- Like a roadtrip back to my childhood, spring time conjures up visions of bobbers
April had finally arrived and it had been 53 weeks since I had watched my rod bend to the weight of a largemouth. Daydreams of little green lunkers were starting to get the best of me, and I knew I had to seek out my honey hole.
Lake Abilene, at only 595 surface acres, is some of the best bass fishing in the Big Country. At full pool, it is loaded with flooded timber and brush piles. With the current low water conditions, most of the spawning structure is found on the dam rip rap. I had consistently hooked 3-6 pound bass over the last four seasons and expected similar success. Knowing well that the water temperature and the atmospheric conditions were just about right, I felt confident that my daydreams would become a reality.
I pulled up to the gate at 6:35 a.m. and started to strategize my assault. Water temperature in the mid 60's and stained water conditions narrowed down my choices of lures. I grabbed my Texas rig rod and my spinnerbait rod and headed for the dam.
With every step came a heightened level of anticipation, although I still had well over a quarter mile to go. To reach my honey hole is no easy task, and is definitely not for the lazy angler. But making the trek has always paid off in hefty sacks of largemouth.
As I drew ever closer to that magical stretch of dam, I stopped to bask in nature's morning routine. The solitude of the lake, broken only by the distant wake of a largemouth; is what I live for every spring. With a total absence of any human interruption, I was now pitted against the most sought after game species of all.
It was finally time to unveil my 1/4 oz. firetiger spinnerbait, and hopefully entice my quarry into striking. The first well placed cast came back without a taker, as did the second. I focused on a portruding dam rock as I gracefully let the spinnerbait fly for the third cast. WHAM!!!!, my spinnerbait was steamrolled.
Years of angling instinct told me to point my rod to the heavens. With a fierce hook set, the battle was on. My rod doubled over as my drag peeled with intensity. I knew this was a big female, and I was bound and determined to get her to the bank. After what seemed like a lifetime of struggle between predator and prey, my trophy revealed herself. I reached down and took hold with an adrenaline driven force. I held her high and gazed with pride. She was pushing 4 lbs. and full of eggs. I knew I had to get her picture quick and release her to swim another day. After a few snapshots, I watched her gently glide back into the depths. I had accomplished what I came to do, but I had no idea what the rest of the morning had in store for me.
Ready for another valiant battle, I launched a Texas rigged plastic worm in the same area. As I slid the worm over the dam rock, I felt a violent tug. Like a runaway freight train, my line sizzled in the opposite direction. I raised the rod tip and felt the weight of another solid largemouth. The buck bass fought with all of his might, but countless hours on the water came through in my favor. I hoisted him up to the bank and marveled at my second keeper in less than 7 casts.
Cast after cast led to bass after bass as I hiked along the dam. Everything seemed to be working, and I was in pure ecstasy. I had finally tapped the true potentail of Lake Abilene.
As my index finger became raw from unhooking keeper largemouth, I realized how blessed I truly was. I ended the day with 8 keepers and over 23 lbs. of total weight, not counting the three that came unhooked. Many anglers will go a lifetime without experiencing the kind of success that had been laid before me.
As I came ever closer to my trusty Silverado, I thought about my young son. To share a fishing trip like the former would be a father's greatest honor. The skills of conservation and appreciation are one of the few remains of the "good ole days"; and I would make it my life's work to make sure they are carried on for generations to come.