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Fishing With GordBy Arne Pedersen,
It´s the middle of February and after my telephone conversation with my friend Gord, a day of bass fishing is inspired. What would normally be a simple procedure of choosing a location to meet is turned into a complicated association of ideas when dealing with Gord.
You see, Gord practically devotes his entire life to fishing. Anything fishing related is given utmost attention which, unfortunately at times, causes indecision.
Eventually after careful thought and consideration (as well as some argument), a time and spot to meet is decided upon.
The next morning I arrive at the designated meeting area. Fortunately, Gord remembered to bring along my trolling motor battery, which I was so kind as to previously loan him. Of course the next step is to hook the battery up and do a power check. It is immediately discovered that the trolling motor is not working. This is not a good thing, so further disconnecting and reconnecting ensues. There comes a time when we decide the trolling motor isn't going to cause further delay, so the hour and a half drive back in the direction we came soon follows.
A very short time after we leave, I notice something eye-catchingly strange in the rear view mirror. It seems as though the trolling motor has finally decided to cooperate, as a spinning propeller shows. I quickly pull the truck over and proceed to switch the control pedal on the trolling motor to the off position. As our laughter slowly settles from the event, we find ourselves in a more technical discussion about fishing that requires the use of advanced angling terms and phrases. I have to explain to you about Gord once more here. Gord dislikes any discussion about fishing unless it makes uses of advanced terminology. What I am trying to say is, if you cannot use technical fishing terms in your discussion, then Gord may in fact never talk to you (something that some people that have met Gord do not have a problem with). One thing that should be noted though is that if you are lucky enough to have the chance to talk to Gord...you had better listen, as he fishes over 100 days a year for many species of fish and has caught and released more 5+ lb. smallmouth bass than you could ever imagine.
As we reach the water's edge, we are happy to see that the wind may cooperate for us today. We proceed with the necessary launching procedures, climb into the boat, and I start the electric motor now with confidence. We have of course, carefully discussed where our greatest chances of success will occur. As I put on my Gore-tex thermal insulated coveralls, we waste no further time and head off in the appropriate direction of the fishing grounds.
As I start motoring towards the channel, Gord expresses he is now getting cold and that it's time to put on his liner and coat. Normally, this would be a pretty basic task except that a problem has occurred with his zipper. I notice from the look on Gord's face that he is getting a little concerned, not to mention cold. It is finally determined that the base of the zipper is bent (Gord later informed me that I broke the zipper while closing the storage lid on it earlier in the morning). I was taking delight in observing him attempt to fix the zipper with the knife attachment on my line clippers. Now you can imagine Gord's reaction after 5 minutes and a wind chill factor, when I ask if he is ready for me to crank open the throttle. He had a look of deep-seated unfriendliness upon his face which led me to believe that going faster was definitely not such a good idea. I did however want to go fishing sometime today, so I suggested that I give the zipper a go. The defective garment was instantly passed over to me and I proceed to pry the zipper with the utmost of diligence and concentration. Eventually after involving one line clipper tool and two pairs of pliers in the procedure, the zipper is successfully repaired. Gord is grateful as am I. We now open the throttle to electric motor that is still cooperating.
I ease back on the throttle as we near the area we decided upon earlier. I now turn on the depthfinder and reach for a couple of marker buoys. As I glance toward the screen, I notice something I did not expect. The water temperature was 39.5 ° F., which is about 3 degrees colder than expected. Now 3 degrees temperature doesn't sound like much, but believe me, it could make the difference between half a dozen fish and a big fat zero. Fortunately we are already quite familiar with the lake's deepwater structure.
We know some areas where the smallmouth bass concentrate at the 42 to 45 ° F. mark. With today's higher water temperature of 39.5 °, we decide that the fish should be very close to these same areas, maybe a bit deeper and possibly a bit further from shore on the same piece of structure. The first area we fish consists of an underwater rock and gravel point that bottoms-out at 24 ft. where it meets the soft bottom basin. This lake has very dark water with 26 to 27 ft. being the maximum depth, which in turn means we have chosen to fish the deeper portions of the lake. After placing 2 strategically located marker buoys, I situate the boat approximately 10 ft. outside the basin's transition, off the extreme tip of the point. I double anchor my boat parallel to the structure, offering equal casting opportunity for the both of us (well, actually I anchored the boat to my favor, enjoying the funny look on Gord's face in doing so). The casting begins. I have a 3/8 oz. bladebait on braided line which I cast up along the left side of the structure. My line goes slack as the lure hits the bottom, and my retrieve begins.
I am practicing a lift and drop retrieve while maintaining contact with the bottom. As I look over my shoulder, I notice that Gord is still working on his rig. I cast out again, a bit over from the first cast, and retrieve in the same deliberate manner. After only a few turns of the reel handle, I feel a sharp tick. I wrench back on the rod feeling a heavy pumping sensation. A fish is on! Of course, the next thing I do is look to see if Gord has noticed. I believe his exact words at this moment were "Oh no, oh no." Understand that I am not any different than other fisherman in the sense that I enjoy "outdoing" my fishing partner. I then stated to Gord, "I have a fish - why don't you have one yet?"
Within half a second of lightning fast speed and a look of determination never seen before, Gord is now about to cast. You had to actually have seen this astounding body language to have believed it. While I am preoccupied watching Gord, I notice that my line has suddenly taken a turn for the anchor rope. With my fish now at risk there's no time for etiquette. I practically run Gord over like a 'sherman tank' as the words "look out!" eventually catch up with my body. Fortunately I save the bass from the dreadful "anchor rope fate". I lip the nice 17 incher and proceed into the ritual of "rubbing the first fish of the day in Gord's face".
After Gord's next statement, I begin to realize that I may be doomed. "You're in trouble now", Gord expresses.
Generally speaking, when you try and compete against someone using live nightcrawlers with artificial lures in the winter, you lose. Today was no exception, as the words "Ha Ha, I got one!" soon appear out of the cold thin air. It wasn't until Gord landed his third bass that I started to show my own desperation. I practically dove for the live nightcrawlers, which were on the floor in a container at Gord's feet. It wasn't much longer before I glanced over to see yet another fish being played, and heard the words "ha ha" repeated once again.
Finally I got my hook into bass lips, only to hear the words "11 inch bass don't count."
I felt better after I had caught my third bass, a respectable 16 incher. It was probably 30 minutes later when I decided we had better check out another area. Gord ignores me and another five to six casts flail out. I had to listen yet again to the words "ha ha" for the fifth time as he sets the hook on another fish. I then decide to quickly pull up the anchors and move to a new location. By the time I had the motor running, Gord had released the bass, re-rigged his bait, and was quickly attempting to make another cast. It seemed he was not going to let anything stand in the way of his final cast. I figured fishing from a moving boat would quickly diminish Gord's casting ability. As I opened up the throttle I glanced over just in time, expecting to see Gord's fishing reel smoke in attempt to save the rest of his line from being permanently part of the lake's bottom. We had arrived at the new spot. After careful consideration, attention to my depthfinder, and driving the boat backwards and forwards repeatedly (in a somewhat carried-away manner), I finally decided to throw out some marker buoys. Gord decided to patiently wait until I was fully anchored, and stated "It is now safe to fish."
Apparently he didn't like my terrorist approach used at last spot to convince him it was time to reel in. It seemed as though the tables had turned as a fish hit on my second cast. It got off. In less than 10 minutes I had another bite, which turned up a nice 16 1/2 inch bass. Shortly I had another fish on and gave the words "ha ha" back to Gord, the same words he had so generously uttered to me earlier. As the day went on, we noticed the sky becoming darker and darker. Since we both were in agreement of a 5 fish tie, we decided to beat the rain. We headed off back home with the good feeling of showing each other up, seemingly having no losers, ending a memorable day's fishing.