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Strike three, you’re out

July 29, 2014

Saturday morning, July 26, seemed like a good day to give Bush Lake a quick try.  The weather was muggy, there was a light morning fog and the occasional cloud provided some morning fireworks. The sound of croaking of frogs was in the air.  All in all it felt like the bass should be cruising the shallows.

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Sorting through the tackle box I noticed an old favorite: the Hula Popper. It had been years since it had seen the light of day and today seemed as a good a day as any to give it a try.  Tying it on I thought way back to 1979 and our family trip to Bad Axe Lake near Park Rapids, MN.  That was a memorable trip. My mom, dad, sister, my grandmother, five of us and me,  five of us stuffed like clowns into a VW Beetle, luggage in the trunk up front, and on the roof in a luggage rack.  A stop at Bunyan Land in Brainerd, MN along the way, where my sister and I were greeted in person by the booming voice of Paul Bunyan nonetheless.  The old time candy shop in Park Rapids and the bait shop where they had a large musky on ice in the display window.  Feeding deer at Deer Park or whatever it was called, buying a bottle of orange crush that was guzzled by a bear (I know it’s terrible but as a 10 year old it was pretty cool), and the bow and arrow I bought with the coins I had counted at the bank before we left home.  The eerie sound of loons in the morning and wolves howling in the night.  Thunder that sounded like a shotgun as it echoed through the woods.  Shoepac musky cruising by the boat or sunning the shallows and absolutely refusing to strike.  And, the monstrous bass caught by my dad on a Hula Popper.  We’d been dropping our baited hooks over the side of the boat and catching crappies and sunfish when he suggested I try the Hula Popper.  I had no idea what I was doing and after my first cast my dad said something along the lines of “here, let me show you how it’s done. Cast it out, let rings settle and pop it like this, bloop.  Let it settle, pop it again.”  At that point the water erupted and a few minutes later my dad had a nice plump bass thrashing in the boat. “There, that’s how it’s done” and he handed back the rod.  This of course was the only bass caught that evening but it etched the memory of Hula Popping in my mind.

Fast forward to Bush Lake – first cast with Hula Popper and a bass jumps all over it.  I miss and its not for another ten minutes or before I have another strike. I miss again.  I’m 0 for 2 but can’t say that I’m disappointed.  There is something special about the sound a Hula Popper makes, even if I missed connecting.  The explosive strikes always get the heart going.  Many casts later I miss another fish that slaps at it.  Strike three and I’m out as it is time to head home.

– Hats

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