Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Newfound Confidence

For each species of fish that we anglers target, there are a few symbolic catches each year. Whether it's the first fish or the biggest or one caught by a certain method, some catches will stand out more than others when looking back during a cold winter day. Well last night, the last night of April, I landed my first keeper-sized striped bass of the 2012 season, as did two of my friends. The three chunky bass were caught within 10 minutes of each other, all on plastic or wooden swimming plugs. The lures mimicked well what these fish were hunting, andadromous river herring. We could see schools of the baitfish pushing water on the surface and stripers were undoubtedly picking them off underneath. 

A seven-inch jointed, plastic swimmer was the first lure out of my bag. It's color pattern was called chicken-scratch and it was on my short list of confidence plugs.  The battle scars it wore, also referred to as 'mojo', proved that it was a catcher. The lure cut through the black water like a snake slithering in wet grass. But for a half hour, all I felt was one subtle bump, perhaps a striper second guessing at the last minute. Then I reached for another offering in my bag, a wooden metal-lip swimmer on loan from a friend who doesn't live as close to the brine. The plug was handmade by a Connecticut builder and given to my buddy by a tackle shop owner now carrying them. Feedback was needed on how it swam and last night's flat calm water was a fine testing ground.

On my very first cast with it, after only a few cranks of the reel, a striped bass clobbered the plug as it tail-wagged across the surface. A few short bursts of the drag sung out and the fish was soon bested on the muddy bank. I snapped a quick cell phone photograph to document my first legal bass of the season and sent the future cow back on its way. My two friends each landed fatties and hooked two others; one of the stripers was clearly in a bigger class, yet that one spit the hook unfortunately. All in all, with a symbolic catch and a plug with newfound confidence, it was a fun night of fishing.

First 2012 keeper bass caught on a Lloyd's Lures metal-lip plug

1 comment:

  1. Nice job - but aren't we due a post about your four-day Farmington trip??!!