By Reed Montgomery / Reeds Guide Service
The Local Weatherman. I’ve got to give him credit. He really nailed it when his predictions called for “triple digit temperatures” on that very hot, and muggy, “Fourth of July weekend!” And, once again, no rain. What?
(No, this was not during this year’s summer season, in which to our delight during this mid summer, national holiday it was rainy, cloudy and much cooler. During our annual 2017 “Fourth of July Weekend” that only displayed air temperatures near 90 degrees).
This article is about a “Big Bass” fishing trip that I took last summer when it was very, very hot!
- It was much cooler this year, than is was during last year’s summer season, which included a constant drought seen statewide and hot, muggy air temperatures in the triple digits, often for days. Or, there were even upper 90 degree days, for “weeks” at a time, with no relief in sight. No rain, no clouds, no cool nights. Just plain hot!
- So now we can look back and here is how that fishing trip went, last year!
It was indeed a very muggy, morning of 75 degrees as I took off (as usual, way before dawn) and began my journey, with my usual quest in mind. Heading to another lake full of “big bass” as my sleepy thoughts began spiraling down, and I pondered with much anticipation of another day of bass fishing and possibly a, “big bass explosion” at dawn.
The dim morning light of dawn (around 5:00 a.m. Central time) soon brought me back into the real world, as I suddenly woke up and almost missed my turn! I had even ran my truck air conditioner all the way to the lake, almost getting, “too comfortable” all the while knowing, the air temperatures would soon rise another 25 degrees by midday!
With a sunny day ahead and a midday prediction of over 100 degrees, we had planned another adventurous fishing trip. But, it was going to be a short one. While we all knew, the constant sun bearing down on us, on a very sunny morning, would quickly take its toll on us all. We only had a few hours of fishing, just after dawn and we knew it.
But it was worth it all. Afterwards, we were soaking wet with sweat, we were all drained from all of us getting up so early, and having little sleep. Including it was a hot, muggy morning, that had left us practically lifeless! Adding, making hundreds of cast’s each!
But like said, ”it was all worth it” and I would do it again and again (especially with such pleasant company), just for a chance at enticing the morning bite from some really, Big Bass! And we did! How? Read on!
A pre-planned fishing trip with my good friend Stewart Welch (a financial planner with The Welch Group in Birmingham and now elected, “2017 Mayor of Mountain Brook”), whom like myself, had often been seen by thousands of dedicated television viewers, while commenting or answering questions, on Birmingham’s very popular, WBRC Fox 6 “Good Day Alabama” morning show.
This pre-planned fishing trip (like mentioned), had called for my arriving very early at this small, private lake. It was a small lake, less than, but close to, 100 acres in size.
And even as I was greeted by Stewart, I temporarily lost eye contact, as I gazed across the calm, clear lake for the first time. My mind was already wandering (just like my sleepy eyes), as the sun began to rise on another, hot and sweltering mid summer day.
As I pondered over my thoughts of the “big bass tales” Stewart had mentioned when I first met him at the WBRC Television station, of all the big bass he had successfully fooled on this small private lake, I could actually hear his voice. “Let’s go fishing” as Stewart smiled and I suddenly came back into the real world. The world of fishing that is. So we quickly loaded up the boat!
This small, round featureless lake (with about a dozen residents and piers), was tucked, clean out of sight. It was located in mid 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. And fishing on a private lake, you had to know someone to get in the gate!
Before I even drove to the lake (on Saturday the day before), I had pondered in my mind, the many various types of bass fishing lures we could possibly use. I had meticulously rigged up each of six fishing rods and packed as many lures as I could jam into a small tackle box.
Besides my spending time putting new fishing line on each reel, with fresh heavy test fishing line! 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 year’s past.
That, to me, was all I needed to know, to not falter and leave anything left to chance. It would not be because of my neglect of my fishing tackle and equipment, if I lost a big bass! Including new hooks or very sharp hooks!
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, especially when it comes to preparing for any, “Big 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! Remember, you only get one chance. Don’t blow it!
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 wily bass, of which I’m sure had never even seen 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 that had suddenly hit his zara super spook, right at boat side. He only had about twenty feet of line out and then, 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 even 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, one adorned with blue and white stars on the head and red and white stripes on the body, and red, white and blue treble hooks, all to help me celebrate my own little, “Independence Day” with a few fireworks of my own!
* Every bite I got that morning came on this, “Fourth of July Reed Montgomery” original, what I now call, “the Star Spangled Zara Super Spook!”
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! Located near Birmingham in Alabaster Al. (205) 663-1504 Website www.fishingalabama.com and now you can like us on face book too!
[Oh, and I hope you had a wonderful “Fourth of July” Celebration! Me, I thought had seen enough fireworks and big bass blow-ups on this Independence Day weekend last year, to last me for a while! But needless to say, I was out there on another Alabama lake, once again this year tempting those big bass on another wonderful, national holiday in the good ol’ U.S.A.!]
And Stewart? Well, since then he has shown me several “big bass” pictures including, two bass weighing over ten pounds! I’ll be back!
So for now I’ll retire my trusty zara super spook (at least until Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day). When I’ll once again, I’ll tie on my trusty, “Star Spangled Zara Super Spook” and hopefully once again, fool some more big bass! Why? You may ask?
Its always in honor of all of those many thousands of war veterans that have served for our free country, the United States of America…for sure! Can anglers in other country’s around the world say the same? No. May God Bless America.