My Personal Best

For a few weeks now I have been going through my tackle making sure I have it ready for winter and spring fishing. In fact, in these biter cold days and evenings, I have spent a number of hours reading about the different techniques one may use to catch fish. Through the years now, I have many combos hanging on the wall and lure boxes carefully placed on the self. Actually, I pride myself in some of the best fishing equipment in the market today. In the past weeks I have enjoyed reading about the “tricks” of the trade, including such things like tying the right knot for a selected setup, pegging the weight on a C-rig, how to fish the Neko-rig, the Mogo-rig, the Drop-shot rig, and that includes all the modifications one may add to the conversation. The other night I went to bed and had a dream that I caught the world record bass with one of my prize combo’s. Needless to say I had tackle companies and sport fishing writers knocking my door. Even the next day my “Trophy Fish” and “Master Angler” stickers came in the mail. It was a “dream come true” if you will allow me to say so. Then reality hit me right in the face. My wife had elbowed me in the side of head while in her sleep. And as I lay there thinking about this dream that I had been enjoying so much, it came back to me how I caught my “personal best” over the past seventy-three years.

I was nine years old. I had come home from school, put my books down in my room and went straight down to the basement and picked up my spinning rod and reel. I got my small plastic box of eight or ten lures and headed off to a small pond about a mile from home. The only way to get there for me was to walk. Being early May, I only had an hour or so to fish before darkness fell. The rod I was using was only around four and one-half feet long. The reason it was so short is one afternoon coming home from fishing I was holding the rod in my left hand and throwing rocks with my right hand. Just as I threw a rock with my right hand, it clipped off a foot or so off my rod tip. I guess one could say this was a “high-power-no-action rod." At the very least, this rod was an old stiff fiberglass rod. But, I could cast this old rod a mile or at least I thought I could. The spinning reel was also a Shakespeare with six-pound line. I crossed the fence and headed over the hill to pond. I opened my lure box and took out a plastic worm. I am sure you have seen one, the one with a “three-hook” harness. But, you may not have picked the color it was, bright lemon chartreuse with big black round spots. I clipped it on and began to cast it across the pond. The small cattle pond was so small I could almost cast to the other bank. However, the pond had some depth because it was dammed across a deep ravine. After making a few casts, I decided to cast down the dam side close to the bank where the bottom dropped at a good slant. When I did my worm got hung up so I began to pull on it to dislodge it. Then my line began to move out to the middle of the pond. At that point, I new something wasn’t right. After a forty minute battle, I landed a nine-pound two-ounce large mouth. So laying in bed this morning thinking, it came to me. Your “personal best” may come when you least expect it on the least expected setup, such as a “Ned-rig” on a "high- power-no-action" rod with six-pound mono. Or, maybe you are crappie fishing and nine pounder takes your smallest minnow.