A couple weeks ago a rather big bass had bit my bait. I saw the fish and it was large. I felt the fish too. The fish was strong. I was using light tackle. I keep it very simple. A size 6 hook, which I modify by taking a pair of pliers and pinching the barb flat against the hook. I do that with my hooks to make them easier to get out of the fish. I am strictly catch and release. The good lord didn't bless me with the ability to clean a fish. I've tried, but I turn more colors than a chameleon when I do. (And that's cleaning a rather clean fish in a rainbow trout) Heck, at least I'm able to bait a hook. I think the fish like it better that way, they get a belly full of worms, with only an occasional prick of a hook. Some of the fish have some pretty nice skills of cleaning a fish hook clean of bait. They like the meal deal and are happier knowing they won't end up on my grill.
Anyway, I digress back to this big fish on my hook. The fish fights hard, diving down and refusing to come up. Finally, there is slack on my line. The worm, the hook, and the fish are all gone. The fish had used his might and on this day he won. Well Wednesday, I came back to the same fishing spot. I saw my friend. He was still telling his fish buddies how he got the better of me. I'm sure like any good fish story he embellished the story.
Well, I caught plenty of his friends. Some of the sunfish I was catching I saw this big fish chase while they were on my hook. I watched him for a while. He was the man of his turf. The smaller fish kept their distance from him and side swam away. I baited my hook, with a fresh worm. I did a short cast about a foot away from him. I waited a while. The other fish kept their distance. The worm was his for the taking. Boom! He chomped down on the worm and I set the hook. We were in for round two.
He gave it what he had. I cranked on my light tackle gear. My pole bent over toward the fish. My adrenaline was pumping. I was talking to the fish. Probably a good thing I fish alone or the other people would think I was insane. The hook held, the line didn't break and this time there was no escape for the fish. I was excited and the bass was tired. I measured the fish at 19" inches long, took a picture and let the fish back in the water. This time I had won.
Well a 19" large mouth is just short of being a certifiable or trophy fish in West Virginia. The minimum length is 21" for being recognized. I didn't pinch it's tail which would have made him closer. Oh, well he was still a big fish especially for the size of the pond. In his pond he was king and he had the attitude to go with it. He made it personal, he was a worthy opponent, and he was worth it. He won the first time we met which made catching him so much more rewarding. I've caught one other big bass, which I didn't measure at another lake, which was around his size or bigger. So, I can't say for sure he is the biggest fish I ever caught. I can say he is the biggest fish I ever caught at that pond and that I have caught in West Virginia. Maybe, the next time we meet he will have grown two inches but then again maybe the next time we meet he will win.