One that didn’t get away

This week we’re going to talk about the one that didn’t get away, and was she ever a beauty. Here’s my story:

I was fishing a tournament in Florida last week and had a tough first day. I knew the fish were in my area but I just couldn’t get them to bite. On the second morning, I almost didn’t return but the wind stopped blowing and the weather changed for the better. Florida fish can be fickle so I figured it was worth another shot.

At first it was tough, pretty much the same as the day before. Another Elite Series angler, Matt Herren, was in the same general area. I told him I was about to give up and move somewhere else. He said maybe not, Florida fishing is all about timing. I thought about it and decided to give it a few more minutes.

I worked my way back into the grass. When I got to my waypoint I noticed a winding pigtail in the water. For those of you who don’t know, a pigtail is a break in the vegetation showing a ditch or channel that runs from one area to another. Most of them are made by airboats. More importantly, they frequently hold bass, big ones.

I’ll be the first to admit that topwater lures aren’t always the most efficient tournament bait but in Florida they account for a huge number of trophy-size fish. I had only one option, throw a Tiny Torpedo right into the center of the pigtail and hope for the best. I might have twitched it once before the water exploded.

The fight was quick and violent. She was hooked by one barb on the front treble. I wasn’t at all sure that I’d ever land her. As she splashed around in the weeds I was sure the back treble would hang on something. The possibilities were endless. But it didn’t. After a few minutes I pulled her to the boat where my partner netted her. She weighed 8 1/2 pounds at the weigh-in.

Then, as incredible as it sounds, on the next cast I caught a 4 1/2-pound brute on the same lure in the same spot. I put 13 pounds of bass in the livewell in 10 minutes. How’s that for a turnaround? This is a heck of a sport when you stop to think about it. In how many other sports can you move up 34 places in the standings and earn ten thousand dollars in that short a period of time?

That was last week, though. This week I’m making signs and getting ready to do seminars on Saturday at my local marine dealer sponsor, Dixie Marine. I’m sure this story will be mentioned a time or two. If you get the chance, stop by — they’re on Route 4 in Fairfield, between Columbus and Cincinnati—and I’ll tell it to you in person. Who knows, by the weekend that bass just might grow a little. Ha!

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