Along The Trail 3-30-17

35

Spring seems to have made her appearance…Robins flirting and chirping, red winged blackbirds displaying and showing off for the girls as they bounce back and forth from one cattail to another.

An easy breeze blew from the South putting a ripple across the pond. A swirl along the bank gave me hope that the bass will be hungry after laying off for the winter. The air smelled clean and fresh and the sunshine felt warm on my back. The edge of the pond was alive with peepers as the little frogs croaked their songs to one another.

I make a long cast with my spinning rig, the coiled line unspooling and landing on the surface and slowing sinking into the green shadows under the weight of my lure. “Three, two, one”, an unconscious whisper in my head as my bait touches down on the shallow bottom. I let the bait sit still for a moment and then with a twitch of the wrist, I bring the plastic worm to life as it flutters through the water. The rod tip goes from 12 o’clock to 2 o’clock and I work the bait slowly back towards the shore.

My bait stops quick and a fish gives a jerk to the line. I tug back hoping to hook up, but the cobwebs are still with me from a long winter and I miss the strike. I zip the line back in, check my knot and then cast again. I work my way around the pond, the sun glancing off the water’s surface, the breeze hitting my face. The bright green of the honeysuckle buds popping, the sound of the birds…it feels good to outdoors and off the couch.

I spend the next hour or so casting and reeling. A handful of small bass, maybe 12 or 13 inches, fall victim to my bait. The fat little bass fight like champs and hit my ultralight tackle for all it’s worth. Each one a deep green and vivid white in color, healthy looking examples of what a bass should be. I admire the aggressive little predators and then slip each one back into the water to swim again, no fillets will be made today.

I make my second lap around the pond, casting as I go. My instincts have improved and more fish are caught than missed. As I re-tie my hook on the line, I look across the pond and at field and woods that surround it. I can remember when this pond was dug. When it was a choked out drainage filled with hedge apples and cedar trees. More suited to running rabbits and hunting deer than catching bass. I tug on the knot with my teeth, launch another cast and shake my head wondering about how quickly time passes us by and the reality that I’m not getting any younger.

The March sun is begging to dip lower in the sky and my thumb is worn raw from the sandpaper rough jaws of the bass. It’s time to go home. I load up my gear and head back towards the truck, grateful for every minute I have out here and for every memory I’ve been given from my time outside.

– David Hewitt