I anxiously packed up my truck and pointed it east. The week of the 4th was finally here and I was heading to my parents cabin to celebrate.
As most people do this weekend, we’d be at the lake grilling, fishing and enjoying the outdoors. Of course we’re wishing America a happy birthday, but we’re doing it like it’s our birthday. Maybe that’s really the way it should be-enjoying what our country has given us.
What the Independence Day holiday gives me, is a chance to see the family and fish waters that I fished growing up. I don’t get over here as often anymore so I try to make up for it around the holidays.
Our lake was once known as a high quality muskie lake. A few factors that I don’t need to go into here have caused the muskie population to drop significantly. In an effort to generate interest among the fishing crowd, the DNR has started stocking smallmouth bass. We’ll see if it works.
Largemouth bass have always called this lake home and when we’re not crappie fishing, that’s what we target. I wasn’t at the cabin 5 minutes before I was tying on a bass jig and hopping in the boat. I hoped the jet ski and speedboat traffic hadn’t shut down the fish quite yet.
We fished throughout the evening with just a couple small fish put in the boat, no worries however as I was just glad to be here. We had an ace up our sleeve yet: In the morning we’d head to our honey hole.
This particular body of water has held our captive attention for the better part of my life. It’s a small, out-of-the-way spot that doesn’t get much traffic. I’ve seen big northerns break rods here. I’ve seen 5+ pound largemouths dance across the water here. I’ve had many mornings where I’ve lost count of how many fish we’ve caught here. We’ve been spoiled.
Too much of a good thing can be a hindrance of course as I didn’t fish for walleyes until I was 30 or so.
We had perfect weather as we headed out at 9am. (This destination also doesn’t require breakfast before sunrise.) The wooded landing that tilts to one side at a near 45-degree angle was just the way I remembered. As the summer drags on, the weeds start to take hold and we usually have to resign ourselves to competing with knee boarders on the main lake, but today the water was clear.
The late spring has given us an opportunity to fish our favorite waters this holiday weekend.
I started casting a bass jig tipped with an artificial crawfish. I’d fished spinner baits predominantly, but after getting a good schoolin’ by my boat partner in Detroit Lakes the summer before, I’d made the change to jigs. Today, I fished with my father who tied on “ol’ reliable”, a black spinner bait tipped with a black and green worm. I don’t know why we ever bring anything else to this spot.
After watching 4 or 5 two-pound bass annihilate that black spinner, I started to reconsider my lure of choice. It may have been the hefty pike that pulled the boat sideways before breaking the line that swayed me.
I’ll come back to the jig later, but for now, I was going back to ol’ reliable.
Once the black spinner slammed the water and spun quickly just below the surface, the game was on. It wasn’t long before the water exploded and my rod was bent.
The first bucketmouth that I’d stick my thumb in was a fat, 17” fish. From there, bass after bass would attack both our blade baits until finally the high sun shut them down. It was time for lunch anyway.
“I didn’t think I’d get to make it over there anymore this year,” Dad said as we drove back to the cabin. I didn’t either, but I’m glad we did. In fact, we might even go back tomorrow.