Outdoors Column: Competitive Fishing

My grandson is competitive in everything he does. I do not know where he gets that. Thursday night, he asked me if I would like to go fishing with him. It was past the heat of the day and seemed to be well into making a pleasant evening. “Sure”, I said, knowing full well we would be out there until dark. We jumped into the boat and Zane said I could drive, as though it were some sort of privilege to be able to steer the boat around the lake. Having been “lucky” enough to have driven on other fishing excursions, we were both aware of the hassles in driving. Though the driver can place the boat in awkward positions for the fisherman in the other end of the boat, it takes time away from fishing yourself.



Zane competes in bass fishing tournaments on a regular basis and considers himself something of an expert. I do not compete professionally, but I might be a bit competitive myself. I was using a Hula Popper, which Zane considers amateur. He was using a frog, rigged weed less, so he could cast right up to shore, drag it over the weed beds, and watch the bass attack it from underneath. His first cast with his plastic frog caught the attention of a big old bullfrog. An attacking bullfrog is too much fun to resist, so while he was working it, I caught the first bass of the evening. By the time he finally caught the frog on his frog, I caught the second bass. This got Zane’s attention. He buckled down and started doing some serious fishing.



I was working my Hula Popper just outside the weed bed parallel to the shoreline by the dam. Just every once in a while, a bass, lying in wait in the weeds would smack my lure as it launched itself out of the water. It startles a person every time it happens, even when a person is expecting it, which is seldom. Before long, I was up to four fish and Zane was at two. He kept trying to get me to move the boat to a different area so I would be busy driving while he continued to fish. While trolling to the wing dams in the middle of the lake, I caught two more by dragging a plastic minnow beside the boat.



The evening was calm and warm. I did not have to fight the boat to keep us in one place, which is fortunate, as I needed one hand to fight off the mosquitos and gnats. It was getting dark and the score was eight to four, my lead. I was getting into some serious whining about being eaten alive but Zane wanted to stay for just a couple more casts. He caught three fish right in a row. We had to leave. I do not know which would be worse; have all the blood sucked from my body by flying insects or to have Zane catch more fish than me. I made a dash for the shore with Zane objecting all the way. He needed just one more cast.



I rammed the beach with the boat and got out to put my equipment away. Zane moved to the back and made his one more cast. A bass struck at the lure but missed. A quick retrieve and just one more cast caught the fish. We could at last go back to the house. We were both able to save face by having an eight to eight tie.