So I have this lake near my home, it’s called Lake Nippinickett also known as “The Nip”. Apparently, it’s also drenched in ghostly folklore. As I pulled up this morning, the lake’s creepy reputation made sense. With cold November air in a freeze frame, fog lingered over the surface of the water. It is dead silent as I load my gear onto my Big Game II. There’s nobody around it seems and the waterline is also too low for any boats – perfect for paddlers looking for a trophy Largemouth Bass.
I know for a fact that tournaments have recorded Bass in the 8-9lb range with the occasional sighting of a double digit lunker. The lake itself has only an average depth of about three feet, maxing out at about six feet – it’s also very tea-stained water from tannic acid. So where do we start?
Sun’s not up yet – so topwater is the way to go. However, I know I need to cover water fast – it’s a three hundred fifty four acre lake. I have to be able to adapt to conditions and locations. It’s November – so a buzzbait probably will be too fast, however I need something just a bit slower, but can still make a lot of commotion…ah ! A waker bait! It’s perfect for right now – I can throw it and drag it back somewhat quick, but it rattles and wobbles like a crankbait on the surface, creating a large wake.
I know the bass like to stick close to the warmer rocks and wait for breakfast. So let’s see… I noticed a large boulder coming out of the water about fifty feet from my kayak. I stand up on my Big Game to get a little more distance. Since the water is so shallow here the fish tend to be a little more easy to scare away. I release the waker – splashing 15 feet behind the rock. Perfect placement. I decided to let it sit a second before waking it back in. I take a quick snapshot of the island nearby – rumored to be the sacred ground of a native American burial site.
I put my camera down a begin bringing the waker back in – the waker is about ten feet from the rock. Slowly rattling and bringing those v-shaped ripples closer and closer. Nothing. I am still bringing the bait back now – looking around – there’s another rock about twenty – WHOA! My rod gives, I look back at my line – there’s a remnant of a large splash in the water. My line is racing by the bow of my kayak. The water is low so the fish can’t dive, it has to RUN! It’s pulling the kayak, and I have to let it take some line. It turns and runs toward the kayak, I am racing to get the line in fast enough. Gosh, it’s running under the kayak now!
“Come on, come on!” I lean back and let the backbone of the rod put some real hard force against the bass. I turn it out of the cover it was running for. I feel the fish is tiring now. I see my gorgeous, beaten opponent flash green and black on the surface as I reach down. I pull the fish out of the water with great enthusiasm; the fish gives one last defiant shake. I fall back onto the seat and smile. What a gorgeous fish. This kayak came standard with a fish ruler – perfect! The fish is 21 inches long. Estimate weight: 5.07 pounds – good size by New England standards. This made my day – and I wasn’t even paying attention!