I got to one of my favorite ponds while the sun was kind enough to remind me that spring is in the air.
I purposely brought a new pair of high, rugged rubber boots so I wouldn't wind up soaked to the bone while walking through the emerging grass and weeds.
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I was a loner this time out, and quickly discovered I could operate a tad more freely while covering lots of ground.
My two 6-foot-6 long Grandt spinning rods were securely fastened to the back strap on my vest. This time out, I took the bare minimum in the way of lures and terminal tackle.
Of course, I had my old reliable Little Action Macs (pre-rigged plastic worms) in the small plastic bag, along with a new Molix Sator Worm, a 4-inch drop shot rig. The third element consisted of a tiny plastic grub.
I was so light on actual tackle that if I snagged a line or broke a rig while hooking a fish, I'd be in serious trouble. The story did have a happy ending, though.
As I have said for decades, I never claimed to be an expert, but rather someone who has learned a lot from a select few who can lay claim to the expert title.
But there is one major drawback to all this rhetoric and storytelling.
Not all the pros are on target all the time. I learned how to think and act for myself on this short trip, and in fact I discovered many on-water scenarios can be different than the next one. For example:
We have been taught largemouth bass appear to be more active in springtime water temperatures 60 degrees and higher. But this trip shot that supposed rule of thumb full of holes. My tiny thermometer registered 55 degrees, and that was on the sunny side of the pond.
I flipped the Little Action Mac worm to a deeper spot around 20 feet out from the bank. This location had some emerging weed growth. I counted to six before I started my retrieve. I stopped at two cranks on the handle when I felt the tick on the rod tip. A pound-and-a-half bucket mouth came in without too much of a fight.
I switched rods to the Sator Worm drop-shot rig. A couple of twitches and I had a repeat performance with another small bass.
I'm usually programmed to use drop-shot rigs a tad later in the season, but this little experiment opened a new door for me.
I kept moving along the shoreline thinking I may have stumbled upon some post-spawn bass, but then I spotted some very large bedding fish doing their genetic thing.
I stood in one spot and watched some large bluegills moving into the bass spawning areas in an apparent effort to steal some bass eggs. But if the water temperature wasn't anywhere near what was supposed to be the magic number for the annual cycle, perhaps something was askew on this particular pond.
So I kept going.
I came across another weed edge and saw some bass moving in and out of the cover. Once again I made a short Little Action Mac cast to the outside of the weeds and slowly brought the tempting, plastic morsel within eyeshot of the bigger fish.
A flash of fins, a sound of thunder and a hi-ho silver, and my rod jerked like a kid's neck riding a roller coaster.
This was a decent fish, all green and black, and ripping line off my reel with contempt. Of course there was no way for me to officially know just how angry Ms. Bass was at that moment, but I could state this fish was not going to go into the net without a major struggle.
It scaled close to 4 pounds, and when I gently released it into the water the tail slap showered me with an unexpected surprise.
So here's what I learned.
Colder water can apparently trigger strikes from largemouth bass. One just has to put a lure where a fish can see and hear it.
• Contact Mike Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and podcast at www.mikejacksonoutdoors.com.