Last Second

First Bass of 2014Yesterday, with the Holiday break in it’s waning moments, the Caveboy tells me that he wants to go spend some time on the water with his old man, and “catch our first Bass of 2014”. Yeah … I know … how cool is that?!? Of course, I had to oblige. So, last second, I hastily jumped on the Cali DFG website to buy my new license; we quickly packed up the truck; and made our way over to Lake Sherwood for a couple hours of late afternoon line-wetting.
The skies were clear, the breeze light, temps had cooled off to 59°, and the water was slightly stained (the lake is starting to turn over) and quite cold (50° max from my estimates).
Still, I had to start out with the bait that had been highly productive the last few months: the Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe in GBO – which has become my favorite lipless crank. It only took half a dozen casts before this stout 2.5 pounder became my first fish of the New Year.
I gave that bait the “old college try” but only managed to get a couple of fish to slap at it. I knew I had to slow things down. On the way out the door, last second, I had grabbed a rod that I had set up with a T-rigged Gambler Baby Bacon Rind in Green Pumpkin. Caveboy's First Battle Of 2014I tossed it out to one of the spots that the Vibe had received that lukewarm interest. Shortly after working the bait I got a solid pick-up but missed on the hook set. I redressed the bait and put it right back in that spot. After a couple of subtle twitches, the fish gave it another go … only, this time, the Gamakatsu EWG found it’s mark and I went to battle with a nice 3 pounder.
Post-release (no pic), I tossed it over to another area where they had slapped at the Vibe and immediately got picked up on the drop. I set the hook and called the Caveboy over to fight his first fish of the year since none of the various baits or techniques he had been trying were working. He had a blast bringing this 2 pounder to the dock.
3.5 Pound Bass on Gambler Baby Bacon RindWe had a couple of other spots to try before our time ran out, so we made a move down the bank to a small secluded bay. It only took one cast to find some more interest in the Baby Bacon Rind. After several twitches the bait just started moving towards deeper water. I lowered the boom on the fish and began a great line-pulling battle with this nearly 4 pound combatant. It took the Caveboy a few tries to get the camera to work properly, but we got the pic and quickly put this finned-football back in the drink.
Soon after, I hooked another 2 pound classer and handed that off to the Caveboy, as well. He got that one ashore, gave it a hasty send off, and then he stated that the next fish he fought would be all his … no more hand-offs. Which was too3+ Pound Bass on Gambler Baby Bacon Rind bad, because it only took a couple more casts before another beast decided to inhale the Gambler creature bait. Again, line was pulling off the reel as this 3+ pound green-meanie gave me all she had.
The lack of any self-provided action was beginning to frustrate the Caveboy and time was just about up for us. So, last second, we decided to make a move to a completely new spot that we had earlier discussed giving a try sometime. We both made a fair number of casts before I got hammered, again, on the drop. I knew it was another 4 pound class fish, so I asked the Caveboy if he wanted to go to war with a bigger model. He readily agreed! The fish made numerous switchbacks, yet he kept good line angle and pressure on the fish the entire time. That is, until we were about to land her, and she got just enough slack to shake free a mere two inches from my grasp.
Caveboy's First Self-Caught Bass of 2014Now, he was really down. So, I pointed out some tullies that were 30-35 yards out from the bank we were on and challenged him to try and get his Malibu-rigged 297 Senko into them, last second, before we had to pack it up. It took a couple of casts, but he finally got one to settle into the water right at their edge. He patiently let it fall and sit before giving it a couple of doodle dances. Next thing I know, he’s screaming “Dad! I’m on!!” with his rod going total bendo. This time he battled this 3 pound fish perfectly all the way in to the bank.
As if the smile on his face wasn’t evidence enough, all he could say on the way home was how much that fish made all his efforts worthwhile and how he couldn’t wait to get back out there soon. There’s no photographic proof, but I’m sure that the pride on my face was very telling, and I can’t wait to oblige his fishing desires once again. Perhaps, then, we’ll plan ahead instead of waiting ’til the last second.

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