time...and I lost it.  It was easily as big as the first one, at least 20 inches.

So now I'm fishing like crazy.  Cast, cast, cast, paddle like heck through the dead water and the riffles to get to the next pool.  Working myself like a dog, hoping for another chance at a big one.  It isn't often that I hook two fish that size in one day, plus that 18.5 incher.  I catch a 17 incher.  Another 17 incher, both on topwater.  Surely it's going to happen.  I look at the time.  I've got an hour to go and two miles to fish.  I skip some marginal water.  The fish are going nuts...smaller ones, at least, with the occasional 16 incher.  Mary calls and says she's going to be about a half hour late.  Alright!  I fish harder.  And then the take-out is in sight.  A school of minnows scatters frantically as a bass corrals them against a gravel bar.  It looked like a nice fish.  I cast about 10 feet off the bar.  I see a big wake dart toward the lure, but before it can reach it, another bass engulfs the topwater.  Big fish!  Well, not huge...but really nice!  As I fight it, the first smallie is following it around.  The follower is about an inch bigger than the one I have hooked.  I finally get it in...18 inches.  One more cast.  I've already passed the gravel bar at the take-out.  Kablooie!  I think it's a big one.  Nope, 15 inches.  Okay, I'm done.  An 80 bass day, three over 18 inches, topped by a 20 plus.  Another huge smallmouth hooked.  That's a banner day in my book.

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Some people wouldn't even get out of bed for such crummy fishing. :lol:

My boat will be on the water chasing these things without me in it. It's killing me just thinking about it. -_-

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Nope, I'm experimenting with the Z-Man soft jerkbaits.  So far not too impressed.  Also experimenting with their Pop Z or whatever it's called, and not impressed with it, either.  I think the jerkbaits, which look like Superflukes, have possibilities if I can come with a way of rigging them that I'm happy with.

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