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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's not often I leave them biting. Actually, it's not often that I even find them biting, but on each of my last two trips, I did leave them biting, but only because I had to.

I found myself fishing alone today, after taking a last minute vacation day. Since I had no float partner, I also had no shuttle partner, so my choices were limited. I have a smallie river fairly nearby that has two spots where I can do a paddle up and float back, but based on a spike four or five days ago, I feared it would be muddy. I decided my best option would be the small flow where mrpossumtail and I had fished a couple of weeks ago, even though it requires a bit of work, as is often the case when working upstream. In this case, the current isn't the problem, it's the dragging where paddling is impossible and the long paddle back through mostly still water.

As had been the case on my previous trip, the deep, slack water that characterized the first part of my day yielded nothing to speak of, although a couple of optimistic redbreasts managed to get themselves hooked on bass lures longer than they were. Once I got to the place where there was a little current and shallower water, though, I began to hook up at some of the places that just “looked fishy” to me. My second bass was larger than anything I had caught on my previous trip. The 16.5 inch bass that grabbed my soft jerkbait gave a good account of himself before posing for a couple of photos.

As I continued upstream, many good looking spots that had rocky cover and were near both deeper water and small rapids began to produce strikes. I landed several and had a couple of good ones throw the hook, one with a spectacular straight up leap. I also noticed some really nice ones following the fish I had hooked as they struggled against my rod. I should have thrown a follow up bait, but I didn't think about it buntil too late. I was a bit frustrated by my failure to land the biggest ones I hooked, but several were decent fish, just short of 14 inches.

One thirteen inch fish had an unusual scar on its mouth. I had to wonder if either the osprey or the large owl I saw had just missed making it a meal year or two ago.

I probably spent too much time in some of the places where I was getting bites, but I continued to catch fish, although after that one nice one, it seemed that they were all going to be under 14 inches.

As I approached the honey hole, I realized I was an hour or so later getting there than I had planned to be. I by-passed some good looking water to concentrate on the places I knew usually hold feeding bass. I tried a crank bait, which had worked well two weeks ago, but today, they wanted plastic. Every fish I caught came on soft jerk baits or finesse worms, all except the biggest one on weightless presentations.

The fish were not as aggressive as they had been, but the bite was pretty consistent. As I looked at my watch, I began to wonder if I'd once again have to leave before the fish stopped biting. Soon, I had caught my twentieth bass of the day. I was really pleased with the way these bass fought. They consistently rivaled my beloved smallmouth bass in their leaping ability, raw power and even their stamina. My twenty-first bass was a fat 15 incher that put on a nice aerial display.

I decided that I'd try to reach 25 bass before heading back, and the the bite continued. Number 25 was worth staying for, an 18 inch bass that pretzeled my medium light spinning rod in a dogged tug of war.

I glanced at my watch and decided I could stay a few more minutes if I didn't fish at all on the way back. Five more largemouths sandpapered my thumb, giving me my first 30 largemouth day ever on a river. (Pretty sad for a 55 year old guy, huh?)

The last fish was a decent one, a fat 14.5 incher. I asked him to pose for one last action shot.

Time was gone, and I had to tax my aging physique to paddle, drag and cart my way back to the truck. I was a few minutes late getting home, but it was a contented ride back. As much as I hated to leave them biting, if it means more days like today, I think I could get used to it.

p.s. (Sorry I don't have the photos in order with the story. I tried, but I'm lucky to get them uploaded at all. If I was smart enough, I'd embed them in the story.)
 

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Jim have you and I fished that spot together before?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
(Steve asked if we had been there together.)

Nope, Steve. You probably guessed as much, since you've never seen me catch more than about five fish. Almost called you, but made my decision at the last minute, though I would have gone somewhere else if I had had a float partner. Lots of work on this trip. PM me if you are interested in some floats this fall on Fridays. (Maybe next Friday.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Possumtail, one or two had sore mouth, as if possibly caught before. Most of them, especially at the honey hole were very healthy looking. Some had smaller heads and mouths relative to their size, which is a really good sign. The biggest one was healthy looking, but the 16.5 inch fish had some sores. No skinny minnies at all.
 
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