It’s late June in north Florida. It’s HOT!
You know it, I know it, the fish know it. So just like us, they know the best times to get out and move around are late evenings and early mornings. You can find them lurking in the shallows and shadows during these times of the day when the water is coolest, searching for their next meal. And just like us, when the temperature rises, they retire to their “air-conditioned” deep holes and wait out the heat.
Personally, my favorite time to stalk bass is early morning. That way the water has had a chance to cool off as much as it’s going to before the new day sun. I find the shallow waters much more active this time of day. So on my most recent outing, I did just that. Up early, on the water at daybreak, and paddled gently along the grass lines and through the cypress tress looking for any sign of bass.
This particular morning started out at a balmy 75 degrees and windless. The type of morning that induces a sweat as soon as you step outside. But the lack of wind had the water like a mirror, reflection and all. Conditions like this beckon some topwater action, so I don my trusty frog and go to work.
The fishing was slow, but I was having fun with a couple small bass that kept me occupied and gave me a bit of confidence. The morning was getting late and the sun was big, bright and hot, which kept me hugging the shady side of the lake. Still working the grass line with my frog, I slowly chug it along, causing the only ripples on the glass like surface. I never saw it coming. SPLASH! It broke through the surface like a cannonball, taking the frog under. I had it for a few brief seconds, whatever “it” was, but then slack; nothing. Disappointed, I waited for my frog to float back up to the surface. As soon as the frog bobbed back up, it was back, this time with a vengeance! The rod doubled over, the drag sang and my paddle board began to move. Meticulously, I began the fight. That’s when I saw “it”, only “it” turned out to be a 19.5″ largemouth bass! It leaped out of the water, throwing its head back and forth, giving its best effort to throw the hook. Adrenaline pumping, I reach for the net. It dives, but only to launch itself out of the water again, this time with greater ferocity. That was its last ditch effort. I had wore it down and was finally able to coax it into the net. A huge sigh of relief left my body as I was then able to admire the beauty that it was. Took a measurement, a few pictures and then safely released it to fight another day.
But don’t live vicariously through me!
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