Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bass on 'Glass'

Bass on ‘Glass’

I stand on the freshly mowed field, behind the log house, looking down and across the quiet pond. My right hand gripping the full-well shaped cork handle on my 8wt Wonderod, as I capture the moment.

 A slight breeze blows across the water surface and a kaleidoscope of light reflects off the rippled water from the evening sunshine. I see the leaves of a small red Maple turning in the wind on a small island to my right. Its leaves rustle displaying their maroon underside. Scott is already casting his spinning rod lures off the dock as his son is pitching a lure beneath an overhanging shade tree along the bank.
I start to have second thoughts about the fiberglass rod and having to cast light foam poppers in and against the wind.
‘I’m sure I’ll manage, maybe putting the wind behind me’ I think to myself.

 On the small dock I string my fly rod and anxious to fish I don’t check for line abrasions or knots on my own knotted tied leader. I tie on a Fas-Snap and attach a medium size green frog popper. It takes time to master the slow fiberglass rod action but soon I get a rhythm. In time my straight outreaching casts only veer off their mark by the passing breeze.
 Wanting to get away from the rippled water and cross-wind I head down the shoreline to work my way around the pond. Nearing an island, just off shore, I stand among the bank-side weeds and cast my popper towards the island. Within two shakes of the rod tip a fish slams my popper. I heave back and my fly rod flexes than straightens above me. My popper’s gone and after checking, my tippet broken at the knot. First mistake!
 I strip off a piece of 6lb tippet from the spool and knot this to the leader. Droplets of sweat run down my forehead from the heat as my sunglasses start to fog. I continue and manage to knot another Fas-Snap to the tippet. Again I cast towards my side of the island. After two gurgles I let the popper settle. With even, smooth strips, I start to swim it towards me, stopping occasionally. A surface splash and I set the hook as the fish beneath pulls away. The rod flexes again and I feel the fishes struggle, momentarily! The rod straightens, the line goes limp, and the popper and fish mysteriously disappear. I look at the end of my tippet and the curled end tells me that I didn’t ’seat’ the knot. Mistake #2.
 I’m practically talking to myself about how I should of know better. I’m anxious and excited having only a few hours to fish and wanting to move around the pond in hopes of finding a monster bass. I wipe the sweat off my brow and clean my bifocal polarized lenses. This time I consciously thread on another Fas-Snap and after wetting the knot, pull it tight. I attach another green frog popper and take a deep breath to relax my anxiousness and pardon my mistakes. I pull an Arturo Fuente Curly Head Deluxe out of my shirt pocket and light it with my turbo, windless lighter. The fresh natural tobacco draws smooth as I watch the smoke at the end of the long barrel diminish with the passing breeze, the aroma lingers.
 With the cigar clinched between my teeth I start a relaxed back-cast. False casting twice I watch the fly line lengthen with each forward thrust. On the last forward thrust I stop the rod and the frog popper loops and plops out onto fresh water. I notice that the breeze has lifted and my popper now lays upon the smooth surface. Two gurgles and I start the swimming action; it creates a small wake behind. Wham, in quickness a fish, from below, takes the popper and I’m ready. The leader and fly line tighten, this time no break-off. The fish darts from side to side as I reel the big pumpkinseed in. I lift him out of the water and over the weeds to my feet.

 I slowly work my way around the pond to where I have more back-casting room, away from the brush that was once behind me. I let go a long cast as I feel the ‘glass‘ rod flex forward. With the help of the breeze it glides out into deeper water. The splash of the popper sprinkles water around it and creates an outward swirl; I wait for the surface to lay undisturbed again. I strip the popper in with long smooth strokes and from out of know where the back of a bass rises above the surface and inhales the moving object. I whale back the rod and feel the glass rod tip pull towards the surface commotion. The rod arcs forward, into the middle, as the struggling fish fights for freedom. I start to reel until he tugs hard enough in the opposite direction. The responsive fiberglass rod dampens the quick thrusts by the fish. I keep good tension on the rod only letting him take line out sparingly when the rod flexes with too much force. After a struggle the largemouth comes to the bank and I raise him to the grass. I lift him up, with my hand, and he opens his large mouth. I unhook the green popper with my hemostats and, after a picture, toss him back into the water.

Standing, I pull the cigar from my lips and breathe in some warm fresh air. The skanky odor of pond water, from my hand, mixes with the cigar aroma.
“This isn’t trout fishing, that’s for sure!”
I clinch the cigar between my lips and teeth and continue casting the popper out catching one more bass before moving on.

 I walk along the grassy bank and cast a few feet out from the shoreline. The frog popper falls with a plop. Instantly a fish darts from submerged shoreline pond weed and rises quickly to the frog. I set the hook on the take and within seconds he leaps out of the water to throw the hook. I see the popper dangle from the side of his mouth before he reenters with a wicked splash. A quick struggle and I lift him to shore.

 The evening sun starts its slow descent towards the horizon as I continue to hook pond fish with my popper offerings. On the other side of the pond I switch to a white woolly bugger and try for crappies. Unable to find any I do hook into a couple of big ‘gills’ and a small bass.

 Continuing around the pond I try different color poppers and a few woolly buggers. I catch one bass on a brown bugger but fail to produce any perch or crappie from the pond. The green frog popper is still the main intimidator.

 The evening cools some as the bright yellow sun drops behind green leaf trees.

It doesn’t take long for an orange glow to radiate above the now shadowy tree line where the sun had just disappeared.

 Back at the day-tripper-van I put away my gear, the odor of pond water still present on my hands from the scaly fish I held earlier. I slide a Macanudo Robust Ascot out of its cellophane clear wrapper. The Robust tobacco is stronger than the Fuente cigar I smoked earlier but I find the pond odor is stronger yet, as my fingers lift the cigar to my lips. After lighting the short cigar I enter the van and start the small 6 cylinder engine. I look over to Scott and thank him for letting me tag along with him and his son.

 I hold the cigar between my teeth, in the corner of my mouth, as I back up and turn the steering wheel to exit up through the dirt drive. Smoke from the short barrel feathers its way through the crack of the opened window, the aroma lingers within the van.

 Another successful, relaxing and entertaining evening away from the rat race of uncertainties.


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