We all have those days on the water … when you get bite after bite, but couldn’t even hook a two-by-four in a lumber yard. That seemed to be the case for me a couple of evenings ago when U.S. Open top ten finisher Mark “Chief” Torrez and I went out for a sunset session at Westlake. It was a gorgeous twilight with temps around 73° when we started with almost no wind, though it did cool down quite quickly.
I threw a custom Booyah Boogie, custom jig, and a small Big Hammer swimbait for nada before switching over to my go-to Kinami Flash in Mad Melon – Malibu-rigged, of course. I put the first cast in the “dinnertime zone” and, after settling to the bottom, it got picked up instantaneously. When the line loaded I leaned back for the big hookset. Swing and a miss! The soft plastic stick bait was totally undressed and the hook point exposed, but it just didn’t hit home. I had this happen 4 more times during the session! But, that wasn’t the worst of it.
Soon after that first miss, I tossed my bait up near a little pocket in the shoreline where I often find evening Bass lying in wait for an easy meal. Sure enough, after one little twitch I got the customary pop followed by a full takeaway. Again, I loaded up. However, this time, I hooked up – into a monster! She peeled line off the reel twice and was really putting on a show. When I finally got her into full view I exclaimed, “That’s 5-plus!”. Chief added, “At least!!”. Just as I got her within a couple of feet of shore and was about to lean down to try and lip her, she spit the hook right at me. 😦
Yeah, I was bummed. But, the fishing goes on. So, I redressed my bait and made a cast in the other direction. After working it for just a short stretch I get picked up again. I set the hook on another huge fish! However, almost instantly, the line gives out and I am once again left with that sinking feeling. Just call me “Farmer Cave”. But, I wasn’t to keep that moniker for very long.
After letting that shoreline pocket settle for a few minutes, I tossed my bait back into it and immediately got bit again. I lowered the boom and got into another great tussle that took several minutes before concluding with the first photo op of the evening. As I was pulling out the scale, Chief and I were taking guesses as to what she would tip the scales at with that fat belly. I called out “5-3” … sure enough, that’s exactly what she came in at!
Finally, after tossing almost every bait in his bag, Chief relented and tied on a Senko with a shaky-head. Soon after, he was rewarded with his second Bass of 2011. Not for lack of trying, mind you. He has nailed Carp, Catfish, and Trout so far this year, though the Bass seem to be eluding him. This one was a fat toad that was in the 3.5 to 4 pound range. Unfortunately, my camera battery died just then. We took a shot with his camera, so maybe we can coax him into posting it up.
In the meantime, I landed a couple of 2.5 pounders and a small rat Bass. None of which were deemed photo worthy. Then, again in the shoreline pocket, I get picked up by another big fish. But, as I set the hook, she jumped completely out of the water and shook it free with a violent head shake. It just seemed as though it really was going to be one of those days.
After 20 minutes of no action, Chief suggested we move to another spot that we don’t often fish. Boy am I glad he did! My first toss into an empty boat slip quickly found a taker. Because of the angle of the dock I had to give it a sweeping hookset … luckily, it worked! BOOM!! Big fish on!!! After a nice tug of war, I was able to lip this glorious hefty heffer that weighed in at 6 pounds even! Sorry for the lousy photo quality, but we had to resort to the phone camera which is a real crap-shoot when taking night pics.
A short few minutes later, on the other side of the dock, Chief hooked into another monster fish. Unfortunately, this one was quick and smart enough to wrap him up on the piling, and sawed him off. My fishing buddy wasn’t happy in the least.
Shortly thereafter I nailed another 2.5 pound chunk that didn’t warrant paparazzi. It was getting close to curfew, so I made a quick jaunt down the bank to work a little bowl near a small point. As I dragged the Kinami up the near side of the depression, my bait got attacked – hard! Again I swung hard and connected with another brutal battler that felt like a 7+ pound fish. Though, she weighed “only” 4-12.
We called it a night soon thereafter with 9 fish in all and Chief grumbling that I stole all his fish. 😉 Which really isn’t far from the truth since several of mine came after I casted into spots that he had just vacated. As far as total weight goes, this was one of my best sessions ever with a “best 5 fish” sack of 20-15. But, I couldn’t help but think about what might have been if the “Farmer” in me didn’t rear his ugly head. Perhaps, a 26+ pound total??? Perhaps. Albeit, a tick shy of 21 pounds works just fine! 😉