Reaching the waters edge, we sat the little fishing barge down and decided to catch our breath. Just happy to be there was my thought as I viewed the activity in and around such a special place.
With rod and reel in hand, my daughter Steph and I settled in and pushed off the rocks. The sun was heading to its resting spot so we knew our time was limited. The fish where topping the water on occasion, trying to retrieve a witch-doctor or dragonfly that was bouncing off the surface. It was time to get busy with what we came to do.
As in the past we worked with what we new, heading to the cattails and high grass. The bottom growth had channels cut in it from daily activity. Pulling a big one out of that stuff had proved to be a chore. Coasting ever closer we made our first presentations. A limited number of cast would prove that opportunity abound.
The strikes were many and often. We whiffed on a few and landed a few but nothing of significance. It was the grand daddy we were after. The large bass that had eluded us in the past by shaking free or breaking lines. Many trips have been considered a success with larger fish and good numbers. We were hoping this trip would boat the biggest prize in the pond.
Twenty minutes or so into our drift, Steph sat back on one. Her pole bent and the line tighten as it work from left to right. A couple of barks from the drag and the fish turned into us. Steph hurried to take up the slack and lay back down on it. It was still there and judging from the fight it might be her best yet. As the big one headed for the wall of vegetation below us it turned again, taking line and spinning the boat forty-five degrees.
This one was special. A battle she had never experienced. Steph had already done more to keep the fight alive with a fish this larger than any other. The big bass was starting to wear down and ease to the surface. Some eight feet out it caught its second burst and dove into the abyss of foliage below us. Seconds later the line went limp. Steph reeled up the Texas rigged bait free of its captor. The run had ended so close to the boat. Closer than ever before.
Steph is all grown up now and has landed many large bass since, but that moment on the little pond has been re-told countless times and continues to live on as one of our favorites.