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The Perfect Bass


ol'crickety

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I'm basking in the joy of this morning and will the remainder of this day. I launched in the dark, as I normally do, but instead of turning upriver, I turned downriver with a plan, which was to cast downriver and hope for the best, as the river was weed-choked and lined with fibrous reeds. I retrieved weeds on the first cast. Same with the second and third. However, the fourth cast was weed free, so I knew I'd found an open lane. On the next cast, I heard that beloved KERSPLOOSH, and set the hook into something solid.

 

You might think my situation was a little sad, an old woman in the dark on a weed-choked river. It's true that the bass had multiple advantages, with the grass and lily pads and bordering reeds all on its side, but I wasn't alone in my boat. @Glenn was there, having told me to downsize for shad-gorging fall bass, so I'd switched my  giant 130 Whopper Plopper I'd cast through the summer to the chubby 90, triggering the strike. @Pat Brown was there, coaching me to keep my rod at 11:00 o'clock and to reel like a dervish. @pdxfisher was there too, reminding me to reach for my net too soon. However, this bass was pulling me from the river's middle to the reedy edges. If she reached the reeds, she'd win. So, I grabbed my net and scooped where I thought she was, mere inches from the reeds, and lifted.

 

I was confused. My net has a long handle, so lifting a bigger bass can be a challenge, but it's a challenge I'm accustomed to, for I caught six four-pounders in my last two trips, but this was no four-pounder. I strained, brought her to me, flicked on my headlamp, and saw a perfect fish. Her jaw was massive, but her head looked tiny compared to her body. She looked like the love child of a strapping Maine buck bass and the Goodyear blimp. I'd caught seven bass in 2023 between six and seven pounds, but she looked and felt heavier than any of them.

 

However, I'd forgotten my waterproof camera. So, I lay her on the bump board, put my headlamp in my mouth, and photographed her with my cell phone. It took seven tries to capture her glory and I considered weighing her, but then @AlabamaSpothunter appeared and whispered that we have to protect these beautiful creatures, so rather than keep her out of the water any longer, I slid her back into the river and paddled down to the bog.

 

I caught 27 bass in total in three hours, which is a 9 bass per hour average. At the end, I decided to start photographing my fish, regardless of their size, so you can see the average length of these bog bass. I also photographed a couple shorelines so that you can also see that it's fall here in Maine.

 

A couple days back, I stated that I'm just a summer bog basser, but that's no longer true. In the past week, I averaged 13 bass an hour in the little river, landed six four-pounders in a pond, and caught this perfect bass too where the river is wider, all in the fall.  

BIG GAL2.jpg

 

B2B.jpg

B3B.jpg

B4B.jpg

B5B.jpg

B6B.jpg

A1.jpg

A2.jpg

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11 minutes ago, Darnold335 said:

Pigs! You’ve been on those big fish all year!

 

Thanks. It's been the best fishing year of my life. I just wish I had the energy to fish more than two or three times a week!

 

When the big girl hit, because of her advantages, I told myself to focus on mechanics and timing and I even looked up at my rod tip to confirm it was at 11:00 o'clock, like Big Bass Pat's. And whereas I considered grabbing the net to be ready, I remembered PDX warning against haste, so I kept both hands on my outfit and gained line on her. I lost a bass on Friday that reached reeds, so when I saw this bass following in that lost bass's tail tracks, I finally grabbed the net. It's not just that she's got perfect form, but catching her was perfect. I didn't err in a challenging situation. I've lost so many big fish to my wrong choices, but this time, I got it right. She had one slender hook in her upper lip. My smallest mistake would have freed her. 

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1 minute ago, ol'crickety said:

I just wish I had the energy to fish more than two or three times a week

I wish I could fish that many times a month! People do not realize it but, mechanics are a big part of fishing. You need to keep the leverage on your side not the fish’s

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1 hour ago, Glenn said:

Those are TOADS!!  Congratulations!

 

Thanks, Glenn! That first photo shows how invaluable BR has been to me. I learned about bump boards here. That MH rod you see? Well, I switched to MH rods because of BR. The blue-handled hook cutters that saved me many times last year and this year? Again, a BR suggestion. And most of all, the mechanics of landing a big fish in the dark and in the weeds all came from BR aka GLENN!

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1 hour ago, gimruis said:

That first one (photo kind of in the dark) is a tank.  Significantly chubbier than the others.

 

The other bass are just ordinary Maine fish. I only photographed them so you guys could see what I typically catch, as I tend to photograph bass that are 18 inches and above. The first bass was extraordinary...at least for me. Remember she was photographed illuminated by my headlamp in my mouth. I've since learned how to activate my cell phone camera's flash. I wish I knew that this morning. 

 

Here she is brightened, where you can better see her linebacker shoulders:

 

 

BIG GAL3.jpg

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That is a really nice fish, I am sure that it was a very exhilarating experience landing that beauty. I am never surprised when I see the fish that you catch, you put in the time and absorb the wealth of knowledge that exists here on this site. All of the experience from the amazing group of members that we have on here is a very extremely invaluable resource. Good job and keep up the great work, I am sure that you will catch one bigger than that one before too long. Good luck and I look forward to hearing about the next trip when you get back out there.

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Beautiful bass. Congrats. Next time put her back in the net hanging over the edge of your canoe while you hold the handle & get your scale ready so you can get the weight. 

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3 minutes ago, Dwight Hottle said:

Beautiful bass. Congrats. Next time put her back in the net hanging over the edge of your canoe while you hold the handle & get your scale ready so you can get the weight. 

Exactly what I do.   Always have the scale and cam within arms length ready to grab as well.   Makes for a really smooth streamlined process, and the big girls stay in the water for all but 30 secs for a pic/weight.  

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7 minutes ago, Dwight Hottle said:

Beautiful bass. Congrats. Next time put her back in the net hanging over the edge of your canoe while you hold the handle & get your scale ready so you can get the weight. 

 

I should have done that! 

 

Thanks, Murph! 

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42 minutes ago, ol'crickety said:

 

I should have done that! 

 

Thanks, Murph! 

One more BR member to whisper words of success on the next hookset!

Great day, Congrats

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One in a million bass just about anywhere.  Up in Maine more like one in a gazillion.

 

*Takes hat off*

*gives official bass master secret salute ?*

 

I'd wager that is an 8 lber.  I fully trust your hands to know the weight of a bass that size and  I bet she's about as wide as she looks.  Absolutely gargantuan fall monster.  So excited for your success this year and to top it off with that absolutely incredible lady is just pure bliss.

 

Such a great capstone for one of the best anglers in the US.

 

 

 

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A knowledgeable friend of mine says a relatively health bass can be out of the water for at least 10 minutes.    He also says the (mostly big) bass we have to revive when we release them have to be revived because they're exhausted.   It's his belief (and mine) that protecting their slime coat is more important than an extra minute or 2 out of the water.   

 

I need to get a silicone mat like A-jay uses.  If I need time with a bass or need to put it down I lower them into my livewell.   I don't use my livewell to "keep" fish but I keep it filled in case I need to put one down.    

 

On a different note, another knowledgeable friend of mine told me if I had a bass that was injured/bleeding badly or whatever and I wasn't sure it would survive to put it in my livewell.  His belief is if an injured bass makes it 30 minutes in the livewell it will survive.   I don't want to feed the turtles.  If I believe a bass or other fish isn't going to make it I give them to the people fishing at the landing.   

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5 hours ago, Dwight Hottle said:

Beautiful bass. Congrats. Next time put her back in the net hanging over the edge of your canoe while you hold the handle & get your scale ready so you can get the weight. 

Yup. It’s rather often that I will dunk the bass I am trying to get a weight on back in the water 2-3 times while I am getting situated. It is almost cute how they will just sit there in the water sucking on your thumb getting a breath. I’m trying to get better about making sure I don’t scrape off their slime coat too. 

Edit: @21” the bass is a little limited on how much it can weigh but regardless that is a dang football. Really nice fish

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3 hours ago, Woody B said:

A knowledgeable friend of mine says a relatively health bass can be out of the water for at least 10 minutes

Your friend needs a lesson on breathing. There is no oxygen breathing fish with gills that can survive that long out of water. Its no different than me or you. If you can’t hold your breath for 2 minutes, neither can a fish out of water.

 

Mine primarily get measured, photo, and then released. Under 30 seconds. I do not put fish in my livewell unless I intend to keep them.  Tournaments are different, obviously.
 

The warmer the water, the less time they should be out of it, as warmer water holds less oxygen and results in higher mortality.

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4 hours ago, Pat Brown said:

 

I'd wager that is an 8 lber.  I fully trust your hands to know the weight of a bass that size and  I bet she's about as wide as she looks.  Absolutely gargantuan fall monster. 

 

Pat, she was bigger than any bass I've caught in my life. She was a mound of muscle, which the lousy light of my headlamp doesn't show. I don't know about eight pounds, but I'm going to consider her a seven-pounder and note that in my biggest bass.

 

As far as the rest of what you wrote, you are so kind. Thanks again for the part you played. You wouldn't believe how helpful your 11:00 o'clock/reel like crazy advice has been. My landing percentage has gone way up because I'm not giving them a chance to burrow into weeds. However, they can be quite frisky in the net, as they don't arrive tuckered by a fight. 

 

26 minutes ago, LrgmouthShad said:

Yup. It’s rather often that I will dunk the bass I am trying to get a weight on back in the water 2-3 times while I am getting situated. It is almost cute how they will just sit there in the water sucking on your thumb getting a breath. I’m trying to get better about making sure I don’t scrape off their slime coat too. 

Edit: @21” the bass is a little limited on how much it can weigh but regardless that is a dang football. Really nice fish

 

I caught a bass a quarter inch shorter that I weighted 6.54 pounds. That bass had the same massive shoulders as this morning's bass, but not the same bulging belly. So, being a little longer and a lot fatter than my 6.54-pounder has me confident calling this morning's bass a seven-pounder. 

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11 minutes ago, ol'crickety said:

 

Pat, she was bigger than any bass I've caught in my life. She was a mound of muscle, which the lousy light of my headlamp doesn't show. I don't know about eight pounds, but I'm going to consider her a seven-pounder and note that in my biggest bass.

 

As far as the rest of what you wrote, you are so kind. Thanks again for the part you played. You wouldn't believe how helpful your 11:00 o'clock/reel like crazy advice has been. My landing percentage has gone way up because I'm not giving them a chance to burrow into weeds. However, they can be quite frisky in the net, as they don't arrive tuckered by a fight. 

 

 

I caught a bass a quarter inch shorter that I weighted 6.54 pounds. That bass had the same massive shoulders as this morning's bass, but not the same bulging belly. So, being a little longer and a lot fatter than my 6.54-pounder has me confident calling this morning's bass a seven-pounder. 

Yup. I don’t think 7 is unrealistic 

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1 hour ago, gimruis said:

Your friend needs a lesson on breathing. There is no oxygen breathing fish with gills that can survive that long out of water. Its no different than me or you. If you can’t hold your breath for 2 minutes, neither can a fish out of water.

 

Mine primarily get measured, photo, and then released. Under 30 seconds. I do not put fish in my livewell unless I intend to keep them.  Tournaments are different, obviously.
 

The warmer the water, the less time they should be out of it, as warmer water holds less oxygen and results in higher mortality.

A fish and wildlife officer employed by the state of Texas once told me when you catch the fish the fisherman should release the bass pronto -- no longer than I could hold my breath. Best chance for survival for the bass. Also, told me to cut the line off as close as possible to the hook with a gut hooked fish. Best odds for the bass to make it.

 

Good Fishing

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