I love to fish and I also enjoy to write, it's interesting because fishing is really all I like to write about. I guess I can assume that fishing inspires me to the point where I want to write it down for both people to enjoy and me to relive later. Every now and then I come across something while fishing that inspires me above and beyond, so much that I won't need to relive it someday because truthfully I'll never forget it. In fact, I don't think I can get enough of it.
Over the past few days I've been out of town practicing for an upcoming tournament. Usually I would just pitch a tent and set up camp or simply sleep in my truck while preparing for upcoming events, but this time I got the opportunity to stay with some friends at a cabin. It was a bit of a drive, but well worth it for the chance to get in the boat with my buddy Dave Cindrich for his much-hyped evening swimbait bite - catching 4 and 5 pounders is supposedly the norm, he assured me.
I was skeptical, to say the least, but there was no way I was about to let my ignorance prevent an opportunity like this. I was more than eager to take the trip.
Lakes in California and Texas are known for huge bass that annihilate huge swimbaits - we're talking about 10- to 20-pound Florida-strain largemouth, not our northern strain bass that at best are chunking out between 4 and 7 pounds.
When Cindrich handed me a long rod with a 6-inch Weedless Huddleston tied onto 20-pound Vicious fluorocarbon, my confidence on my first few casts were less than none. I felt like I was chucking a shoe around, barely reeling it back to the boat. Just when you think you're reeling too slow, take it down another notch from there, barely turning the reel just making the bait's tail quiver as you pull it through clumps of vegetation.
It wasn't until about my fifth or sixth cast when all of a sudden I felt that unmistakable "tick" in my line. My rod loaded up just for a second and then ... nothing.
"You gotta be kidding," I said to myself. "There's no way that was a bass - had to been a big pike or something." Just as I'd convinced myself of that, Cindrich hauled off and set the hook and all hell broke loose. A minute later, he'd landed a real chunky largemouth that absolutely inhaled his swimbait like it was a flippin' Dorito.
I was like a little kid again - you know that feeling when you were fishing with your dad or grandpa and not catching anything when all of a sudden someone in the boat catches one? You can't cast quick enough! That was exactly how I was. I wanted in on that action.
We made another pass and as my bait hit the water near the bank, I made maybe three turns on the reel handle and there it was! This time, I followed Dave's advice and waited until I felt the rod load up and I slammed that fish! I cannot even begin to express how hard of a fight a bass gives you when it attacks a big bait like that. It isn't like a jig or spinnerbait - they give it everything they have when they hit a bait that is darn near big enough to be a keeper itself.
After landing that pig, I had the shakes like I've never had before. That's an adrenaline rush, Josh Douglas style! I couldn't put the rod down the rest of the night, and by dark I had totaled three nice largemouth, as did Dave.
That night it was easy to sleep with vision of 5-pounders ripping the rod from my hands. The problem was getting it out of my head the next day while I was practicing for a very important upcoming tournament. All I wanted to do was throw a swimbait. I had heard from many of other fisherman that once you get a swimbait bite it can change your mentality in a hurry - it can turn you into a swimbait addict.
I guess it's a bad sign that as soon as evening approached, I loaded up my boat and speding all the way to the launch to jump in and get in on the swimbait bite for a second night in a row. If that's not a sign of a true fishing junkie, I don't know what is.
Night two started slow - real slow. Instead of eating the swimbait, the bass were just bumping it. It was clear they were there, but they weren't in a mood to eat. Finally, I started to rationalize with myself and started flipping a Berkley Chigger Craw and a jig and thought for sure I could catch'em with that.
I mean, come on, a 6-inch swimbait is not going to outproduce a 1/2-ounce jig, not here in Minnesota. If they'll hit a swimbait, they definitely will eat a jig or a Senko, right? That's exactly what my mentality was - key word, "was."
In fact, there are times that all they may hit is a swimbait. These baits - like the Weedless Huddleston, or the Tru Tungsten Tru Life Swimbait - are so realistic and impart such perfect action that even trophy fish can't tell the difference. And these baits are so big so that they're more appealing to bigger bass, which are wired to - when they can - expend less energy by eating big rather than chasing around bite-sized meals.
The proof for me came after we still couldn't get those fish to bite jigs and plastics and reverted back to the Hud. Wham! Cindrich boats another beast and shortly after, I followed suit with another good one. Unbelievably awesome! Rest assured, I'll be ordering a swimbait setup in no time.
I hope this will urge other bass fanatics to get out there and give this technique it's fair shake. Trust me, it only takes one fish to change not only your attitude but your life as well! There's really nothing like it.
For more, please check out my website at www.JoshDouglasFishing.com or feel free to email me direct at Josh@JoshDouglasFishing.com.