By: Glynn Harris
With photos of big double digit bass constantly showing up on social media, I began thinking about fishing for bass from the perspective of a novice, a non-pro, in other words, from me.
I love to fish for bass. Something about the explosion on top of the water when a bass smacks a topwater plug gives me the jitters. Ditto for when I feel the tap-tap on the line when fishing a plastic worm and seeing the line begin moving to the side. Catching a glimpse of white beneath the surface when a bass smacks my spinner bait is something else that gets me worked up.
I don’t fish bass tournaments; never have. I fish for bass simply because I love the sport. It all started for me when as a kid, my dad gave me one of his old hand-me-down reels, a Pfleuger Akron casting reel without any of the fancy stuff reels come equipped with today. My reel was spooled with black line strong enough to pull a mule out of a bog; this was before monofilament line came on the market. The reel was fastened to a Tru-Temper steel rod.
I carried the lures he gave me in a brown paper bag and they included some that would likely be collector’s items today. When is the last time you went to the tackle shop and saw a Shakespeare Dopey; a River Runt; Dalton Special or Hawaiian Wiggler on the shelf? Those were the lures with which I learned to fish for bass. You could spend a couple of bucks and be pretty well outfitted with fishing lures. However, they were treasured products you didn’t want to chance hanging up and losing.
I remember one time I was fishing for bass in Molido creek behind the house, a creek that was home to not only bass but sharp-toothed chain pickerel….we called them “jack fish”. I made a cast with my much loved River Runt and the lure plunked down next to a fallen log, a perfect hidey hole for a bass.
I began my retrieve when I got a solid hit. Raring back on my rod, I was set to fight what felt like a really nice bass when the fish I had hooked sprang from the water with my River Runt dangling from it’s toothy jaw. I panicked when I realized this was no bass but a jack fish which promptly severed my line taking the only River Runt I had with him. I have felt resentment and dislike for jack fish ever since.
I remember the first squirrel I ever shot; the first deer I brought down; the first gobbler I called in and downed, the first duck I ever shot and I remember the first bass I ever caught. I was a little bitty shaver and was fishing the same little creek behind our house. Casting a Hawaiian Wiggler next to a stump, I promptly got a strike, set the hook and six inches of bass was catapulted out of the creek and over my head. I grabbed the squirming fish and hot-footed it through the woods to the house to show my mama what I had caught.
Recently while headed back home for our high school reunion, I paused when crossing the bridge over Saline Bayou and looked toward the railroad bridge just on the other side. This was a spot when as kids, we could seine crawfish, head for the sandy banks with cane poles and toss a hook baited with a crawfish into the current. If things went as I hoped, the line would straighten, quiver and I’d be setting the hook in a bass that used that sandy stretch of water for spawning. We called them smallmouth bass when in reality they were spotted or Kentucky bass.
I never dreamed of becoming a bass fishing pro nor did I ever want to. Having the chance to see the swirl, feel the tug and know I’m connected to a bass has given me a lifetime of fishing pleasure.