Lunker: 10 pounds, 4 ounces (largemouth)
It was a really crazy experience.
I was skipping a Trick Worm on spinning tackle under docks at around 2:30 in the afternoon. All I was trying to do was put a keeper in the boat. She hit as soon as my bait struck the water. I set the hook. She responded by wrapping the line around a support post.
The line slipped back and forth across the wood as I tried to work her loose. I was using 8-pound-test Seaguar AbrazX line with a No. 1 hook on a 6-foot, 7-inch medium-heavy Carrot Stix PG (Professional Grade) rod and a Shimano Stradic CI4 reel. It was impossible to do anything with her. She was in charge.
I decided my best option was to maneuver the boat toward her with the trolling motor. When I stepped on the button the cable snapped. My electric motor was useless. Plan B was to fire up the big motor and work with it.
Just as I got it started, however, she worked herself loose and headed for deeper water. About all I could do was gently guide her down the side of the boat, over my Power-Poles, under the prop and up the other side of the boat.
And then, for no reason I can figure out, she headed back to the dock. Naturally she wrapped herself a second time around the same pole. I used the big motor to run the nose of my boat under the dock. Once it was wedged in place, I reached down and was able to get my thumb in her mouth and bring her to the surface. The line snapped as soon as I touched her.
Once she was in the boat, I realized I had an audience. The fellow who owned the dock had been watching as well as several of his neighbors. They all started clapping and cheering. I held the fish up so they could take pictures of it before I headed to the weigh-in.
The lesson from my catch is that equipment matters. My Stradic CI4 reel was a dream. The drag was as smooth as silk. No starting or stopping. Every time she pulled line it gave like a champ. A cheap drag would have been a disaster.
And my line — what can I say? Seaguar's AbrazX is the best line I've ever used. I landed a 10-pound bass on 8-pound-test line under some of the toughest conditions I've ever faced. She wrapped me twice, but my line held. I'll never fish with anything else again.
Oh, I almost forgot another interesting thing about the day. As I was standing in line to weigh her, I realized I was behind the VanDams (Kevin and Jonathon) and in front of the Lanes (Bobby and Chris). Like I said, it was a really crazy experience.