By Boots Johnson
The cool weather last week was discussed by many who were surprised this was happening in July. A change in the hot weather in July does happen occasionally. I have even seen it rain and snow in July. Of course the snow was up in the sierras and took place above 5000 feet in elevation in the middle of July in 1986.
I recall another time years ago which also took place in July during a cool spell. I had called my fishing buddy, Bill and asked him if he wanted to go after black bass. Back then it was largemouth black bass which was so popular. Now with the introduction of the spotted bass they seem to have taken over what the bass anglers go after.
Bill did not hesitate in saying he would go so I picked him up Saturday Morning at 4 A.M. and we headed out of Marysville on Highway 20 and arrived at the dredger ponds the other side of Hallwood. I had a key and permission to go into the ponds and Bill and I had fishing the area for years, catching lots of bass with an occasional catfish or perch.
We decided to fish the second pond that morning. This pond was a duck pond and had a duck blind on each side. The wooded structure was great for casting all over the pond due to most of the water edge being full of brush and lily pads which saturated the surface from the shoreline out several feet from the rocky edge. I stopped at the first blind and Bill went over to the other one.
It was a cool morning and the surface of the pond was still, without any ripples. In other words the surface of that pond was like glass. I carefully placed my small tackle box on the wood floor and stood there looking all over the area before me. Bill and I agreed not to throw a lure or plug, but to watch for movement on the surface of the water awhile. After about ten minutes I rigged my line with a hula popper with a frog pattern and made the cast across the pond right in front of a large bush which was hanging over the edge of the water. As the lure made its noise as it hit the water and the ripples slowly ran the distance of the pond I saw movement next to the brush. My popper sat there not moving as I watched the movement continue a couple feet towards the lure. I waited for another minute and suddenly flicked my rod tip and the lure gulped. After a couple of seconds I raised the rod and danced the lure across about four feet of the surface, stopping abruptly and then a wiggle of the lure. The bass hit the lure so hard he missed it and the popper was airborne before it hit the surface again. That is when the fish struck again, this time taking the lure far enough into its huge mouth that the treble hook on the bottom of the lure found flesh as well as the trailer single hook in its white skirt.
That largemouth bass put up a great fight and I thought I would lose him several times when I lost control of the situation and the fish made it into several brush piles. But luck was with me and as I laid that big boy up on the bank next to the duck blind I got goose bumps from what I saw. He was a beauty and ended up weighing five and a half pounds and was measured on my old de-liar scale at 23 inches.
Bill and I caught our limits of five each that morning and were home in time for lunch. All the fish were smaller than the big one. Most were in the two and a half to three pound range. This was not an unusual day for us due to our catching limits on a regular basis in the dredger ponds. The big bass however was a once in a lifetime beautiful fish and was caught at first light, on the surface of the water, in the month of July.
Closing thought: “If we would spread love as quickly as we spread hate what an amazing world we would live in.”