I had been hoping to hit a private section of The Bear, and I had finally gotten the go ahead for Friday. I had all sorts of images of giant prespawn smallmouth dancing through my head the night before I was to set foot on this glorious stretch of water. I awoke to a beautiful sunny day, and I quickly loaded up my car. After I arrived I loaded about 30lbs of gear into my vest and set out across the farmland and river bottoms. I made my way down to the water, tanagers flitting through the trees as I walked, and popped out at a small offshoot from the river. As I waded into the water, a rather perturbed crane came stumbling out of the bushes, cursing me all the way. I still had a 1/4 ounce chartreuse and orange curly tail jig on my jigging rod from my adventures downstream a couple of days earlier. I figured I'd toss it out and give it a try before re-tying. I placed it at the head of a gentle riffle, ticking it along the rocks, when something thumped it. I set the hook into a solid fish that bent my rod nicely. The bass went airborne a couple of times before calming down so I could lip her.
I didn't get the girth, but it was substantial. I decided that any fish that could make my hand hurt and take me that far downstream deserved my respect. So I resisted the urge to have catfish bait for the rest of the year, and turned her loose. It was a steady soaking rain now, but I fished on. I snagged another carp, but it pulled loose after a mere moment of struggle. I covered the run extensively , but no smallmouth ever showed themselves. I hiked back downstream, visiting the areas where I'd caught bass previously, but to no avail. I tromped back to my car feeling pretty disappointed. A few smallmouth and a carp were not what I'd had in mind, but I guess Mother Nature just wasn't ready for summer yet.
Final Tally: 3 Smallmouth Bass, 1 Carp
Year Tally: 266 Fish