By Larry Dablemont
It was a nice little lake cove with clear water, and a little stream flowing in at the end. That little tributary would be very low most years, by this time in the summer. And most years, there wouldn’t be any green trees and shrubs in the water. But it looked to be a good place to fish a topwater lure, late in the evening, and I meant to try it. There was a nice little rock cliff not far away, some timber sticking up out of the water nearby, and no one there but me.
I had something swirl the water behind the lure once, but for a half hour or more I didn’t get much other action than that. And then, the lure landed just right in a spot next to a fairly good-sized sycamore sapling out 10 feet from the bank, and a bass sucked it under. There wasn’t much commotion, nothing like the demolishing, “jump out of the water” attack you sometimes see from a marauding bass looking for an easy meal. This one just pulled it down and took off with it, and I set the hook when he did. All I had to do was keep the bass out of all that brush, and I had casting gear with line strong enough to do that.
The fish lunged and struggled and broke water once, but it wasn’t a fight he was going to win. Eventually I brought him up alongside the boat and got my thumb in his mouth and wished someone was along to take a picture. A good photograph could have made that bass look five pounds or better, if it was taken right. And honestly, he was almost four-and-a-half pounds, give or take four or five ounces, or maybe six. I have no doubt at all he was almost four-and-a-quarter pounds.
But I turned him loose, and fished awhile longer, as the dusk came on and the water was calm and the evening was still. I caught another bass which also fought hard but wasn’t half as big. I put that one in my live well, because it was a Kentucky bass. It would be eaten soon, and that would make me feel a little better about using all that gas just to go fishing.
It was getting dark back at the little gravel road where I left my pickup, and when I backed my trailer down into the water to load the boat, two ladies drove up and prepared to catch some catfish. They seemed very pleasant, asking me about my fishing trip and talking about how high the lake was. And they were both very nice looking ladies, or so they seemed to be in the late evening light, which has a tendency to make us all better looking. As I grow older, I notice that more ladies are nice-looking now than they use to be, and there are a great deal more of them I meet who are younger than me. Many of them though, seem to be harder to get along with.
“You know,” one of them said as I prepared to leave, “you look a little like that guy who writes the outdoor column in the newspaper.”
I came close to telling them I was, maybe even bragging a little bit about my fishing ability but thank gosh I didn’t. The other one made a nasty comment about that column I wrote a few weeks ago, the one about how you can tell a female bass from a male bass by their disposition, something I meant to be humorous and light-hearted. It was plain she didn’t much cotton to my kind of humor. So I told them my name was Joe Smith, and I was a little shorter and older and more sensitive than that no-account newspaper columnist.
“I’d like to run into him just once,” one of them said, “I’d tell him a thing or two about his ideas concerning women.” It was a precarious situation. Somehow, I had let one of them get between me and the pickup, so I groped around in the live well and hauled out that little old bass and asked if they’d like to have him. It quickly diffused the situation, and they were all smiles.
I told them I thought it probably was a male bass and deserved to be filleted and fried. And then I got out of there in a hurry. But they don’t realize that if either of them had just said they liked that column and got a good laugh out of it, I might have hung around awhile and helped them catch a few catfish. So you see ladies, it pays to have a sense of humor!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Larry Dablemont is an outdoor writer from Bolivar, Mo.