With the cooler nights beginning to set in this past week, I had been jonesing to get out on the water as I was sure that the fish would start putting on the Fall feedbag. Yesterday was my day, as I had a three hour window to hit up the sunset/dusk bite. I arrived to a surface rippling breeze, 80° air temps, and a sun fairly low on the horizon. Seemed like perfect conditions for some topwater action, and I started out with a buzzbait that induced only one non-committal swirl. I switched to a popper and got the exact same results. Finally, I found some sweet love when this 3.5 pound chunky monkey inhaled an Ima Skimmer and battled valiantly before the photo op.
After I could only manage one more blow-up, I switched over to a Gambler Ace in Lunker Candy … which is quickly becoming one of my new favorite baits. On my first pitch to the closest dock pole, I got a deft pick-up of the bait, indicating a big fish. Although, when I lowered the boom, I came up empty. A recast didn’t do the trick, so I pitched it to the next farthest pole. As it settled towards the bottom, another big fish pick-up came with line movement being the only indicator. Again, I swung hard and was rewarded with the sweet sound of line peeling off the reel. But, with the help of my my Big Bear worm rod’s backbone, I turned the beast and got her out from under the dock as the 8# Yo-Zuri Hybrid held strong. After going toe-to-toe I finally lipped this stout 4 pounder.
I landed one more 3 pounder along with an undersized, overzealous rat before deciding to move down to another spot. Again, I started throwing the buzz and popper, though quickly realized they were not the call for the day. Sure enough, the first cast with Ima produced a nice 3.25 pound ariel show. After getting just one more swirl, I switched to the Ace and got another rat as darkness really began to set in. Time to change over to some dark conditions baits. I tied on a Cave Custom Booyah Boogie Bait and traded out the Lunker Candy for a Xmas Ace … one of my other new favorites. One the first cast with the Boogie, I got bumped halfway home. On the second cast, just two turns of the reel into the retrieve, my bait felt like it had snagged the bottom as it came to a sudden stop. However, I knew it couldn’t be the bottom … it had to be a fish … a BIG fish! About ten seconds later, I saw the proof as the beast cleared the water and did an inverted 360. She was digging hard, but I felt confident that the 12# Yo-Zuri Hybrid was more than up to the task. Then, she came up for a few adrenaline producing head shakes, despite my efforts to point the rod tip down into the water. But, the flex-cable hook on the Booyah Boogie helped prevent any heartbreak. After a protracted battle, this 6-9 hefer came ashore for a quick pic and weigh-in.
I scored another 3.5 pound fish on the Boogie near the end of a dock, but couldn’t get any more takers. With time running out, I decided to shift over to the Big Bear worm rod with the Gambler Ace in Xmas. After scoring one more rat, I gave it a “dinnertime” cast to the deepest dock piling. About halfway down on the sink, I saw the line jump. I reeled down and leaned back … BANG! Another hefty battler was on the line. When I finally landed my combatant, I was surprised that it was “only” another 3.5 pounder.
I had to call it right then and there. But, not before I was able to land 10 fish overall, a 21 pound top five fish, and my second biggest fish of the year! That’s what I call a real kick in the (b)ass!!