Today I’d like to give you an opinion on what it takes to make an everlasting memory.
What do you think would turn a great day of fishing into something more?, something spectacular, something… that when the long years of life have passed, you will look back upon them and see them as vividly as if it happened just days ago? Maybe the day will stand out in your memory because you caught more fish than that of your fishing partners. Perhaps you got bragging rights because you caught the biggest fish. Maybe it’s just the serenity of fishing in a mountain stream with nothing else around but nature. Possibly your fishing memory revolves around something good that happened, like winning a boat in a fishing tournament, or something bad, like that boat you won in a tournament once, sank. Many things can contribute to a good fishing memory, and I want to tell you about the memory that I just made with the help of my brother.
At 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 29, my brother and I launched our 14’ jon boat at the boat launch at the Pontook Reservoir in Dummer, NH (1). For those of you unfamiliar with the area, the Pontook Reservoir is a 379-acre impoundment on the Androscoggin River created with the installation of the Pontook Dam. In the waters below the dam you will find some really good trout fishing, but on this day we were out fishing for pickerel, bass and perch. This day, we were not going to be disappointed.
As can be seen on the map above, we actually bypassed the reservoir area and fished the mile long stretch of the Androscoggin River between the dam and the cartop access point (5). As you can also see there are three other numbers on the map and each one has significant contribution to making a great day of fishing.
We caught a few pickerel and perch and even a couple of small bass while using our ultralight rods rigged with old faithful. If you have read any of my blog then you will know that old faithful is the 1.5” white twirl tail grub on a 1/8 oz. jig head. We have caught more fish on this one lure than any other, hence the nickname. On our casting rods we had loaded topwater baits and it was so exhilarating watching the water boil beneath the lure as a fish attacked. On my casting rod I had a Lunkerhunt Lunker Frog Green Tea. Cast this frog into the weeds and wiggle it across as you retrieve and it can be a very exciting lure to watch.
At number 2 on the map, I was doing just that when the weeds exploded and my poor little frog disappeared from the surface. I set the hook and the fight was on. I was able to clear the fish from the weeds when it broke the surface and tail danced across the water. Seeing the fish made our pulses speed as we could tell it was a large one. My brother got the net and within a few moments I was holding a very nice 5 pound Largemouth Bass.
and Texas Rigged weightless (this rig can also be fished with a bullet sinker at the tip). To fish this rig I made my cast, let the worm sink a bit while my rod tip was at the 9 o’clock position. I then slowly raised the tip to 11 and then reeled in the excess line as I lowered the tip back to nine. When you feel the lure stop, like you got it stuck on weeds or rocks or something, set the hook. Yes, a lot of times you’ll actually have a snag, but then often the reason your lure stopped is because a fish picked it up and is holding it in its mouth. Trust me, if you fish this rig, set the hook. At worst you will lose a hook and worm. At best, you’ll pull in a lunker just like this 7 lb Largemouth I caught as position #3 on the map.
That was it right? That had to be the thing that make this a memory for the ages. I thought so too, but I soon found out that there is something, when added to my two large fish that makes a memory that will be indelible in my mind for all time.
My brother too, was using this plastic worm setup and he was copying my technique for the retrieve, but while he was getting strikes, he wasn’t able to get a good hook set. This went on for a little while until I asked to look at his set up. I noticed that the only difference in his set up was that he was using a 1/0 Offfset Worm Hook…
…and not the on a Gamakatsu 2/0 Offset Shank EWG Worm Hook that I had on. As you can see there is an obvious difference between the two hooks. When a fish bites on the Gamakatsu, it actually pushes up on the hook making the tip protrude and allowing for a premium hook set. With the Offset Worm Hook, this pushing up on the hook doesn’t happen, meaning that good hook sets don’t happen as much.
With my back turned to my brother, I stealthily replaced his hook with the same one I was using and told him to try again.
At position #4 on the map we were near a Boom Pier in the center of the river. He placed a cast to the lee of the Boom Pier within a foot of it and let the worm sink. As he raised the tip of his rod he discovered that the lure was stuck. Could have been the logs of the pier. Could have been the rocks. He set the hook anyways and the fight was on. The fish exploded out of the water and tail danced while we both held our breath hoping that the fish wouldn’t shake the lure loose. At one point during the fight, the fish shot under the boat and my brothers rod bent. He realized his drag was not set properly and quickly loosened it so that the rampaging fish didn’t snap his line. When the fight was over, he was holding the biggest bass that he had ever caught in his life. A beautiful 6 lb, Largemouth,
And that was it. That was the moment I realized that an everlasting memory had been made. I learned, for me at least, that what takes a great day of fishing and turns it into an extraordinary day and makes a memory to last the ages is not just because you catch a big fish or two, but it’s when your actions result in your fishing partner catching the big one. I am not saying that my brother owes that fish to me, after all he is the one who chose where he cast. He is the one who set the hook. He is the one who was smart enough to realize his reel drag was not set properly and he was the one who had enough thought to adjust his drag on the fly while battling the biggest bass he has ever caught. I was just the guy who recognized a difference in hook and if you ask my brother, he believes that the hook change made a difference.
I am so happy for you bro. Glad you landed that one.
Tight lines, the Amateur Angler