Thursday, April 16, 2009

Scouting some water looking for pre-spawn bass action at a few local watering holes, I scouted three public lakes looking for signs of life. The largemouth should be getting back into the groove now that we have seen some warm weather.

A few search casts were thrown here and there poking around structure as well as deep water. For a long time there was nothing. Then I run the skirted jig along the bank near some chunky rock structure close to shore. Reeling in the lure about twenty feet away and one of the rocks turns slowly 90 degrees and then shoots off into the water!

I had just hooked into the mother of all snapping turtles. Those of you that follow my fishing travels know that for some bizarre reason I run into these crazy thick shelled snapping beak of a reptile creatures way more often than I should.

(This is the first picture I snapped while battling the beast in the water. You can see the front leg struggling against the jig. With four-foot drive, this turtle would have snapped my line for sure.)

All that came to my mind was playing the beast “loose” and hoping it would spit the jig somehow. As I worked the snappy closer my worst fears were confirmed. The jig had somehow got itself lodged into the front leg. It couldn’t spit the lure out if it wanted to. This was a major dilemma. If the jig didn’t come out it would haunt me to a large degree. I had to at least try to get the lure out…somehow.

All of this played through my mind as I played the turtle. It was a bit of a battle reeling the turtle in only to have it swim back out. Finally the turtle was hauled back in and he turned to face me. Things got a bit dicey from there.

(Here is the second picture. Mr. Turtle was not happy. In the lower left you can see my pliers with a bit of skirting. I would like to thank the “elbow-rod tuck” with the “right hand camera grab” for this shot.)

I take my needle nose pliers and reach down from the left. The turtle lashes out with its beak of pain. My footing was slightly elevated and just out of striking distance. I reach down again and the turtle this time strikes at its own front leg where the jig is hooked.

“Oh man…I gotta get that out.”

With another lunge I reach down and grab the jig head with the pliers. The turtle lunges again and I feel the jig come loose. Two seconds later the turtle-beast was gone. There was a heart pounding, finger counting moment where I just leaned back on the shoreline and caught my breath.

(this is actually a pic I took during the battle but really makes a good “turtle escape” shot for the post.)

These turtles get pretty big and this is by far the largest one I have ever seen in Colorado. The shell was at least two feet in diameter…at least!!! But when you are standing right next to it with only a pair of looks as big as a Volkswagen!

Oh...I did catch fish. Two healthy chunk bass. Close. Very close. My guess is things will really start popping in the next few days with the temperatures coming up.

(crazy red eye bass. It seems that all the fish I catch this size have crazy red eyes and smaller mouths. What gives? Is this a strain of some sort? A lot of anglers try to tell me that this is a smallmouth bass but I still say it’s a largemouth.)

Some trips are better than others and some trips you are just happy to get back alive. My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

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