Friday, December 24, 2010

How It All Started.

Passion starts somewhere.  A little flicker of a glowing ember in a darkened void yearning to be stoked into a flame and, eventually, a fire.

I don't remember if it was Wired2Fish or Bass Brigade that had asked the question on their Facebook page asking when you got passionate about bass fishing.  I didn't answer the question then, but I knew when.  Exactly.

I remember my first largemouth like it was yesterday.  Every major holiday weekend, my family, grandparents, uncle and aunt, and some friends would spend time at a campground up north in between Osakis and Alexandria in Minnesota.  I was eight years old and it was 4th of July weekend.  We had just finished launching the boat and getting it back to the public dock, only to find that it was full.  Thankfully, one of the permanent campers, Ted, was kind enough to let us use his dock

I was heading down to the boat later that afternoon to fish for pannies, because that's what eight year olds did on the dock.  We fished for sunfish.  I was sitting there having a fine time watching that red and white bobber float around in my little piece of water and the lack of a bite naturally led to me being curious about other things.  That's when I saw him.  A largemouth bass tucked underneath the dock that I was sitting next to, not a foot and a half away from me.  I reeled in my rig and started digging around in the tackle box that my Grandfather had given me and put on a round head jig and a mangled old cream colored plastic worm.

When I finished all this, I looked again and the bass was gone, I must have spooked him with all the racket I was making.  Well ok then.  I went back to the camper for supper and came back the next day.  There he was again.  So I dropped the bait right in front of him, and I mean inches.  Nothing.  I shook it, moved it, whatever.  Nothing.  Just when I had given up, WAM!  Scared the hell out of me and I nearly dropped my rod in the lake!  But he wasn't hooked.  I kept this up for a little longer, replaying the same situation except this time I got him.  I don't know how big he was, but when you're eight, everything is huge.  But it was fun to catch him! 

This isn't where my passion started though.  Not yet, no, this was just the ember.  Fast forward 18 years.

I married my best friend, Jess, in 2005.  In 2007, we were lucky enough to have the resources and time to travel to Louisiana to spend Christmas and New Years with much of her side of the family.  I was told "bring your fishing pole", so I did.  One of my wife's uncle and aunt's have a little place on one of the lakes near Vacherie that is tucked into a network of canals.  The first thing that was truly weird to me is that it was the weekend after Christmas, and I was fishing.  In open water.  I'm from Minnesota, and most of us spend our winters staring down a hole in the ice wondering how we can snag the the six pack we just kicked through the hole!

The afternoon we arrived was hot and sticky.  I've never felt humidity like that.  Holy crap!  We tied on 1/4 oz. beetlspin type baits.  We caught a few the first day, but not many.  A cold front had come through overnight and our second day was "cold".  But the bite was just on fire.  The fish were right up against the wooden retaining walls looking for warmth, but they were willing to chase your bait down.  On one of my last retrieves, I had bruiser follow just behind.  Immediately I repeat my cast a few more times, hoping to coax a hit but with no luck.  That's fine, I'll be sure to find him again next time we're down.  But it sure would have been nice to see him up close.

That is when my passion flickered from an ember, to a flame.  A weekend spent walking the shoreline along a canal in Louisiana.

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