Notes From the Dockside: The end of the streakIt will go down in the record books as the worst opening weekend we ever had. The Bass Queen and I were fishing Lake X, which is the Bass Queen’s favorite lake. In the last 17 years we have been there almost every year to start the season.
By: By Mike Yurk, Hudson Star-Observer
It will go down in the record books as the worst opening weekend we ever had. The Bass Queen and I were fishing Lake X, which is the Bass Queen’s favorite lake. In the last 17 years we have been there almost every year to start the season.
Opening Day can always be a bit iffy. The weather is a huge concern. Over the years we have worn winter jackets and in other years just a shirt. It seems like we get a lot of rain on that weekend and I have lots of photos of us on the opener wearing rain gear. What else would you expect for the first weekend in May?
The weather affects fish as well as fishermen so that adds to unpredictability of the opener. Sometimes the fish will be shallow and other times they will be deep. Generally we will find some fish in both places. For the first couple of hours we fish a variety of spots until we find where the fish are on that year’s opener.
Discovering what the fish will be hitting is another piece of the puzzle. Over the years we have found success on the opener by using crankbaits in deeper water and sinking plastic worms in shallow. As well, tube jigs have worked well for us on the first weekend of the season in both deep and shallow water. We just experiment until we find what is working.
Early May has never been the best of times to go bass fishing but it is the opener and we have been waiting for this day for about six months so we go fishing regardless of the weather, where the fish will be or what they will be hitting on.
We have always caught fish on the opener. Sometimes we catch a lot of fish and sometimes fewer fish. As I look back over the last four or five years we have done very well so we get to expect that.
As much as some things are the same every year other things are different. In last year’s case we had the coldest spring anyone could remember and on the first weekend in May it seemed like we were about three weeks behind where we normally are that time of year.
But on that first Saturday morning The Bass Queen and I left home with big expectations. From the time we got on the lake it just seemed different. We started fishing shallow and that wasn’t working. Then we went deep and that wasn’t working either. Finally after a couple of hours I felt a light thump and set the hook. It was about a foot long bass and the first of the season. Perhaps we have finally found the fish. But two hours later we did not have another strike.
The Bass Queen was concerned. It has been over 10 years since she has been skunked. She is very proud of her record. There have been some close calls and once she caught her only fish of the day in the fast few minutes before we left the lake. But she has always caught at least one fish.
I tried to be encouraging. The fish weren’t hitting today but there will be a fish for her. The Bass Queen wasn’t so sure. Finally she said that it was just a matter of time before her streak would come to an end. I was trying to be positive but the day was slipping away and she still did not even have a strike.
Finally it became inevitable and it was The Bass Queen who recognized it. I had only three fish and it was late in the afternoon. “I knew it was going to happen someday,” she said. She took it stoically but added that tomorrow would be a better day.
We were back on Lake X the next day. We were hoping for better but it got worse. I did not think that was possible but it did. We fished hard. I missed a fish after several hours of fishing and eventually picked up one lone foot-long bass. The Bass Queen was skunked again. It was hard to believe. She had not been skunked in over 10 years and now in two days, back to back, she was skunked.
She took it philosophically. “It was bound to happen,” she said but she left unsaid as to why it had to happen two days in a row.
This was not looking to be The Bass Queen’s spring. Shortly after that she developed a shoulder problem that made casting painful so it was almost a month before she got back on the water.
We went back to Lake X. A few days before, I had fished Lake X again and this time found the fish in shallow water at the southern end of the lake. We caught lots of fish that day so I was excited to get The Bass Queen back to Lake X.
We went to where I had found fish earlier. She made her first cast and as soon as her bait splashed into the water it began to move off. She pulled back and a fish swirled on top as her spinning rod bounced and her fish was racing off.
This was serious. She needed to get this fish. I grabbed the net. We weren’t going to take any chances. The fish made a couple of short runs and finally she had it splashing next to the boat. I brought the net up under the fish and as it cleared the water with her bass thrashing in the mesh I heard her yell “Yes. Finally.” She had been skunked two days in a row and then would catch her first fish of the season on the first cast. Another streak begins.
Editor’s Note: The Notes From The Dockside is an exclusive feature appearing in the Hudson Star-Observer on the first and third issues of each month.