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Keep it simple

May 25, 2015

Evening of May 23.

My tackle box?  Chock full of crank baits, plastics in buggy shapes and assorted scents, spinner baits, buzz baits, spoons, and other assorted other stuff.   I can barely get the lid shut without something falling out.  Depending on the species, depth of water, vegetation, and water color, I have at least one or two reliable baits that can get the job done.  Except…well, let me explain.

So there we were, my oldest daughter and me, flailing spinner baits, minnow shaped cranks and plastics all to pretty much no avail.  We caught two very small bass and one small northern pike but all that really means is we didn’t get skunked.  It’s great that I got my daughter out fishing and got to spend some quality time together, but I had bigger expectations.  Anyhow, we are drifting along and there’s this 8 or 9 year old kid fishing at the end of dock, which is not all that unusual of a sight.  What was unusual was the fact that he was fishing with sucker minnows.  Not your run of the mill 4 – 6 inch, match the season kind of suckers, though.  Rather, he was heaving eight to ten inch sucker minnows just beyond the edge of the milfoil and then letting them swim beneath a slip-bobber rig. If they drifted into the weeds or got to shallow he’d crank them up and launch them skyward again.  His efforts would have made the Lake Harriet fall musky contingent proud.

All of a sudden he yells to his sister, who is also on the dock, I got one.   He reels up the slack, sets the hook and the water erupts.  Thrashing about is  a four pound largemouth bass that he powers over the milfoil and into the net that his sister is holding.  Nice fish we yell as he proudly lets it go.  We of course are a little envious.

Reaching for another sucker, he rigs up and chucks it into the same general vicinity.  No more than a minute, later we heard: I got one.  Same drill, reel up the slack, haul back and fish on.  This time the water erupts with an even bigger bass.  Well over twenty inches of bass come wallowing out of the water and into the net.  With the hooks out, and an “awesome” fish shout out  from us, he turns it loose.  Not even a picture.  No selfie to post on his blog.  Just wipes the slime off his hands and reaches for  another sucker.  We are now jealous.

Drifting a little further away from their dock we heard yet again, I got one.  Another bass, about the same size as the first one.

Humbled, I thought of my investments in tackle.  Maybe I’m making things way to complicated.  It is very easy, well at least for me, to read a fishing article, learn how the author kills ’em using a certain lure or technique and then attempt to replicate that.  I suppose it gets back to the adage that lures catch fisherman, not necessarily fish.

I’m sure this kid doesn’t catch ’em like this every day but man was he on fire.  The lesson, I suppose, is that sometimes natural is better.  Kind of like spending $2.99 for a six ounce bag of apple chips when you can buy a pound of fresh apples for $1.99.

Not sure I can go on a minnows only diet.  Although there are guides that use nothing but minnows on jigs and spinners, and Rapala minnow patterned baits and they seem to do just fine. At the end of the day, minnows, plastic worms, spinner baits, all have their time and place.  It’s just using them at the right time and place that makes fishing a dynamic puzzle to be solved.

Kid on the dock:  thanks for the reminder to keep it simple; and, thank you for the memory.  Your awesome display of fish catching magic is something my daughter and I will always remember.

– Hats

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