Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mud Bassin’…not the best idea I ever had.

After leaving work I drive to a small pond for an evening shorebang cast. When I reach the water my throat gasps at how low the water levels have gotten. It has been a little over a year since visiting this place last and the reduction in volume was a bit unsettling. Still determined I walk the shoreline and immediately step into search cast mode.

The south side of the lake has gravel and rock structure that was easy enough to navigate. But step beyond the rocks and your foot sinks as if you were in quicksand. Halfway down the shoreline I make that mistake by trying to retrieve a piece of trash in the water. Within a blink of an eye I am up to my knee in mud on my left side.

“Well there goes a pair of shoes…maybe the slacks too.” I mutter digging myself out. Later I repeat the same action chasing a small painted turtle.

Then I reach the other side of the lake that is void of any rock or gravel structure save for a few odds and ends. My feet are forced a distance from the shoreline for fear of mud. I see a large swirl in the water in front of me signaling an attack of a predator fish onto something munchy. Sling out just past the boil and begin the retrieve. Nothing hits as I roll the lure through the sweet spot. About ten feet from shore the line signals a heavy hit. Wham! I swing back on the rod tip, feel the heavy tug. I fight the fish for a whole two seconds before it shakes the hook. A few feet further down I cast and repeat the same instance on yet another fish. Missing fish sends me into a spiraling tailspin of frustration. Taking deep breaths I manage to calm myself, take some moss off the bait and sling it out again. Another bite and this time I set the hook right on the first chomp. A fish battle ensues and the reality then starts to sink in.

“Getting this fish is going to be a mess.” I say stepping in a foot of mud for the fish grab.

(Above: Beauty mud bass and this tire typically lies under several feet of water. You have to brave some serious mud to land these fish.)

Get the photo op taken care of and endure yet another trip into the murky stink of soft shoreline for as gentle a release as possible. This muck is nothing more than layers of sediment accumulated over time and has the consistency of butter. Upon releasing the fish I slip up and dip my tackle bag into the mud on one side. Turn quickly to try and minimize the damage simply making things worse. The bag graces my fishing reel, my slacks, pretty much smearing my left side with mud. One look at my reel and I knew I was out of the game…at least for tonight. Hopefully the reel cleans up nicely and slacks I can get anywhere. Fishing after work does come with some hazards apparently.
(Above: Here’s a shot of the entry\fish-land area with my footprints in view. Those prints go about a foot deep near the water’s edge.)

There are times when my fishing addiction is more obvious than others and even I have to admit that my activity borders on psychosis at times. After some pleading from my family and co-workers at one point in my life I met with a psychiatrist to see if there wasn’t some sort of help for my problem. 30 minutes into the session I show him a few fish pictures from the previous year (this was January at the time). He looks at me and starts babbling like a fish crazed goober.

“Wow…how big was that fish? Where did you catch it? Can you take me fishing? I need to fish more…”

It was everything I could do to leave his office without adopting a tag along for next Saturday.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.


Cofisher said...

Those pictures look like a lake near my house that I checked out the other day. Dry as a bone. I hope they're going to clean it up, dredge it and let it fill again.

Cofisher said...

This reminds me of a like near my house. I drove by to check it out this weekend and it was bone dry. I hope they are going to clean it up and dredge it out.

Jay said...

The things we do to support our addictions. Nice post.

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

Sorry about your shoes. But sometimes, you have to make sacrifices for the fish, or a good story. This time, you got both! Thanks for the lunchtime chuckle.

John said...

Been there, done that, will do it again. There are 12 step programs for us Matt, but mud is just the first. NIce bass!

Jay Zimmerman said...

I believe I shall go a mud bassin' in the mornin'....

BassFishingDem said...

I can relate. When I'm bank fishing, not only am I walking with extreme caution so as to avoid sinking into muck up to my knees, but I'm also on snake-watch. A careful eye often reveals a small water snake, but we have moccasins and copperheads to worry about too. Won't even mention gators.

The retrieve is usually a cinch, but the release is another story. In order to safely let the fish go, I usually have to step out beyond my comfort zone. I always wear a pair of shoes I care nothing about.

As for the low water, we're not as low as in the above pictures, but the vegetation on the bank conceals a truth only revealed to me by the lines on the cypress trees. Still a foot or so low, at least. Hoping to have a report soon. Haven't fished in a while now.