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Josh Smith

Thanksgiving Smallmouth

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Hello,

 

I got a couple hours to fish this evening, so I went to the Wabash River by Hanging Rock.  I brought my jerkbait rig (6'6" Daiwa M/F, 31ipt Ambassadeur 4600), my jig rig (6' Cherrywood HD, 26ipt Ambassadeur 5500), and my heavier rig that I use for frogs, but really need to replace with something slightly heavier (7' Daiwa MH/F, 26ipt Ambassadeur 5500).

 

There was snow left from a couple days ago, and there was some skim ice in the shadow of that huge rock that hangs out over the river, so water temps were around 32-34 degrees.

 

The jerkbait rod is a new build. I got the reel for my birthday.  Before I used it, though, I used the 7' Daiwa MH/F, which seems slightly slower than the traditional fast action, to through a square bill Live Target Bait Ball.  A few casts and the rod bent.  The way it was pulling drag, I thought I'd hooked a drum.  Nope!

 

A minute or two later, I landed this:

 

post-48680-0-86412200-1448501122_thumb.j

 

post-48680-0-09133600-1448501134_thumb.j

 

She was 15 inches long, and a couple pounds.  I really shouldn't have caught her as I was fishing a bit faster than I should have at that water temp.  Not huge, but a respectable little brownie.

 

Then it got interesting:  I tried to release her.  She didn't want to go out into the river, and swam back to me.  I tried to nudge her that way again, and she swam back and hid under the rock on which I was standing!  I wasn't trying to move her into current or anything; it was slack water I was fishing.

 

So, I kept fishing.

 

A gent came down to the water to watch.  He asked if I was doing any good, and I told him that I'd caught a smallie.  Just then, it splashed.  Bending down, I grabbed it from the water and said, "In fact, here's that smallie I caught!"  The guy was somewhat amazed.  I told him I was going to take it over to another spot (and indicated the spot) to let it swim out into a pool, and did so.

 

I'll be damned if that bass didn't turn right around and swim back to me!

 

Well, I had fishing to do.  After a while longer playing with my jerkbait rod and not catching anything, I decided to move to that pool in which I released the bass.  Walking up, I saw the lil' brownie just hanging out, waiting on me!

 

So I started stomping up to the bank.  That scared it and it took off quite quickly for the deeper water I'd been trying to get it to swim to the whole time!

 

It was some fun.  Nice fish, fun time.  I need to sharpen hooks now; rocks are hard on 'em!

 

Regards,

 

Josh

 

 

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Nice, Josh!

 

Happy TG!

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First time I have heard of a fish imprinting on a human!  BTW, your story made me shiver, even sitting next to the wood stove.

 

Love your Ambassadeurs!

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catchin' fish in 34 degree water.  that's hardcore right there.  nice smallie and i love the ambassadeurs too.  

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catchin' fish in 34 degree water.  that's hardcore right there.  nice smallie and i love the ambassadeurs too.  

 

In all fairness, it was in the mid-50s out.  There was still a sheet of ice in the slackwater in the shade of Hanging Rock and the water was definitely in the low to mid 30s, but it looks to be a mild winter.

 

First time I have heard of a fish imprinting on a human!  BTW, your story made me shiver, even sitting next to the wood stove.

 

Love your Ambassadeurs!

 

When I go fishing for bass, I tell my wife I'm going to see my friends.  She typically makes fun of that.  After I told her this story she was astounded and kept asking me questions about how/what/why.

 

I've been trying to figure the imprinting out.  Logically, I think that maybe the rock was the closest cover and the bass needed to recover after the cold water fight.  That's why I let it hang out initially.  But when it didn't swim off after a recovery period, I started getting curious about it.

 

I wonder if it associated me with something warm, since the water was so cold?  That's a thought I had.

 

Then again, Tom Mann had a pet bass that he was fond of, and seemed fond of him.  He talks about it in Think Like a Fish.  I simply don't know.

 

I'm sure there's a logical explanation that doesn't involve that lil' girl falling in love with me, but I'm not good enough at bass psychology to tell you what it might be.  There was plenty of other cover around and plenty of water without current. 

 

I found it very interesting.  This is one bass I'm going to remember for quite a while.

 

Regards,

 

Josh

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