The loose knot

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: FISH MAN

Submitted: February 12, 2017

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Submitted: February 12, 2017






The year was 1981 my brother in law, Howard and I tiptoed along a shoreline looking for large largemouth bass.  My first wife and I lived on North spider lake road in grand traverse county just south of Traverse City Michigan.  One thing that spider lake was known for was huge bass largemouth as well as smallmouth.  

The air temperature that day we went fishing was in the mid70's.  The sky was slightly overcast with an occasional sunbeam sneaking its way through an unannounced opening in the lower cloud deck there was also a light mist in the air the wind was nil.

Our first stop was on the west side of Spider Lake down at the old campground area which is now an improved public access site.  The campground was closed in the late 70's because of the seedy crowd that it drew.

Anyway, Howard and I crept along the shoreline from the boat launch area towards the old beach area the shallow water, as well as the shore, were full of dead and dying cedar, poplar, birch, as well as huge eastern hemlock trees and stumps. 

In the water itself, there were fallen trees of aver size Chris/crossed over the top of each other as they fell from every angle over the last century or longer.

The water in that area was very shallow no more than eight to twelve inches deep, and in the late spring, early summer the lily pads pushed their way up through the rotting sticks and rotting stumps.

As we zoned in on the old beach area, the water deepened rather quickly down to about six or seven feet off shore to nine or ten feet at the end of our casting range.

At the edge of the underwater beach break, there were thick tobacco weeds the plants stretched up and outwards to half the depth of the water.

As a result within this underwater floral or rain forest if you prefer this habitat was perfect for mini bluegills thus prime territory for large predatory fish such as northern pike.

However, on that particular day, Howard and I hoped that the area would be canceling at least one or to monster bass.  The first couple of hours Howard and I concentrated on fishing the pockets in the lily pads as well as the branchy tree tangles in the shallow water.

At that point, we were using nightcrawlers for bait we managed to catch a few smaller bass too tiny to keep.  As you can probably imagine after nearly three hours of reeling in what amounted to gizzard shads and boy, they stink terribly, but that's a different story.

As a result, the fatigue of not catching a single keeper bass or anything else led me to change up my setup.  As I said earlier the deeper water out in front of the beach and just a bit to the north has been known to house monster pike as well as bass.

So at that point, I took off the crawler set up and put on a wire leader, and a number six [6] sized single barbed hook.

Oh and I forgot to mention before I changed up we [Howard and me] caught four or five bluegills of various sizes four inches [4] up to seven [7] we put them in the pail in case we wanted to fish for pike later that day.

At that point I took the largest bluegill out of the pail, I slide my hook into the back of the bluegill just beneath the dorsal back near the tail.  Then I cast the bluegill out into the water as far as I could as well as carefully so that I did'ent through my bait off the hook.

My bait made touchdown around twenty yards or so east of the beach area after catching some serious air it took a few moments for the bluegill to get its bearing.

However, once the bluegill got, it's bearing it turned and headed for the nearest shoreline as quickly as possible to hide in the branch tangles in the shallower water.

Well, that bluegill would prove to be the exception to the rule I could see my surface fishing line laying on top of the calm water my bait pulled the line into a large 180% loop as the little guy headed for what he thought would be safer waters namely the shallows.

As my bait made its way towards shore, I had to reel up my line quickly to keep pace with the little guy well not so little it was seven inches long [7].  At that point, I was able to see my bait I estimated that he was about twenty feet out to the left of me or east.

I could see my wire leader as a rogue sunbeam penetrated the upper cloud deck causing it [The Wire leader] to shine in the semi-dark calm water.

A few seconds later there he was my bluegill he had almost reached safe harbor as I reeled up the slack line.  At that point, suddenly a large swell appeared on the surface of the calm water followed by the sound of a large splash as well as a large wake on the surface pushing up quickly towards my bluegill.

As I stood there watching this great epoch playing out, I thought all right a fifteen-pound pike.  At that point, my line went limp on the surface of the water as my bluegill sped up his little motor I could see him now he was no more than ten feet out in front of me he was hauling it I had trouble keeping pace with him while reeling in my line.

The next thing I saw was the monster pike that my bluegill had inadvertently aroused from his shallow water hide away.  My bluegill made his way toward a fallen cedar tree tangle in the water next to the beach area there was not much clearance beneath the branches I watched my bluegill paddle underneath the brush pile sideways against the bottom and the sticks so he could hide.  

 .0063 seconds later the monster pike came gliding into view as he got to the tangle he stopped abruptly.  For the first time in this cat and mouse game, I was able to see that the large pike that had honed in on my bluegill was not a large pike at all it was an enormous largemouth bass approximately twenty-eight inches long weighing nine or ten pounds.

This bass's eye keenly focused on my bait was truly a trophy fish for lower northern Michigan waters.  At that point, faced with a critical dilemma the trophy bass was hunkered down on the deep water side of the cedar tree tangle my bluegill was nearly on the sand next to my toes on the shore inside of the brush pile.

There were. However, many other bluegills swimming in and around in proximity to that monster bass they [The other bluegills] showed no signs of fear as the predator fish paid them no attention at all intently focused on eating my bait for lunch.  

As a dog focuses on his tennis ball MR, Bass could see my bait through the stick pile as he scanned the outer edge of the tangle he would stop fins in motion for balance as he stared through at my bait.  What a site to behold.

I made a split decision in hopes not to scare the large fish away I set my pole down on the ground picked up an old poplar branch and began probing at the bluegill to frighten him back under the brush pile.  Man, he was not happy about that I think the little fish knew that his peaceful little underwater life was about to come to a violent end.

As he [My bait] fought me vigorously so as not to be pushed back into play as for MR Bass, he paid me no attention contented and patiently awaiting to see if he would come off victorious.  As I continued probing at my bait all at once, my bluegill went for it quickly under the brush pile into the open water.

Well, that was it for MR Bluegill, the large bass clobbered him instantly he [The bass] scooped up my bait in a cloud of stirred-up lake mud.  At that point, I was not sure if the bass caught my bait or not I could not see anything through the dirty cloud in the water.

The bass swam forward a couple of feet he was now in the clearing at the underwater weed edge bordering the sandy beach bottom in six feet of water or so.  What a sight we could see the monster bass less than twenty feet out in front of us with my wire leader hanging out of his mouth or I should say only half of my wire leader was hanging out of his jaws.

That bass was a trophy for sure probably a trophy of trophies for Michigan waters his length was closer to thirty inches, and he probably weighed twelve or thirteen pounds.  Howard and I just stood there looking at that big fish in total disbelief and awe for what seemed like an hour when in reality from the time the large swell appeared on the surface of the water until that moment about fifteen minutes had passed.

At that point, there was one thing left to do set the hook and reel that monster bass in I pulled back with a quick jerk .0063 seconds later we could see that MR Bass, had felt the precaution.  He only shook his massive head once then swam away slowly with my wire leader still hanging out of his massive jaws.

Once again, Howard and I just stood there in total disbelief nearly in tears.  What had gone so horribly wrong?  When I put the wire leader on I used the old clinch knot after pulling the knot taught I cut the trail line to short.  When MR Bass, shook his head against my hook set he finished cinching the knot unraveling it at the wire leader.

I had imagined many times that that old bass probably noticed the loose knot when he first took chase that would explain why he just sat there and waited for me to scare my bluegill back into the field of play. 

I honestly believe that old bass was on to me from the very start he knew what the outcome of events would be that day he planned things just so.  It was angler error the loose knot.

1785 words.  














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