Saturday, March 2, 2024

First Bass of 2024

 March 1, 2024

It was just a few minutes past 7am (our pre-planned time) when I arrived at Luc's.  I hate being late even for a minute.  While there was no traffic, the drive was slightly slower than I expected.  The main reason too many lane cloggers in California.  People need to learn to drive here.  

When we arrived at the ramp, there was already a boat ready to launch and another showed up just behind us.  After launching Luc raced to a spot he wanted to hit before anyone else.  The day prior he had lost a 10 pounder at the boat and wanted another crack at her.  At that spot Luc managed several fish up to 4lbs.  I was fishing my saltwater set up as it was already rigged up with a 300grain sink tip, and while it can work Luc turned me onto a full sink for this type of fishing years ago.  Unfortunately my full sink line is past it's expiration date and needs to be changed.  During the Christmas season with all the sales going on I picked up some replacement lines but I've yet to line them on the reel.  Even though Luc invited me a few days ago I haven't had the time (or energy) to spool it up.  In the back of my mind I knew Luc had a spare rod lined appropriately so I wasn't motivated to swap the lines from my reel and decide to bring the saltwater rig with me. My rational was if it failed to produce I would simply use Luc's gear.  It wouldn't be long before after watching Luc continually catch fish did I make the switch.

With Luc's rod in hand we moved down the bank fishing to the end point.  Luc would get some here and there but I'd still had no reaction.  In time we moved to an alternative location because Luc wanted to hit this spot before anyone else could burn it.  It wouldn't be long Luc was on fish again.  With close to a dozen fish to hand Luc had given up on fishing and was trying to get me on my first.  With some suggestions on my stripping technique change I asked Luc to demonstrate it with  his cadence.  On that cast he managed another fish.  Now understanding his technique and philosophy I began to mimic it.  It wouldn't be long before I managed my first bass of the year and like a couple of Luc's fish,  it was cormorant scarred.  I would manage a few more strikes in the most inopportune time either a strike occurred between strips, or when my flyline slipped out of my fingertips during the strike, or when my arm was fully extended during my strip so I had no chance to tug the line.  Bass are still in deep water and this type of fishing you need to make the most of each opportunity as they don't come easily or often.  Takes are subtle and can be easily missed you need to be on guard the whole time.  Moving onto a shallower part of the lake I decided now with skunk off I'd go back to my rod, as it has yet catch a bass (at least a freshwater one) and test out some flies that I've yet to catch a fish with but after a hour or so of slow fishing I went back to Luc's set up.  Ended the day around 11am.  Stellar day for Luc, not so much for me but at least I wasn't skunk.  Next time I'll be sure to have my new line rigged though.

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