I was recently contacted by Marco, a friend whom I met at a local bass derby that he had organized last year. He had decided to put a little derby together on a local small lake located north of Kingston. Being very familiar with lake my interest was peaked, so I contacted my regular derby partner and arranged to meet the group at the launch early Sunday morning.
Blast off was at 6:00 so Dave and I rolled into the parking area near the launch around 5:30. We paid our launch and derby fees and briefly chatted with the organizer Marco about the details. The rules allowed for four fish per person to weighed in at 1:00pm. The event was a singles tourney so all fish had to be caught by the person weighing them in with a 0.5 lb penalty for dead fish.
Initially I was a bit intimidated by the high power bass boats we were going up against. Every other boat had the speed to leave us in the dust and beat us to all our favourite spots. This spelled trouble for the green machine with her modest 40hp engine. As the blast off occurred, we were rocked by the initial wake from the giant engines and ended up waiting for the water to quell. When the waves settled, my worst fears were realized when almost everyone of our spots seemed to occupied by another angler. On to plan B.
We fished a short section of weed lines with good drop offs for the first half an hour with no luck. I’m not one to sit on the same barren stretch pounding away in futility so we made a break for another little stretch we had luck with in the past. This is where experience on a lake is absolutely necessary if your derby fishing in an under powered boat. In my view its vital to have a Plan B, C, D and so on and so forth. The quicker boats may get the pick of the litter when it comes to spots, but there is always a component of luck involved and secondary spots can be just as productive. With that, Dave immediately started catching some healthy bass on the new stretch and the air of the day began to change rapidly.
What happened next, I am sure, will be burned into our memories for years to come. Like he had done a hundred times before, Dave casted a senko out over a weed bed and slowly twitched it out over the edge, letting it sink down the drop. His line suddenly went taught and a fish greedily ran away with his lure sparking him to call out that he though it was big as he reeled in. Then it made a flash and started off on a drag screaming run. I’m thinking Pike? Nope. I was wrong and I realized by just how much when I got a glimpse of the bronze colour and sheer mass of the beast that kept pulling Dave’s line. I dropped my rod mid crank with the bait still in the water and reached for my net. I was damn sure of one thing, it wasn’t coming in without it.
After several more runs, and what I am sure Dave’s arms thought was an eternity, we netted the beast amongst high fives and shouts of excitement. We weighed the fish and confirmed Dave’s suspicions that this was his new personal best bass. My scales flashed 5lb 10 oz briefly before the fish thrashed and dislodged form the scale. Concerned with the well being f the fish, we placed it into the live well and we continued on our way with shaky hands and pounding arteries.
We caught a few more fish throughout the remainder of the day and despite my crap luck, I managed to eek out a bag of 6lb 6oz with one cull. Possibly my worst bag ever for the lake. Ah well, you can’t win them all and seeing dave’s giant come from such a small lake was more than worth it. My consolation proze wasn’t bad either; I managed to catch a few decent pike, which seem to be getting bigger and bigger in the lake as the years progress.
When 1pm rolled around I was eager to end my miserable performance on the water and even more eager to see the final weight of Dave’s behemoth. All said and done, dave ended the day in second place with a total of 11lb 14 oz and took the big fish prize home with a weight of 5lb 13 oz.
Thanks to Marco for putting in the work to organize the derby. You’ve definitely got a knack for putting a good group of guys together with some great competition. We definitely look forward to participating in the Gorilla Cup in August.
Congratulations Dave on your new personal best!
Cheers from the Lake