Not all together glamorous, but this fat little bass found it's way to the other end of my fly line yesterday afternoon. It has been so hot lately and the amount of time I have to catch fish has been slight and slim lately that I have been visiting the family pond lately for a quick tug. I've also been having such fun fishing this bamboo rod that I recently built that I cant seem to even break it down to put it away. Such a great little rod at 6 foot. I got really great satisfaction when I first caught a fish on a fly of my tying, and the experience of catching a fish on a self built rod it tenfold. I also love the fact that it was this neglected antique bamboo rod that needed a bit of modification that has been brought back to new life. Super satisfying for sure.
I am going to share a fish story now. I know that these sorts of things are sometimes hard to believe, and the myth is that the fish get bigger the longer the time from the event, but I am going to tell this because it is an awesome story. Not only was it awesome when it happened the first time, but it was even more awesome when it happened not just once, but twice this last trip to the family pond. So here goes...and remember that this story is 100% true.
My wife's family has a great place located in the rural hills of Tully NY, about 30 minuets south of Syracuse. The property is about seven acres or so plush with a great garden, the place where Sarah and I were married, room for the kids to run and someday will be our home and the potential place for a small gentleman's farm that Sarah and I dream about not to mention the studio/pottery where we will get all of our work done. The other thing that the property has is a great pond equipped with zip-line, swim dock and a plethora of hungry Bass that have been thriving for over fifteen years. Deep within the depths of this pond (calculated to be about 8 - 9 feet at the deepest) is at least 1 monster Bass. No I don't tend to go out searching for bass in my pursuit of fish species. But this pond is a place that one can go when they have been skunked on local waters by wily trout, in order to regain a bit of self respect and feel an end of the day tug on the line. This was a day that the kids were sleeping after a morning of play and swim, and the rod was rigged and in the car. Why not.
Now I'll flash back a few years to the start of the story proper and my first encounter with the aforementioned fish. I was fishing one afternoon with a one weight rod and little micro poppers and had brought several small six inch or so sized bass to hand but nothing larger than that. There are a number of larger fish in the pond, and occasionally the will take, but they have smartened up over the years. And a six to eight inch fish on a one weight is a pretty enjoyable time so I kept on fishing. Another cast and another small fish...but this is when it gets good. As I was letting the fish play a bit as I was stripping it in, and all of a sudden my rod doubled over and line started pulling back out and even started taking line from the reel. My eyes got big and had no idea what was going on but whatever it was it was big. So I managed to get a handle on things and started working line back in and managed to make it to the butt end of the leader, and as I looked down into the water I saw the nose of a pretty heafty bass look up at me...open its giant mouth...and spit out the small 5 inch bass intact with my fly still stuck in it's lip. The bass-a-gator turned and swam back don to the depths of the pond. I would probably venture to say that it was 14 - 16 inches and as big around as my calf. I know that the water's surface refracts light and changes how we perceive things, but I would say that was a conservative estimate.
Fast forward to this past weekend. I am standing at the same pond, different rod (the new old bamboo) and different flies but the same mentality. I am looking to get a hold of a few sure thing fish and call it a day. On the fourth or so cast and the second fish, as I am bringing it close to shore, there is a boil at the surface, the line goes tight and then nothing. Whatever it was it snapped me off and now has a bit of jewelry in his lip. Re-rig, another cast, another fish, another boil. My line goes tight and I play the fish and then BANG! The wake from the fish was huge, the tine goes tight and then SNAP! Second fly gone along with the second sacrificed fish. I caught a couple more fish with no more sightings of the loch-ness basster but he is in there. Some day I will find him and I look forward to the event with relish. Soon...very soon. Besides, how long can a fish with no other predators in the water live? I figure I have a number of years to be able to shoot for him.
It was an awesome day, and I can't believe that the experience would repeat its self not only twice, but three times.