I’ve had a great year so far. I’ve caught a couple hundred fish since the New Year, but all from a 50 yard swatch of shoreline on the Fox. It’s a long drive from home, but the enjoyment has outweighed the inconvenience.
Today, I had some time, but didn’t feel like making the drive. Maybe the Dupe was ready to produce? I’ve been at various spots on the West Branch over the last several weeks with nary a nibble to speak of.
I headed for Warrenville. First cast with a fathead, and within 5 seconds, I landed a 10” largemouth. Good start, but then I got nothing for the next 15 minutes. I left the spot when my hook snagged on the bottom. I had to break the line, losing the hook and a bobber that I’ve used all winter. (sniff)
I re-rigged and headed for a promising spot on the other side of the river. I’d caught a nice smallie there late last summer, so I was hopeful.
I knew I was low on minnows, but I didn’t know just how low. When I arrived at the spot, I found one tiny, lonesome minnow left in the bucket. Oh well, I hooked it up and cast. A few minutes later the bobber took a mighty dunk. I reared back and set the hook. Fish on and peeling drag! I so love that sound.
A few good runs later, I landed the 19” beefy smallie. That felt so good! My best smallie ever!
Sadly, I was out of minnows. But I had some plastics available. I hooked on a Yamamoto Tiny Ika, a present from my kids at Christmas. They’ve been asking me if I’d tried any of the baits that they gave me, so I figured it was time. It’s a crappie bait, but I expected the bass wouldn’t mind.
Several casts later, another mighty dunk, more drag peeling! This one was 20”, not quite as beefy, but arguably my best smallie ever! I managed a 12” smallie on the Tiny Ika, then had to go buy more bait for tomorrow and head home for dinner.
The weather was great. I sat on some warm rocks between fish. Felt like heaven.
Here are the pictures, you decide which one is best:
19" and fat
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