When I was a little kid I always wanted to just go fishing. I didn't care what it was I was fishing for as long as I could catch it I was happy. Now that I am much older that feeling is still going strong today. I have fishing on the brain 24-7. I had been taken back by one of my greatest experiences to date and I will share it with you.
I remember the days when my dad would take me out to a pond on Fort Carson I would get up early pack a lunch and grab a few rods and spend the entire day trying to catch fish before my dad would pick me up after he got off work. I spent countless hours trying to figure out each species of fish that were in the lake, where they hung out, how do they react to my baits, how spooky they were, watching them feed on minnows and bugs on the top of the water and all the crazy things they did throughout the day.
I pretty much had the bluegills figured out. A small piece of worm on a #10 eagle claw hook under a small bobber was all it took and after seeing the trout hit a grasshopper I scared off the bush as soon as it hit the water it didn't take me long to whack a bunch of them also every time I went out. It was that bass that would always get to me. The little green fish with the black stripe that continues to drive me crazy today. Not to mention its cousins the spotted and small mouth bass.
The bass seemed to mezmorize me, They would hit that grasshopper I threw in the water but refused to hit the one on my hook.The trout didn't seem to mind it. I flipped a few rocks and threw crawdads at them and they would eat em up but not on my hook. Every now and then I would get a smaller bass to take a whole night crawler but those big ones crusing would just come up and look and just swim off. Stressful for a little kid.
Through the years I studied about bass. I read every book I could find in the library about them and would read every issue of Bassmaster magazine I could get my hands on. Now we have every resource available just by the touch of a button from the internet or a phone call to a buddy. The kids sure have it easy now it seems like.
I still go back to that lake that has been there for forty plus years. it's just ten minutes from my home in Fountain, Co. so a short after work trip is always good for the mind, body and soul. I have seen pictures of giant bass being caught at that old lake and I have yet to catch a good one for myself. I went out with a few of my youth club kids that have held some 4# plus and one 7# in the years earlier and this was more than enough to peak my intrest. Giant bass close to home is like a dream come true.
This year the weather has put the spawn behind and the bass are just now starting to come up. I was out in my Stealth 2000 duck boat looking for active fish and when I saw them I beached it and tried to sneak up on them from the bank. I told my buddy that I had just seen the biggest bass of my life, he laughed and said, "like the ones in the tank at Bass Pro Shops" exactly I said. I knew that was a giant bass I just needed to figure out how to catch it and take a picture with her.
I mentally marked the spot and snuck up to find her and another smaller male on a bed. I covered myself with dead bulrushes and settled in with my rods. I threw a drop shot rig with a BPS teaser tube and the male whacked it instantly. I set the hook and landed him and quickly put him back in the water and right back to the bed he went.
I worked those fish for over two hours and the male kept pushing that big girl back and holding his ground. He picked up my baits several times and I just let him spit them out. The female kept coming closer and closer and as soon as she looked like she was going to hit my bait the male would chase her off. We played this game over and over. I decided I was going to stick the male again just to shake him up a little more and threw in one of my hand tied football jigs with a Lazer Trokar 3/0 hook and as soon as it hit the bed he came up and sucked it in and I swung and missed. I regrouped and pitched back in and he spun around and then just grabbed the tail of my YUM Money Craw trailer and spit it out. I hopped it back on the bed and the female bolted in from the side and crushed it.
I set the hook and the fight was on. I yelled over at my buddy and he and a few others came running over to check out what all the fuss was about and when I finally lipped her I started to shake. I have caught big bass in my travels and my biggest to date was an 8# 2oz.. I didn't have a scale and there was no way I was going to keep or hurt this majestic fish but I know it was my biggest bass ever. I had a few photos taken and put her back in the water and watched her swim away. I always preach "CPR" catch, photo and release. I hope someday she will be caught again and be much bigger.
I have been truly blessed to have landed such a giant bass so close to home.This is one I will never forget. I am glad I have the opportunity to share it with all of you. I thank my dad for teaching me how to fish and I hope all my youth club kids share their knowledge and teach kids how to fish so they can have their own memories of a lifetime....
Best of Luck,
Sam Heckman / Pro Staff