By Reed Montgomery / Reeds Guide Service
The Local Weatherman. He really nailed it when his predictions called for triple digit temperatures on a very hot, Fourth of July weekend. It was a very muggy morning of 75 degrees that started my day off (as usual, at the crack of dawn), about 5:00 a.m. Central time. I even ran my Suburban air conditioner on the way to the lake! With a midday prediction of over 100 degrees, we had planned another adventurous fishing trip, enduring the constantly rising mercury and only fishing for a few hours.
A pre-planned fishing trip with my good friend Stewart Welch (a financial planner with The Welch Group in Birmingham, like myself, often seen commenting on WBRC Fox 6 “Good Day Alabama” morning show in Birmingham, Al.), had called for my arriving very early at a small private lake, about 100 acres in size.
This small, round featureless lake (with about a dozen residents and piers), was tucked, clean out of sight. It was located in Alabama’s beautiful, rolling countryside surrounded by some very thick and scenic woods. A short, 30 minute drive right down Highway 280 South. Leaving the smog, the traffic, and the overcrowded city limits…far behind.
It was Sunday morning and as I drove to the lake I pondered in my mind, the many various types of bass fishing lures I had meticulously packed into a small tackle box on Saturday. I had never been to this lake and I had no idea of the lake’s layout or what to expect. I had heard from Stewart that bass over ten pounds had been caught out of this age old lake in years past. That, to me, was all I needed to know to ensure I would not falter because of my neglect of my fishing tackle and equipment.
So, I had rigged up five fishing rods, each with various lures I could fish in any condition targeting bass from top to bottom, in the semi-clear water column of this now mysterious lake. I had even spent time (like most devout bass anglers), sharpening hooks or replacing my lures hooks and I had re-spooled new fishing line on each and every rod. I was ready!
* Never leave nothing to chance when it comes to preparing for any bass fishing trip. If you do, you could lose the bass of a life time! What a price to pay for just being plain lazy!
Actually, unknown to me at the time, I would only need one lure and one rod and reel outfit to successfully fool these big bass, some of which I’m sure had never even this particular offering, for I knew this small lake had very little fishing pressure. A perfect scenario for targeting some big, trophy-sized bass! Especially with my favorite topwater lure, “the James Heddon Zara Super Spook!“ Luckily, I brought along a few extra spare zara super spooks. For I knew Stewart would need one too!
So, to make a long story short, we had a great morning fooling some big, largemouth bass using only this very infamous topwater lure! We had about ten tremendous blow-ups missing even bigger bass than we caught, before the sun got high, it got very hot and muggy and we decided to leave about 9 a.m. Both of us were joyfully soaked in sweat.
We missed some even bigger bass, much bigger than those we landed. Probably smarter bass too! But I managed to boat a good six pounder and a four pounder. Stewart had one big bass, looking to be close to five pounds, that is before he lost it, coming off the hook right at the boat. But to his delight he caught the biggest bass of his life! It turned out to be a big, hybrid striped bass looking to weigh about 16-17 pounds!
At the exact same moment I hooked and landed the four pounder, I suddenly heard a loud explosion right behind the boat. Stewart was hooked up! He had a big, striped bass hit his zara spook right at boat side. He only had about twenty feet of line out and the battle was on! After a lengthy battle I soon netted the huge striped bass and the zara spook just fell out of its mouth!
What was very unusual was Stewart did not even know there were striped bass in this lake! A man doing yard work had observed all the action taking place right in front of his house and he commented that he had never seen a striped bass caught in this private lake or even knew they even existed here, in all the many ears he had lived there!
What was really funny about this whole fishing trip (I’m sure especially to the delight of Stewart), is prior to this fishing trip I had painted up a zara super spook, adorned with blue and white stars on the head and red and white stripes on the body, to help me celebrate Independence Day with a few fireworks of my own! Every bite I got that morning came on this, “Fourth of July Reed Montgomery” original, zara super spook!
Its always great to fool a big bass on a lure you have re-created all on your own!
Thanks and Good Fishin’ Reed Montgomery, Owner of Alabama’s Oldest, Professional – Bass Fishing Only – Guide Service, Guiding on All of Alabama’s Lakes for Over 50 Years!
[Oh, and Have a Wonderful Fourth of July Celebration! Me, I’ve seen enough fireworks and big bass blow-ups on this Independence Day weekend to last me for a while! At least until Memorial Day and Veterans Day when I’ll have my trusty, “Stars and Stripes Zara Super Spook” tied on again for sure!