River Smallmouth Adventure

 

I woke up this morning to a light drizzle that was dissipating as the temperature rose. For the last week the temperatures were high in the mid 90’s, which only aggravated my itch for some fall brown trout fishing. What I mean by that is that the warm temperatures meant that the spawn was still weeks away. I was reminded of this fact with each drop of sweat on my brow. Which is why, when I saw that it had rained, and there was decent cloud cover I decided to skip my homestead chores and go down to the river for some smallmouth action.
As I walked down the trail to the river’s edge, I got the usual butterflies in my stomach as I speculated on what treasures I might find beneath the waters surface. I had already rigged my rod and reel with a jig and grub attached to a trout bobber. When I reached the edge, I undid my bail and cast as far as I could against the wind. With a plop the bobber landed in the slow-moving current leading up to a dam. Before I could close the bail, the bobber sunk, “Fish on” I screamed like someone who has watched far too many YouTube fishing shows. I attempted to set the hook but the grub popped out of the fish’s mouth. Not a good sign at all, as this meant that my honey hole was filled with dinks today. I prepared myself mentally for the grind of catching a million-baby bass and creek chubs I re-cast my line. My bobber went down again and this time I managed to set the hook on a tiny small mouth exactly as I predicted.
I decided to change spots, and lures. I tied on a spinner bait and walked 50 ft down the river to an overhanging tree. “This spot looks fishy”, I said to myself as I made my first cast. Sure, enough the first cast with the spinnerbait led to a slightly larger smallmouth. I resolved to fish this spot until the fish stopped biting with the hopes that a big brute was hiding among the periphery of the school of dinks. Nope, no brute just dinks, as I found out 12 tiny fish later. At this point I decided to change spots drastically and go to the rapids below the dam. As the riffles spill out into a deep spot I knew there would be some decent fish in there.
As I cast my spinner bait into the pool and felt the flutter of the blade my rod bent with a strike. The hook was set and I felt a decent fish for the first time today. As the fight began in earnest the fish broke the surface in an amazing display of acrobatics. “Yes!” I exclaimed. The first decent smallmouth. The fish peeled drag and jumped a few more times before arriving on shore to its red carpet and paparazzi. I removed the treble hook from its mouth and snapped a few pictures admiring its beauty. “In you go bub” I said to the fish as I gently released it into the water. After that fish I caught another smallie of similar size from that spot and then the bite dried up. My thirst for another big fish however, did not dry up and so I plotted my next move.
I walked back out to my car and decided to drive to another section of the river. This section of river was not as scenic or peaceful as it was below a bridge in town. I prepared myself for the jarring noise of log truck jake brakes and the occasional run in with a junkie, (the opioid epidemic has hit this rural town pretty hard). I crept down the embankment and leapt all nimbly bimbly from rock to rock…just kidding, I scrambled ungracefully over rocks until I reached a fishable pool, I am anything but graceful. I cast out a few times and got several bumps as I pulled my lure through the current into an eddy.
“This seems promising.”
I cast out again and immediately I felt a large weight at the end of my line.
“Did I snag.”
I gave a quick hookset like an idiot guaranteeing that this lure was going to be lost to the fishing gods forever. Instead however, my drag started peeling out line, and I smiled. This one was a doozy of a fish. I waited for the tell-tale leap of a small mouth bass but it never came. Instead, the fish pulled and pulled. I barely could keep up with the drag as I reeled in every chance I got. This fish was acting like a Brook Trout, which bewildered me as the conditions were not right for such a fish. Just then the fish changed directions and charged towards me. I reeled in as fast as I could and before I knew it I was looking down at an old battle-scarred smallmouth.
“Well no Sh*t”, I thought.
I removed the hook and did the usual picture taking and ogling. And then I released it just like that, todays quest was completed. With my needs met I scrambled back over the rocks and headed home. Another beautiful day fishing has ended and now I must tend to the real world with all of its frivolous trappings. Until next time my friends, tight lines and good eats.

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