"Under Pressured" to Catch a Bass

Department of Environmental Conservation to help anglers (kids and adults) bait their hooks, casting, unhooking their fish, and other fishing activities. Upon my arrival, instead of assisting anglers, I was suggested to go catch a bass because the park's officials have not sighted any bass caught in the past few months since spring began. 

I was more than delighted to take up this new assignment as I had brought along a 3-piece St. Croix Legend rod, a spinning reel spooled with 8-lb test monofilament line, a pack of 3.5" Hawg Shad (milky greenback color), some split-shots, and a pack of Gamakatsu octopus hooks size 2/0 in my backpack. I proceeded to set up my fishing rod and went to the right of the crowd fishing so I can avoid tangling them while casting for a bass. There were also two park rangers watching over us to check the anglers. 

Since I was casting from the shore, I noticed the area from the shoreline to 50 feet out was shallow. With what I brought in my backpack, I can only cast out no further than 50 feet so I decided to set up a short version of the Carolina rig with a Palomar knot tied to a Gamakatsu octopus hook and a split-shot clipped three inches above the eye of the hook. I hooked a 3.5" Hawg Shad on its lip like a live baitfish. 

The first spot I tried was just 50 feet from the fishing crowd on my left. After casting several times like a fan from left to right, I didn't feel any bite so I decided to go further right on the shoreline now looking for some structures like a protruding rock or fallen branch. I found one fallen branch in an open area where it was barely enough space for me to slip through with all the trees and bushes around. On my first cast, I thought I felt a hit on my lure when I retrieved it near the fallen branch that was near the shore. I felt a tug after my second cast near the branch again and I set the hook. My rod was loaded with a weight at the end of the line, but it wasn't fighting back. As I started to reel in my lines, I noticed the entire fallen branch started to surface and follow my retrieval. At this point, I decided to move on because there was no point to work that area again since I remove the hiding place that was supposed to be for the bass. I realized I have disrupted whatever was there before.

The third spot was an area clear of trees and bushes with a lot of room to cast further out without tangling any trees or bushes. I saw a small protruding rock on my left as I cast out in the open water. Upon my retrieval close to the rock, I felt a tug. After retrieving my lure, I checked to see if the hook was set properly and tested to see if the lure "swam" right making some fine adjustment. My second cast after my fine-tuning the lure was exactly where my first cast landed and I followed the same pattern of retrieving close to where I felt the tug. As I was dragging my lure passed the rock, I continued dragging until it felt like I was dragging a branch like before. Instead of a dead weight, this "branch" fought back and decided to take my line out in the open water. With one hand on the rod fighting the fish, I reached into my back pocket for my smartphone to record a video of the fight. Luckily, I landed the largemouth bass while filming and fighting the bass as I dragged it onto the shore.

After showing the bass I caught, I returned to my original assignment of assisting anglers with their fishing activities - baiting their hooks, unhooking fish, retying the rig that broke off, untangling lines.



I caught this bass within 20 minutes of my "assignment" and ran back to show the director of the fishing clinic what I caught and to the amazement of the anglers in the original spot. She took this picture and recorded a 2-lb largemouth bass was caught at the Willowbrook Park Lake in Staten Island, New York. The reason I chose the 3.5" Hawg Shad (milky greenback color) was that I have confident catching fish with it. It's my "go-to" bait to produce!

What's your "go-to" lure on your fishing trip?







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