The bass before the storm

August 14, 2008

Faith Outdoors


As my son, Joe, and I headed toward the Minneapolis city lakes yesterday, he expressed skepticism about our search for largemouth bass. Like many anglers, he assumes August is a slow month for fishing.

Au contraire! My experience has shown that August can be excellent for fishing, especially for my favorite species, the largemouth bass. I routinely do well during this month and, in fact, landed my largest bass of last year in the middle of August on the city lakes.

I told Joe I thought I could catch a 20-inch bass during our trip and even made a friendly wager with him. Because I forgot to bring any kind of length-measuring device, we would go by weight. If I caught a bass 5 pounds or bigger, he would buy me dinner — unless he caught a bigger one.

Things started slowly as we tried Spot No. 1. Then, the action got dramatically better on Spot No. 2. One of the first fish that came to the gunwale looked close to the mark, but was a little short. Then, not long after, I hooked into a bigger fish. As I got it close to the boat, I turned to Joe and said, “I think you just lost the bet.”

Sure enough, the fish weighed 5 pounds, 3 ounces on Joe’s digital scale. But, we had lots of time left.

I’m proud to say that Joe did not lose the bet. A short time later, he caught a fish that weighed exactly the same as mine. A tie. We caught some other nice fish, but neither of us could top those two lunkers.

Unfortunately, our trip was cut short by a severe thunderstorm that blew in fast and produced heavy rains, thunder and lightning. Because of the ban on outboard motors, we had to rely on our electric motor to get us in. The storm caught up to us and soaked us with a zesty downpour. We were able to reach a bridge built over a channel and waited out the storm there with several canoeists.

Just before we quit fishing, Joe landed another nice bass weighing 4 pounds, 12 ounces. I’m amazed at the number of big fish that are landing in my livewell this summer. I’m doing a lot of things I have done in the past, but with much better — make that bigger — results.

I’m glad that it worked out this way. Truth is, I was hoping Joe would catch a big bass. He starts school next week and this is a good way to end the summer. It was also a chance for me to spend some quality time with him. In less than two years, he’ll be out of high school and, probably, out of the nest. That’s hard for me to think about, but it makes it more important to enjoy the time with him at home while I can.

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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

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