The Big One That Didn't Get AwayThe Big One That Didn't Get Away
....until after the photos and weighing anyway :-)
By "Fish Chris" Wolfgram
11/14/02 - Buddies it was just incredible! Today was my last day this year on San Pablo, California (they close this Sunday) and after the 11.7 lb'er yesterday, following the best year of trophy bass fishing of my entire life, it was hard for me to expect (or ask for) much more.
Anyway, I started at my recent hotspot flipping wads of nightcrawlers on the micro-light rod, specifically fishing with trophy bass in mind. First I stick a small carp, then the trout start pestering me. About 1 1/2 hours goes by and I get a ... Tick.... then my line starts steadily moving out. Wham! I set the hook. At first it felt like a log, but when it finally got moving, boy did it get moving! It ran straight down a steep slope and just kept going and going! By this point I was thinking catfish. It had to have gone down at least 80 feet, at which point it either got tired, or ran out of oxygen. I then short-pumped it all the way back up to the surface. It was a kitty all right, but a hog indeed! She ended up going 23.1 lbs..... My biggest channel cat from San Pablo to date.
After photos and weighing on the shore (with the help of some trout anglers) I release this beautiful kitty so she can grow up, and fight me again whenever she thinks she can handle me. :-)
So, I bait up again. First cast after the cat..... Tick.... Wham! Fish on! .... and this one feels like bass for sure..... which in fact it was, but only a 7.4 lb'er.
After that it was pretty tough until about noon, at which point, even the hatchery trout shut off. So I decide to go on and leave early to get some chores done. On the way back towards the ramp, while passing by the concession area, I decide to swing in and wish everybody a good holiday season..... and to warn them that they will be putting up with me a bunch next year :-) I get out of my boat onto the dock and walk about 20 feet. I then stop and turn around, realizing that I have left my big trout lure rod in the boat. Hmmmm.... should I even bother to grab it??? Ahhhh.... what the heck.... may as well chuck the trout in front of the concession area just a few times anyway.
As I come around the bend, I see about 15 trout anglers lining the shore, many with two rods each. I quietly walk down the bank behind them and a guy who sees my Castaic trout lure turns around and ask about it.... "Do you catch some big bass on that thing"" I reply, "Yes, I have been hammering them on it all year." So the guy replies, "Oh yea? Well check this out! See that guy right there? A little while ago he was reeling in a trout and a giant bass grabbed it, but then it jumped and spit it out!" At that point the old guy turns around and starts collaborating with the first guy's story. He tells me, "It was huge!" Showing me with his arms stretched wide. So I ask, "How long ago was that?" "About 30 minutes ago," he says.
OK, so now they have my attention! What to do??? I politely ask the old guy if he would mind if I took 2 or 3 casts with my trout lure out in front of him, and I explained that it was a shallow runner, so I was sure I would not hit his lines. "Sure, go ahead" he replies. "In fact," he says, "I would like to see you catch that big ol' thing, just to see it up close!" Yea buddies! Talk about an invite!
So I make one long cast out to the left..... meanwhile I am telling these guys that the first time it passes her, she will either eat it, or not, and if not, then 500 more casts won't help. I also tell them that if I do get her, it will be in 3 casts or less.
Second cast.... right down the center with a lot of distance..... "Yes," they both say, "right there". I take about 4 cranks with my reel..... WHAM!!! I get absolutely freight-trained! "FISH ON" I yell! I'm quite sure that all 15 to 20 of the guys behind me, heard me. Then no sooner than they had all looked up, and this MONSTER BASS erupts into the air with her mouth looking as big as a 5 lb coffee can, stretched wide open, and shaking side to side! Immediate and complete applause erupted!
Buddies my heart was in my throat! She fought fairly hard, but did not take any really big runs. Just a lot of head shaking and 2 more half jumps. I short pump her to the shore in about 2 minutes, and when I lipped her, I just knew she was my new Personl Best! Just huge in every direction!
From there I ran around the point to my boat, which was parked at the marina docks, dipping her along the way so she could catch her breath.... but honestly, I had to be more out of breath than she was! I placed her in my portable live well (a 70 qt icebox), and then started digging for both of my cameras and my tape measure.
From there we carried her (plus a bunch of water) back up the hill to the marina for a certified weighing....... Drum roll please..... 16.50 lbs!!! Also, she measured 26 inches in length, and 24 inches in girth. Yea buddies! I'm still ecstatic!
What more can I say? Not only was this my last day on Pablo this year, but definitely my last few casts of the trip..... and I almost didn't even bother to make those!
Is this the cooooolest sport on the planet or what??? :-)
Thank you Lord, for another incredible day on the water!
PS, On the way out of the house this morning, I told my landlord, "If that 11.7 lb bass from yesterday turns out to be my last big bass from San Pablo this year, I sure couldn't complain" But then I had to add, "On the other hand, fishing is fishing, and you just never know...... Heck, I might just go out and get the biggest bass of my life today" And those, my friends, were honestly my last words before heading to the lake!
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